Did you know that each day in the United States, six people die from alcohol poisoning, aka alcohol overdose? Of course, alcohol poisoning is hardly the only alcohol-related cause of death. To get a true picture of alcohol’s deadly effects, it’s also important to consider auto accidents caused by a drunk driver, slips and falls, and many other incidents.
If your family member or friend suffers from crippling alcoholism, you are likely terrified that they are going to kill themselves or someone else while intoxicated. Even if they do not drink and drive, the chances are that their drinking will eventually lead to a serious disease. How can you help? Read on for 5 tips.
1. Speak from a Place of Love
It’s important to be very careful when confronting someone about their alcohol abuse. If you scream at them in the heat of the moment or are accusatory rather than empathetic, they won’t listen.
Instead, do your best to catch them when they are sober. Preface the discussion by letting them know how much they mean to you, and how frightened you are about their future. Explain the ways in which their drinking affects you and the other loved ones in their life.
2. Offer Concrete Help
Particularly when alcohol addiction is advanced, the addict may have trouble understanding how to stop drinking. It’s a good idea for you to put a plan together. This might involve researching rehab facilities in advance, figuring out insurance coverage or being willing to front the out-of-pocket expense.
If your friend or relative wants to try quitting cold turkey, offer to drive them to Alcoholics Anonymous meetings or to keep them company. Read up on the symptoms of withdrawal, and if necessary, be prepared to take them to the hospital or call 911.
3. Set Boundaries
Have you ever seen the TV show “Intervention”? One common denominator in all the cases is that the addict’s loved ones set boundaries and explain what will happen if they do not get treatment. You need to do the same, then communicate those boundaries with the alcoholic.
It can be incredibly painful to contemplate turning your back on a friend or spouse. But you have to be prepared to follow through. Backpedaling won’t help either of you.
4. Stop Making Excuses
One of these boundaries should be that you will no longer make excuses for the alcoholic’s behavior. You cannot continue clearing the path for them as they travel deeper into addiction. They must fully experience the consequences of their drinking.
Bailing them out — literally or figuratively — is only going to enable their addiction.
5. Get Yourself Some Help and Support
Being close to an alcoholic can take a huge toll on you. Make sure to safeguard your own sanity and deal with your emotions. Attending support groups, such as Al-Anon, can be a lifesaver. Meeting others who can empathize with your difficulties and share their own experiences will go a long way toward helping you heal — no matter what the alcoholic does.
Dealing with Someone Else’s Crippling Alcoholism
Unfortunately, crippling alcoholism and other addictions are a serious problem in the U.S. If you’re dealing firsthand with someone’s addiction, the best thing to do is to face the problem head-on and take action.
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