It’s never easy to see a family member struggle with addiction. But, the first step is spotting it, and speaking up. In many cases, alcohol addiction is a long, slow process. You may not notice the initial problem. After all, we all like to enjoy a few drinks now and then. It’s only when you begin to see it affecting their work, relationships or personality that you take notice that a family member is drinking too much.
At this point, it can be very difficult to approach them and bring up the subject. Naturally, you’re concerned for their health and their behavior. But at the same time, it’s a tricky conversation to start. Today, we’ll talk through some of the ways you can approach him or her when a family member is drinking too much.
Spotting the signs
The first step is spotting and recognizing the signs. As we said before, the process is long and slow. It takes a while for that dependency to take hold, and the consumption slowly grows. Not only that, but alcoholics are very adept at hiding their drinking. It certainly won’t be obvious, and the signs are subtle. The biggest signs are mood swings and personality changes. But the real giveaway to when a family member is drinking too much is when they begin to neglect or dismiss important life events or their job.
Use positive language
When you first broach the subject of whether or not a family member is drinking too much, be wary of how you use your words. It’s vital that you don’t make it sound like an accusation. Nor should you place blame or make demands. Simply express concern for their health. Use positive language like “I wonder if cutting back on alcohol would help improve your health and wellbeing”. Try to provide alternatives like suggesting exercising together or seeing a film. Start with a positive tone and express concern.
Always wait until they are sober
The most important piece of advice is to wait until they are sober to start the conversation. When under the influence of alcoholism, the disease (because that’s what it is) has a greater hold. It will twist their emotions, and make them more defensive. While they are sober, they have a clearer understanding, and better control over their decisions. They’re much more likely to think rationally, and accept what you’re saying.
If your gentle words haven’t worked well, then it’s time to think about the next stage. Get in touch with your local alcohol rehab clinic, and get expert advice on the situation. They can help you determine whether there is a real health problem, and how to handle the next stage. They may help you stage an intervention, and provide an outside opinion.
The most important thing of all is that you’re there for them. Alcoholism is a disease, and must be treated as such. Try to avoid getting angry at them, and always be there to provide support and encouragement. It will be the hardest thing you ever do together, but it will make the family stronger.
It’s never easy to watch a loved one battle with an addiction. Just remember, there is always support and advice available to you.