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Alcoholism: What Do I Do When My Loved One is an Alcoholic?

Alcoholism Treatment

Time and again, an alcoholic suffers in every way imaginable. The damage long-term alcohol abuse can do to a person’s life is one of life’s great tragedies. That includes having significant health problems, financial struggles, and the loss of important relationships.

Beyond what alcoholism does to the drinker, there is always some kind of collateral damage left in their wake. Many times, that collateral damage will have a direct impact on family members and very close friends.

What Can I Do For Someone I Love?

If one of your loved ones has a significant drinking problem, you have probably had a front-row seat to watch the devastation that has occurred. That is also a tragedy. The fact you are reading this information is a testament to how much your care and want to see your loved one recover from their drinking problem. 

Assuming that is your intention, the following information should help guide you to help them as best as you can.

Alcoholism is a Disease

As you contemplate how to help anyone that has a drinking problem, you need to understand they aren’t weak in character. They aren’t morally flawed. What they are is sick with a very devious disease. Yes, addictions are classified as diseases. 

Even more troubling is the fact that alcoholism and other types of substance abuse problems aren’t curable. The best an alcoholic or drug addict can hope for is to arrest their disease and render it dormant for the rest of their life.

For your part, it would be of great help for you to accept that the person you love is sick. With all of the empathy and sympathy you can muster, that is what you will need in reserve if you want to help them.

The First Step Towards Recovery

You likely realize that at some point, this information is going to discuss the intervention process for an alcoholic. Before things get to that point, there is one thing you can look for out of your loved one. You can look for them to get to the point that they are able and willing to admit they are sick and need help. That would be the right first step in the recovery process for an alcoholic. 

As the one you love nears rock bottom, it is quite possible they will still be hanging on to a bottle of booze. That’s the point when your patience will likely get tested. If you can, stay the course and keep looking for opportunities to help. When all of your other options have fallen short, it might be time to call for an intervention.

How to Run an Effective Intervention For An Alcoholic

As you contemplate organizing an intervention, you need to understand that this is a very serious process. There really isn’t any way to know for sure how things will go. In a best-case scenario, your loved one will admit they are an alcoholic and agree to go into rehab. If things don’t go well, there could be a lot of anger and confusion that comes out of the process. 

You really have three choices if you think an intervention is the right thing to do. Your choices are:
  • Organize and run the intervention yourself 
  • Ask another family member or friend to run the intervention
  • Seek help from a professional addiction treatment professional who specializes in intervention coaching

Regardless of which option you choose, you would benefit from knowing some general guidelines about interventions.

Intervention Options:

First of all, all participants need to come to the intervention prepared. It would be very helpful if they prepare a script that explains to the addict why they are concerned and how the individual’s drinking problem has affected them. While delivering these messages, everyone should try to refrain from attacking or being negative. Try to remain supportive throughout the process.

Before holding the intervention, it would be a good idea to look into a few rehabs in the area. Should the one you love agree to go into rehab, it will be comforting for them to know they might already have a place to go.

Should the intervention not go as planned, stay the course. There is a good chance the drinker will at least hear the words and feel everyone’s concern. At some later point, they might reflect on what happened during the intervention and use that as a catalyst to finally seek help.

What You Need to Know About Treatment for the Alcoholic

At our Level Up treatment centers, we specialize in treating substance abuse disorders. If your addiction sufferer would agree to come to us, we could certainly give them the help they need.

In all likelihood, the treatment process would start with time in a medically monitored detox program. After months or years of heavy drinking, the problem drinker will encounter some rather harsh withdrawal symptoms.

For someone who abuses alcohol, the most troubling potential withdrawal symptoms would be:
  • Elevated blood pressure
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Sleeping issues
  • Rapid heart rate or palpitations
  • Tremors (shaking) in the extremities
  • Rapid emotional changes
  • Difficulty thinking clearly
  • delirium tremens (or DTs)

The role of a good medically monitored detox program is to make sure the client is safe while going through withdrawal. If issues should occur, medical professionals would be standing by to intervene with medication if necessary. 

After going through detox, your person would need to go into therapy. This would be their opportunity to work with a therapist on the journey of self-discovery, The goal would be digging through the hurt and pain to find the root causes of the addiction. As a result, finding these root causes would serve to identify where they need better life and coping skills. 

While in treatment, your person would certainly spend a lot of time in individual therapy. They might also get an opportunity to work in groups, which could eventually provide the one you love with support resources for the future. 

Finally, there is always time for family therapy. This would give you and other family members a chance to learn the truth about your person’s substance abuse issue. Through that understanding, fences could get mended, and everyone involved could learn how to provide support in the future. 

After reading this information, you should now have a sense of how you can help your person get the help they need. Above all, try to be patient without becoming codependent. When it is time to consider rehab, you should contact us or one of our Level Up treatment centers in Lake Worth or Palm Beach. We would be glad to tell you about our treatment facilities and services. 

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