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struggling with alcohol addiction

Try to commit to at least two days each week when you won’t drink at all. Most people with alcohol problems do not decide to make a big change out of the blue or transform their drinking habits overnight. In the early drinking age by country 2024 stages of change, denial is a huge obstacle. Even after admitting you have a drinking problem, you may make excuses and drag your feet. It’s important to acknowledge your ambivalence about stopping drinking.

Make meetings a priority – Join a recovery support group, such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), and attend meetings regularly. Spending time with people who understand exactly what you’re going through can be very healing. You can also benefit from the shared experiences of the group members and learn what others have done to stay sober. Write your drinking goal down and keep it where you will frequently see it, such as on your phone or taped to your refrigerator. Do you want to stop drinking altogether or just cut back? If your goal is to reduce your drinking, decide which days you will drink alcohol and how many drinks you will allow yourself per day.

Evaluating the costs and benefits of drinking

If the person does have an alcohol problem, the best thing you can do is be open and honest with them about it. Hoping the person will get better on their own won’t change the situation. Let the person you alcoholism: causes risk factors and symptoms care for know that you’re available and that you care. Try to formulate statements that are positive and supportive. Remember that changing deep habits is hard, takes time, and requires repeated efforts.

Less visible are the people who survive the illness and rebuild their lives. Anna Mable-Jones, age 56, lost a decade to cocaine addiction. Now she’s a homeowner, she started a small business and says life is “awesome.” It’s also important to ask your loved one directly what you can do to help, especially during special events where alcohol may be served. Talk therapy (or play therapy for younger children) can also help you all work through the challenges AUD can present to a household.

Many people struggle with controlling their drinking at some time in their lives. More than 14 million adults ages 18 and older have alcohol use disorder (AUD), and 1 in 10 children live in a home with a parent who has a drinking problem. The person with the drinking problem needs to take responsibility for their actions. Don’t lie or cover things up to protect someone from the consequences of their drinking.

Urge the person to get into a formal treatment program. Ask for concrete commitments and then follow up on them. Choose the right time to have this important conversation. Have the conversation in a place where you know you’ll have quiet and privacy.

struggling with alcohol addiction

Finding the right way to approach someone you think may have an alcohol use disorder can be tough. Before you speak with them, try putting yourself in their shoes. The most important thing is to let them know that you care and that you’ll be there when they need your support. Your friend or loved one may also vow to cut back on their own.

Types of Treatment

Don’t consider your part done after your friend or family member is in therapy. Offer to help out with work, childcare, and household tasks if they get in the way of treatment sessions. This is not an uncommon concern, but the short answer is “no.” All medications approved for treating alcohol dependence are non-addictive. These medicines are designed to help manage a chronic disease, just as someone might take drugs to keep their asthma or diabetes in check. When you’re craving alcohol, there’s a tendency to remember the positive effects of drinking and forget the negatives. Remind yourself of the adverse long-term effects of heavy drinking and how it won’t really make you feel better, even in the short term.

  1. If certain people, places, or activities trigger a craving for alcohol, try to avoid them.
  2. Remember, though, that relationships with doctors, therapists, and other health professionals can take time to develop.
  3. People walk past an East Harlem health clinic that offers free needles and other services to drug users on in New York.
  4. The most successful treatment happens when a person wants to change.
  5. For example, antidepressants, if someone with an alcohol addiction were self-medicating to treat their depression.

Help the person address the problems that led to them drinking. If your loved one drank because of boredom, anxiety, or loneliness, for example, those problems will still be present once they’re sober. Encourage the person to find healthier ways of coping with life’s problems and rebounding from setbacks without leaning on alcohol. Don’t expect your loved one to overcome a drinking problem alone. Even if they don’t require medical supervision to withdraw safely, they’ll still need support, guidance, and new coping skills to quit or cut back on their drinking.

How to talk to someone about their drinking

Dealing with a loved one’s alcohol problem can feel like an emotional rollercoaster and take a heavy toll on your health, outlook, and wellbeing. It’s vital that you stay safe, take care of your own health, and get the support you need. Alcohol abuse and addiction (also known as “alcohol use disorder”) doesn’t just affect the person drinking—it affects their families and loved ones, too. Watching a friend or family member struggle with a drinking problem can be as heartbreakingly painful as it is frustrating.

When Is It Time for Treatment?

But in a pattern researchers say is common, Mable-Jones’ illness eventually eased. She found treatment that worked and has lived drug-free for more than 20 years. Mable-Jones lost a decade to addiction, entering rehab and relapsing repeatedly.

Once you’ve made the decision to change, the next step is establishing clear drinking goals. The more specific, realistic, and clear your goals, the better. Take an honest look at how often and how much you drink. Be prepared to discuss any problems that alcohol may be causing.

Alcohol addiction treatment options

This could push them away and make them more resistant to your help. As an addiction tends to get worse over time, it’s important to look for early warning signs. If identified and treated early, someone with an alcohol addiction may be able to avoid major consequences of the disease. It’s important to note that alcoholism is a real disease. It can cause changes to the brain and neurochemistry, so a person with an alcohol addiction may not be able to control their actions. Genetic, psychological, social and environmental factors can impact how drinking alcohol affects your body and behavior.

Please donate today to help us save, support, and change lives. You aren’t to blame for your loved one’s drinking problem and you can’t make them change. If certain people, places, or activities trigger a craving for alcohol, try to avoid them. This may mean making major changes to your social life, such as finding new things to do with your old drinking buddies—or even giving up those friends and finding new ones.

Recovery from alcoholism or a drinking problem can be a bumpy road. About half the people who complete alcohol abuse treatment for the first time stay alcohol-free, 4 ways to pass a drug test while the other half relapse and return to drinking at some point. It’s common for people to require treatment more than once to finally achieve sobriety.

You may want to take a family member or friend along, if possible. Our experts continually monitor the health and wellness space, and we update our articles when new information becomes available. The Healthline FindCare tool can provide options in your area if you need help finding a mental health specialist.