How to Help an Alcoholic

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Alcoholism, or addiction to drinking alcohol, is a problem that affects not only the alcoholic himself but also his family and friends. Alcoholics often do not recognize their problems, and it is up to loved ones to find help for them. It takes patience and a positive outlook to help an alcoholic, but it can be done.

  • Research information about alcoholism. Learn why alcoholics are dependent on alcohol. Try to think as they think.

  • Ask other friends and family members to help. A well-planned intervention is the key to helping someone close to you recognize his problem.

  • Inform the alcoholic of the consequences of addiction. Let him know the danger in which he is placing himself and the people around him.

  • Be supportive and available. Let the alcoholic know you are there for him. Be sure he knows he can come to you whenever he has a problem or feels like giving up.

  • Join Al-Anon. This group offers support to family and friends of past and present alcoholics as well as information on how to deal with the problem of alcoholism.

Tips & Warnings

  • Stay positive. Tell the person you are proud of him--and why.
  • Don't act as if nothing is wrong. Don't make excuses for an alcoholic's behavior.
  • Don't treat the person as if he is evil. He has an addiction. This is a treatable condition.
  • Don't force the problem onto the person. He has to be ready to talk.
  • Don't try to solve the problem by pouring all the alcohol in the house down the drain. This could trigger a binge.
  • Don't bring up the problem while the person is drinking or intoxicated.

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