You’ve started to notice more and more beer cans and wine bottles in the trash. Your loved one spends most nights out on the town bar hopping and coming home smelling like alcohol. At first, they used to try to hide their drinking and play it off like they were just unwinding from a long day. But now, you’re just waiting to get a call that your loved one was in a drunk driving accident.
If this sounds like your situation, you’re tired of sitting by and watching your loved one succumb to alcoholism. You know they could have a better life than this, so how do you help them? Whether this is the first time trying to talk to them or your third, here are some of our best tips on how to talk to an alcoholic and help your loved one realize they need help with their addiction.
1. Plan What You Want to Say
The better prepared you are before you talk to your loved one, the more capable you’ll be of handling any curve balls thrown your way. Educate yourself about alcoholism and reach out to a treatment center for guidance on how to communicate with your loved one. Try to anticipate any arguments they might make during the conversation and write down what your responses will be. Chances are your loved one is feeling worthless about their addiction, so going into the conversation with a game plan can help you avoid making your loved one feel threatened or guilty for their disease.
2. Pick a Calm, Safe Setting to Talk
Timing is everything when it comes to confronting or talking to your loved one about their alcoholism. If you try to talk to them when they’re drunk, they might feel that you’re just attacking them and the conversation won’t end well. Find a time when your loved one is sober and thinking clearly, then choose to talk in a quiet place of your home where you won’t be disturbed. For example, if you know your loved one likes to have a few drinks in the evening, wait until the morning when the effects of the alcohol have worn off and won’t interfere with the conversation. If your loved one feels safe and comfortable, it’ll make for a much more productive talk about their alcoholism.
3. Check Your Judgment at the Door
The temptation to lose your cool and lecture your loved one about how alcoholism is ruining their life will be strong when talking to them. However, judgment and being harsh with your loved one will only drive them further away. You may not be able to understand the situation they’re in, but showing empathy and reminding them that you care will go a long way in helping them recognize they need help.
4. Listen to What Your Loved One Has to Say
The key to strong communication when talking to an alcoholic loved one is being able to listen and really show your loved one that what they’re saying is valued. If you make the conversation about you and your feelings, they may feel attacked and convince themselves that their drinking is justified. Give your loved one room to open up to you. They may say things you don’t agree with, but remind yourself that the goal is to help them feel safe and realize they need help. If your loved one asks for your opinion, you can mention how their actions have affected you, but keep it concise and make sure the primary focus stays on your loved one. Because again, it’s about them and getting them the help they need.
5. Prepare an Intervention
If talking one-on-one with your loved one doesn’t seem to spark any change or effort to improve, it may be time to bring your friends and family together with an intervention. It’s best to reach out to an addiction professional or interventionist to organize and lead the intervention, so they can relieve any tensions that may arise during the meeting. You may worry that an intervention for alcoholism will just push your loved one further away, but in reality, this is one of the best ways for them to hear the same message from a group of people who love and care about them.
Talking to an alcoholic is never an easy task, but this is the first step in getting your loved one on the road to recovery. They can’t defeat the disease alone, so try to talk to them and let them know that you’re here to support them along the way.
Learn More about the Alcoholism Treatment Program at Ranch Creek
At Ranch Creek Recovery, conquering your loved one’s alcohol addiction is only half the battle. Our non-12 step rehab center in Murrieta, CA uses therapeutic and holistic methods to help your loved one regain self-empowerment, improve physical and emotional health, maintain sobriety, and become productive members of society again. Learn more about our alcohol addiction treatment program or contact us today to see how we can help your loved one recover from alcoholism.