Help for the Loved Ones of Alcoholics

Get Resources and Programs to Support Sobriety at Icarus

When it comes to addiction, most people’s first thought isn’t alcohol. Perhaps because it is available and legal in all 50 states, alcoholism often isn’t taken as seriously as other addictions. However, loved ones of alcoholics know just how devastating this disorder can be.

When I was a teenager, I had a close family friend who suffered from alcoholism. If they had too much to drink, they would cause a scene, talk inappropriately around children, and get sick from the alcohol. Whenever this happened, their kids would have to share in the embarrassment, help take care of them, or worry about their health if they went to the hospital.

If you know someone who struggles with alcoholism, you’ve likely felt the weight of their drinking weighing on you as well. It can be hard to deal with the added stress and responsibility of supporting someone with an addiction to alcohol, which is why it’s important to know that there are resources available to help you cope.

Icarus Behavioral Health is a drug and alcohol addiction treatment center based in Albuquerque, New Mexico that works with the loved ones of alcoholics to provide resources and organize assistance.

When your loved one is ready to get help or is starting to pose an immediate risk to your health or their own, give them a call to learn more about your treatment options. And definitely keep reading to get resources to support you until they are ready to make a life-altering change for the better!

The Benefits of Support Groups for Loved Ones of Alcoholics

Benefits of Support Groups for Loved Ones of Alcoholics

Support for substance abuse like alcoholism is almost always focused on the person suffering from alcoholism. But they’re not the only ones who are affected. Addiction is a “family disease” where friends and family members also have to watch them suffer and accompany them on the path to sobriety. From embarrassment to stress to grief, observing alcoholism can have a significant impact on your mental health.

It’s not uncommon for children, spouses, and parents of alcoholics to feel helpless and alone when their loved ones suffer from an addiction. You might feel like it’s your fault or that you failed them. It’s also hard to talk about with close friends or family members because you don’t want them to make judgments or think less of the person.

Instead, you can seek support groups for people in similar situations to you. These communities know how you feel because they have or are currently experiencing it as well. They may also have unique insight into the process from their experiences, allowing them to provide you with guidance for helping your loved one or coping with their addiction’s impact on you.

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3 Support Groups for Coping With A Loved One’s Alcoholism

You don’t have to cope with your loved one’s issues with drinking alone. There are a number of groups available for you to join, including groups built around your age, relationship with the person suffering from alcohol addiction, sex, race, religion, or many other factors to help you feel comfortable. Some meetings are also available online, allowing you to find a group that resonates with you anywhere.

Here are a few options you can consider to get help in a group setting.

Al-Anon

Not to be confused with Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), Al-Anon is a support group for people who know someone who has an alcohol addiction that has impacted their relationship. You can be a friend, family member, or partner of the person who is struggling with addiction or recovering from an addiction.

You can attend Al-Anon family groups as often or infrequently as you want. Al-Anon meetings are also anonymous and kept confidential by the members, allowing you to share freely without judgment or concern.

An Al-Anon meeting is similar to AA, where attendees can share or just sit back and listen to others share their stories. Al-Anon members recognize that another person’s addiction is not under their control. The purpose is not to find ways to fix the person’s alcoholism. Al-Anon meetings are about helping you cope with the strain the addiction puts on your relationship and your own mental health.

As with the Anonymous programs, it is a self-supporting group, made possible through the donations of its members.

Alateen

Al-Anon groups

Alateen is a teen-specific version of Al-Anon groups, where younger people share their experiences with parents or family members who suffer from alcoholism. Alateen members are usually between 13 and 18 years old and meetings can take place online or at local meetups.

These meetings offer a unique perspective on the consequences of alcohol abuse from someone who has little or no freedom to exist separately from their family member. It can be hard to live with and love someone who is actively harming themselves, so the support group allows teens in similar situations to support each other and share coping strategies.

Parents of Addicted Loved Ones (PAL)

PAL is a support group for parents with adult children who suffer from addictions like alcoholism. The relationship dynamic between a parent and their child who abuses alcohol is unique because, unlike many other cases of addiction, the parents have been responsible for their child.

So, they must learn to separate the parental instincts to take care of them in order to avoid enabling their addiction further. While it’s difficult, talking with other parents going through the same thing or who have done it successfully in the past can be invaluable.

Also worth ‘honorable mentions’ are Adult Children of Alcoholics, for those whose parents were active in their alcoholism during childhood (or continue to be now). And, although SMART Recovery is typically more for people drinking or using drugs, it can also provide secular support as you cope with a loved one’s addiction.

4 Ways to Help Someone Struggling With Alcoholism

Help Someone Struggling With Alcoholism

When a loved one is suffering from substance abuse, you want to do everything you can to help. While it’s not your responsibility to resolve their alcohol addiction, there are steps you can take to provide additional support throughout the recovery process.

1) Stop Enabling Their Behavior

Enabling someone’s substance abuse disorders, either intentionally or unintentionally, can actually hurt them in the long run. While you’re likely tempted to accommodate them in an effort to give them time to fix things or avoid causing trouble, your own well-being needs to be your first priority.

Financial support, lying to family or friends, and helping them out of other situations that their addiction puts them in preventing them from reaching rock bottom (or even facing real repercussions). Without those negative consequences, it’s possible that they’ll never feel compelled to seek help.

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2) Educate Yourself on Alcoholism

You can be supportive without enabling your loved one’s substance use. Alcoholism is a complex addiction that requires a certain level of understanding on your part to maintain relationships with those who are struggling. Getting help from reliable sources of information on addiction medicine and substance use disorders is a way to educate yourself as well as be prepared for when your loved one is ready to contemplate their own drinking.

Attending meetings to learn about potential triggers that might encourage drinking or lifestyle changes that you can help make to create a more positive environment may also spur motivation to change. Leading by example can be a powerful force for your own health.

3) Host An Intervention

An intervention is often one of the last steps that is used to get someone who abuses alcohol help. Interventions generally include a meeting with their closest friends and family members who share how their alcoholism has affected them.

Your goal isn’t to make them feel guilty or forced into rehab – it’s to encourage them to seek help for themselves. You should implement consequences for them not getting the help they need but don’t provide a drastic ultimatum that puts them on the defensive.

These boundaries can include things like not giving them money, refusing to lie on their behalf, not talking to them while they’re drunk, or refusing to let them be involved with your children or family.

4) Encourage Them to Seek Professional Help

Encourage Loved one to Seek Professional Help

If your loved one begins to show a willingness or interest in getting help for their substance use, it’s crucial that you encourage them to take the next step. The hardest part of getting sober is asking for help.

It takes a lot of courage to commit to sobriety, so be sure to support them in any way you can throughout their recovery.

Having a clean and comfortable addiction center and effective treatment services lined up, like the offerings at Icarus, can help present a clear way and make it easier for decisive actions to take place on their part.

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Get Your Loved One Effective Help for Alcohol at Icarus

There’s nothing harder than watching someone you care about suffer. Alcohol use disorders are a serious condition that affects as many as 11% of adults in the United States. Plus, it affects even more people when you consider all of the friends and family members who have to experience the addiction secondhand.

You don’t have to navigate the addiction and recovery process alone. There are a number of others who are in a similar spot as you or who have come out on the other side with a healthy family member and better relationship. Whether you’re a child, partner, parent, or friend of someone struggling with alcoholism, there are resources available to help you cope through group therapy.

If your loved one has responded well to an intervention or has recognized that they have a problem, don’t hesitate. Get in contact with the caring team at Icarus Behavioral Health immediately to begin the treatment and recovery process!

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