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How to Talk To An Alcoholic Family Member About Treatment

It can be extremely difficult to watch a family member struggle with alcoholism. The effects of this disease can be devastating, not just for the person struggling but also for their loved ones. If you are concerned about an alcoholic family member and want to talk to them about treatment, it’s important to approach the situation with care and understanding.

Understanding Alcohol Use Disorder

The first step in talking to an alcoholic family member about treatment is to understand alcohol use disorder. This disorder, commonly known as alcoholism, is a chronic disease that affects the brain and behavior. It is characterized by compulsive alcohol use despite negative consequences.

Alcohol use disorder can range from mild to severe, and it often requires professional treatment to manage. It’s important to recognize that alcoholism is not a choice or a moral failing but rather a complex disease with biological, psychological, and social factors.

discussing treatment with alcoholic loved one

Understanding Dual Diagnosis Treatment

In many cases, substance use disorders co-occur with other mental health disorders such as anxiety, depression, or trauma. When seeking treatment for an alcoholic family member, it’s important to find a program that offers dual-diagnosis treatment.

Dual diagnosis treatment addresses both the substance use disorder and any underlying mental health issues simultaneously. This approach allows for a more comprehensive and effective treatment that can help your loved one quit drinking while also addressing the underlying factors that contribute to addiction.

At Alpha Recovery Center, we offer dual diagnosis treatment for addiction and mental health disorders. Our team of experienced, licensed therapists and medical personnel will work with your family members to create a personalized treatment plan that addresses their unique needs.

Starting the Conversation about Alcohol Abuse

Approaching a family member about their alcohol use can be intimidating, but it’s important to remember that your concern comes from a place of love and care. Before starting the conversation, make sure you are ready for whatever response your family member may have.

It’s important to choose a time and place where you can have an open and honest conversation without distractions. Be respectful and avoid using accusatory language. Instead, focus on expressing your concerns and how their alcohol use is affecting not just themselves but also those around them. The following tips can help facilitate the conversation in a way that can help your family member feel supported and understood:

Choose The Right Time and Place

Pick a time when your family member is sober and not under the influence of alcohol. It’s also important to choose a private setting where you can have an open conversation without interruptions.

Use “I” Statements

Instead of using accusatory language or making assumptions, use “I” statements to express your feelings and concerns. For example, say, “I am worried about your drinking because I have noticed changes in your behavior and health.”

Listen and Validate Their Feelings

It’s important to listen to your loved one without judgment and validate their feelings. They may feel defensive or ashamed, but it’s important to let them know that you care about them and are there to support them. Avoid making ultimatums or trying to force them into treatment, as this may only push them further away.

Involve Family Members Who Can Offer Support and Compassion

Having the entire family involved in the conversation can help your loved one feel supported and understood. It’s important to have family members who can offer compassion, understanding, and support during this difficult conversation. It can be difficult to be the only person confronting a person struggling with addiction, so having other family members there can help share the responsibility and offer different perspectives.

family meeting with loved one

Encourage Alcohol Abuse Treatment

After expressing your concerns and listening to your loved one, offer resources and support for seeking treatment. This may include providing information about local treatment options, offering to attend a support group meeting together, or helping to plan for their treatment.

It’s important to understand that your loved one may not be ready to seek help immediately. It’s crucial to continue showing your love and support and to be patient with them as they navigate their journey towards recovery.

It’s also important to remember that actions speak louder than words. By taking care of yourself and setting boundaries, you are showing your family members that their alcoholism is affecting not just themselves but also those around them. Encourage them to seek help and follow up with them about their recovery plans, but know that ultimately, the decision to seek treatment must be their choice.

Encourage Community Support

Recovery from alcoholism is a lifelong journey that requires ongoing support and resources. Encourage your loved one to find a community of people who understand their struggle and can offer support and guidance.

This may include attending support group meetings, connecting with others in recovery through social media or online forums, or participating in activities that promote sober living. By encouraging them to seek out a support system, you are showing that they are not alone in their journey toward recovery.

Alcoholics Anonymous and Smart Recovery

Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is a well-known support group for individuals recovering from alcoholism. At AA meetings, which can be located online via their website, individuals can share their experiences and receive support from others who understand the struggle of alcohol addiction.

In addition to AA, there are also other organizations, such as SMART Recovery, that offer support for those in recovery. Encourage your loved one to research different options and find a community that resonates with them.

Consider Family Therapy

Alcoholism can have a profound impact on family dynamics, and seeking therapy as a family can be beneficial for everyone involved. Family therapy can provide a safe space to discuss how alcoholism has affected each member and work towards healing and improving communication skills within the family.

A family therapist can address the whole family dynamic and help everyone understand the role they play in their loved one’s addiction. They can also provide tools and coping skills that can help family members deal with the challenges of living with an alcoholic family member.

Family therapy can also help family members set healthy boundaries and learn how to support their loved one’s recovery without enabling their behavior. Many family members struggle with knowing how to help with a person’s addiction, and addressing family behavior can be beneficial for both the person struggling with alcoholism and their loved ones.

family therapy

Take Care of Yourself

As you support your loved one through their journey towards recovery, it’s important to take care of yourself as well. Caring for a family member with alcoholism can be emotionally and mentally taxing, so make sure to prioritize your own self-care.

Seeking individual therapy or attending a support group for families of addicts can also be beneficial in helping you cope with the stress and challenges that come with having an alcoholic family member.

Remember to be patient, caring, and empathetic in your approach to talking to an alcoholic family member about treatment. It may not always be easy, but by showing your support and understanding, you can help them take the first steps towards recovery. Ultimately, it is important to remember that alcoholism is a disease that requires patience, understanding, and professional help to manage. By taking care of yourself and showing your loved one support, you can make a positive impact on their journey towards recovery and improve the overall well-being of your family system.

Seeking Professional Help for Family Members with Substance Use Disorder

When a family member won’t stop drinking, it can be challenging to know what the next steps are. Seeking professional help is often an essential step toward recovery for someone struggling with alcoholism.

Professional treatment options for alcohol addiction may include:

  • Inpatient or outpatient rehabilitation programs at an addiction center
  • Individual therapy
  • Group therapy and support groups
  • Medications to manage withdrawal symptoms and cravings
starting treatment

Comprehensive Treatment at Alpha Recovery Center

At Alpha Recovery Center, we offer comprehensive treatment programs for individuals struggling with addiction. Our team of professionals can work with family members to develop a personalized treatment plan that meets their unique needs and addresses any underlying issues contributing to their addiction.

If you or a loved one is struggling with substance use, please do not hesitate to reach out for help.

Remember, recovery is possible, and you are not alone. Many families have successfully supported their loved ones through their addiction and helped them achieve long-term sobriety from substance use. With patience, understanding, and professional help, your family member can also overcome alcoholism and live a fulfilling life in recovery.

Alpha Recovery Center offers comprehensive treatment and support for individuals battling addiction and co-occurring mental health challenges.

Most Insurance Plans Accepted

We believe that financial barriers should not prevent anyone from accessing high-quality addiction treatment. At Alpha Recovery Center, we work with a broad range of insurance providers to ensure individuals struggling with addiction can access effective care and treatment tailored to their specific needs. Our dedicated team is here to guide you through the intricacies of your insurance benefits, helping you to fully understand and maximize your coverage for the treatment you need.

For questions about your insurance coverage options, please reach out to our team by phone or fill out our online insurance verification form. An admissions coordinator will promptly follow up with you. If you are currently without insurance or have limited coverage, our team is here to guide you through alternative options.

Eric Chaghouri, M.D.


Dr. Eric Chaghouri

Check if your insurance coverage will cover the cost of treatment.

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