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Fighting Alcohol Addiction – Four Ways You Can Help a Loved One

20501502_sNobody expects to wake up one morning only to realize that he or she is addicted to alcohol. But research shows that around 10 percent of Americans have a problem with alcohol. Alcoholism is a disease, and though many people have good intentions to remain sober, that can be difficult without proper treatment and support networks in place – similar to the steps that would be required to manage any other disease.

Alcoholism is often a family disease, meaning its effects are not self-contained or isolated to just the affected person. In fact, for every individual living with alcoholism, there are six or more people who are also impacted by the disease. This is why counseling and treatment often involve the entire family. If someone in your family needs help with alcoholism, there are things you can do aid in the recovery process.

  1. Express your feelings. Let your loved one know that you are concerned for his safety and well-being. By taking the first step and expressing your own feelings, you make it easier for others to do the same. Be prepared to confront denial, however, as many individuals living with alcoholism may have a difficult time admitting to even themselves (at least at first) that they have a problem.

  2. Encourage treatment. Many support groups like AA and Al-Anon exist to help those living with alcoholism and their families know that they are not alone. These groups improve odds of recovery as they foster feelings of acceptance and support.

  3. Offer support. Advise that you will do what it takes to help the affected person get better. Studies show that dependent individuals are more successful in their sobriety when they are surrounded by strong support systems. Additionally, those who stay sober for 12 consecutive months have good chance of staying clean for the remainder of their life.

  4. Stage an intervention. As a last resort, interventions can be beneficial for loved ones in denial or those who remain resistant to seeking treatment. Alcoholism is a progressive disease, and symptoms cannot be ignored. Include people who are close to the individual and those who are more apt to sway their decision to get help.

Family Guidance Center can help steer you in the right direction regarding treatment and recovery for alcohol addiction. There are many reasons and factors why individuals use alcohol as a coping mechanism; there are also many effective strategies for successfully managing triggers for a lifetime. Family Guidance Center has trained professionals in the Addiction Treatment Services program who can help those living with alcoholism to enjoy a productive life free from addiction.

 

Alcoholism: Confronting Chronic Denial

Alcoholism 1The disease of alcoholism is often tied to two symptoms that allow it to perpetuate, sometimes undetected, over time – denial and validation. Though not specifically referenced in diagnostic criteria, both symptoms are widely-known to be associated with the disease. Both denial on the part of the person affected and a feeling of validation, either by the person or by family and friends, can serve as significant barriers to treatment and recovery.

Denial is one of the main mechanisms by which the cycle of alcoholism continues despite negative consequences. A person’s level of denial is usually tied to the strength of the addiction. This helps explain why some people drink despite losing a job or being threatened with divorce.

However, denial affects people to different degrees. Some people are more aware of problematic drinking than others, meaning they may be more receptive to treatment. New treatment methods are taking this fact into account and are altering therapy based on a person’s level of readiness for change.

According to a report from PsychCentral, family members and friends can also be in denial about their loved one’s behavior, explaining it away instead as depression, bad health, hot temperament, anxiety or various other conditions. Children of alcoholics may only recognize a problem upon growing up because of the denial that might have existed on both ends. Societal stigma regarding alcoholism often serves to further the cycle of denial; for this reason some families have chosen to simply ignore or hide the issue.

Well-meaning loved ones may also enable patterns of substance abuse without even knowing it. They often have good intentions but the results can be destructive. When those close the person living with addiction either validate or enable the patterns of consumption, those living with the disease are prevented from facing the consequences of their actions and the disease is allowed to continue.

If you feel like someone you care about may be living with addiction to alcohol, the experts at the Family Guidance Center can help. Addiction or dependence on alcohol is highly treatable with the right resources. Family Guidance Center can connect individuals and their families with resources which aid in understanding and working through issues underlying addiction. For more information on substance addiction, contact the Family Guidance Center.