How To Help a Recovering Alcoholic

Extreme alcohol dependence is a disease. Although treatable, many recovering alcoholics are still struggling to get back the life they once had before alcohol came into the picture.

Is there a friend or a loved one that you want to help? If so, then read on and find out how.

  • Understand the person. Understanding is key in any situation. By talking to the recovering alcoholic and seeing where he is coming from will help you find ways on how to support him. Most recovering alcoholics will feel depressed and lonely so make sure you make him feel that he is not alone and that you will be there for him no matter what. Help him set goals for himself by asking what he wants to achieve. That way, he will have other things to occupy his mind with other than the need to drink and will have the opportunity to look forward to an alcohol-free life. It is important, however, to let the alcoholic decide for himself that he wants to get better as recovery will only be successful if it is the alcoholic’s choice so never force recovery issues to him. Forcing the issue will just make him feel pressured and will more likely push him to relapse. If he does want to fully recover, maintain a zero-tolerance behavior towards him. This means, making him accountable to all the things he has done in the past. Never make excuses for him and never turn a blind eye when it comes to his alcohol dependence. You also need to set limits for him and get these limits come across by acting on them. By telling him that you don’t want to be around him when he had something to drink, for example, will reinforce his willingness to recover.
  • Set activities. Create activities that you and the alcoholic can participate in. Start by asking what the alcoholic interests are. Knowing his interests is essential, as you need to suggest activities that will get his attention. The last thing you want to do is bore him out so take boxing classes together, for example, if boxing is what he wants. The idea is to let the alcoholic realize that drinking is not the only fun thing he can do. Once he sees that there are other things in life that he can do and have fun with while sober, he can resist the urge to drink even more.
  • Join meetings. If the alcoholic is attending AA meetings, tell him you want to join so you will have a better idea on what he is going through. This will prove your dedication to support him and he will truly appreciate you for it.
  • Create a healthy environment. The last thing an alcoholic needs is to be reminded of alcohol so make sure the house he lives in is alcohol-free. Clean the house and throw out all bottles that you see. In going out, make sure to avoid bars and clubs where alcohol is flowing in abundance. Talk to his friends, families and co-workers and clue everyone in about your desire to help the alcoholic. If they truly love him and want him to get better, they will be supportive as well.

The road to recovery may seem difficult and tough but with enough guidance and support, it is possible. Alcoholism is not a battle to be fought alone. By showing your love and your dedication, you can help an alcoholic gain back the life he almost lost before.


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