Alcoholism does not only affect the victim but those surrounding him as well — including families, relatives and friends. Helping an alcoholic is just as difficult as dealing with the disorder itself. However, with patience and understanding, little changes can become permanent. Here are some general reminders in dealing and helping with alcoholics.
Be aware on the nature of alcoholism and addiction and what it does to the victims. When you have become more educated and knowledgeable on this disorder, you’ll understand better and be more prepared on the current situation. Most organizations like Alcoholics Anonymous, Al-Anon and the National Council on Alcoholism have more than enough reading material to get you started.
Don’t make excuses or cover up all the mistakes and slip-ups the alcoholic does because of the excessive drinking. Let him deal with the consequences head on without anyone trying to soften the blow for him. Only when he has experienced first hand the negative effects alcohol has caused him would he seriously consider stopping and start with the healing process.
Don’t let any unruly, hurtful, offensive and embarrassing behavior pass by even if it has become a normal routine. Confront him on his negative behavior when he is sober. Remember that you should remain objective on the offensive behaviour that was displayed. Only be subjective when you are already relaying your feelings toward the incident. Also, focus on the incident and not on the character of the alcoholic.
Let the alcoholic know that you care for him and that you are concerned for his well-being. Choose the correct time to stage a small intervention — perhaps during when he is sober or contemplative of his actions. Remember though that the alcoholic might not respond in an acceptable manner. Denial comes with alcoholism and he might even turn the dialogue or argument back at you.