How to support a loved one with an alcohol dependency.
Alcohol is all around us. From informal get-togethers to celebrations, it seems it’s everywhere we look these days, and for many people, it’s not a problem. But unfortunately, research from the NHS shows that 8.7% of men and 3.3% of women in the UK show signs of an alcohol dependency.
Signs of alcohol dependency can include but are not limited to, often drinking to excess, drinking to relax or drinking to forget. Once noticed, it’s best to act quickly but it can often be more difficult to act at all if it’s someone you know and love who is showing signs of an alcohol dependency. So just how can you support a loved one with an alcohol dependency?
Cruel to be kind
It can be tempting where family are involved to be soft and coddle those with an alcohol dependency but sometimes being cruel is the best way to be kind. Helping your loved one admit they have a problem with alcohol is often the first and most difficult step. With Alcohol Concern reporting over 8,300 alcohol-related deaths in the UK in 2012 alone, and less than 7% of alcohol dependants ever receiving treatment, it’s vital that they are not only aware their dependency, but also that everything their loved ones do for them while seeming harsh at the time, is in their best interests.
Rehab centres, such as Ana Treatment centres are designed to keep those with a dependency away from their vices. Playing in with the tough love outlined above, rehabilitation offers a safe haven for your loved ones when they need it most – however, to be truly effective, they must first admit that they have a problem.
Rehab centres offer more than just a place away from alcohol, however. They offer a stable setting, peer support, education and perhaps most importantly, aftercare which will aim to ensure the risk of relapse is reduced at the end of a stay in rehab.
The NHS says that overcoming a dependence on anything – not least alcohol – cannot be done simply by withdrawal. Support is vital, and if that comes in the shape of professionals at rehab centres as well as from loved ones such as family and friends, then you are well on the way to supporting the ones you care most about.
Show you care
Above all, just by being there for your loved one in their times of need is one of the most vital things you can do. Remind them what they are going through and reassure them that it will be tough, but ultimately, they can do it. By showing you care and are there not to judge, but support and guide. You cannot ‘save’ them for want of a better phrase, but you can advise, talk and point them in the right direction, where they can get professional help.