How To Help An Alcoholic Or Addict

Helping an alcoholic or an addict can seem hopeless and futile. Things can seem even worse if you’re living with one. No matter how much you love or care about them, addicts tend to react defensively towards any attempts to help them recognize their problem.

Here’s What You Must Understand

The first thing to understand is that you’re very unlikely to help an alcoholic or addict by simply confronting them. This is true whether you do it aggressively in an attempt to get through their “wall of denial”, or whether you do it with compassion and a non-judgmental attitude.

“For an alcoholic or addict to truly embrace change, they need to find the desire within themselves.” Click Here To Tweet This Quote.

This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t confront them about their addiction. As a friend or a family member, your actions may help nudge them along the path of recovery, even if the addict doesn’t seek treatment until months, or even years later.

Dealing With Alcoholic/Addict Family Members

Since change almost never happens overnight, your actions should be geared towards planting seeds that may one day help the addict seek out change on their own. This might mean:

  • Confronting the alcoholic/addict
  • Stopping any enabling behavior
  • Setting boundaries on your relationship
  • Or even cutting off the relationship altogether

In the meantime, if you’re dealing with an alcoholic or drug addicted family member, their disease can very well affect your own happiness as well. One of the lessons taught in Al-Anon is that alcoholism is a family disease, and thus family members are “sick” as well. In order to live your life, your happiness cannot depend on the sobriety of your loved one.

Common Issues

Unfortunately, there are no easy answers when it comes to dealing with addiction. However, the articles below offer guidance on some of the most common issues and questions faced by individuals trying to help the alcoholics and addicts in their lives.


The resources below can be a big help if your loved one is caught in the grips of addiction.

Al-Anon is like AA, but for those close to a chronic alcoholic. At Al-Anon, you’ll find support from others going through the same experience, and you’ll learn tools to cope and deal with your loved one’s alcoholism.

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