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Watching someone you love struggle with a drinking problem is never easy. While you may be eager to help them recover before it’s too late, you might not know where to begin. Even if you are uncertain of the outcome, it’s important that you act quickly. If left untreated, a drinking problem may escalate and have real-life consequences. Here are some practical ways to assist the person you love in getting the help they need.

When is Drinking Too Much?

According to experts, the point where drinking becomes a serious problem tends to be when someone no longer has control over how much they drink, or they feel they need alcohol to cope. One way mental health and medical professionals determine if someone has a drinking problem is to look closely at how their drinking affects various aspects of their life. Your loved one may have a drinking problem if they:

  • Can’t go without drinking
  • Frequently drink more than they should
  • Are caught not driving sober
  • Have relationship problems because of drinking
  • Get in trouble at home, school, or work because of drinking
  • Have legal troubles, such as a DUI, because of drinking

Educate Yourself

Before you confront your loved one, it’s important that you learn about alcohol use. Whether you read a book, research online, or talk to a professional, understanding how alcoholism works is a critical step. Attending an sobriety group may also be beneficial to not only assist you in learning more about the disease but to provide you with a support system. You need to know that you aren’t alone.

Communicate

According to the experts at American Addiction Centers, the best approach is to be compassionate and understanding when talking to a loved one who may have a drinking problem. They also point out that ultimately it is up to your loved one to decide whether to seek treatment. When the time comes to talk to your loved one about their drinking problem, these tips may be helpful:

  • Plan what you’re going to say in advance.
  • Talk to your loved one when they are sober.
  • Approach them when you are calm and collected.
  • Be honest about your concerns. Let them know how their drinking is negatively affecting their friends and family.
  • Remind them of a problem that has resulted because of their drinking, such as getting a DUI. Do this in an honest yet non-judgmental way.
  • Let them know that you care for them and want to help.

Be prepared for the person to disagree with you or be in denial. Just remember, you can’t force the person to stop drinking.

Stage an Intervention

If the first conversation doesn’t make a difference, staging an intervention may be necessary. A counselor can help you communicate your concerns to your loved one if they are willing to attend therapy with you. Family counseling can be very helpful in coping with a loved one’s alcoholism and is an approach recommended by experts. If they’re not, however, meeting with a therapist alone can help you develop an intervention strategy. At this stage, it’s best to present treatment facility options as well as informing the person of consequences that could come from refusing to stop drinking. Some consequences could include:

  • Separation/divorce
  • Removing child visitation
  • Asking them to leave your home until they seek treatment

Stop Enabling

Whether your loved one agrees to get help or not, it’s imperative that you do your best to stop enabling their poor decisions. For instance, if the person gets a DUI conviction, you may be tempted to bail them out by paying their legal fees or driving them around if they lose their license. Solving all of their problems may only make a bad situation worse. According to addiction experts, enabling prevents those with a drinking problem from experiencing consequences for their behavior. In order to prevent continuous bad behavior, such as more DUIs, your loved one may need to experience the inconvenience of their decisions.

If your loved one has gotten a DUI, it doesn’t have to be the end of the road for them. Draeger Interlock is committed to helping people who have gotten a DUI conviction recover from the embarrassment, cost, and inconvenience of their decision to drink and drive with our ignition interlock devices (IID). With these helpful tips and our state-of-the-art IIDs that encourage driving sober, we know your loved one can regain their independence and a second chance at life. Contact us today to learn more.

 

*Links to any third-party websites herein are provided for your reference and convenience only. Dräger did not create nor develop and does not own, any such third-party websites. Dräger does not endorse nor support the content of, nor any opinions stated in any such third-party website links. Dräger is not responsible for the content of any third-party website or its accuracy or reliability. Nothing contained in this article or in any such third-party website shall be considered legal advice or be deemed to constitute legal advice. For any legal advice concerning a DUI arrest, charge, conviction or consequences thereof, you should contact an attorney of your choice.