Home Clinical Psychology & Psychotherapy Living with an Alcoholic? 5 Things You Can Do to Help

Living with an Alcoholic? 5 Things You Can Do to Help

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Alcoholism is a veritable epidemic. There are always people who struggle with it. Sometimes, it is hereditary. Other times, you may have someone who is drinking too much because they’re experiencing some kind of mental anguish that they’re trying to bury with alcohol.

Helping a loved one with addiction is seldom easy, but there are practical things you can do  if you are living with someone who’s battling alcohol abuse. We will run through five of them right now. 

Be there if they need to talk

Many times, people who are consuming too much alcohol are doing it because they’re in pain. They might have a specific reason why they’re drinking too much, but often, they just want to talk to someone. 

If you’re there to listen to the person in your family who’s struggling with alcohol, that can be a huge help to them. Being that individual who they can talk to and who won’t judge them can do more for them than you might realise.

Try to help them keep their drinking down

If you’re an alcoholic, then you have a physical addiction to alcohol. Someone who has reached that point is hard to live with, but it might be too much to ask them to quit. They might have to reach that decision on their own.

In the meantime, you can try to help the alcoholic in your family keep their drinking somewhat under control. Someone might drink every day, but there’s a big difference between them drinking a six-pack and 20 beers. Try to encourage moderation.  

Support them if they want to quit

If the alcoholic in your family decides that they want to quit, you should support them in that decision. If that means not keeping any more alcohol in the house, you should do that. If it means getting them into a program that will help monitor their drinking and get them sober, you should do that as well.

Be honest with them

You should also be honest with the alcoholic in your family. If they ask you how their drinking makes you feel, you should tell them.

You presumably do not want to go out of your way to be cruel to a person who is struggling with alcohol, but you should also not mince words about what their drinking is doing to you and the rest of your family. If you’re honest and candid, that might be what it takes for the alcoholic to hold a mirror up and see their behavior through your eyes.

Practise tough love

A time might come when you realise the alcoholic in your family is drinking themselves to death. You may have to deliver an ultimatum that if they’re going to continue living with you, they have to get sober.

They might not like that, but it may be the only thing that can galvanise them into action. They may not enjoy the tough love that you’re dishing out, but it might just save their life.


Adam Mulligan, a psychology graduate from the University of Hertfordshire, has a keen interest in the fields of mental health, wellness, and lifestyle.

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