How can you help a family member or close friend with alcohol problems?
Alcohol problems are taboo. So if you want to address somebody’s drinking habits, you need to approach the topic carefully. There are various tips that might help to get a conversation started. But it's also important to think of yourself.
One thing is especially important if you have a family member or close friend with alcohol problems: take care of yourself. Be realistic about what you can do and how much support you can provide. You should also consider your own health and your own wellbeing. If you think that everything is becoming too much for you, take a step back or a break.
Living with somebody with an alcohol problem for a long time can take its toll. Worries about your family member add to the concerns of everyday life. It can take a lot of energy to help them and shoulder or solve the problems caused by alcohol. It can affect all of family life if there are also children involved.
If you feel like the situation is getting out of hand, it's best to seek counseling and support for yourself. As a relative, you can contact the same counseling centers that provide help to people with alcohol problems. These services are free of charge and you can ask to remain anonymous. Do not hesitate to use them. Counseling centers can show you more than options for dealing with a family member or friend. It can also be a great relief to speak openly about the problems with a person who is not directly involved themselves.
Support groups for family members or close friends are another option for talking to people who have experienced or are currently working through the same things. In Germany, you can also find support groups through umbrella associations, such as the Kreuzbund or Good Templars.