Individuals often hide their drinking or deny they have a problem. How can you tell if you or someone you know is in trouble? Genetic factors make some people especially vulnerable to alcohol dependence. Contrary to myth, being able to “hold your liquor” means you’re probably more at risk — not less — for alcohol problems. Yet a family history of alcohol problems doesn’t mean that children will automatically grow up to have the same problems. Nor does the absence of family drinking problems necessarily protect children from developing these problems.
That means you’ll need plenty of patience when supporting your loved one’s recovery. Attending a 12-step program or other support group is one of the most common treatment options for alcohol abuse and addiction. AA meetings and similar groups allow your loved one to spend time with others facing the same problems. As well as reducing their sense of isolation, your loved one can receive advice on staying sober and unburden themselves to others who understand their struggles firsthand.
Try Moderating or Cutting Back First
Healthline has strict sourcing guidelines and relies on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. You can learn more about how we ensure our content is accurate and current by reading our editorial policy. You might run into obstacles along the way that tempt you to drink. Keep in mind the reasons you chose to cut back on or quit alcohol. Consider writing them down and keeping notes on hand so you have a physical reminder to look at when you need it to help motivate you to stay the course.
- The better you know how to handle peer pressure or awkwardness around your sobriety, the more comfortable you’ll feel in the moment.
- When you’re having a good time, you find it hard to stop, especially in the company of friends having the same amount.
- In the early stages of change, denial is a huge obstacle.
- Americanaddictioncenters.org needs to review the security of your connection before proceeding.
- Ease up on drinking so you may better ward off illnesses.
- Your health and wellness is unique to you, and the products and services we review may not be right for your circumstances.
Be ready to offer these up as examples when having a conversation with your loved ones. If you say you are concerned but have no solid reasoning, your loved one isn’t likely to take you seriously. Citing specific examples of the effects of someone’s drinking are more effective than giving an ultimatum. The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives. The first thing you have to do is take a step back and evaluate your habits.
Preventing Excessive Alcohol Use
The purpose of urge surfing is not to make cravings disappear, but to experience them in a new way. However, with practice, you’ll learn how to ride your cravings out until they go away naturally. Intensive outpatient programs focus on relapse prevention and can often be scheduled around work or school. Residential treatment involves living at a treatment facility while undergoing intensive treatment during the day. Once you’ve made the decision to change, the next step is establishing clear drinking goals. The more specific, realistic, and clear your goals, the better.
From eating a healthy meal, to scheduling some alone time within your hectic schedule, give yourself what you need to cope day-to-day. Making sure you aren’t running on an empty tank makes it easier to avoid relapse. Let loved ones know you’re quitting alcohol, and find a few naltrexone for alcoholism that are willing to check in on you or act as an ally throughout the process. Consider joining a support group; if Alcoholics Anonymous isn’t your thing, there are AA alternatives like SMART recovery and LifeRing. Finally, consider finding a therapist or a recovery coach.
Mental health and wellness tips, our latest articles, resources and more. You aren’t to blame for your loved one’s drinking problem alcoholism after gastric bypass surgery and you can’t make them change. The person with the drinking problem needs to take responsibility for their actions.
Consuming alcohol to cope with stress, deal with difficulties, or to avoid feeling bad, may be a sign that your loved one’s drinking has become a problem. While getting sober is an important first step, it is only the beginning of your recovery from alcohol addiction or heavy drinking. Your loved one’s primary care doctor or GP can evaluate their drinking patterns, alcohol, headaches and hangovers assess their overall health and any co-occurring disorders, and provide treatment referrals. If appropriate, your loved one’s doctor may even prescribe medication approved to help treat alcohol dependence. If you’re a long-term, heavy drinker, you may need medically supervised detoxification. Talk to your doctor or an addiction specialist to learn more.
Encouraging your loved one to get help
Along with anxiety and irritability, you may also experience mood swings when you give up alcohol. When you drink alcohol, even in moderate amounts, it can result in obesity. If you’re like most people, you probably enjoy the occasional alcoholic beverage. Whether it’s a glass of wine with dinner or a couple of beers while watching the game, alcohol can be an enjoyable way to relax and socialize. John C. Umhau, MD, MPH, CPE is board-certified in addiction medicine and preventative medicine.
Whether it’s improved relationships, better health, or weight loss, keeping the “why” in sight can help boost your motivation. When helping an alcoholic stop drinking, making them feel shame or lowering their self-esteem will do no good in a situation such as this. If you have not been through it, do your best not to make any judgments when someone you love is struggling with it.
If your goal is to reduce your drinking, decide which days you will drink alcohol and how many drinks you will allow yourself per day. Try to commit to at least two days each week when you won’t drink at all. Our website services, content and products are for informational purposes only. While our team of experienced journalists and medical experts offers timely wellness insights, news and reviews, we do not provide medical advice, diagnoses or treatment. It’s always wise to check with your doctor — she should be able to help you decide whether it is best for you to cut back or to abstain. People who are dependent on alcohol, or have other medical or mental health problems, should stop drinking completely.
Reach out for support
Your loved one’s addiction may even be so overwhelming that it seems easier to ignore it and pretend that nothing is wrong. But in the long run denying it will only bring more harm to you, your loved one with the problem, and the rest of your family. Alcohol abuse and addiction (also known as “alcohol use disorder”) doesn’t just affect the person drinking—it affects their families and loved ones, too.
If you have been a heavy drinker for a long time, you may need a more intensive program. Ask your provider to recommend an alcohol treatment program for you. There are many benefits to giving up alcohol, both short-term and long-term.
If you identify with any of the scenarios above, try the expert tips below for reducing your alcohol consumption . To determine whether—and where—you fall in the alcohol use disorder spectrum, answer the following questions. As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles. Take a walk, play sports, go out to eat, or catch a movie. When you’re at home, pick up a new hobby or revisit an old one.
Share Your Goals
When you feel sad but need alone time, you might consider a favorite album or comforting book. Technology makes it easier than ever to learn new skills and find creative ways of connecting, even when you can’t physically participate in activities with others. Try hiking, cycling, dancing, or roller-skating for enjoyable ways to stay active. Comfort yourself when feeling lonely by reaching out to a loved one or watching a favorite movie. Instead of taking a drink to calm anxiety, try affirmations, deep breathing, or meditation.