This Is How to Help Someone Stop Drinking

Millions of people die each year from excessive drinking. These deaths are tragic, of course, but they are also preventable.

Do you have a loved one who suffers from alcoholism? If so, you know that their actions will only hurt them in the future, but they may not be aware or simply may not care. It’s painful watching the people you care about make poor choices, as you know these choices will affect their future health and well-being.

Alcoholism is a disease that affects not only the one drinking but also the people around them. In many instances, alcoholism makes drinking a crutch they feel like they can’t live without.

If a loved one of yours suffers from alcoholism, it’s normal to experience an array of emotions. You may be wondering how to help someone stop drinking. We’ll discuss all that in this article, so be sure to keep reading.

How to Help Someone Stop Drinking

Your anger and frustration are valid if you’re affected by another’s drinking. You’re entitled to those feelings, but confronting an alcoholic with anger won’t get the response that you desire. Here are some ways to help someone consider getting sober.

too late to stop drinking
Is it too late to stop drinking?

Choose a Time When They Aren’t Drinking

When you discuss this issue, everyone involved needs to have a clear head. For them, that means talking to them when they haven’t been drinking.

Your loved one will be rational and will be able to make decisions with a clear head. It’s also a good idea to pick someplace that’s quiet and private. Turn off your phones and other smart devices so there won’t be any interruptions.

Allow Them to Discuss the Cause of Their Drinking

In general, alcoholics don’t drink because they want alcohol. The reason for their drinking may be caused by anxiety or depression. They use alcohol as a way to self-medicate.

When you talk to them, it’s important to acknowledge that you believe there may be an underlying mental health issue. When you bring this up, don’t be accusatory. Your loved one may not realize that they might be suffering from a mental health issue.

Ask them if they think there may be a cause for their excessive drinking. Proceed based on their response to the question.

time to stop drinking

Don’t Give an Ultimatum

Alcoholics tend to choose alcohol over everything else. For this reason, don’t give them an ultimatum to quit. The “or else” scenario of ultimatums will cause them more stress and frustration.

This, in turn, could cause them to go on a drinking binge to cope.

The last thing you want when helping an alcoholic is for them to feel trapped. When you talk to them about it, express that you would like to see them living a sober life and suggest some treatment options.

Stage a Family Meeting or Intervention

A family meeting or group intervention can be an effective method for getting an alcoholic to see how their drinking affects those around them. If you don’t feel like confronting your loved one alone, this is an excellent method to consider.

For this to be successful, everyone staging the intervention needs to approach the situation with compassion and concern. This should not be a time to accuse, bully, or vent frustration at the person you’re trying to help.

Quitting Drinking Timeline
Quitting Drinking Timeline

Provide Concrete Examples for Why You Believe They are an Alcoholic

If someone confronted you with the statement that they believe you are an alcoholic, what would you do? Your reaction would most likely entail denying their statement.

Before you talk to them about their drinking, think of some signs or situations you’ve noticed. Point out changes in their behavior or their routine to them.

Since a mental disorder is often an underlying cause, point out any abnormal moods you’ve witnessed.

Don’t Be the Trigger

If you’re around someone that you suspect is an alcoholic, do not drink around them. Drinking around them only encourages them to drink.

If you have confronted them about their alcoholism already, drinking around them will not encourage them to stop. It could affect the trust they have in you and your relationship. If they want to talk to you about their problem, they might feel like they do not have the license to do so.

Taking breaks from drinking now and again can be beneficial for everyone.

Angry Woman

Don’t Take Negative Reactions Personally

Another reason it is important to confront an alcoholic when they’re sober is that they are less likely to say hurtful things. However, even sober, they may still lash out at you.

When helping an alcoholic, it may take a few attempts to have a frank, honest conversation. You should expect pushback and denial. They will need time to consider the things you’ve told them.

It will be difficult, but if and when they lash out at you, do your best to take it in stride. Keeping calm is essential in this situation.

Don’t Pass Judgment or Shame Them

Chances are that your loved one will not be receptive to your concerns when you first voice them. If you feel like you’re not making any progress, you are likely to become frustrated.

To get them to make a change, you may try to get them to feel bad about themselves and what they’ve done.

Cutting an alcoholic’s self-esteem is one of the last things you want to do. They are already struggling and piling on more guilt and shame will cause them to drink more to ease their stress and pain.

If you know someone who has a problem with alcohol, there are several things you should do. Here's how to help someone stop drinking.
If you know someone who has a problem with alcohol, there are several things you should do. Here’s how to help someone stop drinking.

Take the Next Step

Are you still wondering how to help someone stop drinking? Compassion, patience, and understanding are the keys to helping someone stop drinking.

Even though you might be angry because you care, do not confront an alcoholic with anger. It’s best to work with a professional to learn how to help them heal and grow.

I am an expert on alcohol recovery and sober living. If you or someone you know is ready to live alcohol-free, you can register for my free webinar on how to live a sober lifestyle. You can also check out my website’s blog for more resources on how to seek help and live alcohol-free.