Realizing that your loved one’s addiction has gotten so bad that their life is now at risk, is a harsh reality to come to terms with. It’s rather common to feel guilt, shame and sadness, combined with a constant battle in your mind: What could I have done to prevent this person from spiraling out of control? Why didn’t I notice the signs earlier?

Experts say “You can’t make an addict stop. They will only stop when they’re ready” So, how can you help someone if you aren’t the one who’s going through addiction and eventually decides when you need professional help?

Here are 3 things that you can do to help someone stop abusing alcohol:

Educate yourself

Staging an intervention might prove to be successful, but if your loved one doesn’t think he or she has a substance abuse problem in the first place, it’s going to be difficult for that person to be serious about getting sober.

You can’t fight a demon you don’t understand. The best thing you can do is to educate yourself. Learn about addiction, the signs, the different types of treatment, the relapse triggers, and learn to discuss the topic openly with your loved ones. Education is power, and in regards to addiction it can be a very powerful tool that will allow you to learn how to handle, cope, and better understand the causes and handling of alcohol abuse.

Addiction is a disease and you should treat it as one, learn the history and scientific evidence behind addiction and you’ll be in a position that will allow you to be a source of support, encouragement, and steadiness post-treatment.

Don’t lose sight of yourself

As a parent, spouse, friend or colleague it can be difficult to try to separate and remember that you also need to take care of yourself. When you’re so absorbed in helping another person it can be common to forget you need care as well.

It’s impossible to control the actions of another person, but you can make healthy decisions for you not to get dragged by the addiction, and be a firm base when providing support and a shoulder to lean on in times of need.

With all the pain and grief that is involved around loving someone that is an alcoholic, and once you see the real dark side to alcohol abuse, it’s important that you  have a support network as well. Going to see a therapist or joining a different type of support group such as Al-Anon or Nar-Anon, will always be a good choice, just make sure to remember that you aren’t alone and there are others out there facing similar struggles that you can open up and connect with. Remember to eat right, drink water, sleep well and carry on.

Vent it out

Getting into the practice of talking about your problems can be a healing habit for both you and the person who is trying to overcome their addiction. Learn to take a step back sometimes, and to give that person some space so they feel that they can trust you when they come to you for help.

It is usual that a person suffering from addiction may be reluctant to talk to you or share their feelings; but if you are patient, know about the topic, and keep an open mind, you’re already one step ahead in the path of being one of the pillars of a strong support network to help your loved one overcome their addiction..

Facing an addiction will always be difficult, not only for the addict himself/herself but for their loved ones as well, however, there are steps that you can take to help not only that person you care about, but also yourself. The first step is learning to talk it out. You may not see the signs and symptoms at first, especially if they are a functioning alcoholic, but by sitting down and having an open attitude and a non-judgemental approach you can figure out a plan in action so you can help your loved one recover in a successful way.

Show your loved one that you are proud of them and that you are there to support them through their entire recovery journey. Through all the ugly and the happy moments. When taking all the steps required you can be at peace knowing that you did all that you could in the face of a destructive disease.

What steps have you taken to help stop a loved one from abusing alcohol? Let us know in the comments below, we’d love to hear about it!

3 Ways You Can Help Someone Stop Abusing Alcohol