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How to Support a Recovering Alcoholic

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It’s difficult to watch someone you love struggle with addiction and alcoholism. You’ve likely spent countless hours wishing and praying for them to find their way to sobriety. However, once they become sober, you may find that you don’t know how to support a recovering alcoholic. Loving someone active in their alcoholism is different than supporting a recovering alcoholic. It can be challenging to transition from one role to the other. 

At Thrive Treatment, we understand alcoholism and the work it takes to get sober.  We also understand how important it is to have support in recovery. We’re here to help your loved one get sober and to help you learn how to support their recovery. 

The Best Way To Support a Recovering Alcoholic

One of the best ways to support a recovering alcoholic is to ask them how they would like to be supported. One of the biggest mistakes we can make when dealing with loved ones in recovery is to assume that we know what is best for them. This is true even if we are in recovery ourselves. If you’ve been enabling the alcoholic in your life, you may have difficulty as they find their footing in recovery. If you were unable to trust them or you’re still stinging from the things they said while drinking, you might be struggling with their newfound sober happiness. A lot will change as your loved one grows in their recovery. The dynamics within your relationship may change, and their independence may be uncomfortable at first. What may be most vital for you to remember is that you are not responsible for another person’s sobriety. While you can offer support and be available, you cannot keep another person sober or cause them to drink. Each sober person is responsible for their own sobriety. 

Resources You Can Use To Learn How To Support a Recovering Alcoholic

Just as no one grows up thinking that they will become an alcoholic, no one grows up learning how to support a recovering alcoholic. Whether it’s your child, spouse, parent, or friend, you likely won’t know what to do. Depending on the relationship, you might consider attending family or couples counseling with the recovering alcoholic in your life. You may also want to consider attending groups such as Al-Anon or Alateen. Al-Anon is a support group for individuals worried about someone with a drinking problem. Alateen is a support group for teens who are worried about someone with a drinking problem. Both groups are peer support groups run by members where individuals share their experiences with caring about someone with a drinking problem. By hearing others’ experiences, you may find strategies for supporting the recovering alcoholic in your own life. You will likely also learn strategies for dealing with your own stress and emotions around their problem. In addition to Al-Anon or Alateen, you might also explore Adult Children of Alcoholics (ACOA), a peer support group for adult children of alcoholics or dysfunctional families. Whatever resources you rely upon, you must find a way to support yourself as well as the recovering alcoholic in your life. 

Get Help Today at Thrive Treatment

At Thrive Treatment, we blend different modalities of treatment to help your loved one succeed in sobriety.  We integrate relational and behavioral therapies, along with holistic, medical, and psychiatric interventions, to put them on the path to sobriety, emotional health, and overall well-being.  If you or your loved one has a problem with alcohol, we’re here to help. Located in beautiful Santa Monica, we will provide you with an individualized plan that blends modern and traditional practices. Contact us today and let us help you with your addiction!  

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