Even when you have witnessed what alcohol misuse has done to the men in your life for years, making the decision to help doesn’t necessarily come easy. Of course you want to be supportive, but you may not be sure what form of support to choose and how effective it will be, ultimately. So, let’s talk today about six ways you can help a son, a father, or your husband face their issues with alcohol and get on the road to recovery.
Helping a loved one with an alcohol use disorder begins with educating yourself on the relationship they have with drinking and becoming aware of what kind of impact alcohol consumption is having on their physical health, personal and professional life, and social relationships. If your loved one’s drinking has become harmful, you can help them identify treatment options with proven methods for success, including residential programs with a multidisciplinary approach for co-occurring mental health disorders. It’s also imperative to find or create your own support system during this process. This will allow you to connect with people who have had similar experiences living with family members with a substance use disorder.
1. Take time to observe his drinking behaviors.
Your daily or weekly observations will tell you a lot about your loved one’s relationship with alcohol, and you may already be doing this step. You could likely say with confidence how much is consumed and when. But, keep in mind, there is no one standard amount of drinking that makes it equally problematic for every man.
2. Take note of the impact of his drinking on his physical health.
You can look at physical health in two ways: what’s happening to his body because he’s drinking and what happens to his body when he stops drinking? Both are potentially life-threatening. If he’s exhibiting withdrawal symptoms, including nausea, headaches, and high blood pressure, a medically-supervised detox is recommended.
3. Take note of the impact of his drinking on his work, responsibilities, and relationships.
Missing work and failing to handle other routine responsibilities may be signs of alcohol consumption’s impact on your loved one’s life. If his friendships or other social relationships seem strained, or people now appear to be avoiding him, it could be a consequence of the drinking. At this point, he may be choosing to drink alone or spending time with people who enable his drinking.
4. Explore the possibility of an underlying mental health condition.
A drinking problem itself tells only part of your loved one’s story, and you may find their well-being also has been affected by trauma, depression, or anxiety. These mental health conditions lead some men to drink to cope with their feelings, and left unchecked, can grow more problematic over time. The symptoms of mental health disorders are not always easily detected—the symptoms for PTSD can take years to develop after a traumatic childhood or adulthood experience.
5. Research suitable treatment for their alcohol use disorder and potential co-occurring mental health disorder.
You may find descriptions such as on-site medical detox, a multidisciplinary approach to treatment, and family programming in your research of a facility. Some facilities even offer gender-specific treatment for men, allowing male patients to benefit from the expertise of male addiction specialists while addressing their recovery needs in a group of their peers. If a diagnosis of depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder or some other mental health disorder is made, treatment for it can be integrated within a program for alcohol use disorder.
6. Find a support system for yourself.
Helping a loved one with any substance use disorder can be a significant commitment of time and energy. It can also foster unhealthy coping mechanisms within you and lead you to experience destructive behaviors or unmanageable emotions. While your choice to educate yourself is valuable, you’ll also want to create support for yourself. To sustain the kind of caring work involved over a period of months (or longer), you will benefit from having people with similar experiences to listen to you, answer questions, and provide support during especially difficult times.
Origins Recovery Center is a well-known care provider offering a range of treatment programs targeting the recovery from substance use, mental health issues, and beyond. Our primary mission is to provide a clear path to a life of healing and restoration. We offer renowned clinical care for addiction and have the compassion and professional expertise to guide you toward lasting sobriety. For information on our programs, call us today: 561-841-1019.