"Finding information on how to help an alcoholic aunt is not difficult."Around 17.6 million people in the United States suffer from alcoholism, according to statistics provided by the US Department of Health and Human Services. Finding information on how to help an alcoholic aunt is not difficult; as well as support groups, books and helplines, there is a wealth of information available on the Internet. However, you can take steps yourself that may help your aunt confront her problem as well as give her the confidence to seek treatment.
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Alcoholism is rather misunderstood, and society tends to stereotype people with alcohol problems. Alcoholism is a disease, which means when your aunt suffers cravings or withdrawals, these are symptoms not character flaws. If you really find yourself thinking, "My aunt drinks too much," you will need to educate yourself on alcoholism to help her further. This will help you gain a different perspective and an understanding of what your aunt is going through. You may find that learning about alcoholism and its effects will help you clear up misconceptions you had yourself.
The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) believes that family intervention is key to getting individuals suffering from alcoholism to seek help. However, when you choose to approach your aunt is important and can influence what happens next. The NIAAA recommends choosing a quiet moment when she has not been drinking or when she is not drunk. Express your concerns sincerely, but above all, make it clear that you are willing to provide your support. You will also need to prepare yourself for a frustrating outcome and the fact it may take more than one sit down to get to her to listen. Many alcoholics are often genuinely unaware their drinking has become problematic, even when the negative effects of it are obvious to others. Others may feel embarrassed or worried about how their family will handle the truth, so they are reluctant to accept help.
Be Honest and Supportive
"Support for the family members of alcoholics is just as important as for the alcoholics themselves."If your aunt commits to a treatment, program, do not make excuses for her if she has a relapse or continues to drink. Unfortunately, while you can offer support, the treatment is down to her. Making excuses to other members of the family or to her friends will only give her the impression her drinking is okay. Be firm but fair, and warn her that every time she has a drink, she risks ruining her chances of a successful recovery. It is also important you do not try to make her feel guilty for continuing to drink; this will ruin her confidence and make her more likely to relapse.
Support for the family members of alcoholics is just as important as for the alcoholics themselves. These groups are designed to give families coping with alcoholism a different perspective on what their loved one is dealing with and how they can learn to cope with it. While it may be difficult to admit my aunt is an alcoholic to a group of strangers, you will find that most people who attend are experiencing exactly the same thing as your family. You can also encourage your aunt to attend the group with you; this will help her see the importance of having a solid support network.
Encourage your aunt to take up new hobbies or interests, as this will help keep her mind off drinking. Visit her regularly and take her out to places where there is no alcohol available. Keeping her busy will prevent her getting bored, which may encourage her to go back to old alcohol-related behaviors. You can also get help and advice on how to help an alcoholic aunt by calling 1-888-919-3845 now. You can get free advice from individuals who are trained to help alcoholics and their families.