"According to the National Institutes of Health, around 17.6 million people in America are alcoholics or problem drinkers."According to the National Institutes of Health, around 17.6 million people in America are alcoholics or problem drinkers. If you are looking for information on how to help an alcoholic grandfather, there are a number of things you can do. There are also a variety of places you can visit to receive further information and support.
Learn More about Alcoholism
Alcoholism is a disease, which needs to be properly treated in order for a person to get better. The more you understand alcoholism, the better informed you will be when you approach your grandfather. Having a clear understanding of the disease will also help you see exactly what your loved one is going through. While you may be thinking, "I am sure my grandpa drinks too much," educating yourself on the topic will help you see how deep the issue really is.
It is important that you do not share your concerns about your grandfather's drinking with anyone else until you have had a chance to speak with him. He is unlikely to confide in you at all if he knows you have been telling people, My grand father is an alcoholic." When you do approach him, it is possible you will be met with some resistance. Many alcoholics are in denial and do not see their drinking as a problem. He may also be concerned about how the truth will affect his family and friends. Make it clear to your grandfather that you are pledging your support and plan to be there for him through the recovery process and beyond. The HelpGuide website advises the friends and families of alcoholics not to approach them about their drinking when they are drunk. Not only does it increase the chances of a confrontation, but alcoholics are also unlikely to remember what has been said once they sober up.
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According to the National Institutes of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), it is not uncommon for family members and friends to make excuses for an alcoholic's drinking. If your grandfather promises to commit to a treatment program and then continues drinking, do not make excuses to other people on his behalf. You are simply giving him an excuse to drink if you continue covering up any relapses. While it is hard to watch a person you love and respect fail, it is much better to be honest with your grandpa. However, you should avoid aggressively confronting him over any relapses that do occur. Continual arguing or accusations designed to make him feel guilty may only push him closer to alcohol.
Alcohol Recovery Programs and Support Groups
Alcoholics Anonymous, or AA, is easily the most well known of all alcoholism support groups. Even alcoholics who have been recovered for many years find solace in attending an alcoholic support group like AA.
The NIAAA recommends that the family and friends of alcoholics seek advice and support from groups that specialize in helping the loved ones of alcohol-dependent people. Al-Anon provides such support, and you can attend with or without your grandfather. It is not unusual for an alcoholic's feelings of guilt to transfer to the supportive family members; Co-Dependents Anonymous can help you understand how to deal with his drinking and subsequent treatment without feeling guilty if it goes wrong. There is also a whole host of online support groups, which you can contact via email if you do not feel able to join group sessions.
Spend Time with Your Grandpa
Drinking alcohol can be a very sociable pastime, and many alcoholics who are in recovery find it difficult to fill the hole that abstaining from alcohol leaves in their lives. Encourage your grandpa to take up a new hobby or interest; this could even be something you do together. Spend time with him, making sure you only go to places where there is no alcohol. You should also encourage him to stay away from other people who are heavy drinkers; spending time with people who drink may create too much temptation. Most importantly, encourage him to talk to you and make it clear that you are not going to judge him. For further advice on how to help an alcoholic grandfather, call our free national referral service at 1-888-919-3845 .