In our story, we mentioned some signs of alcoholism. If you suspect someone you love may be struggling with alcohol addiction, here are a few signs to look for:
Hiding or lying about alcohol
Hiding alcohol is a huge red flag for alcoholism, and comes in many forms. This can include having alcohol hidden in the house, car, or workplace, or hiding the amount someone is drinking. Having a private stash of alcohol they don’t want people to know about means they don’t want others to know their drinking habits. If someone is downplaying or lying how much they’ve had to drink, this is another red flag.
Increased need for privacy
If someone used to be more social, and suddenly isn’t interested in going out, this is cause for concern. On the other hand, someone who never used to be interested in drinking or going to bars who has developed an interest in going out and binge drinking is another warning sign. Increased secrecy and need for privacy, such as spending unusually long periods in the bathroom, could be a sign of addiction.
When a person is addicted to alcohol and can’t have it (for example, at the workplace, or any other situation where alcohol isn’t available), they can show symptoms of withdrawal. This includes irritability, sweating, nausea, fatigue, and more.
Increased alcohol use
If you notice someone drinking in more significant quantities than usual, or in situations where they don’t usually drink (such as during the day, or while caring for children), they may be struggling with alcohol. Anxiety about not having access to alcohol is another warning sign.
If someone is displaying these or other signs, there are ways you can help:
Find out what treatment options are available and present them in a loving and nonconfrontational way to your loved one. It may be hard for someone to accept they need treatment on their own. Doing the research for them and making recommendations can be helpful.
Be loving and supportive
When you do talk to a loved one about their alcoholism, do it in a compassionate, caring way. Don’t be accusatory or angry. You don’t want them to pull away from you because they no longer feel safe telling you things.
Support them in the right ways
You can support your loved one in many ways. Help them get treatment, look up or even attend AA meetings with them, and encourage them when they have hit sobriety markers. Do activities with them that are healthy and therapeutic that don’t involve alcohol, such as hiking, painting, or seeing a movie. There are so many ways to have fun and spend time together that don’t involve alcohol.
Don’t enable them
It’s important to draw the line between being supportive and enabling an addict. For example, don’t make excuses for their drinking, and if they can’t pay rent one month because they drank all their money away, don’t bail them out. This can be tough, but it’s important to show support in the right ways.
Here you can also mind more useful information to help your loved ones.