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When someone you love has an alcohol addiction, it can be difficult to know what to say or do to help. Trisha Palencer, director of Chronic Pain and Chemical Dependency at the Addiction Treatment and Recovery Center at IU Health West Hospital shares some things to consider:

Learn about alcoholism before approaching your loved one. Alcoholism is more than having one too many cocktails from time to time – it’s a disorder. Take the time to learn about it from credible websites and resources.

Prepare what you’re going to say. Before the conversation, prepare yourself for possible responses and practice using positive and supportive statements. Instead of saying you know what’s best, speak from a place of concern and let them know that you’re having the conversation is because you love and care for them.

Start a conversation. Confronting a loved one about addiction is never easy, but a conversation could be the turning point in their life to seek treatment. It’s important for your loved one to not feel attacked during the conversation. Avoid bringing up their addiction out of the blue and in an environment where they are not comfortable. Pick a private, quiet space with little to no interruptions.

Intervene. It can be difficult for an individual who is battling addiction to find treatment on their own. Once you’ve voiced your concerns, explain how you can get your loved one into treatment and the treatment options available. Let them know that you are there to support them every step of the way.

It’s normal to fear making an addiction worse when deciding to talk with your loved one. While you may feel like you’re overstepping, in the long run, you might be saving their life.

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