How You Can Support a Recovering Alcoholic in Your Community

People in a support group attending a meeting

• Educating yourself about Alcohol Use Disorder and recovery can help dispel myths and provide emotional support to those in recovery.

• Show your support for a recovering alcoholic by providing practical help, job opportunities, or providing aftercare services.

• Be supportive but not enabling and offer healthy coping mechanisms and strategies for difficult situations.

• Be an advocate for those in recovery by speaking up about it and joining local organizations that support individuals in recovery.

It’s estimated that about 15 million adults in the United States suffer from alcohol use disorder. That’s about 6% of the adult population. If you have a friend or family member struggling with alcoholism, you may wonder how you can help them on their journey to recovery. Support from the community can be invaluable in helping someone stay sober and begin the process of rebuilding their life. Here are some ideas for supporting a recovering alcoholic in your community.

Be There for Them

One of the best things you can do is be there for them. Whether a family member or a friend, be available to talk when needed and be a shoulder to cry on when they need it. It’s also important to be patient; recovery is a long and difficult process, and there will be setbacks along the way. Just let them know you’re there for them, no matter what. You can also show your support by doing the following:

Educating Yourself

Educating yourself about it is a way to show that you’re there for them. If you’re not familiar with alcoholism and recovery, it’s important to educate yourself. There are many myths and misconceptions about alcoholism and recovering alcoholics, such as the following:

  • Alcoholics can’t be trusted
  • They will always relapse
  • They are weak or morally corrupt

Educating yourself about alcoholism and recovery will help you better understand your friend or family member’s struggles. It also helps to dispel some of those myths and misconceptions.

Provide Emotional Support

One of the most important things you can do for someone who is recovering from alcohol addiction is to provide emotional support. This means being available to listen, offering encouragement and understanding when needed, and providing reassurance that they are not alone in their struggles. People recovering from alcohol addiction can often feel isolated and overwhelmed–let them know that you care about them and want to see them succeed in their recovery.

Help with Practical Matters

Alcoholism can have many practical implications, from struggling to meet basic needs, such as shelter and food, to legal matters. If your friend or family member is trying to stay sober and rebuild their life, offer to help in any way you can. From helping them find a job or housing to attending court appointments, every bit of help can make a difference on their journey to recovery.

Supporting a man during a group therapy session

Be Supportive, But Not Enabling

It’s important to support a recovering alcoholic, but you also don’t want to enable their alcoholism. This means avoiding enabling behaviors like making excuses, covering up for them, or bailing them out financially. Instead, focus on helping them find healthy coping mechanisms and strategies for dealing with difficult situations. You can help them by providing the following:

Providing Aftercare Service

This can be invaluable if you are from a state or municipality that offers aftercare services to those in recovery. Aftercare services range from ongoing counseling sessions to job training and help with housing. These services provide recovering alcoholics the support they need to stay sober and rebuild their lives. Additionally, it can provide an additional layer of accountability and support for your friend or family member.

Be an Advocate

In addition to providing direct help, you can also advocate for those in recovery. If a friend or family member is struggling with alcoholism, speak up and let others know you are there to help. Join local organizations that support individuals in recovery and make your voice heard in the community. By educating yourself about alcoholism, you can advocate for those fighting to stay sober.

Happy people hugging each other after a therapy session

Be Patient and Nonjudgmental

Recovery is never easy; it takes time, effort, and patience for the individual and those helping them out. Everyone makes mistakes—and it’s important to be patient and nonjudgmental when offering support. Remember that everyone’s path toward recovery looks different. Try to understand each unique situation without passing judgment on anyone’s progress (or lack thereof).

Supporting a recovering alcoholic in your community is an important and rewarding task. You can provide invaluable assistance on this journey by offering love and guidance from the community. You can create a better future for those suffering from alcohol use disorder.

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