helping an alcoholicHelping an alcoholic loved one can be frustrating and seem hopeless. The alcoholic is usually a spouse or partner, but is often a parent, sibling, or child. Of course, it can also be someone else.

Alcoholism expert Kenneth Anderson provides six practical steps for helping an alcoholic  partner achieve control over the loved ones drinking behavior. Although he focuses on a partner, his steps for helping an alcoholic can apply to other loved ones.

Step One is to establish boundaries and use harm reduction practices for yourself and others.

Step Two is to recognize that harm is hierarchical. Focus on preventing or reducing the major harms.

Step Three is to avoid unhelpful actions.

    1. Don’t confront.
    2. Don’t use logical arguments.
    3. Don’t interfere with your partner’s techniques for abstaining or controlling drinking.
    4. Don’t accept blame for your partner’s drinking problems.
    5. Don’t use labels.

Step Four is change the way you interact with your partner and to use motivational interviewing.

    1. Use empathetic listening to stimulate thinking by your partner about the downsides of the person’s current drinking patterns.
    2. Help your partner self-develop plans for changing behaviors rather than imposing them on the partner.
    3. Don’t take any confrontational actions.
    4. Show support for every positive change made by your partner as a triumph.
    5. Clearly express your needs and concerns to your partner.

Step Five is to change your thinking or your situation, if necessary.

Step Six is to be prepared for unexpected changes in your life.

To learn more about these helpful steps, visit How to Change Your Spouse’s Drinking.

Two lists of books on coping and helping an alcoholic are provided. Books in the first list are those that can be located on WorldCat, the world’s largest network of library content and services. It is the largest “library card catalog” in existence.

The second list contains those books for which information is provided on Amazon but not on WorldCat.

First List of Self-Help Books for Helping an Alcoholic Loved One

To learn more about a book in this list, simply click on the title. This leads to WorldCat, which describes the book and indicates which libraries have it in their collections. It also provides information that can be used to order the book from a bookstore or on the internet.

Help them beat the booze : how to survive life with a problem drinker. By E. Tirbutt & H. Tirbutt. London: Rodale, 2011.

Coping with an alcoholic parent.By K.M. Porterfield. NY: Rosen, 2006.

You need help! : a step-by-step plan to convince a loved one to get counseling. By M.S Komrad. Center City, MN: Hazelden, 2012.

Courage to be me–living with alcoholism. By Al-Anon. Virginia Beach, VA: Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters, 1996.

Second List of Self-Help Books for Helping an Alcoholic Loved One

The following books are not in WorldCat. To learn about a book in this list, click on the title. This leads to, which describes the book and is a source from which it can be ordered.

Alcoholic Husband: How To Cope With An Alcoholic Spouse Who Has A Serious Alcoholism Problem (Coping With An Alcoholic-Dealing…By A. Mentoring and J.C. Anonymous.

How to Help an Alcoholic: Coping with Alcoholism and Substance Abuse (Help an Alcoholic Spouse, Alcoholic Family…By C.K. Murray.

Secret Tips: How To Survive & Help The Alcoholic You Love. By R. Young.

How To Deal With An Addict: How To Cope With Drug Addicts And Coping With Substance Abusers (Coping With Alcoholism…By J.C. Anonymous.

Sober Siblings: How to Help Your Alcoholic Brother or Sister—and Not Lose Yourself. By P. Olsen and P. Levounis.

Dealing With Alcoholics-Proven Methods For Dealing With a Problem Drinker (Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Book…By J.C .Anonymous.

Alcoholic Spouse: Coping With An Alcoholic Husband or Wife (Coping With Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Book …By A. Rosebloom and J.C. Anonymous.

Coping With An Alcoholic-Tips To Help You Learn How To Cope With Alcoholics (Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Book…By J.C. Anonymous.

Living With an Alcoholic: The Wisdom You Need For Learning How To Live With an Alcoholic (Alcoholism and Substance…By J.C. Anonymous.

Secret Tips: How To Survive & Help The Alcoholic You Love. By R. Young

Am I Alcoholic?

Alcoholism: Am I an Alcoholic? No Worries! Helpful Tips to Staying Drug and Alcohol Free. A Guide on How to Stop… Dec 5, 2013. By T. Williams.

Further Reading

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Filed Under: Resources for Alcoholism Self-Help