More often than not, alcoholics aren’t ready to get help when it is offered to them — I certainly wasn’t.

But thanks to the patience and persistence from people who cared about me, I eventually got sober.

Deciding to get help didn’t mean that suddenly my life was without difficulty and frustration. No, more of that definitely followed in the months to come. However, because people believed in me, I was able to come out the other side a better and happier person.

If someone in your life is refusing help, don’t take it personally.
But more importantly, don’t give up on them.

Here are some general guidelines to follow when trying to help someone see the light when it comes to alcohol abuse and addiction:

1. Educate yourself. As an addict, it’s hard to take someone seriously or take what they are saying to heart if they don’t seem like they understand what they are talking about. To get through to an addict, start by utilizing resources to educate yourself about what they may be going through. The internet has a plethora of information when it comes to addiction, and many resources to contact if your questions are not answered.

2. Be patient. At times, this may be trying, but it’s necessary.

An addict will likely never respond well to someone who loses their temper or seems impatient. However, being patient does not mean you should enable a user’s behavior. Know when to remain calm versus when to walk away and draw the line.

Read: Signs of Alcoholism

3. Remain compassionate and empathetic. For someone who is not an addict, this may be the hardest part about trying to get through to someone who struggles with substance abuse.

As a non-addict, you won’t understand first-hand the grip that substances can have on a person’s life. Therefore, it will be harder to put yourself in an addict’s place, and you may find yourself wondering why they can’t just stop using.

Just remind yourself that it’s not that simple.

4. Remember to care for yourself first. If you do not place your well-being first and foremost, your presence likely won’t do anyone any good.

It’s important to establish healthy boundaries. When an addict’s behaviors and lifestyle are having a negative impact on your emotional well-being, it’s okay to take a step back. Your responsibility to yourself should come first.

In the end, helping an addict can be a long and rocky process. But if you remain steadfast in adhering to these guidelines, you have a greater chance of helping your loved one recover.

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