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How to help a family member with a drinking problem

May 13, 2019

This may be your worst fear realized. The person you love dearly was caught behind the wheel after drinking and now has a DUI. And maybe not for the first time. Now they are facing a DUI conviction. What can you do to help them with a drinking problem?


Tough Love


When someone is arrested for a DUI, it affects the family in many ways. It is a financial and emotional burden. Additionally, it can be a huge inconvenience if they have also lost their license and are unable to get to work, attend meetings or drive to court.


So, it may be time to back off and let them learn the hard way. They are about to face the legal consequences of a driver’s license suspension and other DUI penalties.


Paying fines for them, helping them skip required meetings, or anything else that helps lessen their penalties is not helpful for them. Their penalties may need to feel painful and inconvenient for them in order to prevent future DUIs.



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Get Help


Not all people arrested for a DUI are heavy drinkers. However, many are. They may need to be seek help for alcohol abuse through AA, counseling or rehab.


In these support groups and treatment programs, they will explore what the deeper issue is that’s driving a person to abuse alcohol. They will also meet with family and talk about how you can support them in determining what that is and help them find a solution.


Sometimes, they are in denial or refuse to get help. There is only so much you can do if they do not want your support. If this is the case, you may find a group such as Al-Anon helpful for you.


Your loved one may need you to tell it like it is. They made a bad decision and now it’s time to pay the consequences. A DUI is serious. Be careful to not enable them through the process.

Need help? We are here. We can help you find the right attorney, ignition interlock device, financial providerinsurancecounseling and more. Just visit There are many resources dedicated to helping you stay safe and recover. If you or someone you know needs help with addiction, locate an AA Group here.