How to Help a Newly Sober Family Member

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Alcoholism is a major problem. Becoming sober is a hard task. The worst part is once sobriety is achieved the battle still isn’t over.

While we all love our relatives, it can be hard to know how to help and/or support them when they achieve sobriety, especially when we still indulge in cocktails or wine ourselves from time to time.

So, today, I’m providing a few tips to assist you with the journey of helping and supporting your newly sober relative or friend.

Help Them Avoid Triggers

The initial step is to help them avoid triggers. These triggers vary depending on the person. It could be seeing someone have a glass of wine with dinner, stress, or even depression.

You can help them avoid their triggers by first learning what they are and checking on them each day to see how their work day was or doing fun activities with them to take their mind off everything.

Don’t Suffocate Them

You want to help. However, suffocating them can quickly backfire.

Watching their every move and trying to regulate their lives is more likely to make them want to start drinking again because you’ll be stressing them out. Trust them to stay sober.

Motivate Them

Keep them motivated to stay on the path to lifelong sobriety. Celebrate each milestone by rewarding them. Take them to a place they like or cook them their favorite meal.

Buy them gifts to help them express their sobriety, such as cool apparel. Basically, let them know that you’re in their corner and you’re cheering them on.

Attend AL- Non Meetings

Their treatment will likely include attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. While you won’t be able to attend these meetings with them, unless you’re on the sobriety path yourself, you have the option of going to AL- Non meetings, which are meetings for the family and friends or alcoholics.

This is another way to show your support for your relative and it’s a great way to pick up some advice and share experiences with others who are in the same position as you.

Avoid Tough Love

Only Europe has a higher rate of alcohol abuse than North America. Unfortunately, these numbers don’t get any better when you try to initiate tough love. Yelling at someone to quit drinking or being mean to them to get them to do the right thing will likely have the opposite effect.

Instead, treat them kindly and with tenderness. They likely feel bad enough that they’re in this situation in the first place.

They need you to be understanding and supportive not cruel.

What you can do is participate in their lives. Start a new hobby with them and spend some quality time together as a family.

Last Word – Support is Love

In the path to sobriety, the key is to support your sober family member through your time. Give them your time and they’ll have more time to feel loved and less time to be tortured by the temptation to drink.

Over time it will bring your family closer together and ensure that your loved one will continue their sober lifestyle.

Do you have any tips for helping a newly sober family member? Make sure to share your advice in the comments section below.


  1. thanks fir this i personally dont know anyone with this issue but i will keep in mind for reference to help others

  2. Thank you for enlightening us on what to do. I have not had this experience yet but it is always good to know very helpful advice if the situation calls for it. I’m praying it doesn’t happen. Thanks!

  3. Elizabeth O says:

    This was a touching post with some great tips in for those who are living alongside someone struggling or newly sober. It will sure help a lot of people. I will give it a share 🙂

  4. I have a very close family member who has been sober for 11 years. I still find myself wanting to do the right thing. It is hard to go through this, but working with them and doing what they need not what you feel is right is so important.

  5. The avoiding triggers was a hard one for my husband’s side of the family when there were gatherings. A lot of people would drink around them and I think that’s the worst thing you can do around a recovering alcoholic.

  6. Gladys parker says:

    My grandfather lived with us one of the times he got sober. He was fidgety and miserable most of the time. No one in our home drank and every one tried being quiet, including him and encouraging him, even my mother whom really had a hard time with him living there. Eventually he started meeting me on my way home and put “juice” bottles in my backpack. It is a very hard accomplishment and I wish them the best.

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