Helping a Friend with a Drinking Problem
Have you noticed a friend’s excessive alcohol use? It can be difficult watching someone you care about spiral out of control due to alcoholism. You may feel torn about how to discuss their drinking problem. While the conversation about alcohol abuse is never an easy one, it’s necessary.
Before talking to your friend about their excessive drinking, it’s important to understand that they may not realize they have a problem. On the other hand, some people struggling with alcohol abuse may deny they have a problem entirely. Regardless of your friend’s reaction, stay calm and know that you have their best interest in mind.
First and foremost, collect your thoughts and think about what you’re going to say ahead of time. A supportive message will be received better than negative, hurtful language. This is a difficult time for your friend, so your reassurance will help them realize they’re not alone.
Alcohol abuse should be discussed sooner rather than later. The earlier you have the conversation, the quicker your friend can seek treatment and start on the road to recovery.
Tips on Talking to a Friend About Alcohol Abuse
If you’re ready to talk with your friend about alcohol abuse, there are a few things to keep in mind. Since every situation and person is different, tailor your message to your friend’s specific condition.
Here are the top four ways on how to address a friend suffering from alcohol abuse:
Have a heart-to-heart conversation
Deciding to initiate a conversation about alcohol abuse with a friend can be challenging. However, if done with compassion and support, the discussion can change your friend’s life for the better.
Prior to your talk, set up a time between just the two of you. It’s best to speak with your friend when they’re sober. This will allow them to understand what you’re saying and have an open discussion about their thoughts or concerns.Trying to approach the subject of alcohol abuse when someone is under the influence will only make them more defensive of the issue and can potentially trigger a fight.
Provide positive messages in your conversation
Keep the phrase, “You get more with sugar than with salt” in mind during your conversation about alcohol abuse. For example, communicate your feelings by saying, “I’ve noticed how much your behavior changes when you drink. It really hurts me to see you go through this.”
Also, be sure to explain how much you care for your friend and want to see them get better. You can show them how important they are to you by providing a listening ear or attending a support group meeting with them. Having a support system in place can truly make a difference in a person’s treatment.
Emphasize that an addiction is a disease, not personal failure
All too often, alcoholism is looked at as a failure. However, alcohol abuse is a disease that can be treated. Discuss the negative consequences of excessive drinking and give concrete examples. For instance, you can tell your friend what you enjoy most about being around them. Explain how alcohol impacts their behavior – whether it be how mean they become while under the influence or how they act like a different person.
When you express your concern about your friend’s alcohol problem, let them know about treatment options available. Remind them that an alcohol addiction doesn’t define who they are as a person. Choosing to overcome alcoholism is a huge decision for your friend. Your love and support will help them through the best and toughest times of recovery.
Encourage treatment and recovery options for long-term sobriety
There are numerous resources available to help someone overcome an alcohol addiction. Research and gather information about treatment options for alcohol abuse. Check out rehab facilities with your friend and discuss what amenities and types of therapy are most important to them. Taking an interest in your friend’s recovery will help motivate them to reach their sobriety goals.
Keep in mind that regardless of how much encourage alcohol rehab, it’s ultimately your friend’s decision as to whether or not they want to seek treatment. You should never try to force them into rehab or give them an ultimatum if they refuse to get help.
Alcohol Treatment Resources
Once your friend is ready to seek help for alcohol abuse, the next step is choosing a rehab facility. While there may be many options within their home state, looking within a defined radius limits treatment programs available. However, including out-of-state facilities will broaden the amount of services and facilities to treat your friend’s condition.
Remember, recovery is a process. Help your friend along the path to sobriety by finding alcohol treatment facilities today.
Roughly one in 10 people struggling with alcoholism seek treatment at a specialized alcohol rehab facility.
A Gallup Poll found that 94 percent of Americans believe it’s their responsibility to intervene when a friend has a problem with alcohol or other drugs.
While many people believe you should intervene when a friend is abusing alcohol, only 38 percent feel “very confident and comfortable” in approaching their friend.
My loved one is addicted.
Knowing the right approach can be hard. We’re here to help.