Monday, November 2, 2015

My Top Tips For Helping A Friend With An Alcohol Problem


It can be hard to know what to do when you notice that a friend is drinking a little too often. Reaching out to them about the possibility that they might have a problem isn’t easy. You may be worried about offending or upsetting them. Or, you might be wondering how you should broach the subject and what you should say.

Don’t let these worries put you off of saying something to your friend. Far too often, close friends and family choose to ignore the issue as they hope that the person will stop drinking on their own. However, this is rarely the case. Most of the time, if no one makes an effort to talk about the problem, their alcohol addiction will get worse.

It might be hard broaching the subject, but it’s important that you do. If you care about your friend, you need to be brave and offer them your help. To make talking about their drinking problem easier, here are a few tips to take note of:

Be kind and caring

You might think that the best way to approach your friend is with tough love, but that will only make them defensive. If you are confrontational about their drinking, they will instantly put their guard up. Instead, take a kind and caring approach to the situation.

Don’t say, ‘I think you are addicted to alcohol’, instead say something like, ‘I think that you may have a drinking problem’. By being non-confrontational, you are more likely to get a better response.

However, even if you talk to them in a caring manner, it’s important to realise that they may still be hostile. Admitting that they have a problem won’t be easy, and they will try to do anything to get out of it.

Tell them what you have noticed

Don’t just express concern about their alcohol consumption, tell them what you have noticed. Be specific, you need to persuade them that they do have a problem. Many alcohol addicts don’t realize that their drinking is out of control, and can take some convincing to believe it.

By telling your friend what you have noticed, you can make it easier for them to believe they have a problem. If you have been in a bad situation with them when they were drunk, tell them about it and how it made you feel. Be open and honest with your friend, and you should get good results.

Explain that it’s not their fault and encourage them to get help

It’s important that you don’t blame your friend for their alcohol problem, as it’s an illness. Explain to them that it isn’t their fault and that their excessive drinking is down to them being unwell. Tell them that although it’s not their fault, it’s important that they get their addiction under control. As otherwise, they end up hurting themselves or someone else.

Once your friend has realized that it’s not their fault, it’s important that you encourage them to get help. Tell them that while you are happy to support them, that they also need to seek professional help. Explain that there are various types of help that they can get, from counselling to spending time in a treatment center. Don’t try to make decisions for them, ask them what they think would be most helpful.

Have a backup plan

If your friend isn’t willing to acknowledge that they have a problem, it’s important that you have a backup plan in place. You may find that a group intervention is more of a success than just you talking to them.

Helping a friend with an alcohol problem is never going to be easy, but making the effort to step in is important. Don’t turn a blind eye, do everything that you can to help your friend. They may not thank you now, but once they are better, they will be grateful that you made the effort.

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