How Do I Confront A Friend With An Alcohol Problem?


  July 23, 2018    

Most alcoholics deny they are addicted to alcohol, and most will not seek help independently. Left to their own devices, they will usually wait until they are experiencing severe and negative consequences before they get help. You suspect your friend has an alcohol problem, and this is a frightening prospect. However, if you approach him or her skillfully, you may be able to make a huge difference.

Many people who finally decide they need to go into long-term alcohol rehab eventually admit they only made the decision because of the actions of their loved ones and close friends. About 94 percent of people believe they have a responsibility to intervene if one of their friends is experiencing problems with drugs or alcohol. However, only 38 percent of people feel comfortable and confident when it comes to approaching him or her.

Anyone who has a problem with alcohol can end up creating extra problems at his or her school, work, and home. However, if you have noticed one of your friends or family members is drinking too much, it can be hard to know how to address the issue. Yet, confronting him or her could be a vital step toward helping him or her to address the problem. So, what are the best ways to talk to your friend and to try to get him or her some help?

Time It Right

It’s important to confront your friend at the right time. Choose a time when your friend is sober, or, possibly, when he or she is feeling hungover and could be experiencing remorse or guilt. You have two options – either confront him or her privately or get together some of his or her loved ones who’ve all suffered as a result of the alcohol abuse. If could be helpful if you confront your friend just after he or she has behaved recklessly so there’ll be lots of fresh evidence supporting your case that your friend has a problem. At all costs, avoid raising the issue with your friend while he or she is still intoxicated. It’s always better to wait until your friend is clear-headed because you’ll be able to get the message across more effectively.

Don’t Lecture

It can be very tempting to lecture your friend, but taking that attitude is never going to work. Instead, discuss your concerns in a sensitive way. Try putting yourself in your friend’s shoes and imagine how you might react. This will help you to prepare yourself for his or her response. You should begin the discussion by asking if your friend thinks he or she has a drinking problem then wait for the response. If your friend agrees, you can then go on to ask more open questions that will prompt him or her to think about the reasons for the drinking. Try focusing on the consequences of the drinking and the ways in which your friend’s problem is actually harming him or her. Put the focus on your friend’s emotional pain, psychological distress, and comfort. It may help to tell your friend how much it hurts you to see him or her go through so much pain. Although some people believe having a hard-edged, direct confrontation is the best way to convince their friend to seek help, it is likely that such a strategy will backfire. Scolding and sermonizing only invite more denial and resistance. Therefore, the best approach is to be compassionate and show respect and care for your friend. Avoid criticizing or blaming and use language that is nonjudgmental. Whatever you do, don’t label your friend as an alcoholic or try to force him or her to go into rehab. It’s far better to talk about your concerns for his or her welfare and try to encourage your friend to seek professional assistance for his or her problem.

Give Clear Examples

If your friend says he or she doesn’t believe there is a problem, you should point to some clear examples that have recently occurred that were directly caused by his or her drinking. Be prepared to talk about the way his or her drinking has affected you personally.

Expect A Negative Reaction

It’s always best not to expect too much from the confrontation. Your friend may become angry and will probably deny he or she has a problem with alcohol. He or she may tell you it’s none of your business. Although it’s hard, you should try not to take it too personally – this reaction is very common. Denial is a main symptom of alcoholism and it may take more negative consequences to become apparent before your friend is ready to listen to what you have to say. Nevertheless, your intervention at this stage may well plant the seed that will allow your friend to seek support.

 

Give Some Information

Before you confront your friend, do some research into alcoholism treatments so you can give your friend some information about how he or she can get help. This reduces the chances of him or her postponing seeking treatment. You could offer to support your friend by going along with him or her to a meeting or treatment session.

Arrange An Intervention

If you feel you can’t confront your friend yourself, you could arrange for a therapist to lead an intervention. This will help your friend to see just how problematic his or her behavior has become. And, perhaps, this will be the boost he or she needs to go into rehab and seek long-term sobriety.

Although it’s never easy to confront a friend who is experiencing a problem with alcohol, it is important to take steps to offer him or her the support he or she needs. When your friend is ready to get help, SOBA College Recovery Addiction Treatment Center is here to help. We offer help for alcoholics in New Jersey and we are one of the best alcohol rehabs in the area. Our highly trained staff will help to pinpoint the underlying causes of alcohol addiction, so they can be addressed to achieve a full recovery and a long, productive, and sober life.

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