Helping an Alcoholic Friend
Alcoholism hurts more than just the alcoholic. As the close friend of someone struggling with alcohol dependency, you have an important influence that might aid in his recovery. There are ways you can help your friend recognize the problem and seek help. Helping an alcoholic isn’t easy, but you can help your friend if you take the following into consideration.
Don’t Cover For or Make Excuses For Your Friend
Helping an alcoholic friend does not mean making excuses for them. Doing his work for him, giving excuses to his teachers or boss, or covering for him when he makes a drunken mistake will only encourage his drinking. It will be difficult, but you friend must take responsibility for their his actions. To do that, he needs to recognize the problem and stop relying on you.
Approach The Issue With Care and Concern, Not Reprimand
If you think it’s necessary to confront your friend about his alcoholism, be sure to do it from a loving place. Tread carefully. Passing judgment or focusing on any negativity surrounding his drinking might only exacerbate the problem. Alcoholism is a complex issue, and the driving forces behind it could be mental health problems that your friend might not even realize he has, like depression or anxiety. When helping an alcoholic friend realize his problem, be sure to let him know that you’ll be there to support him throughout his recovery. Remind him that you care deeply about him and his health.
Pick Your Battles (And How You Fight Them) Carefully
Discussing your friend’s problem with alcohol should be reserved for times when it’s not a one-sided conversation. If you try to talk to him about his drinking while he’s intoxicated, your points will not come across. If you lecture him, he might write off your concerns as ‘overreacting’. When you need to discuss a particular event with your friend regarding his alcohol dependency, be sure to do it calmly and while he’s coherent. He’ll be more likely to open up if you level the playing ground instead of looking down on him.
Learn More About Your Friend’s Affliction
By learning more about what alcoholism is, what it does to physical and mental health, and how it can be treated, you’ll be better equipped and better prepared to help an alcoholic friend. You can learn about alcoholism a number of ways. Visiting medical websites, reading studies, blogs, and meeting with alcoholics in recovery in a group setting are effective methods. Your friends, your social circle, and your friend’s family can get involved, too. In fact, they’ll need to be properly educated about alcoholism in order to be a good support system during the recovery process.
Hold an Intervention and Explore Treatment Options
Interventions are a last resort to convince an alcoholic that he does, in fact, have a problem. If you decide to hold an intervention, be sure to invite not only the alcoholic’s closest friends and family, but also doctors, therapists, and counselors if at all possible. Their presence will help cushion any emotional tension that may come about between friends and family. After all, the thought of holding an intervention is scary. There’s always the chance that your friend could react with anger or hurt, which is the last thing you want.
Still, you should hold an intervention if it’s necessary, even if the potential outcome worries you. If your friend refuses to confront their addiction, it’s up to you and the rest of the support system to explore potential treatment options for his alcoholism. The best methods of treatment and most successful recoveries stem from working with a medical team at a professional rehab center— one that will be able to monitor your friend’s health as he goes through detox.
Helping an Alcoholic Friend Through His Recovery at Wellness
Watching a friend struggle with alcoholism is never easy. This is why taking action and helping an alcoholic friend when they can’t or won’t help themselves is so important. At Wellness Retreat Recovery Center, we offer our patients a variety of treatment options for alcohol detox and therapy. For more information about our programs, please call us at 888-821-0238.