Watching someone you care about sink deeper and deeper into addiction is frightening and frustrating. Self-destructive behavior, followed by regrets or denials, becomes the norm. Then, sober days become few and far between. This is not only damaging to your friend who is struggling but can be damaging to your friendship and their relationships as well. If you are worried about a friend who drinks too much, you can help. However, it is best to be prepared and understand the different ways that you can help them in the best way possible.
Getting Started For A Friend Who Drinks Too Much
Sometimes it is easy to think that everyone else around you is thinking the same things that you are. You may even think that others notice the same tendencies and patterns that you do. However, that is not always the case. Therefore, if you notice that a friend is drinking too much, asking mutual friends about their views is a great way to validate your feelings of concern. If your other friends have similar feelings of concern and have been noticing patterns of abuse, think about talking to your friend and getting them help. Choose times when you can speak privately and soberly, and never approach anyone who has been drinking or doing drugs. It is important to find the best time to talk to your friend so that you can approach the situation in a calm and healthy manner. Avoid sounding judgmental when you approach your friend. Instead, express concern and ask them if there are ways that you can help. Never broach the subject in front of others, because this could be embarrassing for your friend.
Contact a Support Group
A support group can help you even if your friends do not agree a problem exists. Professional substance abuse counselors and therapists deal with these problems every day, and they have strategies you can use to help your loved one get treatment. You might also approach your loved one alone, with carefully prepared and specific mental notes in order to have a conversation about the topic with them.
Approaching Your Friend
Once you have quietly approached your mutual friends and spoken with a professional counselor, it is time to consider speaking with your suffering friend directly and alone. Plan in advance what you would like to say, and be specific. Choose a time when he or she is likely to be sober. Avoid name-calling and blame. Instead, use “I” statements and express your concern about the specific negative effects that substance abuse has caused. For example, you might say, “I have noticed that when you do drugs, you miss work frequently.” Or, “When you drink, you act like a different person, and it’s someone I do not enjoy spending time with.” Show your friend that you care about them and only want to help them and do what is best for them.
Expect the Consequences
Denial is a key symptom of addiction. What is obvious to you and others is likely not obvious to your friend. Do not be surprised if you hear an angry outburst. If the person you care about is not willing to quit or get help, it may be time to stage an intervention. During an intervention, your friends will confront your loved one in a formal, planned setting to express concern. The best and most successful interventions are lead by a professional interventionist, who will escort your friend to a rehab facility following the meeting if it is successful. If it is not successful, do not panic. Many “failed” interventions often lead to a struggling person to seek help and find sobriety on their own. If you are having trouble talking to a friend about addiction, The Ranch PA can help. Contact us at 717.969.9126 for information on how to best help your friend get the support they need.