Alcoholism is one of the world’s most common – and most damaging – drug addictions. Alcohol addiction in particular can be quite difficult to overcome, largely because it is such a prevalent drug in our society, and is easily accessible by all. For this reason, it’s very likely that, at some point in your life, you are going to be closely associated with someone who is suffering from alcoholism. If you have a close friend whom you know is an alcoholic, the real question is: how to deal with an alcoholic friend, how should you treat them, and how can you encourage them to get help? Let’s take a look at these issues right now.
Know The Signs
First of all, if you want to know how to deal with an alcoholic friend it’s wise to be able to identify alcoholism. That means knowing about some of the common signs that this is indeed what your friend is struggling with. There are many signs that you should be aware of, some of which are likely to be more prevalent or obvious than other ones. Here are some of the major ones.
- Needing to drink more to achieve the same effects – dependency
- Losing interest in hobbies not related to drinking
- Neglecting their home life or social life
- Trouble working
- Always tired or unwell
- Obvious or apparent lying and obscuring
- Anger and abusive language
There are other signs too, but if your friend is displaying these signs, there is a chance that they are an alcoholic, and they probably need some kind of help with the addiction.
Help Them Set Limits
If you think your friend could do with drinking a little less, then you might be able to help them out considerably just by setting some limits with them. You can follow these limits yourself too, to show that they are not alone. By setting limits you are achieving a couple of things. Most of all, they will hopefully stick to those limits and will therefore start to improve, or they might be incapable of it, in which case you get a very stark idea of exactly how pronounced their alcoholism really is. In either case, it’s a step forward.
One of the more difficult things you might want to do is to approach them about their alcohol usage, and this is something that can be very hard to do indeed. However, it is very often worthwhile doing, as it can often act as a turning point for them. Of course, if you are going to do this, you need to make sure that you do it in the right way, and that in itself can be very challenging.
To approach your friend about their drinking, pick your time and place. In particular, try to speak to them about it when they are sober (if possible). They are likely to be more receptive to the conversation at this time compared to when they are drunk. Do this in a private place where it is just the two of you, and where you can both feel comfortable and relaxed.
When you talk, be sure to focus on your own feelings, rather than talking too much about them. Talk about how it is affecting you as their close friend. This avoids putting too much of a sense of blame on them, but still makes it very clear that you think they have a problem that needs looking into.
Finally, be sure to provide some advice that you might have about potential treatment options for alcohol recovery. Of course, this will require that you have researched this first, before starting the conversation. You might want to find the number of a local rehab center, for instance, or talk about ways you think they might be able to try and cut down on their drinking.
Getting Into Treatment
If your friend agrees, then it might now be time to start looking at treatment, and it is important that you continue working with them. If you abandon them at this stage, that might well make things worse in the long run, so make sure that you help them at this point in particular. Once they are in treatment, things are likely going to be moving in the right direction, and this is going to be all the more likely if you are working closely with them along the way.
Now that you know how to deal with an alcoholic friend the next step is to get them help. If you or your friend would like some support, assistance or advice on overcoming alcoholism, then do not hesitate to get in touch with our rehab center today.