One of the biggest challenges you can face in your friendship is knowing your friend is dealing with alcoholism or alcohol abuse. For starters, you can educate yourself by researching various self-help and treatment options. Instead of ignoring alcohol use disorder, you can take action.
Understand the Signs of a Problem
Being able to recognize the signs of a problem can be helpful in understanding whether your friend is an alcoholic or not. For instance, sometimes people drink alcohol as a social habit. While this may look like alcoholism, it’s not the same thing. Some people may say they’re only having a drink or two when they’re not drinking in moderation at all. If your friend drinks to avoid negative feelings, deal with difficulties, or cope with stress, this could be a sign of alcohol use disorder. Other signs your friend may have a drinking problem include:
- They consistently neglect their responsibilities
- They try to hide or lie about the amount they drink
- They drink more than they intend to or binge drink regularly
- They don’t stop drinking even when it causes relationship problems
Talk to Your Friend
Although it may seem easier to ignore your friend’s alcoholism, this will only cause more future problems for him. While it won’t be easy to talk to her, you have to start somewhere if you want to help. Firstly, choose a place that’s private and quiet and where you won’t be distracted by technology. Secondly, make sure your friend isn’t drinking and you’re both in a calm mindset. Next, express how concerned you are without placing judgment. Try to get your friend to open up about why she’s drinking. And if you can’t do it alone, try having a family meeting where everyone can step up in a caring way.
Since your friend won’t be able to stop drinking on his own, you can try being the supportive one. For example, you can provide encouragement by helping him create a plan for improving his situation, sitting next to him while he calls a helpline, and/or going along with him to counseling sessions, group meetings, or doctor appointments. Additionally, if you’d like your friend to overcome alcohol use disorder, you’ll have to understand that it’s an ongoing issue. Therefore, you’ll have to make a commitment to help every step of the way. But if you continue to support his recovery through the good times and bad, he’ll get to a better place.
Help Him or Her Recover
Supporting your friend throughout the recovery process takes a lot of patience. For one, recovery can be extremely challenging. Since drinking takes up an excessive amount of your friend’s time, you’ll have to encourage her to fill that time with healthy activities. This could be taking a pottery or yoga class, taking up a new hobby such as woodworking, incorporating exercise into her daily life, spending time in nature, or taking up a sport, among other things.
Further, you can participate in social activities together that don’t involve drinking. You might want to join a community garden, volunteer for a meaningful cause, sign up for a fitness or dance class, or do any number of activities. In addition, your friend may have extra stress from not drinking. You can help her cope with stress by encouraging her to meditate, exercise, or write in a journal.
Plus, rather than be an enabler, hold her accountable for her actions in a healthy way. And since your friend is responsible for her own recovery, the truth is she could relapse. In this case, it’s important not to blame yourself. Keep providing support when she tries again.
Now that you know some ways to help your alcoholic friend, you have the chance to do something about his alcohol abuse. You don’t have to sit back and watch him destroy his life because there are ways you can help. Moreover, you can inform other friends and family members about how to deal with someone who abuses alcohol. Ready to get started? Call us today at 772-266-5320.