When a loved one is clearly dealing with an addiction to alcohol, most people want to help them but are not sure what to do. It can be difficult to approach someone who is dependent on alcohol to function because you never really know how they may react.
If you are too harsh and accuse them of being an addict they may become defensive or cut off contact with you so that they are free to continue their path of abuse. It is important to be very cautious when approaching a loved one about their alcohol problem and try your best to avoid conflict.
The ultimate goal of the conversation is for them to choose to get help from a twelve step program or rehab center.
Here are some tips and guidelines for discussing someone's addiction.
1. Be Loving and Compassionate - While there could be some residual anger toward this person about things they have done in the past, try to put these feelings aside so that you can approach them in a way that is not threatening.
You should express love and concern speaking with compassion and understanding about what they are going through. Emphasize how much you care about them and how much you want to help them. Avoid making any accusations which can lead to conflict.
2. Bring up Specific Examples - Sometimes when you confront an alcoholic they are still deep in denial and may refuse to believe they have a problem. Think of a specific time recently where their drinking became problematic and caused you to worry.
Be honest and open with them when discussing this incident but avoid any anger. You can tell them that you were hurt by their actions or that you have become fearful of how their drinking habits have progressed.
3. Be Attentive and Listen - It may be tempting to carry the conversation and continue discussing your thoughts and opinions but try not to dominate the conversation. If your loved one has something to say about the situation then give them your attention.
You should listen to their perspective on things and respond without judgment to their thoughts. Don't immediately disagree with them or cause an argument but try to focus on your own concern for them and continue referring to specific incidents throughout the discussion.
4.Get Someone Else Involved - If you are worried about how they will react in a one on one conversation you can get another friend or family member involved. Another option would be to set up an intervention with a group of people who are all on the same page about getting them help for their drinking behavior.
An intervention can be a good alternative if you feel that they will put up resistance about getting help. You can even consider getting a professional interventionist involved to help everyone prepare and experience the best possible outcome.
5.Research Treatment Options Beforehand – The best end result of approaching someone about their addiction is for them to enter a treatment center. You can prepare for this by looking into treatment options so you can offer them information if they do choose to get help. It is important for them to enter a program soon after the conversation before they change their mind or go back into old habits.
You can look for a local rehab center or find twelve step meetings in the area. It is a good idea to provide them with a few options so they can choose what would suit them best for recovery. You can offer to accompany them for support and also to ensure that they make it safely into treatment.