It can become really difficult when someone you love or care about like your partner, parent, child or a close friend is drinking too muchor if you feel that they have become an alcoholic. It can feel like they’re two different people with two different personalities: the sober one and the drunk one.
It’s natural that you would want to care for a loved one. But it’s important to remember that it’s a big step for someone else to realise they are either drinking too much, have a problem or even that they may be an alcoholic.
Raising the issue of drinking too much
It’s important to choose the
right time to talk.
Don’t try discussing the issue if your loved one is drunk as they may get angry or even forget the conversation even took place.
Try to be
Using words like ‘alcoholic’ or ‘drinking problem’ will only make them defensive and put them on the back foot.
It can take some time and several conversations for someone to commit to changing their behaviour and alcohol intake. Remember that it’s their decision to change and not yours.
Don’t try to act as a
counsellor or support.
You can help them start to consider their drinking but the best person for them to talk to is their GP or a specialist alcohol worker, like the ones at Ayurva.
Don’t forget yourself
You need to look after yourself. You shouldn’t feel responsible for someone else’s decision to keep drinking. Contact us for free advice and support on this.
When someone is challenged about their alcohol use it is common that they try to negotiate with you. Remember to hold your boundaries
Be honest about your emotions.
Alcoholics and addicts often don’t realise just how much their actions impact those around them. Tell your loved one in a simple and straightforward way how their actions make you feel. Sometimes the loved ones of addicts want to act stronger than they feel. Trying to protect him from the pain he is causing you is helping no one. Be calm when you tell him and maintain empathy, but don’t hold back.
Consider an intervention.
When you have given communication your all and your efforts continue to fail to bring about any changes or productive responses in your loved one, it may be time to turn to a professional for help. An intervention is a gathering of family and friends to confront someone with an addiction and to give him options for getting help. There are professionals who are experienced in organizing and leading these events. Interventions can be intense so it helps to have either an addiction specialist or a therapist on hand to decompress the situation, to answer questions and to help lead the event. When you have been unable to talk to him with any success, he may need several people to get the message across.
Tips on helping a loved one
It can be tricky talking about alcohol with someone who may be drinking too much. Here are our tips on how to raise the issue:
On a practical level, choosing your moment is also vital – for both of you. Make sure you're both in the right mood, feeling calm, confident and not too emotional. You also need to be armed with as much information as possible so you can offer the person you care about the right facts and advice on where they can go to for support.
Getting the person you're concerned about to this stage, seeking support from someone independent, will hopefully help them change their behaviour or their relationship with alcohol. That way, they'll hear from other sources, not just you, that maybe they're drinking too much.
You might be surprised to find that the person concerned agrees with you. They might say: "Yes, I think I am drinking too much." But they may not.
You can help and support them but they need to want to change their behaviour with alcohol themselves. Remember: That might mean having the same conversation with them two or three times before they accept that they do have a problem.
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