Friends are the family that we get to choose for ourselves as we become adults. Your group of friends is likely one of your most important circles of people. We get and give joy, support, and love through our friends so it’s no surprise that you only want the best for them all.
If you start to notice that a friend is struggling with some kind of addiction it could be up to you to step in and share your concerns. This can be a slippery slope in many situations. How exactly do you cross that line? Uncertainty and not wanting to invade your friend’s privacy are two of the most common reasons that people claim they are fearful to step in to help a friend.
Helping friends with drinking problems can be a difficult and stressful process. Many addicts are in heavy denial about their issues and are not willing to listen even if you are being helpful.
If you have a friend that you are worried about, but you aren’t sure how to help, take a look at a few of these tips to help you talk with your friend.
There is no use in trying to talk to someone about their addiction unless they are sober. If they are intoxicated, things could either get ugly or they might not even remember the conversation.
Choose a time when you know they are the least likely to be drinking. The first thing in the morning after a night of drinking is a good time when the behavior is still fresh in their mind.
Let them know that you need to talk to them about something important so that they will be ready for a serious conversation, but don’t blindside them completely.
Focus On Consequences
Instead of lecturing or blaming, try to center your conversation from a place of caring and your worry for their welfare. Talk about the consequences to their health, their relationships and their career to make it more real for them.
If there have already been incidents, this is a good time to bring those up and express that you don’t want to see them continue down this destructive path. Let them know that you have noticed changes in their behavior and how those changes make you feel.
Remind them that their actions have more than personal consequences. The actions of an addict often affect their family and friends just as much, if not more, than themselves.
Before you head into a tough conversation about addiction, you need to be prepared to be the most helpful. Let your friend know that you will support them in their journey as long as they choose to start looking for help.
Do the research before your meeting and let them know what you have found as far as recovery treatments and other options are concerned. Look up the closest AA meeting, or the details about a support group in the neighborhood and share the details with them. You can even offer to go with them if they are more comfortable.
Discuss letting their family doctor give them some help. Encourage them to make an appointment to discuss treatment options with their doctor and offer a ride or your support.
Watching a friend or loved one suffer through the challenges of addiction can be painful and frustrating. As a friend, you want to be able to do anything you can to help the addict get back on the right track.
If you approach your intervention from a place of love and support you will be able to communicate better and hopefully help them to make healthier decisions about their life.