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According to the U.S. Surgeon General, one in seven people will struggle with addiction at some point in their life.
But seeing this number and experiencing it are two very different things. What happens when the figure hits close to home, and it’s someone you love struggling with addiction?
Taking the right approach can make all the difference. Read this guide for some quick and easy tips to help you talk to your friend about their drinking problem.
Choose The Right Time
Everything has its place and time — especially this conversation. Where and when you have this important conversation can play an integral role in how effective your words are.
When speaking with your alcoholic friend about your concerns, don’t bring it up in a public setting.
Your friend may already experience some shock over your concerns. Addressing their alcoholism in a public space only embarrasses them and drives them further away.
Instead, choose a safe, quiet, intimate location to hold the conversation. Somewhere away from people where you can have a few moments together.
Think About What You’d Like to Say Beforehand
Odds are, you’ll feel nervous bringing up the issue around your friend. While that’s understandable, you don’t want nerves getting in the way of your message.
Rehearse the conversation before addressing your friend. If it helps, write up an outline of what you’d like to say. There’s no shame in using it as a basis for your speech.
Speak From a Place of Love
People are rarely their best selves when drunk. You may have been embarrassed by your friend in the past, or you may feel angry or resentful. These are natural, albeit potentially harmful, feelings.
But beneath the disease is the same friend you know and love. Therefore, you’ll want to approach them with kindness and compassion instead of anger.
This is yet another reason why it’s a good idea to plan your talk in advance.
Be Prepared For Pushback
Your alcoholic friend likely won’t see the conversation. When you start to bring up their drinking, there’s a good chance they’ll respond in anger or deflection.
Stick to your guns. Expect this resistance and say what you need to say. You just might save their life.
Present Treatment Options
As you prepare for the conversation, come up with a number of treatment options for your friend. Get the names and numbers of several local alcohol and drug rehab facilities and research which would be a good fit.
Cap the conversation by providing these resources to your friend. Let them know that, although they’re struggling now, help is out there if they want it.
You may even choose to offer to drive them to rehab yourself.
How to Tell a Friend They Have a Drinking Problem
Nobody wants to tell their friend they have a drinking problem. But it’s an important conversation nonetheless. Approaching the subject in a safe environment and speaking from a place of love are the first steps in helping your friend overcome their addiction.
Remember, addiction isn’t something that just goes away. Be patient with your friend and stick with them in their hour of need.
Do you think your friend may have a problem? Read up on these eight telltale signs and see if they fit the mold.