It is difficult to watch an alcoholic friend or coworker struggling with their alcoholism when you can see the effects drinking takes on their life. You may feel powerless to help them with their problem because you don’t know what you can do or if they will accept your help.
A person who has an alcohol use disorder is considered an alcoholic. They may have physical and psychological dependencies on alcohol and though drinking causes problems in their professional and social lives and their health, they have difficulty controlling the urge to drink. Alcoholics can have a range of mild or severe problems with alcohol, both of which can develop into more serious issues.
Ideally, with intervention and early treatment, a person can work through their alcoholism. The key is that they first make the decision to start their sobriety. You can help your friend along this journey. If you want to know how to help an alcoholic friend, here are some helpful steps and guidance to consider.
Common Signs of Alcoholism
If you think that your friend has a problem because they drink too much, that might indicate their drinking behavior is abusive. Consider if you have noticed that your friend is drinking quite a bit at social events or it appears that they have difficulty stopping. These are usually symptoms of alcoholism or alcohol abuse. Other behaviors that may indicate they have a problem include that they drive while intoxicated, become violent when they drink or they choose to drink at times or in quantities that are not appropriate.
Symptoms Caused by Repeated Alcohol Abuse
The Mayo Clinic offers several signs and symptoms that may indicate a person is suffering from alcohol use disorder. The number of symptoms that they experience will indicate the level of severity of their problem. Some of these indicators include the following:
- Inability to limit their alcohol consumption
- Not able to fulfill work, school or home obligations because of their alcohol use
- Reducing or forgoing their work/social activities and hobbies
- Drinking alcohol in situations where it is unsafe
- Appears to spend a large amount of their time on alcoholic related activities including drinking, getting drinks and recovering after alcohol use
When a person has an alcohol disorder, they will also show signs of intoxication and withdrawal. Alcohol intoxication is the result of your increased bloodstream because of the amount of alcohol. Inappropriate behavior, unpredictable moods, impaired judgment, the slurring of words and “blackouts” are signs of intoxication. Alcohol withdrawal occurs when a person stops or considerably reduces their intake of alcohol after heavy and prolonged periods of use.
Learn What to Say to Your Friend
Approaching the subject of a friend’s alcoholism can be difficult. Psych Central recommends that when speaking to a loved one about their drinking that the conversation should be simple and you should focus on being truthful. Use “I” statements so that it doesn’t seem like you are attacking them about their drinking.
An aggressive confrontation will not have good results. Your loved one will be defensive and be resistant to what you are telling them. It might be helpful to gather other friends who are concerned as well and want to help.
Supporting Through the Recovery Process
While your friend is in recovery, they can often feel alone and more vulnerable. Supporting them during this process will help them stay on track. Some ways that you can help include:
- Helping them find a therapist who’s able to support their recovery and process their emotions.
- Driving them to outpatient treatment and back. This can also help avoid them to avoid the temptation of going to a liquor store or bar.
- See them during visiting hours. If your friend is in an inpatient rehabilitation facility, check on when they have visiting hours and when friends are allowed to visit.
- Help them find resources for other areas of their life. To help them focus on their recovery, they could need help in other aspects of life. Look for ways to reduce their stress such as ridesharing, meal delivery services or helping them find a sober living situation.
Remember They are Still Your Friend
Remaining sober is a lifelong process so they will continue to need your positivity and support well after treatment. Find activities that you can do with them and others that don’t revolve around alcohol. Let them know that you are on their side and want to be there for them when they need a friend.
Consult Alcohol Abuse Treatment Professionals
Do you have an alcoholic friend or loved one who is suffering from alcohol problems? Aquila Recovery is available to help them with their journey to recovery. Contact us today to learn more information on the recovery process, and encourage your friend to schedule a consultation. We are committed to finding the right path to recovery and healthy lifestyles for each patient.