Reaching out to someone who has an alcohol addiction and helping them can be a difficult thing to undertake. Most of us aren’t equipped with the counselling skills and medical know-how that professionals have and it’s easy to think that it’s too high a mountain to climb. Fear of failure may put you off but it certainly won’t improve the situation either. If you have a loved one or friend who has a drink problem, then any help is better than none and, like most interventions, approach and planning are quite important.
A Calm Approach
First of all, it helps to look at your own emotions. If you are feeling over-anxious and angry, it’s not going to help if you allow these to get the better of you. A caring and calm approach works a lot better than an emotional, out of control one. If you want to get anywhere then remaining cool, however difficult the problem seems, is vital.
Explaining their addiction to someone with a drink problem is difficult at most times but near impossible if they are drunk. Wait for the right moment (both for them and you) when they are likely to be more receptive and talk to them in a calm and measured manner.
This is not the time to be judgemental or moralistic. Tell them that you are worried about them and that you are here to help. Try to be specific about their drinking behaviour and get them to talk about their feelings and behaviour. It’s not easy but keep at it, you may be surprised at how open they can be.
Getting the person on board and fighting to conquer their addiction may not be the biggest hurdle you face but it is certainly the most important. To help, it’s a good idea to do your research and get to know in more detail what you are dealing with.
Doing Your Research
In most things, knowledge is power and nowhere is this more important than in dealing with addiction. Getting to know your subject might sound trite right now but it can give you the confidence to approach your friend or family member and begin making a real difference to their life. Fortunately, there are plenty of resources online to find out about alcohol addiction and the different treatments available. You can also join forums and groups and talk to other people who have been in your situation. There are helplines available in many countries where you can find a friendly ear and some good advice before you begin your journey.
Gaining good knowledge can empower you and highlight possible hurdles that you are going to face in the future as you help this person get over their addiction. It can also confirm that you are doing the right thing.
Committing to Help
Addiction is a complex behavioural problem and can’t be cured overnight. If someone you love is trapped in the vicious cycle of an addiction, then they will need all the help you can give. It’s not just a question of telling them they have a problem but supporting them during the difficult journey towards recovery. It takes commitment and a fair amount of stamina. There will be times when it goes well and times when the person falls off the wagon and takes several steps backward.
Patience and compassion are key to giving them the help and support they need. But you also need that support yourself. If you can find someone who has been through what you are going through or a close friend you can confide in, then do so. In the end, the fight will be worth it, hopefully your friend or loved one will recover and begin to lead a more prosperous and healthier life.