Have you ever looked at a friend or loved one with a drinking problem and thought, “Why won’t you just stop? Can’t you see how bad this is for you?” Unfortunately, if someone has fallen far enough into the clutches of alcoholism, it’s possible that they can’t. It’s not uncommon for people with substance abuse problems to be in denial, even if it seems obvious to the rest of the world that they need help. Unfortunately, no matter how much you might wish to shout at someone until they see sense, it’s not so easy. There are some things can you do to try convincing someone that they have a problem, but there’s no guarantee.
One good place to start is trying to figure out what made them start drinking in the first place and why they don’t want to look for help. You never know what sort of answers this might dredge up, and it’s probably not a great idea to do it with someone who’s just an acquaintance. It also might not be anything you can help them with, but at the least if you discover that there is an underlying problem, you can work on getting them to talk to a therapist. That might be easier than convincing them to stop drinking.
If their answer is something like “it’s too hard” or “I tried to quit before and it didn’t work,” that’s something that you can plan for. If they tried to quit cold turkey before, you can come armed with information. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism has an extensive website on alcohol and its effects on the body and mind. There’s also an alcohol treatment navigator, where you can research what sort of treatment might be needed, how to find that treatment, and what’s available in your area.
Once you have all the information, you can practice what you’re going to say and how you might respond to their arguments. Don’t just say “this is bad,” come prepared with all the ways it’s hurting the drinker and everyone around him, and then assure them that you know how to help.
There are also support groups out there for the friends and family of people with drinking problems. Probably the most well known is Al-Anon, where you can attend meetings just like people do in AA, only these are for people who have been in your shoes trying to help someone else. There are even virtual meetings that you can attend online or over the phone, if there aren’t any in your area or you don’t feel comfortable talking to a group in person. Attending these meetings is a good way to get advice on things that do and don’t work, as well as learn how to deal with your own stress surrounding the situation.
If you or a loved one need help with quitting drugs or alcohol, consider Asana Recovery. We offer medical detox, along with both residential and outpatient programs, and you’ll be supervised by a highly trained staff of medical professionals, counselors, and therapists. Call us any time at (949) 438-4504 to get started.