In 2018, 14.4 million American adults had alcohol use disorder.
If someone you know and love is a part of that statistic, it’s important that you speak with them as soon as you can.
As you can imagine, this will be one of the hardest conversations you, and even more so, your best friend will ever have.
However, if you take the time to understand how you can approach the situations and what to say to an alcoholic in order to help, you might actually point them in the direction of recovery.
Keep reading for some essential tips.
Starting a Difficult Conversation
How you embark on this conversation is just as important as what you say.
It is a very delicate situation and, in order to open up, your best friend needs to feel like they’re in a safe, comfortable space.
As such, remember to:
- Find a quiet, familiar place to talk
- Make sure both you and your best friend are sober for the conversation
- Be understanding, and never judgmental
- Listen more than you speak
- Set boundaries, but be willing to compromise
Regarding what to say, four things that tend to help are:
“I’m Worried About How Much You’ve Been Drinking”
When you’re speaking about a topic like alcoholism, it’s essential to be kind and supportive, but also to be straightforward.
If you’ve started to notice suspicious behavior or any of the typical symptoms of drug withdrawal, tell your friend that you’re worried about them and why.
Be specific about what you’re noticing, mentioning particular situations and mishaps.
“Your Drinking Is Affecting…”
Your friendship, their relationship with their children, their career, their financial situation… whatever it is.
By telling them this, you’ll be showing them that their addiction doesn’t just affect them, but people or things that they love, and they might just give them the motivation they need to get help.
“What Can I Do to Help You?”
Remember when we mentioned how important it is for you to listen to your best friend?
This conversation isn’t a lecture.
It’s essential that you ask questions, especially because chances are that they won’t feel completely comfortable opening up about a topic like this.
Ask them what you can do and, whether they just want someone to talk to or someone to take them to AA meetings, make sure to be supportive.
“I’ll Be Here For You Throughout the Way”
Feeling alone during recovery is halfway to giving up.
Reassuring your best friend that you’ll be by their side during this difficult, but much-needed journey is crucial.
However, your actions need to be consistent with your words.
Sometimes, being a supportive friend to someone who has an addiction isn’t the easiest thing to do, but as long as your friend is putting in the work in order to heal, you should try your best to help them.
What to Say to an Alcoholic: Kindness and Encouragement Are Key
Knowing what to say to an alcoholic, as well as how to say it, can make the difference between having an unpleasant conversation, or one that actually leads your best friend to recovery.
Just remember to be kind and encouraging.
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