Watching someone you love struggle with alcohol abuse can be very difficult, and figuring out how and when to address your concern for them can be downright daunting. While you want to voice your worry, you may be conflicted on how to do so without seeming like you’re judging them.
Here are some tips that can help you feel more comfortable approaching someone about their drinking.
Tips for Talking to Someone About Their Alcoholism
Pick the Right Time
The right setting makes a big difference in how well this conversation goes. Aim to speak to your loved one when they are not drinking or hungover and seem to be in a good headspace. You should begin the conversation with simple, empathetic questions or statements such as “Do you ever think you drink more than you plan to?” or “I’m starting to worry about your drinking.”
While it can be difficult, especially if you have been negatively impacted by their drinking, do your best to avoid blaming your loved one for their addiction and its consequences. Becoming angry or accusative can cause them to become defensive or try to leave the conversation. Keep the focus on your concern for their health and wellbeing.
When addressing someone’s drinking, it’s best to go into the conversation with solutions to help them. Offer to assist them in finding treatment programs and AA meetings in your area, This shows them you’re not just voicing your opinion on their choices but are there to help them make better ones.
Be Ready for Pushback
No one likes hearing that the choices they’ve been making and the way they’ve been behaving are not going over well with those they’re close with. Prepare yourself for your loved one to be defensive, deny they have a problem, or refuse to listen. If this happens, reassure them you’re only speaking out because you care.
Be Committed to Caring
Especially after you’ve spoken to them, make choices that show you’re committed to their sobriety. Don’t drink with them or enable their addiction, in the hope that these actions will make them feel more comfortable with you. Once you’ve decided to try to help them with their addiction, you need to make choices that support that.
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