Almost 100,000 deaths were caused by excessive alcohol use in a single year. Alcohol addiction and drinking problems are major problems for all age groups, genders, and socioeconomic groups.
It can be extremely difficult to see a loved one suffering from the effects of alcoholism. It can be a good idea to reach out to them to see how you can help them begin their recovery journey.
We have created a comprehensive guide on how to reach out and talk to a loved one about a drinking problem.
It is natural to be concerned for a loved one that is drinking too much. But how do you know if someone is just a social drinker versus a habit becoming a dangerous and potentially life-threatening alcohol addiction? Are there any signs or behavior you need to watch out for?
Here are some common warning signs and questions you can ask to determine if a loved one has a serious drinking problem.
Do they drink large quantities of alcohol on a regular basis? Does their drinking affect their relationships with family and friends?
Oftentimes, an individual with a drinking problem starts to suffer in their professional life as well. Ask questions about how their work life is going and what their career goals are.
Are they skipping out on events or activities they used to enjoy to they can drink? This could also include skipping events because they need to recover from hangovers or alcohol related injuries. Those who dedicate a majority of their free time to drinking could have an addiction.
Have they claimed they were going to quit drinking, but couldn't because they felt a compulsion to keep drinking? An alcoholic tends to constantly buy alcohol beyond what most would consider to be a "reasonable" amount because they have a compulsion.
Being able to recognize these warning signs before they turn into full-fledged addictions can help you help a loved one sooner.
It is important that you pick the right time to approach your loved one with your concerns.
Try to chart out the questions you plan on asking and the approach you want to take. Prepare possible answers or justifications your loved one may respond back with.
Having a plan going into these tough types of conversations can also help you make a stronger impact on your loved one. A plan allows you to focus on your goal of reaching out.
A plan allows you to stay on track and can help prevent you from getting too emotional, sad, or angry.
One thing you do not want to do when you reach out to a loved one about an alcohol addiction is to accuse them. Accusing them of having a drinking problem could make them ignore any support or advice you have to offer.
Instead of saying things like, "you drink too much," "you have a drinking problem," or "you need to get help," think about speaking in "I" statements.
Types of "I" statements you can say include, "I am worried about your drinking," "I want to help you," or "I am scared for your health."
This helps the one suffering from alcohol addiction to see more clearly how their actions are affecting the friends and family around surrounding them.
Another important strategy to keep in mind is to focus on the results of their drinking. You can bring up that you are concerned about the effects that drinking too much is having on their health.
Try to avoid labels to describe them, like an addict or alcoholic. Instead, focus on the behaviors of their drinking and the effects of those behaviors.
Lastly, a final step when reaching out to a loved one about their alcohol addiction is to offer solutions, not empty and vague accusations.
Be ready to offer concrete options for help. You should research some top-rated recovery centers and treatment facilities that could benefit your loved one. Learn more about different services and treatment programs that target the exact needs of your loved one.
An important thing to note here is that you do not want to give any sort of ultimatums. You do not want to be perceived as making sudden demands or telling them what to do.
Your loved one could write you off as being bossy, nagging, or intrusive.
Ultimately, every person is different. No matter if all of these steps are followed, any conversation that may occur between a person and a loved one with a drinking problem can have different results.
It is important to understand that it may take more than one conversation to convince a loved one to seek the professional help and assistance they need.
Seeing a loved one suffer from alcohol addiction can be one of the most difficult things to experience. Hopefully, the tips and strategies mentioned above gave you the confidence to reach out to them in the near future.
If you are ready to reach out to a loved one about your concerns for their well-being, know that you do not have to do it alone. Here at The Ohana, we are ready to help you or a loved one with alcohol addiction treatments.
The Ohana is a world-class intensive outpatient program and integrated recovery residence for those suffering from alcohol addiction and other abuse issues.
If you are in the state of Hawaii or want a beautiful, natural location for your recovery, reach out to us today to learn more about how we can help you recover.