If one of your close friends is dealing with abusing alcoholic substances, you’re probably all too familiar with the difficulties that come with trying to help them, especially the naysayers that continually remind you that you can’t make people change. Although there is some truth to that statement, a lot of times the person is crying out for help and all they need is someone that genuinely cares, someone who can help them take the necessary steps down the right path. The five guidelines listed below will help you shine a light on the darkness that is an addiction and help someone, maybe a close friend, turn their life completely around.
1. Keep Talking
I’m willing to bet that you’ve heard the word intervention before. Helping someone struggling with the bonds of addiction can be tough, but keeping the lines of communication open and accessible can be a crucial step toward recovery. After all, the main thing is letting them know you care, and how will they know unless you tell them. Specific conversations may be uncomfortable, but rest assured, they’re necessary. Sometimes a simple discussion is all that’s needed, but the majority of the time you’ll have to hold interventions regularly. After all, addiction is difficult to break. Keep in mind, the reason for the intervention is to let your friend or loved one know that their drinking is of concern and that you’re willing to lend a helping hand on their road to recovery.
2. Utilize All Your Resources
There’s no magic pill for addiction. It’s a long process that can be daunting when done alone. Seeking out help from addiction specialists and different types of rehab facilities is an indispensable step toward genuinely helping your friend or loved one. These centers offer an abundance of information regarding recovery, not to mention they offer top of the line facilities that take the well-being of the individual in mind. For someone dealing with addiction, seeking help is not an easy thing. That’s why its pertinent that you’re with them every step of the way, providing different therapeutic releases to help in recovery.
3. Keep All Judgments to Yourself
The last thing you want to do is to judge someone dealing with an addiction to alcohol. Life takes us down different paths, and some of us have it harder than others. While you’re not excusing their behavior, it is necessary that you empathize. Making someone feel down and dejected is not the aim, judging inevitable does more harm than good. Sometimes it’ll be difficult to relate to how the person is feeling, due to the mere the fact that you’re not an alcoholic. In time such as these, you want to lend a listening ear, a non-judgmental listening ear.
4. Let Them Know Why Their Drinking Is A Problem
Sometimes when we are confronted with issues in our life, we may be combative because we may disagree that what we’re doing is wrong. Keep in mind that an addict will do the same. When intervening, be sure to gracefully present examples of why their drinking is becoming a problem. Be prepared to get some push-back; it’s crucial that you relate poignant examples of when their alcoholism was detrimental to themselves and those around them. Confronting the addict with impactful reasoning is the only way to get them to look in the mirror.
5. Don’t Contradict Yourself
When trying to get a friend or loved one to comprehend the extent of their alcoholism and the detrimental effects that it may be having on their lives, the absolute last thing you want to do is drink around them. Drinking around an alcoholic is highly inconsiderate, such behavior could cause them to want to get a drink, or even worse wash away your previous efforts by making them think that all you’ve said was of no serious concern. You may not have a problem with alcohol like the other person, but do them a favor and avoid any drinking around them.
6. Educate Yourself
This is easily one of the most important things you can do to help your friend or family member. If you don’t understand the struggle they’re going through, you likely won’t be able to help them. There are plenty of resources available online to point you in the right direction. It is also a good idea to educate yourself on different ways to help them depending on which part of recovery they are in. For example, if they have recently quit drinking, the ways you can help will differ from the ways you would be helping if they haven’t had a drink in 3 months.
Remember, no matter what the person is dealing with in their life, continue to let them know how happy you are that they’re taking the necessary steps to change their life for the better. Reiterate that you’ll always be there for them and you’ll provide continual support as they take steps toward recovery. Over the long haul, your friend and loved one will grow to appreciate all your efforts, and will someday live a brand-new life free from the bondage of alcoholism. An essential part of sobriety is learning how to become self-sufficient, and eventually taking the necessary steps to uplift one’s life to standards that beneficial to self and society. Social support is the crucial ingredient in upward mobility.