Having someone in your life that has a substance abuse problem can be difficult and emotionally taxing. It is equally as difficult for the substance abuse sufferer, as they often do not have control over their compulsion to consume alcohol. However, there are some ways that you can help someone with an alcohol abuse problem.
When you are dealing with an alcohol abuse sufferer, it is important to ascertain whether they truly have an addiction or not. If you assume that someone has a substance abuse problem and they do not, you could be causing more harm than good. Still, it is always a good idea to have some advice to hand if you are sure about the problem. Below is some helpful advice on how to help someone with an alcohol abuse problem.
Understand Alcohol Use Disorder
The first step to take in helping anyone with a substance abuse issue is to understand it. This is especially true of someone suffering from alcohol abuse or alcohol use disorder. Alcohol use disorder is more than simply drinking too much from time to time. People who have an alcohol use disorder do not drink in moderation and often rely on alcohol as a coping mechanism.
Some people with an alcohol abuse problem are known as “high-functioning” and will not appear to have been drinking, able to maintain relationships and even continue going to work. If a family member or friend is suffering from this affliction, it will be difficult for them to admit that they have a problem. You must be patient and willing to listen to them and allow them to come to this realisation on their own.
Think About What To Say
Once you have a better understanding of alcohol use disorder, you can better plan out what you are going to say to the person. You should let the person know that you care and that you are there for them, and avoid using any hurtful or presumptuous statements.
For example, rather than saying, “You seem to have a problem with alcohol,” you should say, “I care about you and am concerned about your health after noticing you are drinking more than usual.” Using “I” statements is less accusatory and shows the person that you are taking their feelings into account. No matter the reaction, be sure to remain calm and in control.
The Right Time And Place
You might feel that broaching the subject of an alcohol abuse problem should be done as soon as possible, but this is not always the case. You should choose a time to meet and speak to the person that is convenient for both of you, and you should choose a neutral setting for the conversation. Avoid a busy coffee shop or any location which brings about negative reactions.
Make sure that the person is sober and that there will be no distractions when you speak to them. You could ask a friend or family member to be there with you to act as a mediator, but be sure that they are equally calm and supportive. Choose a time and place that will make the person feel at ease and more receptive to your help.
Offer Your Support
It is important to realise that someone who suffers from a substance abuse problem might be resistant to accepting help or entering into a treatment programme. If this is the case, you should not be forceful but should instead offer your support and help until they decide what their actions will be.
If your friend or loved one vow to cut back on their own, you should rather encourage them to seek a formal alcohol rehabilitation programme from a local rehabilitation clinic. Be supportive and nonjudgemental when you offer your support, as it could come across as being accusatory or forceful.
For those who would like further help for a friend or loved one suffering from substance abuse, Find Addiction Treatment In The Western Cape here, or contact Life Path Health for more information on our treatment programmes. Call or Whatsapp the 24/7 Helpline at 0727900506