Addicts are not typically open to suggestions and they definitely don’t want to be told they have a problem and need help. Usually, they will quickly deny the accusations and become angry with you.
However, that does not mean that if you have a close friend who is suffering from alcoholism that you should avoid confronting them. After all, as a good friend, your job is to keep them in check.
But, there are a few differences when confronting an alcoholic compared to just confronting the average person.
It takes great preparation, caution, and compassion to appropriately address the situation.
If you are looking to confront your friend about their alcoholism and want the conversation to be as successful as it can be, keep these few tips in mind:
You are not responsible for their reaction.Regardless of the outcome, just remember they are their own person and you do not control how they respond to you. If they get mad, that is on them – not you.If they have an addiction, they are most likely in the denial stage and unfortunately there is only so much you can do to help them. You cannot force them to change.Start by just talking to them and addressing the issue. But, be compassionate, open-minded and gentle as they will probably have an adverse reaction.
Know your stuff.Before you ever say one word to them about it, do your research. People are much more inclined to listen to you when they feel you are knowledgeable on the subject.Especially with an addict, the first reaction is typically that you don’t understand. While you might not ever be able to understand first hand, you can at least be well-versed in the subject.This will also help prepare you for if they do ask questions and also give you the means to be prepared for when they are ready to accept the help.
Maintain realistic expectations.No matter how bad you want to help your friend, don’t go into the conversation expecting them to just drop their addiction right there and never look back. The chances of that happening are slim to none. That just isn’t how addiction works.Instead, go in with an open mind knowing that it will likely take some time to see any real results.
Do you ever get extremely stressed and you just step outside and take a deep breath of fresh air?
Or, have you ever just felt incredibly tense and then had the chance to just walk on the beach?
It is almost like you can literally feel the stress, anxiety, and emotional pain leave your body. You suddenly feel an overwhelming sense of relief and you realize you are ready for the next step, whatever that might be.
That is how sobriety is. While it is a much harder road than simply stepping outside and taking a deep breath, once you reach the point of sobriety and full recovery, you will feel such a weight lifted off your shoulders. Like taking a deep breath of fresh air, you will just feel relieved. No more worrying, no more anger, hatred, and pain…you can finally move on with your life.
Doesn’t that sound incredible?
However, some people never get to experience the true joy of sobriety as drugs and alcohol will constantly tell you that joy and relief don’t exist. The drugs and alcohol will continue to feed you the lies saying that you need them. You have to have them.
But you don’t.
A few more benefits of sobriety that the drugs and alcohol won’t tell you about include:
You will make new friends.One of the hardest parts about giving up an addiction is that during your addiction you establish a very set friend group – typically, it consists of other addicts. However, once you are on the road to sobriety you shouldn’t surround yourself with those people anymore as they can tempt you to sway from the road to recovery.
So, this might leave you feeling like you won’t make new friends. But, you will. And, guess what? You might even make some friends in your recovery program who are going through the same thing and will understand you just as much as your addict friends did.
You will save money.Do you know how much you really are spending on drugs and/or alcohol? In the midst of the addiction, you might be blinded in regard to how much you are actually spending. But, you will be surprised by how much you save. You can put that money back for several things – maybe consider taking a vacation once you are sober to reward yourself. Doesn’t that sound like great motivation?
You will look better.You know how it can be hard to see that you’ve lost weight since you look at yourself every single day? It can be the same way when it comes to seeing how much drugs and/or alcohol have taken a toll on your body.
However, putting good things into your body rather than harmful chemicals and cutting out the 1,200+ calories from the beer that you consume daily will improve your appearance significantly.
Addiction can take a hold of you and feed you the lies that you are nothing without it. That you are not negatively affected by it and that the benefits of sobriety are not that great.
However, this is so wrong. God did not intend for us to harm our bodies with drugs and/or alcohol.