One of the most common sayings among addicts when confronted about their addiction is…
“I don’t have a problem!”
That is part of the denial stage. Especially in the beginning stages of the addiction, it can be very easy to be in denial. Typically, someone who struggles from an alcohol addiction does not just one day decide to pick up a bottle, chug it, and just like that they are addicted.
While that can happen, it is not the most common scenario.
But, what usually happens is that an addict will begin with just a few drinks, maybe not even every day, but just a few times a week…
Then, either something tragic happens in their life or the drinking just continuously picks up. But, after a little while it begins to turn into a drinking problem.
However, since it started out not being a problem, it can be hard for the addict to actually see the transition within themselves.
Close friends, relatives and/or colleagues begin to express their concern.If people around you are expressing concern or if you are having to express your concern to someone about their drinking, chances are there is a problem. It would not be so noticeable by those around the person if it was just a normal act.
The person begins drinking as a way of “self-medicating.”Drinking due to problems at work, home, or in social settings can be a means of self-medicating which can also lead to and/or be a sign of a drinking problem.
There is a noticeable loss of weight and change in appearance.As you drink more and more alcohol, it wears down your body. An occasional drink does not provoke such strong effects, but a drinking problem does. They might begin to slim down in the face or seem noticeably lethargic.
They are lying about drinking.If you have to hide it then something is wrong. Being secretive is a sign that they are doing something they shouldn’t be doing, such as consuming too much alcohol.
They have tried to cut back but failed.Maybe they told you they were going to cut back on their alcohol, however, you have noticed otherwise. This could be a sign they have a problem, especially because they might be attempting to be secretive.Either they are trying to hide how much they actually drink by distracting you and saying they will cut back or they couldn’t cut back like they committed to.
Their drinking habits begin to cause problems in other areas of their life.Maybe you notice their marriage is deteriorating or they have lost their job recently. Any sign of distress in other areas of their life could be a result of a drinking problem.
If you are a parent, you probably know exactly what I am about to talk about below…
Sometimes, small children will become enraged when they are hungry. They begin to scream, cry, and throw a major fit. They become incredibly irritable and short-tempered. They might know they are hungry or they might not, but either way they just can’t stop acting that way…
This is their way of crying out for help – literally. They are attempting to let you know they need food with their actions – even if they might not really realize it.
Even if you aren’t a parent, you might have felt that way yourself. This scenario does not just apply to children; however, adults are more likely to skip the screaming, crying, and throwing a fit part and just skip right to the irritability and short-tempered mannerisms.
This is relatable to an addict – sometimes they will act a certain way as a means of crying out for help and sometimes they might not even realize it.
This is most often seen in suicide cases, people will typically cry out for help even in very discrete ways just to see if anyone will answer…
If you think someone near you might be struggling with addiction or if you know they are, they might be crying out to you for help and it is important that you can adequately recognize the signs…
They will become withdrawn.Addicts don’t like the attention on them because they don’t want people to see or know about their addiction. They will spend the majority of their time alone and don’t care to engage in big group activities. It is similar to an introvert, but to a much higher extreme.
Their mood will fluctuate.You will probably notice they are a lot more irritable. They will be short-tempered and frustrated the majority of the time.
They will drop subtle hints.You might actually notice they start dropping hints such as talking about what life would be like if they weren’t an addict or other things that might relate to them being clean.While this might sound like they will make the effort to make a change, they are actually also trying to let you know they are ready for some help.
Part of addiction recovery is having a support system – friends and family there to help you, guide you, and support you. If someone you know and love is suffering from addiction, keep an eye out for signs they are crying for help…
Your push and your support might be just what they need to make that jump.
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.