When you believe that someone in your life may be abusing alcohol, you may not know what to do or what to say to them that may help the situation. How can you discuss a person’s problem with them without driving them further away into their substance abuse? People who are actively addictive are often defensive of their actions which can make it challenging to discuss the issue with them.
A useful way to start a conversation with an alcoholic is to start by expressing concern and love. You can say “I feel concerned about you because..” and discussing certain things that may be examples of how their drinking has affected them or other people. Having concern for them but also concrete reasons can make it easier to reach them.
Sometimes when drinking becomes really out of control you will need to give the alcoholic an ultimatum. You might say “If you continue to drink we can’t..” if you are feeling like you need to distance yourself from them. This may not affect the alcoholic right away but they will eventually think about your ultimatum and it can help them make a decision.
Even though you might want to establish boundaries with the alcoholic it is also important to make it clear that you will support them if they choose to be sober. You can say “I will be here for you when you decide to get help.” This lets them know that you are not abandoning them but must remove yourself from their addictive behavior.
When an alcohol does enter recover you can provide support, be there for them when they need to talk and provide encouragement as often as you can. It can be difficult to handle the situation when someone is addicted but following these guidelines can help you maintain your relationship with them.