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How to help a friend dealing with addiction to alcohol

Megan shares the do's and don'ts when it comes to helping friends with addiction to alcohol


Written by Megan Stonecipher and posted in opinion


This is an opinion of a young person and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of SpunOut.ie. It is one person's experience and may be different for you. If you'd like to write something for SpunOut.ie please contact editor@spunout.ie.


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It is often hard to know what to do or say to a friend who is suffering from an addiction to alcohol.  It can be rather awkward and uncomfortable thinking about bringing up the conversation with your friend.  Remember though that you bringing up the conversation and expressing your concerns can help the person get back on the right track.  So don’t wait for someone else to speak up about the issue with your friend, and don’t be fearful or feel bad about getting involved in your friend’s life.  You getting involved could be what best helps this person.  

How to help (do’s and don’ts):

  • Do try to do a little research on the topic before having the conversation with your friend - in other words learn about addiction itself and also try to come prepared with options and treatments that your friend can use to overcome addiction.
  • Don’t meet somewhere that serves alcohol when trying to have the conversation - you want the person to be in a clear state of mind when you are talking to them about your concerns.
  • Do let your friend know that you support them and are there for them if they need any help along the way- showing your friend that you support and care for them will make them feel like they have someone to turn to when the road to recovery gets rough.
  • Don’t let their matters take over your whole life - remember that it is equally as important for you to be healthy and happy as well, so if things get too strenuous take time for self-care.
  • Do prepare yourself for possible excuses and denial - one of the most difficult steps to take for a person with an addiction is admitting that they have a problem.
  • Don’t be afraid to talk to other friends and family members about your concerns - at first the person with the addiction might be mad or feel betrayed seeing that you told other friends and family about his/her problem, but in the long run having other people who are close to the person informed will serve as a great support system for the person.

Overall know that you getting involved and telling your friend about your worries and concerns for them will greatly help that person get back on track and receive the treatment that they need in order to get better.  

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Published June 15th, 2017
Last updated October 23rd, 2017
Tags alcohol health wellbeing
Can this be improved? Contact editor@spunout.ie if you have any suggestions for this article.

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