Helping an Alcoholic Friend

If you want to help a friend to stop drinking, you have to decide if they genuinely want to stop and will acknowledge your help. Educating yourself is the first step to helping a friend. When your friend decides to get help, you should be prepared to assist them and offer suggestions about treatment programs.

How to tell if your friend needs help

If you think your friend drinks too excessively or is drunk too often, these are indications of alcohol abuse. Having an occasional drink isn’t a problem but not being able to control how much you drink and drinking to the point of intoxication can be. If your friend becomes aggressive when drinking, drives when drunk or drinks inappropriately, these are indicators of alcoholism.

Teach yourself about addiction

The best way to help a friend with a drinking problem is to learn about alcohol abuse and addiction. The more you learn about the symptoms of alcohol abuse, they easier it will be to spot them. It’s smart to think about alternative treatments, alcohol withdrawal side effects and how to differentiate between alcohol misuse and alcohol abuse. You might also consult support groups like AA and Al-Anon.

Confronting the issue

Starting a fight about alcohol abuse won’t help your friend. Before confronting your friend consult a professional about what to say. You might also have to get more friends and family to step in and offer support. One approach is to tell your friend that you spoke with a professional about their situation because you want to help. Your friend will see that you care and that they are hurting you.

How to help friends with alcohol problems

  • Be a friend
  • Show love
  • Be honest
  • Set limits

The best way to help an alcoholic is to set limits within your friendship. If you accept your friends behavior and ignore their problem, they will be less likely to seek help. Set your boundaries and stand by them, even if your friend gets angry. Don’t make excuses for your friend, don’t supply them with alcohol or tolerate their bad behavior. You also can’t do the work for them, they have to want to quit. If you ignore their problem and it’s not resolved it will become a much bigger issue in the future.

How to encourage an alcoholic to get treatment

If your friend admits they have a problem but is unsure how to quit drinking, you can help by researching treatment options. It’s a good idea to have some information available to help them understand their different options. You might also have to ask how you can help them. This might include driving your friend to an AA meeting, it could also mean helping with day to day affairs while they are in recovery. Visit the other pages on this site for more information.

If a friend of family member needs treatment, we encourage you to call a treatment advisor at 888-213-1552.