Can You Help a Friend with a Drinking Problem?

A lot of us know someone who drinks a lot of alcohol. It may even be sort of an inside joke that someone in your social circle drinks “too much.” Usually, the person in question is in on the joke, too. Often, though, these friends don’t have what we’d traditionally call a problem. Sure, it would be a lot healthier for them to cut down. But, in reality, they can stop for days or even weeks at a time. They’re not exactly drinking themselves to death.

But what if they are drinking every day? And what if it’s having noticeable effects on their behavior? The booze may have left them jolly at some point, but now it doesn’t seem to have any positive effect. Maybe they’re showing up late to work or not even attending. Maybe they’re actually planning events around their drinking plans and subsequent hangovers. All of this sounds like a drinking problem.

Talking is underrated

Actually talking to the person as early as possible is where it all starts. You don’t have to wait for things to get really bad and then hold an intervention. Try to find them at a time when they’re not drunk; the morning is usually best, even if they are a little hungover.

Ask them how they feel about their drinking. Tell them you’re concerned for their health but that, ultimately, you’re here to support them when they feel they need help. It’s often said that people with alcohol problems will always deny that they have a problem. This isn’t necessarily true; you may get an acknowledgment of the problem right away. Whatever you do, don’t be judgmental, and make sure they know that their comfort and health is your main concern.

Showing support throughout the process

You can’t really force anyone to stop drinking. I mean, technically, you could lock someone up and control what they eat or drink. But that’s going to get you, y’know, arrested. The fact is that they’re going to take the necessary steps when they feel ready to do so.

Photo by George Hodon
Photo by George Hodon

You’ll need to show support throughout the entire process. If you’re out with them, you should try abstaining from drinking. If you want to continue conversations, ask them about how drinking makes them feel and why they do it. If the conversation always starts and ends with “stop drinking,” they won’t want to talk about it. And if they do start to slow things down or cut booze out altogether, show encouragement. You could even consider some AA shopping to find tokens of support.

Remember yourself!

This whole process is an exhausting one. I’ve been there, and it’s extremely demanding. The fact is that it can take quite a toll on you. You shouldn’t be afraid to look after yourself. Remember to go have some fun, to eat well, and to exercise regularly. Y’know, all that good stuff you hear about so often.

So may feel that this is selfish behavior when your friend is in need of such help. But taking care of yourself puts you in a better position to take care of others. Plus, by taking care of yourself, you can help your friend get into similar habits on the road to recovery!



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Adam runs the grooming section at Unfinished Man, where he reviews the latest hair, skin, and shave products for men. With a passion for men's grooming, he continuously tests shampoos, conditioners, gels, moisturizers, razors, and more. Adam provides knowledgeable, trustworthy recommendations to help readers upgrade their routines. His background in evaluating hundreds of products makes him an expert on finding the best innovations for every guy's needs.

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