How to Talk To A Loved One With A Drinking Problem

Drinking Problem

How to Talk To A Loved One With A Drinking Problem

Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for the average American to know somebody who has a drinking problem. Whether it’s a friend, family member or colleague – chances are we all know someone who hits the bottle a little too often. However, don’t lose your faith in these people – they can fix their ways with your help.

When someone you care about has a drinking problem, it’s normal to feel lost about what you can do to help them. After all – if you yourself have never experienced the pains of addiction then it makes it hard to empathize. However, there are many different things you can do to help your loved one through these difficult times.


Avoid Labels

The most important thing to do when talking to someone with a drinking problem is to make sure that they don’t feel attacked. Obviously, most people know enough to not just walk up to the person and accuse them of being an alcoholic, but even simple language can determine whether the person feels attacked or cared for.

Make sure that you avoid the use of the word ‘alcoholic’. That word in itself can build defensive walls that can difficult to break back down. In fact, it’s best to avoid labels all together. Just refer to the issue as ‘drinking’. By not giving any labels, the person will feel like it is less of a personal attack and more of an issue that you are trying to help resolve.


Timing Is Everything

Getting the timing right for the conversation can make a huge difference in whether or not you will see success. The most important thing is to make sure that you have the conversation at a time when the person in question is sober. If you’re talking to them while intoxicated, you will find that the person may be more easily angered, as well as may even forget the entirety of the conversation.

It would also be a good idea to talk to the person shortly after something happened that was a direct cause of the drinking. An example of this would be a ruined relationship, drinking-and-driving charge or loss of a job. At this point, they will start to feel the consequences that come with their heavy drinking and give you more fuel in your conversation.


Expect The Worst

When you are approaching your loved ones about their drinking problem, know that the worst can happen. They may become hostile and not talk to you for months afterward. You may not hear from them ever again. It’s a risk that you may have to take in order to get them help.

For your own mental well-being, it’s important that you do not take this personally. When hateful things are said, know that this is the alcohol taking over – not them. Denial and anger are common emotions to feel when confronted about their drinking problems, and the brunt of that anger may get directed towards you. But it’s not BECAUSE of you. In order to get them the help they need, you must do what needs to be done.


Having a conversation with someone who is suffering from a drinking problem is never fun. It may cause that person to never speak to you again. At the end of the day, you will do whatever it takes to get a loved one the help they need. If you know someone who is suffering from a drinking problem – Kairos Healthcare can help.

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