How to Help Someone with a Drinking Problem
By: SOL Recovery Center 31 May 2016

Upon noticing that someone you know and care for may have a drinking problem, your first reaction may be one of shock and confusion, which may lend itself to trying to figure out a way to approach them. Mulling over the approach may make it seem more intimidating than you’d like, however, but where there is a will, there is a way. You can learn how to help someone with a drinking problem.


The thing with alcoholics is, some event in life led them to their dependency on the bottle, so a good starting point would be to find what’s at the core of their habit. This may segue to the case of their drinking routine – the frequency and duration of a typical session on a daily, or weekly basis.

The aim of meeting with your loved one is essential to assess the situation so as to get a better picture of just how deep the problem runs. You should take care to control your tone; don’t berate them. Remember that you want to help them, not scare them and give them another reason to run to yet another bottle.

How to Help Someone with a Drinking Problem: Reconnaissance

Sure, you’ve noticed the general changes and wish to step in. It is first important to observe them when you’re together, and take note of how they act around alcohol. Be sure to do this in a covert way, so as not to be noticed. This will give you a bit more insight, and possibly assist you in deciding how to broach the topic when the time comes.

How to Help Someone with a Drinking Problem: The Meeting

Try to make the meeting as private as possible. When organizing the meeting, express the urgency, choose a place of mutual comfort, and ask that they be sober. Ask questions which you believe will lead to the root of their drinking; what influences the habit. Chances are, this will be the first of many conversations. The person turned to drinking, so they will possibly divert from any questions about what they are going through. That being said, it is still important for you to keep a level head, and reiterate that they have a support system in you, and anyone else you believe that wants the best for them. Don’t harangue them, trying to get them to stop the very next minute. Be patient, and bear in mind that to end the drinking, they would have to first address the cause.

How to Help Someone with a Drinking Problem: Reinforcements

Don’t get in over your head. Sure, you have their best interest at heart, but if you feel overwhelmed, you might do more harm than good. Don’t hesitate to get other well-meaning loved ones involved. Not too many, as this may be overwhelming within itself for the person, but enough to adequately balance the weight of the situation. Get together, evaluate the situation, and consider all your options, and accept that you will need to involve a professional for therapy or treatment. Do some research, and make various suggestions to your loved one, and try to accommodate their needs and wants as best as you possibly can.

Having a loved one with a drinking problem is a difficult situation to face, but just ensure that they know you are there for them and that they are loved and cared for.

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