Facebook Pixel

How to Approach a Loved One Who Has an Alcohol Problem

By HERWriter
Rate This
loved-ones-with-alcohol-problem Andrea Morini/Photodisc/Thinkstock

It’s hard to know how to help loved ones without offending them in the process, especially when there is a mental health issue involved. In honor of Alcohol Awareness Month in April, experts provide some tips on how to approach a loved one who is engaging in problematic drinking behaviors.

Wes Tobin, a certified alcohol and drug counselor and program director at Harris House Treatment Center in Missouri, said the best way to approach loved ones who are having some type of drinking issue is with love.

“It's crucial for the individual to be approached with care and concern," Tobin said. "Preparation and guidance are key. Friends and family members need to educate themselves on the disease of alcoholism. A more caring, concerned approach will be fostered through a better understanding of the disease."

The person who is being approached should not get the feeling that they are being cornered and attacked by any means.

“Harris House has found that involving multiple people in approaching an individual is more effective,” Tobin said.

“It's important that everyone involved leaves outside issues at the door and focuses solely on the issue of alcohol abuse at hand. They must show that they care and are genuinely concerned about the individual.”

When approaching the individual, it is best to not only be prepared with knowledge of alcoholism and substance related disorders, but to also have clear evidence of how that person is engaging in problematic drinking behavior. Tobin suggested writing a list of specific situations where the drinking has been harmful to the individual and others.

"By the time a friend or family member sees and recognizes altered behaviors, the person is likely past the point of cutting down or reducing his or her alcohol use,” Tobin said.

“They need to seek treatment. The number one symptom of alcoholism is denial, and it's difficult to break through. Prepare your case and present the facts in a way that shows you are concerned and want to preserve a future relationship."

Add a Comment5 Comments

EmpowHER Guest

Alcohol addiction disturbs humans mentally and this is not an easy job to easily get rid of this problem. One can get rid to this problem under the guidance of the experts.

January 4, 2013 - 4:12am
(reply to Anonymous)

I completely agree. It's an addiction that's better fought with the help of people trained in overcoming alcoholism.

April 3, 2013 - 2:03pm
EmpowHER Guest

Yes, the best way to approach loved ones who are having some type of drinking issue is with love... Great Blog, your have explained in very effective way, Its no doubt that today mostly younger has addicted of ALCOHOL which is not good for them. I really thankful to blog owner for a very caring post. I have found a site that can help you find a treatment center - http://www.rehabclinic.org.uk [Senerity Healthcare Centre]

October 31, 2012 - 3:59am
EmpowHER Guest

It is sheer pain for an individual to see his or her dear one in the clutches of alcoholism. My 18 year old brother is already an alcohol addict and I want to take him to an alcohol rehab center. The problem occurs whenever I try to talk to him about my humble intentions and eventually I end hurting him up. Thanks for sharing so many helpful information on this page. I will keep this in mind while I discuss things with him.

July 19, 2012 - 2:40am
EmpowHER Guest

Great blog. Its hard seeing a loved one struggling with addiction. The first step to recovery is getting help and there are rehab clinics that really do help. Riverview Manor is one and I made a full recovery witht he help of professionals there. Get help and take your life back

May 29, 2012 - 1:32am
Enter the characters shown in the image.
By submitting this form, you agree to EmpowHER's terms of service and privacy policy
Add a Comment

We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.