HOW TO RESPOND TO A FRIEND WITH A DRINKING PROBLEM

If more of us begin to recognize that real friendship includes helping a friend see a problem he/she may be unaware of or unwilling to accept -- and if we tell that person about our observations and feeling in the manner suggested, we may help that person recognize the problem and accept the treatment necessary to prevent acute alcoholism.

1. Don't be afraid to talk to a friend who seems to have an alcohol-related problem.

2. Wait until the next day to talk, when you are sure he or she is sober.

3. Explain that you are concerned about certain specific behaviors.

4. Sincerely express your concern and support. Avoid preaching or criticizing.

5. To help a friend face reality, describe specific instances in which his or her drinking has resulted in negative consequences -- lower grades, missed classes, arguments, injuries, damaged relationships, mood swings, the inability to meet responsibilities, driving while intoxicated or trouble with the law.

6. Keep your attitude positive and be sincere about your feelings.

7. Emphasize the contrast between the person's sober behavior, which you like, and the drinking behavior, which you dislike.

8. Do not get into discussions about anything else that detracts from your purpose until your message is delivered.

9. Remember that your message is "I love you, but I don't like your behavior when you drink".

10. Offer specific advice on the different types of professional help available in your area. Offer to go with your friend to visit a professional or attend an AA meeting.

11. Be a friend, but not a professional counselor . . . that's not your job.

12. Be prepared for your friend to make excuses and deny the problem. Denial, blaming and alibis are very common if a person has progressed into the harmful stage of chemical dependency.

This text was copied from a source document that at the bottom reads: "Project Aware Resource Bin - Training Components - Addiction"