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How can you help someone that doesn't recognize they have an addiction?

Discussion in 'Helping an Addicted Friend' started by sweetkymom, Oct 2, 2014.

  1. sweetkymom

    sweetkymom Member

    I have a friend that drinks non-stop. She drinks at all hours of the day and has no clue she has a problem. She says its normal for her and that she knows no other way.

    How do you even approach the subject without having them think you're against them?
  2. Muraki

    Muraki Member

    Hello there. Let me tell you the approach is always the hardest in such situations but once it gets going there wont be any stop to it.

    Now depending on the character of your friend and how close you are to her, the reaction can actually be received positively and you could get her some help. Either way don't try to involve a third person if she is not physically aggressive, otherwise include someone also close to her. You just have to make that big first step and try to sound as considerate as possible, after that just stay consistent if she rejects it at first. It may not happen over night but if you stay by her side and continue to tell her how bad that is and how much she worries you, she should be able to understand it and even be grateful to you for sticking around.

    I hope her parents are someone to who you can go to ass well but for now hang in there.
  3. stagsonline

    stagsonline Active Contributor

    Talking to someone in such a situation is always challenging. You need to find some time when she is sober and in good mood to talk. Make this a normal conversation like you are used to and bring up the issue lightly to first gauge her reaction towards your opinion about the negative aspect of excessive drinking. Once you get her attention, be more serious and show your genuine concern towards her excessive drinking and where it would possibly lead her to.

    Many people dealing with such situations fail to understand that a simple show of concern and care goes a long way. Make it a daily routine to always remind her that controlled drinking will go a long way into avoiding regrets and even trouble. Don't rush her into stopping and play an active role in helping her change.
  4. thomas carty

    thomas carty Member

    This is the hardest thing to do because people really do not like to admit that they have a problem and sometimes that is where the problem begins. I have tried to tell someone in the past that they might have an addiction and the way that I have done it is in a really gentle way you cannot come to the person as if you are attacking them you just have to be able to show them that they have a problem and that it might actually be destroying their lives.
  5. Rainman

    Rainman Community Champion

    Try to talk to your friend when she has a hangover. Since one doesn't feel that great at that time, it would be the most appropriate time to talk to them about their drinking problem. Tell her about the effect drinking will have on her and others [whom she loves] in the long-term. Just don't try to sound judgmental. Make it clear that all you're concerned about his her welfare.

    If your friend is still in denial, don't push too hard. Be patient and be there for them when they need you.
  6. TheKid

    TheKid Active Contributor

    The hardest thing to do is to start that "You have a problem" conversation with her, but the sooner you do it, the better. Be sure to assure her that you are her friend and that you'd like to help. I will keep you and your friend in my prayers tonight. Good luck.
  7. Charli

    Charli Community Champion

    I think the best you could do is just to assure her that you aren't doing it for some false sense of self righteousness . If she is somehow able to feel that you are sincerely just trying to talk to her without judgement or expectations, then maybe she will be able to communicate more openly.
  8. jaray87

    jaray87 Member

    There is no easy way to do this. From what I have seen, you either break a friendship going hard to stop your friend from drinking or you can try stepping around the eggshells method and get nowhere. It is tough when no one is willing to listen. Perhaps start building up the conversation slowly.
  9. DancingLady

    DancingLady Community Champion

    When you talk to her, be sure you are communicating how much you care about her well being and want the best for her. It sounds like she is in denial. I'm sure on some level she is aware that this is not normal and she is addicted, but she doesn't want to admit that, perhaps due to shame.

    Show her that you do not judge her and do not want her to be ashamed, but that you are going to be there for her as a friend no matter what.
  10. skullalif

    skullalif Member

    If i were you i'd ask her to do other things that might interest her, so she could get a substitute hobby that is healthier other than drinking, it would be much more effective than just asking her to stop.
  11. jbepp

    jbepp Active Contributor

    It seems to me like this drinking habit of hers has become a "hobby", a very unhealthy hobby. I'd try talking to her in a casual tone, things like "You drink way too much" or "You should stop drinking so much", because it'd look more like a worried friend talking rather than someone judging her. After that just try to find some healthier activities for her to do, even simple things like running and listening to music could help.
    It's a tough thing to do, but as long as you're careful your friendship should be fine.
  12. amj52036

    amj52036 Member

    I have a friend that has been using marijuana to relieve his stress, and he started using it about 2 years ago. Lately, he has gotten a new job and now he has more money. I do not think that he is smoking as just a sress reliever anymore. He uses it to help him go to sleep in order to get enough rest, and he also admitted that he smokes just because he has the money to do it.

    My technique of letting him know that he has an addiction is a step by step technique. First I have already let him know that I think he smokes to much. He does not believe that he has an addiction, but I plan on constantly bringing it up in little ways until he understands. The only reason I refuse to be blunt about it is because he is a good friend and I do not want him to feel as if I am judging him.
  13. GenevB

    GenevB Community Champion

    Well, this is a very delicate situation. First thing you want to do is gain her trust, by saying that what she does is ok, but not everyday. A lot of people nowadays drinks, but they have measure. You need to point out how dependent she is, you need to find a way to challenge her to stay "clean" a week and if she accepts, you have to make sure that she will stay "clean". She should herself notice the addiction and then, don't try to make her small by saying things like "I was right", because her ego might fight back and then you would be back were you started. You should try to empathize with her and try to find a way to help her solve the problem.
  14. camsdad

    camsdad Member

    Personally I didn't think I had an addiction. I would go for days and days, ruining everything around me and it didn't stop me from drinking. When people other than my girlfriend started saying things, I realized there was no escape. Of course I felt overwhelmed but after a while I was able to see that it was for the better. Maybe try a group technique that makes her feel welcome and dose not chase her away.
  15. xTinx

    xTinx Community Champion

    Cases like this are common. I guess that's part of the denial stage. No one wants to be branded as alcoholic but loves to take in alcohol all the time. You see the irony in most people's actions. It's going to be a tall order for you so you need to be crafty in relaying to that person that she's sinking into alcoholic territory. Maybe accidentally play a video about the negative effects of alcoholism when she visits your home? Try to get a brochure containing facts and figures on alcoholism and "accidentally" drop it in front of her? Just subtly let her encounter the information and cross your fingers she'll take it to heart.
    camsdad likes this.
  16. ariana_

    ariana_ Member

    Maybe you can try showing her an example of someone else. For example, if you can find a movie or tv show with a character who drinks all day, and you show it to her, she might easily recognize the character as an alcoholic. Then, it might be easier to bring up the similarities. Either way, it will be hard. The important thing is to ease into it and not make it seem like you are against her.
  17. camsdad

    camsdad Member

    I feel like t.v and movies are risky though. For the most part, those forms of media glorify alcohol use. Movies at times can make a drug addict a hero. Usually when I see drinking being done on screen, the characters are always having a great time and I think to myself "man, wouldn't a drink be nice"? So I would try that but make sure you pick the right thing to show her or it could make drinking look more appealing.
  18. Nick W.

    Nick W. Community Listener Community Listener

    The thing is, you're not going to be able to avoid drinking on TV, movies, or heck, even video games these days. Part of the recovery process is going to have to be about dealing with seeing that stuff, and your strength to say no. I understand that in this case the friend might not be there yet, and it's going to be a long hard battle before they do get there, but that's just it, you can only open the door, they have to walk through it, and keep walking every day.

    Be honest with your friend, love the addict, hate the addiction. Be strong, don't give in or give up, and remain firm in your decisions. We're talking about saving a life. In the end, it's going to be worth it. IMO.
    camsdad likes this.
  19. LadyMiles

    LadyMiles Active Contributor

    It is hard to confront anyone about something the individual does not even realize. I would definitely recommend approaching the situation without using "you" statements as they can be taken by another as you are attacking or judging him or her. Using "I" statements allow you to get your point across without the other feeling as though you are attacking or judging him or her.

    I know from first hand experience that watching someone you love or care for struggle with something that he or she doesn't even realize is emotionally draining. It's so hard to watch and even harder to try and step in. I feel for you and am hoping for the best for you and her.
    camsdad likes this.
  20. light

    light Active Contributor

    What if you go to the root of her main pain? There must be deep sadness and resentment that she is hiding inside. She may not be willing to open herself to you but in one of your attempts she will cry with you and spell the name of her suffering. Show all the love you have for her and invite her into new activities showing how beautiful life can be without drinking. If you can help her know new positive people that can fill her life with joy, then you have done the first step that will lead her to become sober as soon as she accepts her addiction.