An American Addiction Centers Resource

New to the Forums?Join or

How to help a friend

Discussion in 'Alcohol' started by bavinnie, May 4, 2015.

  1. bavinnie

    bavinnie Member

    So, the father of my friend has a severe drinking problem... he has for many years something like 20+ years and lately he has been getting sicker, and sicker ending up in the ER over and over, more recently he got caught drunk driving and lost his license and now he is becoming dependent on my friend (his son) for rides. And to be honest, when it comes to this sort of thing my friend is sort of a push over and will give him rides anywhere even if it means he's more than likely wanting to go on a run for alcohol. How do I bring up the fact that he is enabling his father without stepping on any toes? I mean in many ways, it's not my place but at the same time he is truly my friend, and I know he would be devastated if something happened to his father and at this rate it is impossible to expect anything less.
  2. zaerine

    zaerine Community Champion

    Yes, tell your concerns to your friend as he is your friend. He might just need a wake up call or something that will make him think about the situation more. I do not think that he will get angry when you tell that to him properly.
  3. jeremy2092

    jeremy2092 Member

    It is your responsibility to your friend to tell him that he is enabling his father. He needs to hear it, or he will stay in the cycle of enabling his dad.
  4. DCMY

    DCMY Member

    Be very careful how you address the matter. Express your concerns as to why you want to talk and if he is okay with having a conversation about a sensitive topic. Emphasize the importance of the conversation and say your the reason why you want to tell him. It might not be your place to get involved but he is your friend and you want to help him. Be honest and brave
  5. Nicholas

    Nicholas Member

    Yes, definitely talk to your friend!! His father needs some serious help especially if its taking his life, losing a licence is one thing but your life, someone has to say something and i recommend it be a truly good friend. :)
  6. IrishHeather

    IrishHeather Active Contributor

    As with many alcoholics your friends father is in denial that he has a problem, but worse, your friend is in denial that he is enabling his father. This is indeed a tricky subject to approach because of the family bond and the societal norm that states children should always help their parents. Perhaps sit your friend down and discuss the problem that his father has. Then ask your friend if he has any suggestions on what to do to help his father lessen the grip that alcohol has on him. I am willing to bet that when he comes up with ideas on how to help his father, he will state that he should not have as much access to alcohol. Then perhaps your friend will realize on his own that his actions may be enabling his father. Its worth a shot to try this approach. And you stay out of the situation by making it his idea.
  7. Sarah15

    Sarah15 Member

    Do it very carefully and gently, but above all, just do it sooner rather than later. Your friend really needs to hear this, as you can sometimes be too close to the problem to be able to see what's really happening. Yes, it's a delicate topic, but things can only get worse for your friend's father now.

    Talk to him, but remain supportive no matter what the outcome. When your friend is feeling more rational about what's happening with his father, he'll be grateful to you for helping him see things more clearly.
  8. Smarty

    Smarty Active Contributor

    It's a delicate situation. You don't want to go too direct or offend someone. But it looks like the chances your friend realizes what he is doing are small to none. Perhaps he does realize it but he doesn't want to face the truth. Well, it is entirely the job of good friends to give tough love from time to time. It's for the good of everyone, so don't hesitate to talk to him. Who else if not you?
  9. pwarbi

    pwarbi Community Champion

    When it comes to a situation like this, I think it can be very easy to over do it when it comes to help.

    While it's always good to have somebody to offer words of advice, sometimes that help might not be wanted so if that's the case, it's often just to step back and watch the situation develop.

    People find it hard to accept help sometimes, especially if it's coming from a friend.
  10. henry

    henry Community Champion

    That's a tough one. Trying to come between a farther and son is not easy. I think an intervention is the best thing in this case. It has to be the whole family and friends, not only his son. If his son doesn't drive him to where he wants to go, he'll just find another way of getting there and that could be a lot worse.
  11. bavinnie

    bavinnie Member

    Thanks for all the insightful responses guys, it means a lot and to keep you all updated I actually did bring it up to him today, I didn't want to say something that would make him feel like I was judging him, or blaming him for his fathers problem so I asked him how he felt about the fact that his father has been in the ER a lot lately and about the DUI and he actually opened up about it more than I expected so I was able to explain to him, that I was in a similar boat (still am) with my father and that I learned early on that all of these small things I was doing for him that did indeed almost seem insignificant were actually hurting the situation because by being his back up plan, it was alleviating him of some of the responsibility of the repercussions of his actions, or more accurately his addiction. Thankfully (I think) it got through to him and he decided to very lightly explain to his father that he was worried about him, and that he didn't want to be part of the reason why he keeps drinking the way he is - I hope for the best from here
  12. JoshPosh

    JoshPosh Community Champion

    Time and time again people are asking "how do I talk to this person"? It's easy. Why don't you just face him and tell him what you feel. In fact print out the OP and read it to him. It's that easy. You wrote out what you are suppose to tell him what you think. It's amazing.
  13. rightct

    rightct Community Champion

    I'm sure he knows very well he can't continue supporting his dad endlessly, and I do understand the intention of you telling him that what he does is very dangerous and unfruitful, but it would be better if you simply didn't say anything, in my opinion. I can tell you from personal experience with others that nobody will interfere to change something in its family just because someone said so.
    But, still, it's worth to try... just be ready for the worst. You can't really expose the situation without stepping on some toes.
  14. musicmonster

    musicmonster Senior Contributor

    Just be honest about it and show genuine concern. The truth hurts most of the time. But you gotta come out with it sometime.
  15. cpinatsi

    cpinatsi Senior Contributor

    You should definetely try helping your friend's dad by talking first to your buddy. Being your friend he will appreciate your move towards his dad and you could work together to solve this issue.
  16. Corzhens

    Corzhens Active Contributor

    I really don't know how to wean a person from drinking because my father and brothers are drinkers and we didn't have the chance to get them away from their vice. But logic tells me that persuasion is the key to wean them away from alcohol. Since drinking gives them comfort, that fact makes it harder for them to stop. So all we can do is to persuade them little by little.
  17. GabinoTapia

    GabinoTapia Active Contributor

    A good way to help your friend understand the problem could be by watching a documentary about drinking problems and what they can lead to. After watching a documentary you should talk to your friend and tell them how you feel about the situation and let them know that they are not alone and that you can help them. I find it easy to talk to people that have problems and it has really helped them change their life around.