An American Addiction Centers Resource

New to the Forums?Join or

How to talk to a friend you suspect is over-drinking

Discussion in 'Alcohol' started by lostinskn, Mar 17, 2015.

  1. lostinskn

    lostinskn Member

    I have a friend who I've known for a few years. He drinks heavily, but doesn't get drunk very often. He is successful in his career but I'm aware that there are things in his personal life that he's not happy with. He drinks a lot by himself at home and makes passing comments like saying he's trying to escape. In my opinion he seems depressed and the drinking helps (so he thinks). Since he doesn't get drunk, and it doesn't affect his work at all, how can I have a conversation with him that it's still not a healthy practice?
  2. zaerine

    zaerine Community Champion

    Maybe try asking him if he have a problem or what are his reasons for drinking heavily. That could make him feel better already knowing someone is concern for him and listen to him. Maybe try to ask too if he can feel something in his health because of the alcohol or just say take care of your health and drinking too much is not healthy.
  3. Gale

    Gale Member

    Since he is your friend, then you know what he likes to enjoy most other than drinking. You can ask him to be calling you up when he thinks things are too much for him to handle and the only option is to drink. When he calls you up, be there for him and you can do the other things that he likes to keep his thoughts off drinking. For instance, you can watch a movie, play video games, talk about politics with him and with time he will be able to control the urge.
  4. hellonamesdana

    hellonamesdana Senior Contributor

    Don't be too overwhelming about it, but make sure that they understand that you love them and that you are there for them when they want to reach out for help.
  5. JoshPosh

    JoshPosh Community Champion

    Just tell him how you feel. Easy as that. If you need more firepower go research on the long term effects of alcohol and tell him what you found.
  6. MyDigitalpoint

    MyDigitalpoint Community Champion

    Real problem with alcohol is not being aware it has turned into a real problem, what happens very often with people suffering from alcoholism or starting to develop alcohol addiction.

    This is the common stage for all people following this addiction pathway, and therefore your friend will deny being over-drinking, will justify drinking as a social behavior, and will assure it's only social drinking, nothing to worry about.

    Sadly no advice is heard at all, but you can always try. Depends on how much your friend is into alcohol that you can obtain a positive response and contribute to avoid he continues developing alcohol addiction to the following stages.

    However remember that when alcohol governs, advice is usually more effective when the person suffering from the addiction is asking for help explicitly.
  7. 6up

    6up Community Champion

    Try and make him compare his past and present life. You can find that his present projects are failing because he drinks a lot. Tell him that drinking is not wrong when one is able to control himself. Drinking can make one loss his job, a fact he needs not to face away from.
  8. Martha

    Martha Member

    You need to be his real friend before you start talking to them about drinking. Talk to them about other things so that he becomes talkative and comfortable with you. Then once you're deep into the conversation ask him about drinking in general and he will slowly open up to you.

    It is only once he opens up that you should try and persuade him to give up drinking.
  9. henry

    henry Community Champion

    Well, first he's got to trust you with his the problem. If you already asked him and he hasn't told you by now, chances are he won't tell you at all. If that's the case, there's not much you can do. If he has, then you can start helping him to resolve that problem as best as you can. Only then the drinking might stop. The bad thing about this case is that once you get used to drinking to escape your problems, the drinking might never stop. Why do I say this? Because in life usually a new problem takes the place of an old one, and if you're used to dealing with them this way...
  10. pwarbi

    pwarbi Community Champion

    While it's ok for you to be concerned, it's only the person themselves that can do something about it.

    Sometimes the more they get told they have a problem, the less they will believe it.
  11. rightct

    rightct Community Champion

    Unless he sees that what he does is harmful, regardless of how much he actually consumes, then I'd personally say there's not much to be done on your end. Instead of trying to offer him the bad information about alcohol, you might want to subtly imply he needs to check that information for himself. If he doesn't know it, I can absolutely guarantee you it will have some effects on him. If he does, well... he needs to seek professional therapy.
  12. musicmonster

    musicmonster Senior Contributor

    Show him or her you're really sincere about his/her welfare. When friends see your genuine care, they usually listen.
  13. Charli

    Charli Community Champion

    Try asking him to be more expressive with his problems, whether it is with you or anyone else he would be comfortable with. I think most of the time people just need to express their frustrations and only when it is ignored does it really manifest into something that is used to cover up the void.
  14. diprod

    diprod Active Contributor

    Just be real and sincere. Don't approach with judgment. Educate them with possible consequences.
  15. cpinatsi

    cpinatsi Senior Contributor

    Try to go slow with him. Talk with him in a way he will not get offended or something, but at the same time he will understand that what he is doing might hurt him in the long run.
  16. kassie1234

    kassie1234 Community Champion

    It's a fine line I think -- it can be hard expressing to someone that you care about their well being but you don't want to step over a boundary or be overbearing. I think just having a relaxed conversation works. If they talk about wanting to escape, you could always lightly inquire as to why they feel that way or what they feel like they're needing to escape from. Your friend is lucky to have you looking out for them!
  17. vegito12

    vegito12 Community Champion

    I reckon talking is the best way and see how long he has been doing this for, be there as a friend and listen to what he says and which may be good for him to open up about the drinking and what is bothering him. It can be hard sometimes when the ones who care about the person want to talk, but don't know how to approach the person and it can at times lead to saying the wrong things and the relationship can be hard to fix. So when approaching the person who may have a drinking problem, try and talk nicely and not rush to conclusions and if they require help then you can help them with it if needed to.
  18. Adrianna

    Adrianna Community Champion

    Well, to each his own. Live and let live. Sometimes pointing something like this out only makes it worse. There's no harm in drinking at home and passing out to escape. The only harm that is caused is to himself. So, as people smoke cigarettes and ingest toxic processed foods. Should we have a talk with them? Sometimes we do get on a soap box. Sometimes we want to preach to everyone our new found awakening that life can be better. Does it mean that they will hear it? Not necessarily. There is always a time and a place. There is always the open mind of the individual that is ready. There is also the time when words fall on deaf ears. So if you are going to says something maybe you want to see if that person is actually paying attention to anything. Directly reprimanding someone for self harming themselves is quite frankly no one's business but theirs unfortunately. Might be better to invite them to do something fun or positive. Subtle suggestions or some words of encouragement. Best way is to just be a good example someone for them to look up to if you want to inspire them. If someone wants advice they usually ask for it. If they are headed for disaster they don't usually see it. So guidance instead of bullying or reprimanding would be best.
  19. Winterybella

    Winterybella Community Champion

    As his friend you should be able to talk about pretty much anything. The thread said you 'suspect' he''s drinking too much so I would thread cautiously. Alcohol does seem to have a calming effect on many people so at this stage all I think you can or should do is have casual conversations about drinking and where it could end up. I have this way of always being able to be direct with my friends. Sometimes we have even ended up being upset with each other but at the end of day friends fight and make up. I'm not encouraging a fight, just talk to your friend and don't think too hard about it. Someone spoke about speaking with sincerity and that's something I think is very important.
  20. singingintherain

    singingintherain Community Champion

    That is a really tricky situation. It's really good of you to be noticing his behavior and wanting to help him improve things. In my experience it is nearly impossible to actually talk to someone about this though. My advice would be to avoid as much 'judgment' speech as possible when talking to him about it, as well as avoiding labeling any behavior.

    Your friend's behavior honestly sounds quite similar to mine - my drinking when alone has crept up significantly, and a lot of it is due to boredom. If I find myself with nothing to do one night I will go buy some beers and drink them quickly. Alternatively, if I work on one of my hobbies, as soon as I get home from work, I tend to get absorbed into it and not even think about drinking. It might be good to think of some activities you could do together, or remind him of the things he is interested in that he might be neglecting once he's had a few drinks.