Legacy Healing Center How to Talk to a Loved One About Their Drinking

6 Tips for Talking to a Loved One About Their Drinking

Legacy Healing Center Blog

Discussing Drinking Habits With Someone You Care About

Alcohol use disorder is a complex disease, yet alcohol abuse often remains misunderstood or even disregarded because alcohol consumption is legal and mostly socially accepted. Misconceptions about problem drinking can have long-lasting repercussions, not only for the individual suffering from alcohol use disorder but also for the people who care about them. The prevalence of misunderstandings about alcohol abuse makes it even more important to learn how to talk to a loved one about their drinking.

Being willing to talk honestly about a drinking problem with a loved one is an essential step in making a positive change. So how can you speak to a loved one about their drinking, and how should you handle such a delicate matter to encourage your beloved friend or family member to get the help they need?  We’ve compiled some tips for talking to a loved one about their drinking and supporting them in pursuing a life of sobriety.

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How to Discuss Drinking Issues With Alcoholics

There are some definite do’s and don’ts when talking to a loved one about their drinking, and the right approach can make all the difference in the world. Here are some key actions to keep in mind as you navigate the tricky waters alcohol use disorder can leave behind:

1. Wait for a window of sobriety: Even the worst problem drinker has moments of sobriety, so choose your time wisely and wait until the situation presents itself. Talking to a loved one about their alcohol use disorder while they’re intoxicated can be unproductive at best and explosive at worst, so wait for a window of sobriety before making your move.

2. Be specific about the situation and the problems it’s creating: When deciding how to talk to your loved one about their drinking, think carefully about what you will say. Instead of merely stating the individual is an alcoholic, be specific about their drinking problems. For instance, you might mention their issues with keeping a job or the fact they recently got a DUI. The more specific you can be about the problems their drinking creates, the better, so choose your words carefully and let your experience be your guide.

3. Avoid defensiveness and blame: It’s easy to feel like placing blame when a loved one is drinking to excess. However, criticism is unlikely to produce a good outcome. Blaming an alcoholic for their alcohol use disorder is like yelling at a person with diabetes for their elevated blood sugar. Moving the conversation in a positive direction will mean avoiding both accusations and defensiveness.

4. Listen to what your loved one says: Dealing with alcohol use disorder causes difficulty for family members, but it is even more challenging for the alcoholic themselves. No one wants to be in this situation, and the concept of how to talk to your loved one about their drinking is a two-way street. After your family member has listened to what you have to say, give them time to talk and say their piece.

5. Look for practical solutions: For those in active alcohol addiction, the future can seem hopeless. Problem drinkers often feel isolated and alone, even when family and friends surround them. Instead of succumbing to those feelings of hopelessness, look for practical solutions to their problem. Talk about how alcohol rehab may help and how medical detox can reduce withdrawal pain and make quitting drinking easier.

6. Make a plan for moving forward: When considering talking to a loved one about their drinking, it’s important to realize the conversation is the first step on a journey, not the end of the road. Once you’ve had this difficult conversation, it is time to move forward with a solid plan.

Depending on the situation, that plan of action may include calling a behavioral health center, setting up a meeting with a detox facility, or researching local AA meetings. Most likely, a combination approach will be needed, encompassing community support and guidance plus medical help and assistance from a professional addiction treatment facility.

Once you’ve taken the first step, the rest of the process could be more productive than you think. Contact Legacy Healing Center today at 888.534.2295 to learn how our individualized holistic treatment can help your loved one turn their life around for good.