How to Confront Someone with a Drinking Problem

Posted On Tuesday, 16 April 2019
How to Confront Someone with a Drinking Problem

April is Alcohol awareness month, and its main focus is to bring attention to the alcoholism issue that is still very real in America.

Alcoholism does not discriminate. It touches all walks of life and not only affects the alcoholic, but all those who are involved in the alcoholic’s life. Having said that, if you do know someone with a drinking issue, it is time to start considering trying to get them help and informing them you are worried about their situation.

This is not something that is easy to do and it definitely doesn't always go well. Just always remember this: If you are trying to help someone, you are trying to save their life. It's okay if it doesn't go well as long as your intentions are good!

Here are some tips if you plan on confronting someone you know.

Find Support

Confronting someone with a drinking problem is not something you want to do alone. Reach out to your loved ones or other close family and friends. Chances are they have noticed something has felt wrong recently as well. Alcoholism is hard to hide once it gets serious enough. Reach out to others who can support whomever your concern is for, so that person can see they are loved.

Create a Plan

You want to make sure that if whoever you are confronting agrees so get help, you have a plan. There are many different levels of treatment. Use your best discretion if you think they should stay close to home or go somewhere farther away. Getting treatment a few states away can be a good idea, because the individual won't be as tempted to leave as soon as possible upon arriving.

It's also a good idea to plan with others to confront the potential alcoholic together, rather than approaching the discussion one-on-one. Again, you want to show your loved one how much support he has and how much his close friends and family just want him to get well.

Be Prepared For Refusal (or Denial)

No matter how much support and love you show your loved one, they may be nowhere near ready to get help. If they do refuse to get help, you need to do what is best for you. Take a step back from their life as best you can and let them see for themselves the destruction they are causing. This is only possible if you are no longer there to support and enable them. It is one of the hardest things to do with someone who is in need of help, but it has saved countless numbers of lives. Once they recognize they can't go on the way they are living without many people's support helping them, they oftentimes genuinely seek help.

Educate Yourself

Alcoholism is much more complex than someone who “likes to drink a lot.” Alcoholism is believed to be centered in the mind, and people predisposed to alcoholism are believed to react differently than those without it on bio-chemical level. The abnormal reaction results in strong cravings and obsessions about drinking. The feelings are so strong that when things get bad, no matter how much the individual wants to stop drinking, they find they cannot because they always succumb to the craving.

That’s why it must be stressed it is not a matter of will power. You can never tell an alcoholic they just don’t want recovery enough or that they are weak willed. They are sick people who really mean it when they tell you they want to stop, but they find they cannot do it themselves.

If you find yourself relating to this article at all and have been worried about someone, act on it. The last thing you want to be is too late and have something terrible happen. Many people do get sober once given the opportunity, but usually it starts with someone close to them voicing a concern. You can be that person.

Daniel Wittler

Daniel Wittler is an Outreach Specialist for Recovery Local, a local addiction/recovery based marketing company. He advocates long-term sobriety by writing for websites like, providing resources to recovering addicts and shedding light on the disease of addiction. Daniel believes that absolutely anyone can get sober provided they are ready to take action in their own life.

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