Initiating a conversation with a family member or someone you love about a possible drinking problem can be daunting and uncomfortable, for you and for them. It requires tact and empathy.
You should express your concerns if you notice early signs of an alcohol use disorder, but it’s important to express them in a way that doesn’t make them feel judged, accused, or isolated.
This is why Alcohol Awareness Month is a good time of the year to start a conversation. This campaign is all about raising public awareness for the prevention and treatment of alcoholism.
5 Ways to Talk to Your Loved One About Alcoholism
If your loved one has an alcohol use disorder, or you believe they may have an undiagnosed problem with alcohol, it may be time to start a conversation with them about alcohol abuse.
Review the tips below to get the conversation started with empathy and understanding.
Initiate A Conversation with Objective Information
Alcohol dependence and addiction is a sensitive subject for people who are directly or indirectly affected by it. Conversations can trigger emotional responses and take a negative turn.
It’s helpful to start the conversation with some neutral facts and information about alcoholism and addiction.
To ease your way into the conversation, you can use Alcohol Awareness Month as a reason to bring up the subject.
This is a way to gently raise awareness for a loved one who may not realize they have a drinking problem or haven’t been ready to confront the issue.
Use Positive and Inoffensive Language
Alcohol awareness is also about respecting and honoring those who are recovering from alcoholism. It’s about recognizing that it’s a disease that has nothing to do with moral failure.
When communicating your awareness of a loved one’s alcohol use, avoid using accusatory verbiage and pessimism, and replace them with optimism and non-threatening language.
Encourage And Motivate
When broaching the subject of alcoholism with someone who may have a drinking problem, motivating their interest in recovery with positive encouragement can make a big difference.
People who are in the early stages of alcohol addiction may experience shame and embarrassment about their increasing dependence on alcohol, and how others notice the signs.
These demoralizing feelings can perpetuate denial and deter them from getting the support and treatment they may need to overcome substance abuse issues.
Show Love and Support
When you open a dialogue with a loved one about alcoholism, it’s very important that they feel as loved as they’ve always been. Letting them know they have support is integral to recovery.
The antidote to addiction is connection, and people need to feel connected to their family and loved ones more than ever when overcoming and recovering from an alcohol use disorder.
Get Involved Together in Alcohol Awareness Month
Participating with a loved one or family member in an Alcohol Awareness Month event is a great way to introduce them to community resources such as AA and local members in recovery.
Getting involved with someone who may need help with a drinking problem also demonstrates your support and helps to open a two-way conversation that can have a positive impact.
Recovery From Alcohol Addiction
Alcohol Awareness Month not only engages and educates society on substance abuse and addiction, but it also encourages open and positive communication about mental health.
With support from friends and family, people may be more willing to seek out treatment options for substance addictions such as alcoholism and speak more openly about their recovery.
Tanya Sherman is a content writer with Ark Behavioral Health, an addiction treatment provider with drug and alcohol recovery programs.