Helping someone who has an alcohol problem cannot be done if they are in constant denial about the problem. This person may actually think that they don’t have a problem. They may think that the amount that they drink is completely normal. Denial is very prominent in alcohol or drug addiction; and until someone admits that they have a problem, it is almost impossible to get them to seek help. It will be much easier if you can help them realize that they have an alcohol problem, so they can make the decision on their own (or at least feel like they are making the decision) to get help.
Alcohol Abuse and Addiction
How do you know when someone is abusing alcohol or has developed an addiction? There are some ways that you can tell if the alcohol is becoming a problem for someone; usually you have to be with this person very frequently to really know. If the individual talks about alcohol often and can’t wait to get a beer or drink when leaving work every day, you can figure that this is a sign that the person has a problem. If they put off other responsibilities at home or work so they can drink instead, this is a problem with alcohol. Another sign of someone with an alcohol problem is that they spend a lot of time obtaining and making sure that they always have alcohol on hand so they don’t have to go without a drink ever.
Abusing alcohol is when the individual may not drink every day, but when they do drink, they binge drink for the purpose of getting drunk. By doing this, they can quickly develop a tolerance for alcohol. This means that it takes more and more of the alcohol over time to get the same rate of intoxication as they did before. Another form of abusing alcohol is when a person intends to only drink a few drinks at an outing, but once they start drinking, they don’t stop until the evening is over and even sometimes continue beyond that once they get home.
Signs of an Alcohol Problem Existing
There are signs you can watch for if you are concerned about a loved one or friend having an alcohol problem. If you recognize these signs in someone you care about, don’t ignore them. Try to subtly bring it to their attention without confronting them or accusing them of having a problem. Some of these signs include:
- Spending a lot of time drinking and then getting over the effects of it
- Missing work or other responsibilities because of drinking
- Having “blackouts” where they don’t remember what they did while drinking
- Doing things while drinking that they regret afterwards or are embarrassed about
- Having to drink more to achieve the same effects
- Having times when the intentions are to have a couple of drinks, but drinking far more
- Participating in dangerous activities such as driving under the influence, swimming, or having unsafe sex
- Feeling withdrawal symptoms when not drinking
All of these signs are serious and if continued, your friend or loved one is surely headed down the path of full-blown alcohol addiction. Once addicted to alcohol, it is put above everything else. A person cares more about the alcohol than family, friends, jobs, anything!
Encourage the Person You Care About to Seek Help
If you are concerned about someone you care about having an alcohol problem, don’t sit on the sideline and let their drinking problem develop into alcohol addiction. Try talking to them calmly when they are not drinking and let them know that you are genuinely concerned and not being judgmental or trying to shame them. Voice your concerns in a manner which will keep them from doubting your intentions. Let them know how much you care about them and their well-being, and that you do not want to lose them to alcohol addiction. Hopefully, they will realize that they do have a problem and will seek help at a reputable addiction treatment center.