Without a doubt, alcohol addiction is real, it can be easy to miss until later stages, and it is dangerous. When you add a vehicle to the equation, problems can quadruple. In a 2019 study by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, 25.8% of people above the age of 18 reported binge drinking during the month of the survey, and another 6.3% of adults reported engaging in heavy alcohol use in the same timeframe. In the same year, researchers found that alcohol was responsible for more than 10,000 driving fatalities.
Given this information, you may not know how bad your friend’s alcohol abuse is until he or she ends up in legal trouble. For many individuals with drinking problems, crashing a vehicle and a DUI charge can be the first signs that alcohol is causing major problems. If your friend is facing alcohol addiction, there are ways you may be able to help. If law enforcement recently charged him or her with a DUI, the first thing to do is to find a reputable DUI attorney to take on the legalities. To tackle the addiction, consider these six tips.
1. Seek Support
It is understandable if you care deeply for your friend and want to help, but trying to handle this kind of situation can be especially difficult on your own. For this reason, you should seek out emotional support from others. It can be especially helpful to meet with people going through similar experiences with their loved ones via groups like Al-Anon, Nar-Anon, and Alateen.
2. Practice Self-Care
In addition to seeking out support, it is almost important to practice self-care in other ways, too. If you are not careful, the addiction of someone you love can easily consume you. If you notice this starts to happen, step back and make time for yourself. Stay in touch with the people and hobbies that bring you joy and exercise healthy habits. Before you can help others, you must take care of yourself.
3. Learn About Alcohol Use Disorder
Addiction can be an emotionally trying experience for all the individuals it affects. One reason for this is because of the lack of understanding that often occurs between individuals during attempts to communicate with one another. To help limit the amount of misunderstanding, it can be beneficial to learn as much as you can about alcohol use disorder from reliable sources.
4. Find the Right Time and Place to Talk
After learning as much as you can and giving yourself time to think about what you are going to say, find the right time and place to approach your friend for a conversation. If he or she has been drinking or is under stress, it is not a good time for talking because these situations often heighten emotions, particularly anger and anxiety. Instead, try a time when you can both calmly sit down in a comfortable environment.
5. Bring Honesty and Compassion to the Conversation
Keeping your feelings bottled up will not help you or your friend, but instead, it can lead to further frustration and difficulty. At the same time, giving your friend ultimatums or making him or her feel bad is not going to help, either. Instead, find a way to honestly communicate your feelings to your friend while staying compassionate. To help you step into his or her shoes and understand where he or she is coming from, it may help to read about the psychological science of addiction.
6. Avoid Threats, Lectures and Shaming
Although your friend’s behavior may trigger understandable anger, hurt or frustration for you, it is unlikely that lashing out during your discussion will get you very far. If anything, it will probably push your friend away. As such, you should avoid threatening, lecturing or shaming. On the other hand, finding ways to develop empathy toward your friend and his or her situation (which is not the same as sympathy), can help you do this.
There is no doubt about it: Alcohol addiction is hard for everyone involved. If your friend is struggling, these tips can help empower you to help him or her. At the end of the day, this is not an easy journey, but it is important to remember you are not alone.