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How to Confront Someone With a Drinking Problem

By Christa Miller ; Updated August 14, 2017

A person with a drinking problem can create additional problems at home, work and other areas of his life. Since everyone's chemical composition is different -- as is their family history and ability to cope with difficulties in life -- some people are more susceptible to drug and alcohol addiction than others, notes Lawrence Robinson, Melinda Smith and Joanna Saisan, writing for the website. Confronting your friend or family member can be the first step in helping him address his problems with alcohol.

  1. Choose good timing. It's best to confront your friend or family member when she is sober -- or even when she's hungover and feeling possible guilt or remorse, says licensed mental health counselor Sarah Allen Benton, writing for Psychology Today. Confront her in private, or gather a group of loved ones together who have all been negatively impacted by this person's alcohol use. It may also be helpful to confront your friend or family member shortly after she's exhibited reckless behavior so that you will have fresh evidence to support why you believe she has a problem.

  2. Discuss your concern with the person; don't lecture. Before you begin, imagine yourself in his shoes, and be prepared for him to respond in one of many ways. To start, ask him if he thinks he has a problem with drinking, and wait for him to answer. If he agrees that he is having a problem, pose questions that will help him help himself. These may include, "Why do you think you are having a problem with drinking?" and "What do you think you can do to reduce the problem?"

  3. State clear examples. Point directly at the problem that has recently occurred or negative occurrences from the past that were a direct result of her drinking. If she insists that her drinking had nothing to do with those problems, discuss how her drinking affects you personally.

  4. Provide information. Give your friend or family member information about alcoholism treatments that you've researched. This will give him one less excuse to postpone getting treatment. If you'd like, lend your support by offering to go with him to his first treatment session or alcoholic recovery meeting.

  5. Organize a therapist-led intervention. A therapist-led group intervention can strongly highlight to your friend or family member that her behaviors are problematic. Consider recruiting someone who is recovering from a drinking problem, because he could offer his experience, strength and hope.

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