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Helping Someone With Alcohol or Drug Problem
If someone confides in you that he or she has a problem with alcohol or other drugs, some ways of dealing with this situation clearly work better than others. You should try to be:
Understanding – listen to reasons why he or she uses/ abuses alcohol or other drugs;
Firm – explain why you feel that use of alcohol or other drugs can be harmful, causing problems which require counseling and treatment;
Supportive – assist the user in finding help and provide moral support through the tough times ahead;
Self-examining – ask yourself whither you have provided a good role model.
Actions that you should avoid include being:
Sympathy seeking for yourself, or
Alcohol or drug problems can cause other severe problems.
Intervening in the case of a family member or friend who has a problem can be very difficult and hurtful. The person with the problem will most likely deny the problem and try to put you on the defensive – “I thought you were my friend.”; “Are you calling me a drunk?”; or “You’ve used drugs, where do you get off calling me an addict?”
In a case such as this, what you don’t do is as important as what you should do:
Avoid emotional appeals, which may only increase feelings of guilt and the compulsion to drink or use drugs.
Don’t cover up or make excuses for the person.
Don’t take over his or her responsibilities, which will leave the person with no sense of importance or dignity.
Don’t argue with the person when he or she is under the influence of alcohol or other drugs.
Don’t hide or dump bottles nor shelter your loved one from situations where alcohol is present.
Above all, don’t accept responsibility for the person’s actions nor guilt for his or her drinking.
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