We were sitting around watching at the baseball game. Our gang of friends enjoyed a few beers, nonalcoholic beverages and a few shots of whiskey. Nobody drank too much, accept one friend. While we were having one shot, he’d have two or three. Pretty soon he had passed out on the couch.
He did the same thing last year, and this year we all were hesitant to invite him to watch the game, but we felt sorry for him, and invited him anyway. We tried talking to him before the game got underway. He said he’d be careful, but that didn’t last long. We ended up driving him, and his car home.
If this scenario sounds familiar, you’re not alone. According to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependency, alcohol is the most commonly used addictive substance in the United States. Statistics show 17.6 million people, or one in every 12 adults, suffer from alcohol abuse or dependence. This is followed by several million more Americans who engage in risky, binge drinking patterns that could lead to a full-blown addiction.
Having an addiction isn’t a moral failing as some people may still believe. It’s good to get the facts about why your friend, might be drinking too much. A Gallup Poll reported 94 percent of Americans believe it’s their responsibility to intervene when a friend has a problem with alcohol or other drugs. The poll also showed only 38 percent of people feel confident and comfortable to approach their friend. This is understandable due to a fear of being yelled at, or that it won’t do any good, or they’ll lose their friendship.
Gather your courage to help a friend with the following suggestions in mind. Do not confront or talk with them while they are intoxicated. Timing is everything. Perhaps your friend confides in you that he or she got a warning from human resources. Someone smelled alcohol on their breath. This might be the perfect opportunity to bring up your concerns. Your tone of voice should be one of concern, and not sound like a lecture. Let them know how it hurts you terribly to see them in such distress. While emphasizing that you don’t want any harm to come to them, encourage them to get checked out by a professional. Offer to take them to an AA meeting, or to help them find a good rehab. Lastly, take good care of yourself, and be prepared that your good intentions could backfire because alcoholism is a disease of denial.
“A fine glass vase goes from treasure to trash, the moment it is broken. Fortunately, something else happens to you and me. Pick up your pieces. Then, help me gather mine.”―Vera Nazarian
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