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How to Maintain a Friendship with an Alcoholic

by Christa Orion

You have a good friend who just can't seem to shake his alcohol addiction. You have spent countless nights worried about whether or not he will make it home safely after hours of drinking. No matter what you say, he won't change his ways. Reconsidering your friendship is only natural, but there are ways that you can be friends with an alcoholic while still supporting his sobriety.

Understand Alcoholism

Understanding the disease can help you stay by her side.

An addiction to alcohol is not something that your friend can just put aside. Alcoholism is a disease. Try to understand that even though she is promoting the addiction by her drinking, she is at the mercy of her disease. It is likely that she doesn't realize she needs help. Sarah Allen Benton, M.S., mental health counselor, notes that a high-functioning alcoholic may not realize that she even had a drinking problem until she is sober.

Offer Your Help

You may pity your friend, but you are fed up with his behavior. Get him out and have some fun that doesn't involve alcohol. Play basketball, go camping or just hang out. Taking his mind off of drinking can be a step toward his recovery. If he is having a hard time enjoying life without drinking, offer to help him find counseling. This is your time to be the best friend he could ask for. The article "How Can I Help an Alcoholic" suggests that offering help is a way to help a friend suffering from alcoholism.

Don't Be Silent

You can't be silent while your friend destroys his health.

You make fun of her straight leg pants, her goofy haircut and the constant loving phone calls from her boyfriend, but you haven't told her that it is hard being her friend. Sometimes all a friend needs is a push in the right direction. Don't be quiet about your concerns. Let her know that her problem is damaging your relationship. If you can, offer help in finding a counselor. A good friend will hear you and do what it takes to save the friendship.

Making Decisions

Be a supportive friend that he can lean on.

You can do only so much to help an alcoholic friend. Your decision to remain a friend to him in the midst of his disease is a noble one. Regardless of whether or not your friend decides to take your advice about getting help, he will always remember that you were by his side. It isn't easy dealing with someone close to you who suffers from alcoholism. Be there, offer your help and remain strong in your fight for his sobriety.

About the Author

Christa Orion is a psychologist in training with focus on family and relationship health. She has years of experience working with individuals going through domestic issues.

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