We all have that one friend who is struggling with a drinking problem. And despite their rigid resolve and self-control, they tend to give in at some point. Once they are back to square one, getting back up again seems more difficult than before.
Cutting out the booze completely is not easy. However, having support from a friend or a loved one can make things easier and motivate the person to stay the course until the end.
There are several ways to help a friend who’s trying to cut out alcohol this month and beyond. Some of these tips might work and some of them might not, depending on the level of addiction and how sincere the person is towards quitting.
According to a survey, nearly 14 million adults in the US abuse alcohol and are at high risk of contracting a liver disease, which in most cases, turns out to be fatal. If your friend or a loved one has decided to quit drinking, even if that means for you to lose company at the bar, support their decision wholeheartedly. Stand by them throughout their rehab journey and let them know that they are not alone.
We are sharing 5 actionable tips that will help you get a friend or a loved one to sober up.
#1 Don’t stop inviting them to booze parties
Alcohol is so deeply ingrained in our culture that if someone wants to quit drinking, their decision is often questioned and criticized. When sobering up, nothing feels worse than being labeled as an outcast. Make sure you are not only supportive of their decision but are also making them feel welcomed in your social circle.
If someone is trying to give up alcohol, that doesn’t mean they can’t be around people who drink. In fact, meeting with friends without alcohol can be more fun and productive. There will be no raised voices or mess on the table. Everyone will listen to each other and can have sensible conversations about career and life in general.
#2 Show solidarity if you have to
In some scenarios, avoiding a drink can be tricky. And the last thing you want for your friend is to feel left out if they choose not to drink. It might be difficult for you, but offering to be their sober partner can help them feel a bit comfortable about the whole situation.
Also, sober shaming is common at social gatherings. People who decide to give up alcohol are made to feel that they have made a mistake. While you would never sober shame your friend, other people at the party might. So, try to stand up to the bullying your friend might face.
#3 Find out what they are comfortable with
You care about your friend, so you decided to be their support system, but have you really thought this through? What are their triggers? Are there any places or people that they should avoid? Whether they find alcohol-free beers and wines helpful or not? Are they comfortable with you drinking in their presence? It is important to have answers to these questions in advance so that there are no bitter experiences down the road.
#4 Keep non-alcoholic drinks as an option
When you are hosting a house party, make sure you have at least 2-3 varieties of non-alcoholic drinks for your sober friend. If you are heading out, check with the restaurant beforehand to make sure they have more than just a can of soda or energy drink on their non-alcoholic drinks menu. When you are going out in a group, it is important for everyone to feel included, especially the person who doesn’t want to indulge in heady drinks. Request for mocktails served in wine or champagne glasses as everybody else’s to reduce a bit of social anxiety around not drinking.
#5 Managing withdrawal symptoms
Like every other addiction, quitting alcohol is accompanied by withdrawal symptoms and occasional cravings that can be difficult for some people to manage. Don’t be surprised if your friend loses control and has one too many drinks at a party. To avoid that, you can suggest your friend get IV therapy to boost resistance to alcoholic addiction and promote better overall health. These therapies can be tailored to meet a specific goal while taking into account any underlying health condition to ensure the safe administering of coenzymes.
Suggest alcohol-free activities whenever possible. It might be difficult for them to be in a bar and not drink. So avoid the bar at the beginning and go for coffee brunch or sports activities instead. It’s going to be hard, but your friend will thank you later for the unconditional support during their darkest hour.