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Sex and the City: Learning How to Help an Alcoholic Friend

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Perhaps you’ve recently found yourself in a difficult situation involving a friend’s alcohol use. Maybe you are beginning to feel that something is seriously wrong, but you’re not sure what to do about it. You don’t know exactly how to help an alcoholic friend or how to confront an alcoholic that you know. Now, you’re left second-guessing yourself, wondering if you are simply imagining things.

Often, the media sheds light on subjects and topics that resonate with people of all walks of life. In many cases, characters on TV shows, protagonists in books, and even artistic elements of paintings reveal the undeniable truth that individuals everywhere are fighting some of the same battles as other people.

You are not alone in your wondering. Your questions are valid. Still, it might help to know more about this situation and how others handle it. Recent episodes of the show And Just Like That… prove that others are dealing with similar issues. 

Signs of Miranda’s Alcoholism

And Just Like That… recently premiered their first episode of the Sex in the City reboot. In the first episode, “Hello It’s Me”, the character Miranda Hobbes exits the subway at Columbia University to stop by the bar before attending her human rights law class. The scene shows Miranda entering Smith’s Bar and Restaurant and asking for a glass of chablis wine right in time for the bartender to inform her that the bar doesn’t open until 11 am.

Miranda then proceeds to reply to the bartender the famous and highly overused line, “It’s 11’oclock somewhere.” When she checks her clock to see that she has 15 minutes to wait, she chooses to do so. As the episode continues, Miranda attends the piano recital of Charlotte York, Lilly. She informs Carrie along with others that she has “handbag wine”. From there, Miranda pours the handbag wine into cups for each of them to drink before the show. 

In the second episode, “Little Black Dress”, Miranda asks for a drink at Big’s funeral. Again, she asks for a glass of chablis only for the bartender to reject her request and state that they won’t be serving until after the service. Miranda doesn’t accept the rejection well again and finds clever ways to now get a bourbon instead. 

Lastly, in the third episode, Miranda is attending a cafe with Charlotte when Charlotte asks Miranda if she can use her phone charger. When Miranda hands the bag over to Charlotte as she orders coffee, Charlotte discovers several empty bottles of vodka. It doesn’t stop there. Later in that same episode, Charlotte tells Carrie about Miranda’s empty bottles in her purse and Miranda drinks two glasses of wine before they all attend a comedy show.

These are all apparent signs of alcoholism. Maybe some of them remind you of things you’ve noticed about a friend. But, you may be uncertain about what your next step should be. Here, we list how to confront an alcoholic and how to help your friend through her struggle with alcohol use disorder.

Learning How to Help an Alcoholic Friend

“I think my friend is an alcoholic.” “I’m pretty sure my friend has a drinking problem…” The words are circulating your mind, day in and day out. But, still, you’re frozen in a world of confusion. You’re trapped somewhere between self-doubt and absolute certainty.

Fortunately, our team here at New Directions for Women understands the importance of learning how to assist those who are suffering from addiction. So, if you are hoping to learn more about how to help a friend with alcoholism, we are here for you.

First, it’s necessary to learn exactly what signs to look out for. Please visit this blog to learn more about the signs of alcoholism.

Once you are sure that your friend is, indeed, showing signs of alcohol use disorder, it is important to take action. If you are not certain about how to do so, allow us to help you here at New Directions. Below, you will find more information about how to confront an alcoholic.

How to Confront an Alcoholic Friend

Step 1:  Learn About Alcohol Use Disorder 

Before you act on anything, it’s fundamental to do adequate research to determine if you even need to know how to help an alcoholic friend. Alcoholism or alcohol use disorder extends past just drinking a heavy amount from time to time. 

A person can use alcoholism as a social habit or coping mechanism but it doesn’t exactly mean the individual has an alcohol use disorder. It’s important to note that people who have an alcohol use disorder, (AUD), do not drink in moderation even if they admit to only having one drink. 

Step 2: Practice What You’re Going To Say

It might be best to let the person you’re concerned about know that you are there for them and that you care. Formulating positive and supportive statements would also be super beneficial.

It’s imperative to note that using “I” statements can reduce the tone of accusation on an individual. It’ll allow you to be an active participant in the conversation. Bringing up the specific concern will be helpful. If you’re wondering how to help a friend with a drinking problem or how to help a friend with alcoholism, then you might want to start with a simple discussion. 

Rather than using the lines of accusation or blame, perhaps use the verbiage, “I love you, you’re my friend, and you’re important to me. I’m concerned that the amount of alcohol you’re drinking is harming you.” It’ll also be most effective to prepare yourself for any type of response. No matter what your friend’s reaction may be, remain calm and assure them that they have your support and respect. 

Step 3: Pick the Right Time and Place

Think about the right time to have this type of conversation. Make sure the place will grant privacy and a quiet environment. You also want to make sure to prevent and avoid interruptions. Provide your friend with your full attention. Make sure they aren’t already upset about something or preoccupied with other issues. The most important factor is that the person is sober. 

Step 4: Approach and Listen With Honesty and Compassion

The most ideal thing you can do is be open and honest about how you feel about it. If you begin hoping that the person will change on their own, it won’t improve the situation. Be prepared for the fact that they might resist your suggestions. They might be in denial and react aggressively or angrily to your requests. You don’t want to take it personally but instead, give them space and time to make an honest decision, and listen to what they have to say. 

Step 5: Offer Your Support

Come to terms with you aren’t able to force someone into attending treatment if they do not want to go. All you can do is offer your help. It is completely up to that individual if they want to take it. Be emphatic, sincere, and non-judgemental. Put yourself in their shoes for a moment to imagine how you might feel if you said to someone my friend has a drinking problem. 

Your friend might promise to stop or cut back on their own. With any form of addiction, actions speak louder than words. Urge your friend to attend a formal treatment program. Ask them for solid commitments and then follow through on them. It would also be feasible to see if other family members or friends want to be involved which can depend on two factors:

  • How serious the addiction is
  • How private the person is

Step 6: Intervene

When you have the thought, “my friend has a drinking problem, or how to help a friend with a drinking problem”, approaching them is different than an intervention. 

An intervention involves the following:

  • Presenting a treatment option 
  • Giving consequences
  • Planning 
  • Sharing

An intervention might be the next course of action. A professional therapist can help with the following:

  • Give advice on how to get the individual into a treatment facility
  • Explain what treatment program options the person has
  • Find treatment programs in the person’s area

How Does the Above Plot Relate to the Importance of Alcohol Addiction Treatment? 

Maybe you are currently wondering how to help an alcoholic friend or maybe you’re beginning to notice a change like Miranda’s friends. Alcoholism is a term used to describe an individual with an alcohol use disorder. When a person is immersed in alcoholism, they have both a psychological and physical dependence on alcohol.

People who engage in alcohol use might begin to have problems controlling their drinking habits. Or, they might decide to continue drinking even when it causes problems for the following areas:

  • Health
  • Relationship problems
  • Social and professional lives

Recovery Awaits at New Directions for Women Today

This guide is designed to help those who have had the thought, “my friend is an alcoholic” or “how to help a friend with alcoholism” to see if that is the problem at hand in their situation. Alcohol use disorder treatment is a continual process, and the person in treatment benefits more with the support of their loved ones. Please allow us to help you and your struggling friend today here at New Directions for Women. Together, we can overcome alcoholism for good.

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