Can you remain friends with someone who is a functioning alcoholic?
This friend is a functioning alcoholic since they are able to maintain a home and their financial responsibilities but behind the scenes their life seems to revolve around alcohol. The other people in their life are also addicts so it is impossible to remain friends if you don't join them.
How do you help them or do you leave and hope for the best? Speaking to them about their problem created a wedge.
I have had several friends who were alcoholics. Some of them come out of it and some don't. Addictions are very hard to break, especially if they drink and socialize with enablers. The ones who have come out of it are usually frightened by some circumstance. I had one friend who felt that he could remain with a buzz all day long and nobody would be the wiser. He went to AA meetings, but they were no help. Then one day, he realized that the booze was controlling his life. He became very frightened and until this day, he has not drank a drop; of booze. He does call himself a recovering alcoholic though. Sometimes, they have to reach bottom before they realize they have a real problem and help themselves. Others may need AA, but it is hard to motivate them to go to meetings. If you have done everything you think you can do with them, then it's time to back off and let them suffer the consequences and hope they can recover.
It is important for you to understand a couple of things about addiction in general to better help you in dealing with this friend. 1) unfortunately, until the person suffering from an addiction sees it as a problem they will not change. 2) The most important thing for you to come to grips with is that you are just as powerless over addiction as the addict themselves. It can be very hard to love someone and not be able to provide them with the "help they need"! I suggest you find a way to support and love them without being an enabler to their problem. Let them know how much you care for them and how bad it hurts you to see them "abuse themselves in this way". Please understand that (almost) ANY attempt to confront a potential addicted person about their "possible substance problem" will be met with hostile and defensive behavior. By expressing your love and concern in the way I have outlined above you convey to the addict that you do see them and value them separate from their substance issue. Additionally, let them know that you can no longer watch them do this to themselves and that you are more than willing to help them to get the help they need. Continue to check with them (preferably by a safe means such as a phone call or text) and genuinely let them know you are still there for them.
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