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What Not to Say When Talking to Someone About Alcoholism

When a family member, friend or co-worker is struggling to stay sober, your instinct is to want to help them. Depending on how close you are to him/her and the level of trust you have, you may decide to talk to them about their problem and provide them with potential resources for getting help, including information about affordable alcohol treatment centers in your area. There are many things that you can say that will be supportive, helpful and even inspiring. There are also things that you should try NOT to say to someone battling alcohol or drug abuse or in recovery. We have outlined a few specific things to make sure to avoid saying to a recovering alcoholic:

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  • Avoid pity. Stay away from saying things like “I’m so sorry that you are going through this.” Focus on giving your loved one an empowering message, not one with sympathy or pity.
  • Do not spray your loved one with multiple questions. When someone is struggling, it is likely very difficult for them to answer questions from people like “How are you feeling today?” or “How have things been going?” or “You seem to be doing well, have you had the urge to drink recently?” Extra questions can make your friend or loved one feel additional pressure, which is counterproductive as they pursue the path of recovery.
  • Do not convey doom and gloom; stick to positive verbal support. Saying things like “This struggle has to be so hard,” or “I just don’t know how you do it,” or “I’m here to support you as you battle this horrible disease,” just communicates unnecessary negativity, and you may inadvertently communicate that you think that your loved one may not be able to conquer this battle. Instead, focus on positive, supportive, and empowering language.
  • “Your willpower must be so strong.” This is another phrase to avoid when talking to someone about alcoholism. Those who struggle with alcohol abuse have a wide variety of triggers that push them to abuse alcohol. Being aware of these specific triggers gives one a much stronger chance of staying sober, much more of a chance than willpower alone.

Yellowstone Recovery: Compassionate, Effective, and Affordable Drug Rehab

Yellowstone Recovery has been providing an affordable and effective drug rehabilitation services in California for more than 17 years. We offer a detoxification program, as well as outpatient services that focus on group counseling, individual counseling, job placement assistance, and a 12 step recovery program based on the premise of Alcoholics Anonymous. Our rehabilitation team can help tailor a program that will work best for you or a loved one. Upon completion of a Yellowstone Recovery Program, you or your loved one will have the tools necessary to stay sober long term.

If you would like more information about the success rate or programs offered by Yellowstone Recovery, give us a call today at 1-888-897-1455. We can schedule an appointment for you to meet with a member of our team or an expedited admission, if needed.


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