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Five Things Recovering Alcoholics Do Not Want To Hear

02 May Posted in Family


Contrary to popular belief, alcohol rehab advice in Kent doesn’t exist exclusively for those with alcohol problems. Quite to the contrary, it can also prove to be extremely helpful and reassuring for the friends and family members of those with alcohol problems. Even if the individual in question does not go so far as to enter rehab, it is still probable that professional advice and support along the way could help breed a successful result and improve their long-term outlook.

Being a close friend or family member of a recovering alcoholic is never easy.  You want to help, you are willing to do just about anything you can to help and yet with no experience whatsoever, you really haven’t got a clue how to help.  Because of this, it is largely inevitable that even the most well-meaning of friends and family members will during the course of the process occasionally make a couple of mistakes. Nothing particularly serious perhaps, but still the kinds of things that are more likely to hinder than help.

Some of which can be as simple as that things you do and do not say.  While there’s much to be said for on-going reassurance and conversation, there are certain statements, questions, expressions and so on that really should never come into conversation.

So if you’d prefer to say all the right things at steer clear of anything that could do more harm than good, here’s a brief overview of five things it’s never a particularly good idea to say to a recovering alcoholic:

Here’s a quick look at a few examples to illustrate this:

1.  We all feel incredibly sorry for you

First of all, this relatively common statement which appears on the surface to show sympathy is just the kind of thing that can be detrimental for two reasons.  First of all, the vast majority of recovering alcoholics do not want to be at the centre of some kind of pity party, where everyone is feeling sorry for them and treating them like some kind of hurt child. Secondly, too much pity expressed in this kind of way can lead to a situation where the individual in question feels as if they have been badly done to. In turn, they may stop focusing on their own responsibility for what has happened and may end up in such a rut that they end up relapsing. This is a time for many things – pity is not one of them.

2.  All you need is willpower

To suggest that it takes nothing more than willpower to battle alcohol addiction is to display a complete lack of education in the subject. Willpower may play a role, but alcohol has such an extensive an extraordinary effect on mental and physical health that there is so much more to it than simple concentration and dedication. Even with all the willpower in the world, a recovering alcoholic cannot and will not escape the often-debilitating side effects of alcohol withdrawal.

3.  Your problem wasn’t particularly bad in the first place

A statement geared toward making the individual in question feel less bad about themselves and their actions, but also highly detrimental. Along with making light of a situation which may be (or have been) extremely serious, in any way justifying or even sugar-coating their problematic drinking is to open the door to relapse. This is a time for everyone involved to be as honest and realistic as possible.

4. What Are You Thinking? Are You OK?  How Are You Feeling? 

A quick point but an important point nonetheless, continually bombarding a recovering alcoholic with question after question after question really isn’t the way to go. There’s a big difference between encouraging open and important conversation for the sake of their recovery process, and ending up putting them in a position where they feel they are being interrogated. Suffice to say, the latter of the two isn’t productive.

5. It’s Your Own Fault

Last but not least, even if it is 100% the fault of the individual in question alone, reminding them of the fact really isn’t going to help them. It has to be assumed at this stage that they have accepted their problem, accepted the root cause of the problem and accepted that they need to do something about it. As such, to simply be reminded of the failures or weaknesses that led to the problem in the first place is to increase the likelihood of history repeating itself.