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Things to Avoid Saying to a Recovering Alcoholic

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Before, during and after receiving treatment from the United Kingdom’s alcohol rehab centres, family and friends always play one of the biggest roles of all in assisting alcoholics recover. It is the support of close ones that could make all the difference throughout the recovery process from beginning to end. But at the same time, it could often be tricky to know what to say, do and what to avoid saying by all means.

Family and friends will always have the best intentions, but there are some common mistakes to avoid in terms of general support and conversation. Naturally, how any given person reacts to things across the board will vary hugely from one individual to the next. You want to and must speak from the heart, rather than give the impression that what you say is either taken straight from a textbook or fabricated. Nonetheless, some statements can have a habit of proving generally counterproductive more often than nor and are hence best to avoid.

Here is a short overview of a few examples:

1 – We Feel So Sorry For You

First up, you’d be forgiven for assuming that this specific utterance would show nothing but caring, kindness and empathy for their situation. However, the reality could be quite different as to express your emotions in such a way is to turn something proactive into a pity party. Naturally, this is precisely what the individual you are looking to help does not need at the moment. It is always better to err on the positive side and generally focus on empowerment and the future. Pity does not get anyone anywhere and could instead stand to make people much sorrier for themselves than they are. Even if you feel quite sorry for them, you need to find other way to express yourself.

2 – Willpower Can Solve It All

It is certainly true to say that willpower is crucially important during the recovery and treatment process. Nevertheless, suggesting that it all comes down to willpower and willpower alone is to show a total and complete lack of understanding and knowledge in terms of what the individual in question is going through. Alcohol addiction and alcohol misuse take a huge toll on mental and physical health alike. Which in turn simply means that even with all the willpower in the world, it might not be possible to recover without expert intervention. Willpower will help an addict along the way, but is just one piece of the big puzzle.

3 – Your Problem Was In Fact Not So Bad

You might feel as if telling the individual concerned that they were in fact not that bad would help them move on from blaming themselves and having a pity party. Sadly, it could also be a counterproductive thing to say. This is because having begun a course of treatment, they’ve made amazing progress by acknowledging their mistakes and past and working towards making improvements to their life. If you make them think that their past situation was in reality not that bad, there is a strong chance you might end up undoing a lot of the positive work accomplished so far.

4 – What Are You Thinking? How Are You Feeling? 

Try to keep in mind that there’s a big difference between being proactive and helping a recovering alcoholic along the way and bombarding them with constant questions. There is a fine line between helpful questioning and questioning that sounds more like the Spanish Inquisition. If they for one moment feel like being interrogated rather than talked to, you have truly crossed the line into being unhelpful. Encouraging words are great, asking questions could also be useful and being open-minded is crucial. Just pay attention not to go too far and make every day feel like a day-long interview.

5 – It’s All So Unfortunate

Last but not least, it is not as if it is a good idea to make light of the topic, but at the same time you do not need to continually remind the person concerned of the doom and gloom involved. It is one thing to be sympathetic, but it is something else to continually go on and on about how bad it all is. In doing so, you’ll simply turn the whole thing into a hideous chore and the kind of topic that is best avoided. Even though it is naturally not an enjoyable subject at all, you need to focus on the positive things at all times and stay away from the dark side of things.