Asking “for a friend”

Asking “for a friend”

From the controversial “sober curious” movement to declining alcohol revenue, alcohol abstinence is on the rise, it seems. While many of the people who benefit from “sober October” or a monthly alcohol sabbatical as part of your New Year’s Resolution are not necessarily alcoholics, it’s more popular than ever to abstain.

Even if it weren’t, lots of people with sobriety under their belt (in other words, if you’re “out” as an alcoholic) are beset by curious friends and family members, maybe with a “friend whose husband’s drinking might be a problem” or a “coworker who gets really drunk at happy hours but is otherwise under control.” These might be real acquaintances with real problems. Or, they might be the first nervous moves toward sobriety from someone afraid of the truth of their addiction. 

It’s at this point that many former addicts direct them to a meeting or say, “you’ll need to wait until your rock bottom.” The obvious answer is to seek help via a medical professional with a specialty in addiction medicine.

But there is something you can here’s what you can say about your own experience and how you can help those who are dipping their toes in the water of sobriety:

  • Tell them your story truthfully.
  • Let them know the context of your situation.
  • Answer their questions honestly.
  • Suggest they confide in a medical professional
  • Ensure their psychological safety by keeping their confidence.

No matter what the message you’ve interpreted is on the part of the person inquiring, remind yourself that not every addiction is the same, so avoid creating expectations around the result. Regardless of the reasons your help is being sought, remember that it’s part of a larger process. 

The wisdom you gain in recovery is commensurate with the time you spend looking inside yourself for the answers. Likewise, any gains they make will be part and parcel of an effort on their part. You are not responsible for their wellness or the wellness of the “friends” they may represent. Nonetheless, never abdicate your responsibility to be present for someone in need. Being generous with our time actually pays dividends to us and has been shown to make people happier. 


You’re not alone at Tree House Recovery of Orange County, California. We are a premiere men’s addiction treatment facility that uses eight different modalities to help our men become the best versions of themselves they can be. We teach our men that every day of their journey is something to celebrate and that recovery isn’t a sprint—it’s a marathon. To get started with Tree House Recovery, call us today at (855) 202-2138

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