Many people are unaware that their partner, family member, or friend is consuming alcohol excessively. Secretive drinking often indicates that someone is struggling to prevent social drinking from transitioning into more problematic patterns of consumption.
If you are concerned that you or a loved one is engaging in covert drinking, help is available. This guide highlights some common behaviors that might suggest hidden drinking and the development of alcohol use disorder. Read on to discover how to deal with a secret drinker in your life and how to help them engage with evidence-based addiction treatment.
We want to help
What Is a Secret Drinker?
A secret drinker is an individual who conceals their alcohol consumption, often engaging in covert or hidden drinking away from friends, family, or colleagues. This behavior may be indicative of an underlying issue with alcohol and can lead to various physical, emotional, and social consequences.
Recognizing the signs of secret drinking can enable prompt intervention and appropriate support. In this guide, we explore some common behaviors associated with secret drinking and provide insights into how to approach this delicate situation with empathy and understanding.
What to Do If Someone Is Secretly Drinking
Discovering that someone close is engaging in covert drinking can be challenging. Remember, though, alcohol addiction is not a choice, but a progressive brain condition characterized by the compulsive consumption of alcohol. Taking appropriate steps is crucial to address the situation effectively. Here’s what to do if you suspect someone is secretly drinking:
- Observe behavior changes: Pay attention to shifts in behavior, mood swings, or social withdrawal. These changes may indicate a hidden struggle with alcohol.
- Gather evidence: Collect concrete evidence of secretive drinking, such as finding hidden alcohol containers or identifying patterns of disappearing alcohol.
- Choose the right setting: Address the issue in a calm and private setting. Choose a time when the person is sober and receptive to conversation.
- Express concern non-judgmentally: Approach the conversation with empathy, expressing your worry without judgment. Use “I” statements to avoid sounding accusatory.
- Share specific observations: Provide examples of observed behaviors that raised concerns, making the conversation more focused and tangible.
- Encourage open communication: Create an environment where the person feels safe to share their feelings and struggles. Encourage open dialogue without fear of judgment.
- Offer support: Communicate your willingness to support them in seeking help. Emphasize that addressing the issue is a positive step toward a healthier lifestyle.
- Research treatment options together: Collaborate on researching available evidence-based treatment options, including therapy, support groups, or counseling. Show active involvement in the recovery process.
- Avoid enabling behaviors: Refrain from enabling the person’s secretive drinking habits. Avoid covering up or making excuses for their behavior.
- Seek professional guidance: Suggest consulting with a healthcare professional or addiction specialist to assess the severity of the issue and explore appropriate treatment plans.
- Involve trusted friends and family: Enlist the support of other trusted friends and family members to create a sober support network for your loved one.
- Establish boundaries: Set clear boundaries to protect yourself and others from the consequences of secretive drinking. Clearly communicate the impact on relationships and well-being.
- Encourage self-reflection: Encourage the person to reflect on the impact of their drinking on their life and relationships. Motivate them to consider the positive changes that can come with seeking help.
- Follow up regularly: Stay engaged in the person’s recovery journey by regularly checking in, attending therapy sessions together, and providing ongoing emotional support.
Remember that approaching the situation with empathy, understanding, and a commitment to support can contribute to more positive outcomes. If needed, professional intervention and guidance can be beneficial in addressing the challenges associated with secretive drinking.
How to Get Someone Help for Alcohol Addiction
Addressing alcohol addiction in a loved one requires sensitivity, understanding, and a proactive approach.
Learn as much as you can about alcohol addiction, its effects, and available treatment options. Understanding the condition equips you to provide more informed support.
Research treatment options
Explore available treatment options, including therapy, support groups, and rehabilitation programs. Be prepared to offer information about the recovery process, including advice about whether inpatient or outpatient rehab seems like the optimum approach.
Encourage professional help
Encourage the person to consult a healthcare professional or addiction specialist.
Stage an intervention
If the person is resistant to engaging with treatment, consider staging an intervention with the assistance of a professional interventionist. This structured approach can encourage the individual to seek help.
Provide emotional support
Offer emotional support throughout the recovery journey. Let the person know that you are there for them, and emphasize the positive changes that can come with seeking help.
Stay involved in the individual’s recovery process. Regularly check in, attend therapy sessions or support group meetings together, and celebrate milestones.
Remember that individuals struggling with alcohol addiction may resist seeking help initially. Patience, persistence, and a supportive approach can make a significant difference in helping someone overcome alcoholism.
Get Treatment for Alcohol Addiction at California Detox
Most people who have developed problematic patterns of drinking benefit from supervised alcohol detoxification. Unsupervised alcohol detox is associated with more chance of life-threatening delirium tremens – the most severe form of withdrawal from alcohol. Avoid this by kickstarting your recovery from alcoholism at California Detox in Laguna Beach, CA.
After a week of detox, move into ongoing inpatient treatment at our luxury facility. Working closely with our team of addiction specialists and mental health professionals, you and peers undergoing similar experience can engage in treatments that include:
- Holistic therapies
- Individual counseling
- Family therapy
- Group therapy
- MAT (medication-assisted treatment)
- Psychotherapies (CBT or DBT)
To stop drinking safely and address all aspects of alcohol addiction, call 949.694.8305.