Seeing friends is always a lot of fun and we typically visit them and go out with them to engage in exactly that.

For many of us, life with friends revolves around the pub. We meet up, chill out and enjoy a drink or two, shooting the breeze as we do it. It’s what we do. However, that can make being honest about your relationship with alcohol quite difficult.

So many of us have normalised our drinking habits when in reality we have a problematic relationship with it. We tell ourselves that if everyone is drinking the same as you, it’s not really a problem.

However, as any alcohol rehab UK wide will tell you, that isn’t the case and everybody’s relationship with alcohol is different, regardless of how little or how much you drink. Understanding this can really help you evaluate your relationship with alcohol and if you think you do need help or there is a problem, then it’s time to start giving the stuff up.

That isn’t easy though, and to do this you need help from loved ones and friends, perhaps even including those that you go to the pub with. So how exactly can you tell your friends you need help? Here are five top tips…

Choose the Right Time and Place

Firstly, it’s all about finding the right time and place. You need an environment where you can discuss it openly, and probably not during a period where you or your friends are actually under the influence of alcohol.

It’s a sensitive topic and should be treated as such, so avoid noisy environments or places where friends could get distracted. It might be worth inviting them round to yours for dinner, giving you a comfortable environment and you’re getting their full attention.

Be Honest and Direct

It’s important to be completely honest and direct with your friends. Taking the step to gather your friends and say you need help is already a huge achievement, so be respectful of that and clearly and honestly communicate your concerns about your alcohol use with your friends.

You should tell them how you feel, the impact alcohol is having on your life, your relationships and your well-being. By being honest you’ll see your friends being much more receptive in offering their support to you.

Express Your Needs and Preferences

Once you’ve told them of your problem, you should then be open and honest about how you want your friends to help and support you. It may be that you want to avoid the pub. It may be that you need someone to listen to you without judgement. You may want help finding a rehab centre or to offer practical assistance. Whatever you need, and however best they can support, communicate that clearly with them.

Respect Boundaries and Expectations

Of course, as well as this you need to respect your friends boundaries and expectations. You should avoid putting any undue pressure on them and ensure that the support they provide is not a burden on them. After all, they have lives to live and families to look after too.

Be clear about what you need and set boundaries on things you are capable and incapable of. For example, it may be that an upcoming stag do may be too much for you to take on right now, or that the weekly pub quiz just can’t be committed to in the short term while you focus on your recovery. This will all be understood by your friends if they care that much about you.

Be Patient and Understanding

That will especially be the case if you approach it with patience and understanding. While you might expect that’s what they should provide you with, and indeed they should, it’s also how you should approach the situation.

Allow the space for emotions to surface and be prepared for different reactions. Some may be initially surprised, some may be concerned. You may even find that some of your friends feel exactly the same way as you and it inspires them to get help. Approach the conversation with compassion and a willingness to work together and you’ll develop a mini support network so you don’t feel alone in taking on what can be a difficult journey to sobriety.