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I think my friend has a serious drinking problem but lies to cover it up. How can I help?

Start by doing your homework on the health risks of drinking. Create a complete and clear picture of the negative effects excessive drinking could have on his health, family, and social life—not to mention AFPT performance and overall readiness. Also, investigate support resources available near him. Then plan to talk about it.

Tips for talking to a friend

  • Pull your friend aside in a private setting—when he is sober—and explain your concern.
  • Let him know you are open to listening without judgment.
  • Your friend may be defensive or deny the problem. If so, focus on how his drinking affects your friendship—instead of stating how he “should” act.

Provide options

He may not admit to anything right away. But if you offer to help, he may come to you when he’s ready. Try giving him options:

  • “Let me know if you want to toss a football or see a movie—I’m game to hang out without alcohol.”
  • “There’s a website that has information about how to handle the urge to drink. Want me to send it your way?”
  • “I can go with you if you want to see a counselor or attend an Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meeting.”

Your concern could be the jolt your friend needs to realize he has a problem.

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