This is Taboo Topic Tuesday, a weekly series that tackles a “taboo” subject and gives tips on how to talk about it with your vinas (sans judgement). Have an idea for a topic? Tweet us @ilikevina using the hashtag #TalkingTaboos, and we’ll get talkin’!
If you’re a vina in your 20’s or 30’s, in my experience, it can be a challenge to find ways to hangout without there being some sort of alcohol around. So what do you do if you think a vina has a drinking problem?
First, you need to educate yourself on the situation. The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence has a lot of great resources on Alcoholism. And of course, there’s always Wikipedia! This first step is really important. Most of us in the western hemisphere have a good grasp on what alcoholism is in theory, but it’s quite different to read over that information with tangible consequences and loved ones in mind.
Second, once you’ve reviewed the literature take a step back. When someone struggles with addiction they can become a really different version of their self; much different from the person you may have grown to love and care about. It’s really important to remember that they’re sick. Empathy and patience are key.
Third, you need to talk to your vina. You will need to use your best judgement in doing this. Some people need a huge intervention with all their loved ones, but for others an intimate conversation about the problem will be enough to get their attention. In the best of situations, they’re just waiting for someone to reach out. In the worst of situations, they may be mad at you. Again, empathy and patience are key.
A person coping with alcoholism (or any addiction) will need your continuous support and that will not always be easy. With that said, self-care is important. You cannot fry yourself at the expense of someone else. Everyone has a limit and you absolutely do not need to feel bad about stepping back for a minute to care for yourself. You cannot help someone if your own health (emotional and physical) are compromised.
Last, you can aid your vina in recovery by being courteous; if they’re not at a point (and
they may never be) where they can to go to a bar or be at a party, find something else to do. Celebrate their victories and keep your door open in case of gloomier days. Alcoholism is a lifelong battle, and it really helps to have lifelong vinas alongside on the road to recovery.
How would you handle approaching a vina who may have a drinking problem? Comment blow or join the discussion on Twitter using the hashtag #TalkingTaboos.