How to motivate our near & dear ones to quit, without hurting the relationship?

Most people using alcohol or tobacco are in denial about its harmfulness and often refuse to quit. People who love them find themselves to be a helpless and mute spectator to their deteriorating health; not knowing how to help their loved ones. Here are few tips that might prove useful :-)

1) Understand that he/ she is the victim and not the culprit. The reason why an alcohol/ tobacco user resists listening to you and gets angry over your requests to quit, is that he feels criticised. So make sure that there is love, warmth and understanding in your tone, when you make the request. If the hearts get connected 1st, then nothing which you say afterwards will be misunderstood! If you talk to the person with respect and in a non-judgemental way, expressing understanding that you know he is good person; that the problem is with alcohol consumption and not with him, that you understand that he also wants to quit but is unable to do so – then he will listen to you. You may say something like, “I love you a lot and wish for you the very best that life has to offer. I am feeling very concerned for you, ever since I have heard about the adverse consequences of tobacco/ alcohol. If a person is addicted to alcohol or tobacco then there is a high likelihood of the family losing him 10 years earlier then expected. I don’t want to see you or your family get harmed; and so want to share with you what I heard/read. Please hear me out for 10 minutes…….….. Everytime I picturise you trapped in the addiction, I become very sad. I know you are not bad. But this alcohol/ tobacco is very bad. Please try to quit it for me.”

2) Your aim is to provide hope: A reason why a person doesn’t want to try quitting is that he has already tried it a dozen times and has failed. He doesn’t want to fail again. So its important to:

a) Raise his confidence – Keep reminding him of his past achievements and express your faith in his abilities to achieve whatever he decides to, including quitting.

b) Assert that it is possible – Though very difficult, everyday thousands do quit and there is no reason why he should not be able to.

c) Let him know that the withdrawal symptoms last only for about a week; but the benefits of quitting will stay with him forever.

d) Offer help – Let him know that professional help is available, which makes things easier. Empower him with few tips which help a person to quit. He will be more willing to try.

3) It’s a difficult journey and he/ she needs a lot of encouragement. No one learns to drive a cycle without falling few times. Similarly most people who eventually are successfully at quitting, do have a few failed attempts at quitting initially. During such times your taunts will do more harm than good. You need to draw their attention to the progress made, encourage them to learn from the experience and reassure them that so far as they keep trying and not repeat the same mistakes, they are bound to succeed today or tomorrow.

4) Continue positive interactions related to other aspects of life. Intermittently keep repeating the request till he quits, but not daily. Let other topics of discussion and other joint activities also continue – so that the warmth in your relationship is maintained! So far as you treat him with respect & understanding, even if he doesn’t quit, he will not distance himself from you because of your requests. Infact he will value you more because he would know that you truly care for him/ her :-)

Posted in: About Alcohol and Tobacco