To me, the near universality of this human experience is notable. In my own life, I've had family members, friends, work colleagues & neighbors who have struggled. Often as not, I've been uncertain of an approach to take with these people. Speak to them of what I've observed? Avoid the person and issue? Offer help? What kind of help? A support group? A counselor or therapist? An intervention? Though I've studied the subject a bit and even briefly taught courses on alcoholism & substance abuse, having someone in your life is altogether different than teaching about some vague "others". Even knowing that an addict needs to hit their own bottom before they're ready to climb out feels like a platitude when it's someone important to me.
In my experience, even though most of us have had to deal with this issue, few of us agree what action to take; often we strongly disagree. Some of us believe alcoholism is a disease; some do not. Some of us believe stopping is a matter of will for the alcoholic or addict; some of us believe stopping is about more than will. But disagreements or discussions of different beliefs are of no use to the person struggling. So, how best can I be of use? Because I don't need it right this moment, this is a good time to ask for your help.