How to Help When Athletes Develop a Drug or Alcohol Problem


by Tess Young

Editor’s note:  This article is somewhat unsual for Podium, although Andrew Dieden’s post The Cause as Well as the Cure helped our readers have a stronger grasp of those things that contribute to addictive disease.  No one close to sports would begin to suggest that this problem is not a significant one.  And one that has ended many a great athletes’ careers far too early.  Perhaps the most beloved New York Yankee ever, Mickey Mantle might have had one or more championships to look forward to.  Even now, one of baseball’s celebrated athletes in recovery, Josh Hamilton, continues to battle alcoholism.

So who is called upon to right the ship?  There is no doubt that sports agents have a lot at stake so maybe they should be the ones to initiate the helping process.  Professional sports franchises also have much to lose, and it is true that the NFL has many teams with their own drug alcohol specialists on staff.  They do their best to educate, coach the athletes up on how to keep healthy…. but fandom, social pressure and the lure of the nightlife can turn a vulnerable 22 year old on his ear if not careful.  But what about athletes in individual sports or sports that don’t make them a lot of money?  Like it or not, family and friends (true friends) are the one’s most likely to try to help.  This article offers up some simple yet valuable guidelines for how to help.  Thanks, Tess


How to find the right treatment program for your loved one

Drug and alcohol addiction are issues that affect people all over the world, regardless of socio-economic background. It can be particularly difficult for friends and family members who are witnessing their loved one wallow in the depths of addiction to stand by and do nothing. You want them to be happy, but at the same time to understand that addiction is destroying their life. They may have come to you for help in the past, but it can be quite easy to relapse. Sometimes going cold turkey simply isn’t the way and there are other methods that you will need to employ. When it comes to convincing someone to go to rehab, there are a couple of things you may want to keep in mind. This will help to make the process a little easier and allow your loved one to understand that you are trying to help them.


A Supportive Approach

The first thing that your loved one needs to know is that you support them and are willing to help them get better. You need to approach them with an air of security and support. Intimidation is not going to work here. When staging any kind of intervention you need to ensure that you are not angry or aggressive. This will only cause the confrontation that you have been trying to avoid. It is important to sit them down and speak with them calmly. If they have anything to say, then you need to listen. Your loved one may be trying their best to communicate their distress to you, but may feel embarrassed about the issue. Let them know that it is okay to ask for help.


Avoid Manipulation

Sufferers of addiction are usually going to find ways around the people they love in order to get what they crave. It is up to you to avoid manipulation. This is a lot easier said than done. You may think that you are helping someone through their addiction, but you could end up being an enabler. This isn’t necessarily anyone’s fault: a lot of people end up “enabling” without even realizing that they are doing it.

When you offer to help them, make sure that it is on your terms. Do not give them money, as this money may have already been spent on drugs. Continuing to bail them out of sticky situations is also a way of enabling someone. If you want to help, offer to take them for groceries or to pay a bill instead of just handing over money. This is the best way to really help without giving the option of using the money you provide to use drugs.



In extreme cases, rehabilitation centers are usually the best bet. Here, the patient will be able to speak with counselors who can help them through the process. Withdrawal symptoms can be great and can cause an addict to have a complete breakdown. It is best to be around professionals who can care for your loved one when or if this happens. Nobody has to go through this issue alone. Both you and your loved one need to be strong when it comes to beating the addiction.


Author Bio:    Tess Young

Tess Young is a freelance writer and blogger. She writes for a number of different blogs on numerous topics. Some of these topics include drug addiction, travel, career advancement, alternative energy and healthy living. She also writes website content forPyramid Healthcare on topics such as alcoholism treatment centers Pittsburgh.

3 thoughts on “How to Help When Athletes Develop a Drug or Alcohol Problem

  • September 1, 2013 at 8:27 am

    When reading this, I immediately think about the role of the coaches. Athletes are usually really close to their coaches, so that can perhaps be the first point of help for them.

  • May 28, 2020 at 9:32 am

    Addiction is a habit that has gripped people across the world. Whether it a sportsman or a common man, everyone suffers from it. Your article is very good and You have risen the main facts through this plate form. Thank you very much for the great information.


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