CUTTING DOWN – TIPS TO STAY ON TRACK
Concerned about someone else's drinking?
Are you worried about someone’s drinking?
Whether it’s your mum, dad, boy/girlfriend, brother, sister, or even just a friend, if someone you know is drinking too much it's natural to be concerned for them and it can affect you too.
Talking to a friend
If you’re worried that a friend is drinking too much, it’s best to tackle it head on. Here are some tips:
- When? Find a time when you’re both calm and both sober. Don’t do it over a drink.
- What? Talk to them and tell them you’re worried. Tell them you are concerned about them and state any problems you think their drinking is causing.
- Give specific examples - Try and be as objective as possible, and, even though it’s hard, own up to any part you play in this. If you drink together, you may well play a part.
- If you think their drinking is affecting their work, give examples of this and any consequences this has or may have in the future.
- Listen - It’s important to use the conversation to find out how they feel about their drinking.
- Try and help the person to come up with a realistic plan to address their problems. This may just be to cut down a bit or to get some professional help.
Someone in your family, or a boyfriend/girlfriend/partner
The closer you are to someone the more difficult it can be to talk them about their drinking problem. But remember, their drinking affects you too - so as well as helping them, make sure you get help yourself. Here’s some tips in talking it through:
- Be specific. Be honest about how you think their drinking affects them, you and other people in the family. Be as objective specific as possible - give examples.
- Avoid arguments - Try and say how you feel as openly as possible, but own up to and state your own feelings.
- Don’t help them hide the problem - Ultimately, they are responsible for their actions. Phoning work with excuses or lying to others on their behalf will not help in the long term.
- Decide on a realistic plan of action - Let them initiate what action they wish to take and be prepared to accept it if they do not wish to make changes. Think about how you would respond to this.
- Talk about what you will do if they choose not to make changes or seek support.
- Get help for yourself - Remember, someone else’s problem drinking affects you too. Get help for yourself even if the problem drinker is not prepared to do so yet.
Read more about dependency on alcohol.