If someone you know has a problem with alcohol
or other drugs:
- Accept the person has a problem which needs attention.
- Don’t try to talk to him/her about your concerns when they are under the
influence of drugs/alcohol.
- Don’t cover up or make excuses for the mistakes they make when they are
- At every opportunity, let the person see the consequences of their behaviour.
- Don’t nag, yell or lecture. It will only cause feelings of anger and resentment.
- Don’t accept rude or physically abusive behaviour as normal or
understandable. It is never OK for you to be mistreated by anyone.
- Don’t feel guilty if you are upset because they have broken a promise to you.
- People with alcohol/drug problems often make promises they can’t keep, and
it is natural that you would feel disappointed or hurt.
- Don’t judge the person as weak, stupid or lacking in willpower because they
can’t control their drug/alcohol use. Alcohol/drug dependency can happen to
- Don’t feel sorry for him/her. When you feel pity, it is more likely that you will
try to take care of the person rather than encourage them to get the help they
- Don’t blame yourself for the problem. Other people’s actions do not cause
- Do learn all you can about drug and alcohol problems.
- Do make sure you have at least one person who you can talk to about your
feelings and worries.
- When the person opens up and admits they need help, assist them to access
appropriate support services.
(Adapted from: Addiction Research Foundation (1993) Alternatives: Prevention and intervention for alcohol and drug problems
in adults. ARD Canada.)
Alcohol Drug Helpline: 0800 787 797