I’m concerned about someone else's drug or alcohol uses

Talking about drug or alcohol use

When you start to feel alcohol or drugs are becoming a problem for someone else knowing what to say or do can be a challenge, especially if the person is a loved one.

Knowing how best to start talking with someone else about their drug or alcohol use can seem very daunting.

Think about what you want to say

It can be difficult to get across everything you want to say in a difficult conversation, especially if the other persons behaviour is upsetting.

Take some time to think about what you want them to hear, write it down.

Choose the right moment

Try to talk to the person when they are not intoxicated and open to speaking to you.  

It doesn’t happen all at once

That first conversation is probably going to be a difficult so keep it short. Say what you want to and then be prepared to listen. You don’t need to cajole or convince the person now; you are just letting them know your concerns.

The chances are if you have noticed the person will know that their alcohol or drug use is starting to cause them problems, even if they aren’t willing to say that out loud.

This is probably step one of many talks.

Don’t be surpirsed by resistance

The loved one’s reaction might not be the one you were hoping for, try to be patient with them. They may seem defensive or angry with you for raising it however, often people are feeling embarrassment when they hear their behaviour is affecting others.

Don’t put yourself in a position of any risk, if things get heated, leave. Although it may be tough try to avoid being sucked into an argument, you want the person to speak to you, if it becomes a point of conflict conversations get shut down.

Say it in a letter

Remember when you wrote down what you wanted to say? Could you send this in a letter to the person? This would give them the space to absorb what you are saying in their own time.

Suggest support

Suggest to the person they seek support. You may want to have some information to hand on agencies that can offer help. It’s important your loved one can make the decision to seek support for themselves, give them time to process.

Find support for yourself

Supporting someone else can be a hard and often frustrating journey. Support for you is just as important for the other person, especially if they are not ready to make changes at this point in time.

There are lots of organisations that are there specifically to help people concerned about a loved ones drug or alcohol use, Project 6 is one of them. Give us a call if you’d like to speak to someone.

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Airedale Voluntary Drug and Alcohol Agency trading as Project 6 is a registered charity number 1173006 and a company limited by guarantee and registered in England and Wales number 3430925

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