How to Help a Friend
Alcohol and Other Drugs
Have you ever been worried about a friend's substance use? You are not alone. And it's not easy. The following tips can provide some ideas on how to express your concern to someone you care about.
- Start with "I". Using an I statement to approach your loved one can help to prevent them from becoming defensive. "I care about your and I am really worried about your drinking." " I notice you've been drinking more than usual lately. What's going on?"
- Gather resources. Before talking with your friend, gather campus and community resources so that you can help direct your friend to those if they are ready.
- Avoid "should". Try to be non-judgmental and avoid telling them what they should or should not be doing. Dont say this: "You should just quit drinking."
- Focus on health and well-being rather than morality. Keep in mind that good people sometimes make unhealthy decisions.
- Ask questions. "How do you think your drinking might be affecting your well-being?"
- Find a private place to discuss your concerns.
- Let go. Realize that neither you, nor anyone else, can MAKE another person do anything, even if the situation appears dire.
- Support them. Let them know that you can help them get an appointment with mental health or substance use treatment professionals. But remember you can't fix them.
- Consult the professionals. Health Promotion and Counseling Services can help you prepare for these tough conversations.
- Be sure you are both sober when you talk.