Helping Someone Who May Have a Problem with Alcohol or Other Drugs

There are no rules about how much drinking or drug use is too much. When alcohol or other drugs are used to solve problems, and the problems keep getting worse, alcohol.drugs are part of the problem. Problems with alcohol and other drugs affect the whole campus community. Chances are that if you have been affected by someone's use enough to be concerned, you should talk about it with Susan McCarthy (ADAP Counselor/Director, x2616).

Steps in Approaching the Person:

  1. Be aware of your own feelings about drinking and other drug use--your own as well as the other person's.
  2. Plan your discussion. Choose a time when the person is sober and straight and a private place where you will not be interrupted.
  3. Set as the goal of the intervention to have the affected person see and accept the reality of the situation, so that, however difficult, the need for help and change can be accepted.
  4. Be specific about the behaviors that concern you. Give the person an objective, factual description of the events which you have seen related to their drinking or other drug use. Include information from other meaningful persons who are able to exert real influence upon the person.
  5. Be non-judgemental. Make sure your message is one of care and concern. Let the person know the positive qualities and behaviors that you like and value about them.
  6. Educate the person. Give them the facts about alcohol and other drugs. Provide them with information to read later.
  7. Involve the person in the assessment of their use of alcohol and other drugs. Ask: "How do you view your current behavior?" Listen respectfully as they express their feelings so they know you are listening to their viewpoint.
  8. Offer acceptable alternatives and choices.
  9. Tell the person the consequences you believe further use will have on their health, life, and relationship with you.
  10. Expect lots of excuses and minimization of the problem. Most people are reluctant to admit that they have an alcohol or other drug problem.
  11. Help the person contact the appropriate alcohol/drug treatment resources by contacting Susan McCarthy, ADAP Counselor/Director.
  12. Recognize your own limits. Sometimes you can only help so much. If you have provided a person with an honest appraisal and left them with options for where they can get help, you have done your share. Now it's their responsibility to follow through and get help.