Helping a Friend With a Drinking Problem

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It may be difficult to know what to do if you are worried about someone’s alcohol use and it may be particularly concerning if you think someone you are close to is drinking a lot and not telling you about it. An even more challenging problem could be trying to speak to your friend about the issue, and then your friend denies having a drinking problem. Here are a few tips on what you can do if you suspect your friend has a drinking problem.

Be informed. It is a good idea to have general knowledge about some of the reasons people drink alcohol to excess and ways to manage alcohol consumption and drink at a low level of risk. By taking this approach, you will be able to stick to the facts when talking with your friend. For specific information about alcohol and its effects, check out this Partnership for a Drug Free America Fact Sheet.

Discuss alcohol issues openly
. Letting the person you are concerned about know that you are open to listening to them without being judgmental can facilitate an open discussion. An open dialogue may encourage them to discuss their alcohol use with you. If they know you are open-minded about the issue and have thought about your own use, they may feel more comfortable discussing their alcohol use with you.

What to do if someone says they have a problem. Acknowledging a problem with alcohol consumption is a big step for anyone. If someone has come to you admitting they have a problem, you may be able to assist them by finding out what help is available in your local area. Your local doctor, school or campus counselor, hospital, community health center, or youth worker are people who may be able to help.


Acknowledgement: This fact sheet was originally developed by youth and staff at, a website that helps teens get through tough times.  

For more information: National Drug and Alcohol Treatment Referral Routing Service, (1-800-662-4357) for alcohol and drug information/treatment referral assistance.

Dear Auntie, Pot comes from Mother Earth. How can it be that bad for me?