Alcohol and Other Drugs
Supporting someone who is using drugs and alcohol can be really hard. Often you see things that the other person cannot; the changes in their thinking, their mood and the way they act with you and other friends or workmates. You might want to tell them to stop using, and you might have tried this, but you can’t force them to change – they need to make that choice for themselves.
- Be supportive and respectful. This does not mean that you have to support their drug or alcohol use; it means that you are supporting them emotionally. You can listen, talk about what is going on and let them know that they are not alone.
- Help them stay connected with friends that they share positive relationships with.
- Encourage them to continue doing things that help to improve their mood naturally – drug and alcohol free. Activities might include sport, music, learning a new skill, volunteering or getting outdoors.
- Ask them what you can do to help them. Often providing practical support, such as helping with cooking or household chores, can take the pressure off.
- Encourage them to talk with you or someone they trust about what is worrying them. These worries might be what triggers their drug and alcohol use.
- Help them find information and advice about drug and alcohol use online, over the phone or in person. If they are not interested you might suggest it again sometime, but be careful not to hassle them about it. You could also encourage them to contact the beyondblue Support Service for support.
- Encourage them to use safely to minimise the risks of them hurting themselves. If you are not sure what precautions they should take you can learn more together online.
- Remember that change takes time. Be patient and acknowledge their achievements, no matter how small, even if you do not understand what they are doing and why.
Supporting someone who is using drugs and alcohol can be exhausting. It’s important to take care of your own health and wellbeing during this time. Look after your physical health, take time out to do things you enjoy, and have your own supportive friends to call on when you need it. You might also find that at times you need a break, and that’s OK too. Just make sure your friend or family member knows how much time you need so they do not feel rejected or alone.
For more information, visit beyondblue
Or contact the Australian Drug Information Service (ADIS) on 1800 422 599
For local Alcohol and Other Drug Services see: here