Supporting someone
who has issues with alcohol and/or other drugs

Important things to remember when you are supporting someone who has issues around drug use

  • If the person is ready to change you can support them to address their relationship with alcohol and/or other drugs;
  • open communication and talking about issues as they arise allows people to plan the next steps they need to take;
  • know the outcome that the person you are supporting is seeking, e.g. do they wish to stop using altogether or do they want to cut down their use;
  • being positive and encouraging is generally far more effective than placing pressure on someone who is already in a challenging situation and remember it is helpful to discuss the issues when you are calm;
  • try not to get too attached to a particular outcome.  There is no one solution that works for everyone;
  • you, as a carer, may need to change some of your behaviours and beliefs to be an effective support person;
  • if being a support person is too draining it is okay to take a step back either for a period of time or indefinitely;
  • is using alcohol and/or other drugs together a part of your relationship? If so, you may need to change some of your own behaviour in order to support the person;
  • be aware that temporary lapses (i.e. using alcohol and/or other drugs) are common when people are aiming to change their use. This can be an opportunity to reassess things and start afresh, and does not mean failure; and
  • take one step at a time. This situation may be very confronting for your loved one and yourself. Allow the person to make choices for themselves, keep in mind their choices may be different from your choices.

For more information, check out our video of Nikki Barr talking about supporting someone who has issues with alcohol and/or other drugs.

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