Supporting a drinker


One of the hardest things to go through is being the friend or family member of someone with a drinking problem. You can go through a roller coaster of emotions - denial, embarrassment, concern, and more. You will probably have noticed how the alcohol use has affected:

  • the way that the drinker interacts with other members of the family
  • the family atmosphere
  • the feeling of trust that you once had


Meadow3-200If you recognise that someone close to you may be experiencing a problem with alcohol, it can help to be able to talk to someone about this in confidence

Someone with professional knowledge of alcohol problems, but without a personal involvement in the drinking problem

This could be someone like your GP or a FASS alcohol counsellor



Helping someone recognise that they have a drink problem

Something to bear in mind is that people nearly always need to make decisions for themselves. This is true of many areas of life. A person will most likely take positive action if they feel that it is their decision, rather than an 'order' from someone else

Looking-after-others-120Lecturing, demanding, bullying or begging will not help. Often the person with the drinking problem doesn’t realise they have a problem and they are often in denial and may be defensive

Don’t let the drinker convince you that there is no problem, or lead you to believe it is your problem. If drink is causing problems, it is always the responsibility of the person who is doing the drinking

The most effective thing that you can do is to help the drinker come to the realisation that they need to help themselves.

This is not an easy task, however our Looking after others booklet may help

It is important to bear in mind that different things work for different people – each person’s situation is unique. It can help to speak to a counsellor at the same time as you are helping the person with a drinking problem



Need some support? FASS offers a counselling service for partners, family members and friends supporting someone with a drink problem. See our How to refer page for ways of getting in touch with us

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 Ever wondered if you might be drinking too much? Find out here






Looking after others


This booklet is packed full of insight and good advice. You can download a pdf copy here



Booklet Downloads

More booklets


For a full range of Alcohol Support and Information booklets and other helpful guides




Other help






Browse information and self-help guides for common psychological problems.  You can find this useful NHS Psychology site here





Choose Life


Feeling suicidal? Worried about someone else? Call a helpline or speak to someone you trust. Try this site here




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