How to talk to a loved one about their drinking

When it comes to drinking, friends and family are often the first to show concern about someone they love. But sometimes we don’t know how to start a conversation about alcohol with someone we care about. What if they take offense? What if they get angry or defensive? What if it makes their drinking worse?

A new campaign aims to empower people concerned about the harmful impact of their loved ones’ drinking to have a potentially life-changing talk.

Hello Sunday Morning and VicHealth’s The Talk We Needed campaign provides information to friends and family members of drinkers who want to learn how to support their loved one to change their drinking practices.The campaign features everyday people who have been supported by their friends and family to re-think alcohol’s harmful influence on their life.

A range of resources are available online including:

  • Tips on what to say and what not to say to someone you’re worried about
    Stories and videos from drinkers and what they found helpful for them
    How to prepare and have the talk
    Health effects of drinking and how to minimise your harm from alcohol products
    Facts on why people may drink
    Phone and other online counselling resources

At Hello Sunday Morning, many people who weren’t aware of how much they were drinking told us they were open to being approached from a non-judgemental place and often credit the support of a friend or family member for why they were able to cut back or stop drinking.

Leonie Moekette, a mother of two, from Ballarat in Victoria decided to take part in the campaign based on her own positive experience of a friend reaching out to her about her drinking through social media. “I was so ashamed I had a secret life going on, I was looking after the boys, I was working, I was the perfect daughter…I was a perfect secretive drinker,” Leonie said. “No one approached me and I wish they had, I would’ve appreciated that. My sister’s best friend actually posted about her own story on social media and reached out to me. “She was that comforting, nurturing, friendly person on the other end of social media. If she hadn’t given me the chance to tell my story I wouldn’t be where I am today without her reaching out.”

The Talk We Needed seeks to leverage friends and family close to drinkers to listen, socialise without alcohol and support them. By targeting friends and family rather than people who drink, the campaign hopes to educate and increase awareness of how best to support someone whose drinking habits are of concern. By creating a different, empathetic message which has come from the perspective of a drinker about what helped them, it is hoped the resources will guide others to support someone to change.

Do you know someone who would benefit from having a talk about alcohol? Have you tried to talk to them before? Head to the page for more information and to plan a chat that could change their life. 


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