Help a Friend

Positive support from friends and family can greatly diminish the negative affects of someone going through a hard time. You have made an important step in recognizing that someone you know needs help. This site will help you to recognize the problem they may be facing, give you tools on how to start the conversation to effectively respond to their crisis and finally, to refer them to local and regional supports.

We understand that being a support is daunting and can be stressful at times. Check out some tips on how to provide self care as you care for others.


How to support my friend?

When a friend shows signs of abusing alcohol or other drugs, it is hard to know what to do or say.

Helping a loved one struggling with alcoholism or drug dependence can be heartbreakingly painful, but with help, it can be remarkably rewarding. At times, it can seem so overwhelming that it would be easier to ignore it, pretend that nothing is wrong and hope it just goes away. But in the long run, denying it or minimizing it, will be more damaging to you, other family members, and the person you are concerned about. Don’t Wait, Now Is The Time. If you need more support contact Medicine Hat Addiction & Mental Health Clinic: 403-529-3500

Speak Up and Offer Your Support

Talk to the person about your concerns, and offer your help and support, including your willingness to go with them to get help.

Express Love and Concern

Don’t wait for your loved one to “hit bottom.” You may be met with excuses, denial or anger, but be prepared to respond with specific examples of behavior that has you worried.

Don’t Expect the Person to Stop Without Help

No doubt, you have heard it before — promises to cut down, to stop, but it doesn’t work. Treatment, support, and new coping skills are needed to overcome addiction to alcohol and drugs.

How to talk

  • Do not try to talk when your friend is drunk or high. It is also a good idea to meet in a neutral place, but not at a bar or any place else that serves alcohol.
  • Talk about the effect your friend’s drinking or drug use has on whatever the person cares about most like career or children. Your friend may not be concerned about his or her situation, but may care deeply for the children and what the problem may be doing to them.

Support Recovery as an Ongoing Process

Once your friend or family member is receiving treatment, or going to meetings, remain involved. While maintaining your own commitment to getting help for yourself, continue to support their participation in ongoing care, meetings and recovery support groups. Continue to show that you are concerned about their successful long-term recovery.

Some Things You Don’t Want To Do:

  • Don’t Preach: Don’t lecture, threaten, bribe, preach or moralize.
  • Don’t Be a Martyr: Avoid emotional appeals that may only increase feelings of guilt and the compulsion to drink or use other drugs.
  • Don’t Cover Up, lie or make excuses for them and their behavior.
  • Don’t Assume Their Responsibilities: Taking over their responsibilities protects them from the consequences of their behavior.
  • Don’t Argue When Using: Arguing with the person when they are using alcohol or drugs is not helpful; at that point they can’t have a rational conversation.
  • Don’t Feel Guilty or responsible for their behavior, it’s not your fault.
  • Don’t Join Them: Don’t try to keep up with them by drinking or using yourself.

Loss of a Loved One to Suicide "PDF"

Why Don't They Just Leave?

Power & Control

Safety Plan

Self Care Tips

Crazy Love "Video"


ACE: How Trauma Can Affect You