Students with Drinking Problems
last updated: March 31, 1995
Responding to Students with Alcohol Problems
- Ignoring self defeating behavior is not helpful to the person
for whom you are concerned.
- Helpful intervention is a process, not an event.
- When people are confronted about behavior which is part of their
lifestyle, they generally become defensive and angry.
- The more you learn about alcohol and its effects the more helpful
you can be to those who are having problems with it.
- Let the person know you care about him/her (use "I" statements, I
am worried about you).
- Try to remain calm.
- Stick to observable facts (confrontation is like holding a mirror
up to a person).
- Remain non-judgemental. Emphasize the contrast between the
person's sober behavior, which you like, and the drinking behavior
that concerns you.
- Use gentle persistence.
- Anticipate their possible responses (minimize, change topics,
make excuses, promise behavior change, challenge their use).
- Accept their anger, learn to side step it.
- Be ready to provide some education (printed materials etc.).
- Utilize your own support system.
- Involve others who are also concerned about the person.
Try to Avoid...
- Arguing with the person.
- Getting angry and losing control.
- Letting him/her change the topic.
- Getting hooked by their defensiveness (don't feel guilty and
don't take it personally).
- Delaying the confrontation, should be as soon as possible after
the event and after the person is sober.
- Diagnosing (ie. "you're an alcoholic").
- Sparing the person the consequences of his/her drinking.