Alcohol Use: Conversation starters

It takes courage to talk to a family member or friend about a drinking problem. These tips can help you get started.

Be honest about how you feel.

  • “I care about you.”
  • “I'm worried about your health. Drinking too much puts you at risk for heart disease, stroke, liver problems, and some cancers.”
  • “Your drinking is affecting our relationship.”

Offer tips on how to cut back or quit.

  • “Set a drinking limit. Stick to your limit by writing down every drink you have.”
  • “Try taking a night or two off from drinking each week.”
  • “When we go out, we can stay away from bars or other places that make you want to drink.”
  • “If you are having trouble sticking to your limits, consider joining a support group or talking to a doctor.”

Support making a change.

  • “How can I support you?"
  • “Talk to me when you want a drink. Whenever you feel the urge to drink, you can call me instead.”
  • “Let’s do things that don’t involve drinking – like seeing a movie or going for a walk.”

Content last updated October 15, 2020

Reviewer Information

This information on alcohol use was adapted from materials from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

Reviewed by:
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the U.S. Department of Agriculture Dietary Guidance Review Committee, and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism

October 2018

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