If you or someone you know is in crisis, contact the Military Crisis Line at 988 and press 1, or Text 838255. You can also call 911.

Five Strategies to Support Someone Who’s Changing Their Drinking Habits

The decision to cut back or stop drinking alcohol isn’t easy. If someone you know is working on changing their drinking habits by cutting out alcohol from their life or decreasing how much they drink (think: due to health effects or financial reasons), you can support them in many different ways.

Check out these ideas and tips on how to best support someone who is changing their drinking habits:

  • Suggest non-drinking activities. Be a role model and rally the group to get on board for non-drinking activities (think: instead of going out to a bar, suggest a night in playing video games or an outing like ax throwing). These are great reminders for the entire group that you can still have fun without alcohol!
  • Stock up with non-alcoholic drinks. If you’re hosting a party, be the hostess with mostess by offering non-alcoholic beverages as an option. If you’re hosting at a bar, check out the non-alcoholic beer and fizzy drink options with your friend. These drinks can be just as enjoyable as alcoholic drinks.
  • Check-in and cheer them on. Checking on people every so often goes a long way. If they let you know about the changes they’re making, send your buddy a supportive text like “You killed it this weekend sticking to your one drink rule. Proud of you!” or call them up and see how it’s going. Remember, they will feel supported by just knowing you are there when they need you.
  • Talk positive. It’s important to recognize how your words and actions can affect someone’s drinking decisions. Here’s how you can rephrase what you say to be more positive:
    • Instead of saying “It’s just one drink,” agree with your friend and say “Even one drink isn’t worth the calories, I support your decision.”
    • Instead of saying “Just start tomorrow,” you can say “I admire you sticking to your goals tonight.”
    • Instead of saying “C’mon, everyone’s celebrating tonight,” you can say “I’ll cheers to you and your club soda for sure!”
  • Cut back together. Cutting out alcohol can be much easier as a team effort. Every so often you can offer to be sober buddies for the night or stick to the one drink limit if your friend is cutting back. It could be fun to see how drinking less alcohol positively impacts your health and life.

Remember that you can support someone who is changing their drinking habits in many different ways. Get creative and see how you can help make someone’s decision to cut back on drinking or cut out alcohol altogether easier and more enjoyable for them. For resources to better understand why your buddy is cutting back on alcohol, learn how alcohol can impact all areas of someone’s life and brush up on what it means to drink responsibly.

If you or someone you know is in crisis, contact the Military Crisis Line at 988 and press 1, or Text 838255. You can also call 911.