7 Effective Communication Tips for Discussing Alcohol Use Disorder with a Loved One

Discussing alcohol use disorder (AUD) with a loved one can be challenging and sensitive. Effective communication is crucial to ensure that the conversation is supportive, constructive, and conducive to seeking help. Here are seven effective communication tips to guide you through this important discussion.

1. Choose the Right Time and Place

Selecting an appropriate time and place for the conversation is essential. Choose a quiet, private setting where you can talk without interruptions. Ensure that both you and your loved one are calm and not under the influence of alcohol during the discussion.

2. Use “I” Statements

Using “I” statements can help express your feelings without sounding accusatory. For example, say, “I feel worried when you drink because I care about your health,” rather than, “You are drinking too much.” This approach focuses on your feelings and concerns, making it less likely for your loved one to become defensive.

3. Be Compassionate and Empathetic

Approach the conversation with compassion and empathy. Acknowledge their struggles and express your genuine concern for their well-being. Let them know that you understand that overcoming AUD is difficult and that you are there to support them through their journey.

4. Focus on Specific Behaviors and Consequences

Discuss specific instances and behaviors that have caused concern rather than making general statements. For example, mention times when their drinking has led to missed work, arguments, or health issues. Highlighting the consequences of their actions can help them see the impact of their drinking.

5. Listen Actively

Active listening is crucial in such conversations. Allow your loved one to share their perspective and feelings without interruption.


 Show that you are listening by nodding, maintaining eye contact, and summarizing their points. This demonstrates that you respect their viewpoint and are genuinely interested in understanding their experience.

6. Avoid Blame and Judgment

Refrain from blaming or judging your loved one for their drinking. Instead, focus on expressing your concern and desire to help. Blame and judgment can create defensiveness and resistance, making it harder to have a productive conversation. Approach the discussion with an open mind and a supportive attitude.

7. Offer Support and Resources

Encourage your loved one to seek professional help and offer to assist them in finding resources. This might include researching treatment options, accompanying them to appointments, or connecting them with support groups. Let them know that they don’t have to face this journey alone and that you are there to support them every step of the way.

8. Seek Professional Guidance

Every individual’s nutritional needs are unique, especially during recovery. Consider consulting with a registered dietitian or nutritionist who can create a personalized nutrition plan tailored to your specific needs. Professional guidance can help you make informed choices and ensure you’re getting the right nutrients to support your recovery journey.


Discussing alcohol use disorder with a loved one requires sensitivity, empathy, and effective communication. By choosing the right time and place, using “I” statements, being compassionate, focusing on specific behaviors, listening actively, avoiding blame, and offering support, you can facilitate a constructive conversation that encourages your loved one to seek help. Remember, your support and understanding can make a significant difference in their recovery journey.