How to Help Yourself
- Get educated
- Know your facts
- Take advantage of non drinking activities and events
- Choose to stay in control
- Address possible underlying problems (such as a variety of anxiety concerns, depression, self esteem issues, trauma, family and relationship concerns)
In the meantime BE SURE TO:
- stay with the person
- monitor their consciousness (ability to wake up if sleeping)
- monitor their breathing
- allow no more access to alcohol
- have the person either sit or lay on their side (w/ support to prevent rolling over and possibly choking on vomit)
Remember: coffee/food after the fact does not help
Remember: the person doesn't have to be puking or be passed out to need help. Be safe vs. sorry and call 911 even if you aren't sure.
You should FIND HELP if you notice:
- they are short of breath
- their breathing is slow or irregular
- they feel warm but their body temperature is too cold (due to high BAC) or hot
- they can't keep eye contact or their balance and/or
- they are slurring their speech
How do you know someone has an ongoing problem?
- not very interested in non-drinking activities
- has fun primarily when drinking/using
- copes with difficulties/life by drinking/using
- continues to drink/ use despite negative consequences (MIPs, black outs, embarrassing situations, fights, break ups, injury, compromised relationships, compromised performance, health and legal issues, etc.)
What you can do:
Share your concern about your friend's drinking use with them when...in addition to signs mentioned above... you may be noticing the following:
- ongoing drinking/ use despite negative consequences
- mood and behavioral changes such as depressed mood, or mania, irritability, hostility, defensiveness, social withdrawal, anxiety, secretiveness
- changes in sleeping, eating, academics
To address your friend YOU CAN:
Use the following helpful tools for assisting your friend while keeping mind
- the above noted signs could be signs of other concerns as well (and a professional can help with accurate assessment)
- your friend might have a different view of the situation
- Set aside PRIVATE time for nonjudgmental calm conversation about your concern with their drinking/ use
- Consider meeting as a group, if one or more persons express concern
- Plan what to say and how to express care and concern nonjudgmentally, without blaming and shaming
- Rehearse with another friend or counselor
- Familiarize yourself with assessment and treatment options at the U and Ann Arbor area to offer options and contact info
- Describe to the person the specific behaviors and/or changes you have observed
- Use "I feel statements"
- Listen, listen, listen
- Plan for couple of possible responses including denial & defensiveness
- If your friend denies this is a concern or becomes defensive - stick with your plan and know it's about planting the seed. Even if they don't hear you today it all may sink in later
- Offer support and assistance while respecting personal boundaries
- Take care of yourself, talk about this with your support system (friend, family, counselor, clergy, mentor)
You can play an important role in helping students gain access to accurate information about alcohol and other drugs.
How else can I help?
- You can support students who want to abstain from alcohol and other drugs
- You can be a role-model...it rubs off!
- You can encourage UM SMART drinking for those who do drink
- You can offer assistance to those whose drinking/ use is problematic
Find more information about alcohol and other drugs from this helpful UHS site HERE.