Arizona State University College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
Chicana and Chicano StudiesLatino Health Issues






If you want to seek help for yourself or others visit the following:

Chicanos Por la Causa Inc.

www. cplc. org

Alcoholics Anonymous

Approaching Someone about a Suspected
Drinking Problem and Communicating your Concerns

The purpose of this handout is not to transform you into a counselor, but to assist you in being helpful in a time of need.


  • Educate yourself about alcoholism and local resources before you need to use them.
  • Know your feelings and attitudes toward people with an addiction. What are your motives? Do you want to preach, punish, or criticize?
  • Observe and document. Prepare in advance a list of specific problems that have occurred because of this person's drinking. Include specific times, places, and behaviors.
  • Choose a location and time where you can talk in private without embarrassment or interruptions. Remember that you can't talk to an intoxicated person.
  • Explore whether you are the only or the best person to approach this individual.

You have documented behaviors, chosen an opportunity, and are ready to share your concern for the person and relate your observations. A simple model for talking to someone about a sensitive topic consists of the following elements: "I care," "I see," "I feel," LISTEN, "I want," "I will." For example:

" Jerry, I care about you. I've gotten to know you a lot this semester and our friendship means a lot to me. Last night, I saw you yell at your best friend, get sick from drinking, and insist on driving back to campus. I felt worried because this is different from how you usually act. "

LISTEN (It is important to give the person a chance to speak or ask questions and for you to show that you are concerned and willing to listen.)" I want you to talk with someone about how you've been acting when you drink alcohol. I really care about you, and I will help you find someone who can help you."

To summarize the model:

I care - describe relationship feelings
I see - specific, observable behaviors
I feel - how these behaviors affect you
LISTEN - if he/she gets angry or provokes you remind yourself to remain calm and focused on your task. Remain factual and nonjudgmental.
I want - it may be necessary to set some limits or firm resolution
I will - indicate your support, what you are wil
ling to do to help



Accessibility | Privacy | ASU Disclaimer This site was created by Maria Celeste Olibarria in fulfillment of requirements for the course CSS 335: Latino Health Issues taught by Dr. Szkupinski Quiroga at Arizona State University, Spring 2005.