Sober(er) for October: Let’s talk!


A message from Andrea Medley (Haida Nation), FNHA Indigenous Wellness Educator 

We know talking about drinking habits with friends, family and loved ones can be complicated and challenging. It can bring up many thoughts, feelings, opinions and memories – good and bad.

I recommend taking a wholistic approach to engaging in conversations around alcohol. This approach is based on relationships and connection. It ensures a person feels safe and not judged while leading them towards their healing and wellness journey.

If you are trying to support a loved one who is struggling with alcohol use here are some helpful tips on connecting with them through conversation:

 ​Everyone has a different role:  Self-reflect and consider if you are the right person or if this is the right time to have a conversation about alcohol. Alternatively, this may be the right time to connect your loved one, friend, or community member to a health professional.

 Educate yourself on the tools and options available for alcohol harm reduction: There are resources available to support a person on their healing journey. Knowing about these resources will prepare you for the necessary conversations on the available solutions.

 Manage your expectations: We may want our loved one to reduce or stop drinking but this may not align with what they want or need. Abstinence or alcohol reduction is solely up to an individual, so use compassion in offering solutions and what may have worked for one person may not work for another.

 Create a safer space: Creating a space where our loved ones feel safe to talk about their experiences with alcohol use – without facing judgment or shame – is a loving way to provide support and people are likely to be responsive in talking about their feelings around their use.

 Use inclusive language: Whether we want to chat about recreational use or addiction, understand that our words and thoughts have a big impact on our loved one.

​ Be an open listener: Open listening means listening with our hearts and valuing the telling of stories, allowing pauses in the conversation to extend into silence rather than jumping in to talk. Open listening, open mind, open heart is what people need to build their peer support network. Having a strong support system will strengthen our loved one's healing and wellness journey.

To learn more about alcohol harm reduction services and information, visit the link here. For information on treatment centres, visit the link here.

Check out the Thunderbird Partnership Foundation here, for information on programs and services for substance use and addiction.   Also, more information and support networks can be found at the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Ad​diction website.

Culturally safe help is available for crisis response services through KUU-US at 1-800-588-8717.


We invite all Indigenous peoples across BC to join FNHA's Sober(er) for October Challenge!

Find us on social media to ask us questions, tell your stories and share your experiences Remember to use the hashtags #SobererforOctober and #FNHAwellness.

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