It's never too late to help a friend with alcohol problems - Salvation Army

Morning Talk 03/07/2018
Photo credit: File.

The Salvation Army says help for alcohol problems is only a mouse click or a phone call away and that it’s never too late to help someone you see struggling with alcohol addiction.

RadioLIVE’s Mark Sainsbury talks about his own experience of trying to help a friend who has hit the skids.

“I ran into someone I know the other night, who was telling me they’d hit hard times. Between sips, he filled me in.

“He’d split from his wife and kids, no job, really low and had been drinking three bottles of wine a night. He had a problem with the booze.”

Mark recounted their friendship - they’d known each other in a professional capacity over the years, and Mark felt compelled to help. But how do you help someone who doesn’t want to help themselves?

People do get to rock bottom, but do we have to see that? I don't think so.

Lieut-Colonel Lynette Hutson National Director of The Salvation Army Addiction Services says the process always starts with someone else expressing concern.

“There’s always a place to speak into someone else’s situation as you see it, if you do it out of genuine caring and concern - it may not be received at the time but you can often start a process  of getting someone moving along a different line.”

She says you don’t have to wait until the person you are worried about has no other place to go.

“People do get to rock bottom, but do we have to see that? I don’t think so.”

The Ministry of Health estimates that over 780,000 adults are hazardous drinkers. Statistics NZ figures show the drinking habits for more than a third of people aged 18-24 could be potentially hazardous - regularly consuming six more drinks in a single session.

During the 2016-2017 financial year, 4070 people were hospitalised due to their alcohol consumption - some more than once.

Overall, the latest stats show 19.5 percent of Kiwi adults engage in hazardous drinking, down from 20.8 percent the year before. The percentage of adults who drink has dropped from 83.6 percent in 2006 to 79.3 percent; for teens aged 15-17, it's plummeted from 74.5 to 56.3 percent over that same time period.

Lieut-Colonel Lynette Hutson says The Salvation Army’s services are stretched and the need for services like they offer is almost overwhelming but there are options.

““Everybody has a phone, a mobile phone - and if they don’t have access to any of those resources ask someone else to help you.”

Helpline Numbers:

  • Salvation Army: Call 0800 53 00 00 or visit

  • An online support -

  • Alcoholics Anonymous: 0800 229 6757
  • The Alcohol Drug Helpline 0800 787 797 and text 8681
  • The Depression Helpline 0800 111 757 and text 4202

  • The Gambling Helpline 0800 654 655 and text 8006

  • Early Mental Health Response – a new Police and ambulance service nationwide to provide faster and more appropriate help to people in social and psychological distress who call 111

  • Employer Advice Line 0800 805 405 - is a service offered to employers who are able to get specialist information and advice to help them to manage and support their staff with health, mental health and disability issues.

  • Safe to talk – 0800 044 334 by text 4334 and by email the new national sexual harm helpline

Listen to the full interview with Lieut-Colonel Lynette Hutson above.

Morning Talk with Mark Sainsbury, 9am - 12pm Weekdays and streaming live on 'rova' channel 9 - available on Android and iPhone.