Entry to treatment is often precipitated by suggestions or pressure from relatives or friends, but we know little of the circumstances in which suggestions to cut down on drinking include advice to seek professional help. In 1993, 1034 Ontario adults were asked in a random digit dialling telephone survey if they had said something to a friend or relative about their drinking, or suggested they cut down. About 35% had said something within the last year, and 15% had taken the further step of suggesting they seek professional help or helping them get assistance. Respondents were asked a series of questions about the circumstances of the most recent time they had said something to the person. Whether respondents who said something recommended seeking professional help is related to these circumstances, and to the respondent's demographics and relationship to the drinker.