Q&A: Alcohol

August 31, 2014

That out of control drunk friend you don’t want to babysit again…

My friends and I went to a concert but someone in our group got carried away with substance use. It’s because we care about his safety that we told him he couldn’t come with us to future outings unless he learns to control himself. He got offended and thinks we’re punishing him, and it’s frustrating. What should we do?

Ah, that friend that gets a bit too drunk that it’s annoying and embarrassing … Was it a one time thing? or does it happen consistently? Sometimes, people do get carried away when they are still learning their limits and unfortunately will have one of those nights. Or sometimes something deeper (relationship problems, grades, social pressures, etc) is pushing them to drink a ship ton of alcohol. Kudos to you and your group for taking care of your friend. Regardless, we all need to know how to handle this drunk friend so that we can be less worried, and have more fun next time:

1. Tell ‘em like it is. Be Honest and Specific. Your experiences and feelings are valid! OWN THEM.

It will probably go something like, “hey last night I got worried about you when you [insert annoying out of control drunk behavior here], and I did my best to take care of you. However, I didn’t really get to enjoy the concert during that time.”

2. Be Selfish. So what if you don’t invite them next time. You’re not “punishing” them. Instead of framing the conversation around them and their future behavior, you can simply frame it around you. YOU are making sure that YOU are going to have the most fun this time. And if that means a night without them, then so be it. But if they are insistent that they want to go …

3. Maybe they need new party buddies. People party and get drunk at different levels. If this overly-drunk level is a pattern for your friend, then maybe you should suggest that they go with other people [who party just as hard as they do]. Party buddies are less annoying when you are all at the same level.

4. Do they need help? Of course there is the concern of alcohol misuse. This is a tricky thing to traverse. If you are concerned about your friend’s use, come in to talk to a specialist who will help you figure out the best approach. To schedule a confidential appointment, call Social Services at 510-642-6074.