Dear Drink Guy:
You must see plenty of this. How do you suggest I deal with one of “those” friends, the one who just can’t control their drinking or their behavior when they drink? I’m tired of dealing with their drunken ass, & they refuse to listen to anyone about it.
Fed Up (but torn by friendship)
Lynn‘s Two Cents…
I realize that this question has been directed to our resident drink guy Glenn, who will most certainly have seen a lot of this over the years and most assuredly have some great advice for “Fed Up”…however; I would feel remiss if I did not add my thoughts.
Several thoughts come to mind very quickly… ultimately, the answer somewhat is dependent on your level of relationship with this friend. If they are an acquaintance or casual friend that you have mentioned the issue to already and find yourself still dealing with this issue and this person, than I would suggest that perhaps the relationship is one not worth maintaining, or maintaining on a very “light” level in ways that do not involve access to alcohol…suggest meeting at a coffee shop, or chat with them online.
If the relationship is one you wish to maintain, for whatever reasons, than you have some choices to make. As difficult as it may be, having a “courageous” conversation with this person may be your best option. In your situation, I would ask the friend to get together for coffee and simply let them know that the friendship relationship we share is important to me, and that I am having a challenge dealing with one aspect, and ask if we can talk about it openly and honestly. If they answer no, then perhaps we go back to my first suggestion about whether or not the relationship is worth maintaining.
Assuming that the relationship is as important to them as it is to you, they will hopefully answer yes and allow you to open the lines of communication. This is where you explain, with respect and caring, how you feel. This is also where you set boundaries. Perhaps you let your friend know that you are willing to spend time with them in certain situations, but that you are unable to include them in others. You may let them know that you are comfortable in one on one time with them, but uncomfortable dealing with the social dynamic of a group. Whatever you decide your boundaries are, they are yours to set and you should feel comfortable doing so. You can set limits and still be a loving friend, and the fact that you are even bothering to work through this issue demonstrate that you are a loving friend. A great book on this topic is “Boundaries” by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend, a personal favorite of mine!
Stay tuned for…
Glenn’s Two Cents!
First off let’s remember that I’m not a trained therapist of any kind. I’m a bartender and I tell it like I see it, and I’ve seen and heard many things. I really think you answered your own question here. It’s time to kick their dumbass out the door and throw them to the curb. It’s called “Tough Love”, really it is. I see it two ways here, either they don’t think they have a problem or they know they have a problem but think that if they fall down someone will always be there to pick them up. Which is always the case, someone will always help them. Hence they never change and will always rely on you. Get rid of this excess baggage, it’s not your problem. They need to hit rock bottom before they can get up. If left alone they will figure it out eventually, but if people are always around them they will never learn. Or they know what they’re doing and just using you, pretty sick huh. Say good-bye and if you meant something to them they will figure it out.
The Drink Guy