Sense & Sensitivity

Reader Worried About Friend's Possible Drinking Problem

DEAR HARRIETTE: I went out to dinner with a group of friends last weekend. We had a lot of fun, but one of my friends got pretty wasted. We had to collect her from the restroom, where she had been vomiting. It was embarrassing, as we were at a fancy restaurant.

Beyond the embarrassment, though, is the fact that she didn’t know when to stop drinking. It’s one thing to hang out and have fun and another entirely to pass out and have to be dragged into the car because she couldn’t handle herself. I doubt that my friend will even remember what happened, she was so far gone. Do I tell her about it? I think I would want to know. Everybody in my group drinks socially, so I’m no saint here. I think she has a problem. What should I do? -- SOS, Denver

Dear SOS: Trust your gut. Get in touch with your friend. If at all possible, meet with her face to face. Be honest and compassionate. Tell her that you want to talk to her about the dinner you and your friends recently attended. Ask her if she remembers anything about the evening. Do not interrogate her, though. Ask for her blessing for you to share your concerns with her. Then, describe to her how she behaved and why you are concerned. Tell her you think she went way overboard and that you want to make sure she knows that it wasn’t good for her or for your group.

Ask your friend if she thinks she needs help managing alcohol. If so, suggest that she take action. The easiest thing to do for starters is to go to Alcoholics Anonymous (aa.org). If she balks at that, suggest that she drink less so that she can stay in control.

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