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nromstadt's avatar

What should I do about a friend that drinks too much?

Asked by nromstadt (626points) November 8th, 2011

One of my close friends drinks almost every day. To clarify, it’s not just one beer a day.. he is getting intoxicated almost daily. He’s only twenty, but graduating with a dual major in the spring. Needless to say, he’s incredibly intelligent, but I think that all of this pressure (and other relationship drama) has led him to this. It’s been going on for about a year now.

We’ve talked about it openly, and he seems to realize that it is a problem, but is unwilling to make any changes. My guess is that he is aware, but does not want to admit that it could be a problem. I know it’s early, but I am just worried about him.

Any suggestions? I’ve tried talking to him about it… but he just is not receptive. I know that people will not get help until they want it… but is there something I can do to help speed up the process? Similar situations?

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17 Answers

nikipedia's avatar

Is his drinking causing any problems in his life?

JLeslie's avatar

I don’t think you can speed up the process.

You say he is going to graduate soon, he might be afraid to change anything so drastic as to give up his best friend: alcohol. I would guess the alcohol for him helps him deal with life, so taking it away would probably seem very scary to him.

It also sounds like he knows he has a problem. College students usually wind up staying with the too much drinking bit and eventualy hit bottom, or they graduate and straighten out. College is a place where many people drink excessively.

Would he be willing to see a therapist, even if he is unwilling to detox from the alcohol. Sounds like he might be under a lot of stress.

Judi's avatar

Nope. He has to want to change. Just don’t enable him. Don’t clean up after him or cover for him. If he doesn’t face the consequences of his choices he will never see the situation for what it is and his recovery will be delayed. You might want to visit an alanon meeting to get some advice on how you can be helpful and not hurtful.

WestRiverrat's avatar

Until he wants help, you can’t do anything for him. Just make sure you protect yourself so you don’t get hurt by him.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

I’m an alcoholic with over 12 years of sobriety.

You can’t change your friend. You can’t talk him into it. You can’t wish him into it. You can’t pray him into it. You can do anything about it.

Take care of yourself. Be his friend until the time comes when the drinking will be more important to him than your friendship. If he’s a real alcoholic like me, that time will come.

You mentioned he’s intelligent. That actually complicates matters, because he can rationalize any behavior.

My honest suggestion is that you say no more about it. Enjoy his company when you can, and tell him directly when his behavior is out of line when he’s drinking. Don’t make any excuses for him.

Good luck to you both.

flutherother's avatar

Your friend is an alcoholic and he has to stop drinking. I would say this to him, but there is nothing much else you can do.

CaptainHarley's avatar

Nothing you CAN do, except avoid trying to shield him from the cosequences of his own behavior.

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FutureMemory's avatar

I actually thought to myself “How is new clothing going to help the OP?”

ccrow's avatar

Yeah, unfortunately, you can’t really do much, just offer support (if he wants it).

CWOTUS's avatar

One thing that you can do – but don’t be a spy and go on a crusade about it – is to call the police if you know that he’s going to drive while intoxicated. You can’t do anything at all about him, but you might save a victim’s life, or injury. Even his, perhaps.

And being arrested for drunk driving – if that can be managed before he kills someone – might be one of the triggers to tell him “it’s time to resolve this”.

tedd's avatar

It can go multiple directions. My former room mate drank all the time (she went to a final drunk once), but she graduated early and is now a Vet. Another friend drank all the time until he earned the name “drunk-dan” ... He struggled more with his grades, but graduated and is an engineer now . The room mate to my knowledge still drinks somewhat heavily, Dan really doesn’t anymore.

Just don’t be afraid to address the problem with the friend, and tell him off when necessary. Also be there for him. If you need any other help you know how to get ahold of me.

rojo's avatar

@CWOTUS arrests can make a difference. I have a relative, it took 1 public intoxication, 2 dwi’s and several thousand dollars in fines and legal fees to get through to him that he has a problem but he finally got the message. He cannot have one beer without having a dozen. I have not seen him drink in years.

amanda_zhong's avatar

since he doesn’t want to change, so may be you can do little. But you have pointed out the reason-pressure that make him so intoxicating. Then you can’t treat from the pressure.

punkrockworld's avatar

I can closely identify with this problem, but I am almost positive that he will realize it sooner or later. Drinking is not the answer, and what happened in my situation is that my best friend came up to me and said that she feels scared when I go out and drink because I don’t just stop at one drink like “the rest of them”. That’s when it got through my head that maybe I am overdoing it a little. There is a big difference between social drinking and alcoholic behavior and if he’s an intelligent guy he will stop doing this to himself. Maybe he needs to find himself a new partner, one that will bring him back on the right path. As a friend, it is hard to get him to do something he is not ready to do yet.

glut's avatar

Don’t allow him to drive while he is drunk.

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