Alcoholic Friend

26 Jun

Letterbalm Drunken WomanDear LetterBalm: I’m going into my sophomore year in college. Last year, my best friend starting drinking a lot at parties. She got into binge drinking, and her grades suffered. She dropped out of a couple of courses and got incompletes. Since then, she’s passed out several times and hasn’t remembered what happened. I’m really afraid for her. She’s clever at hiding things from her parents. She’s working this summer, and we’re scheduled to return to school in the fall. So far, I haven’t said anything to her parents, but I need to. I don’t know what to do or say.

–Alarmed Friend

Your friend is on a terrible slippery slope and could kill herself or someone else if she’s driving these days. Two words: Speak up. Ms. L.B. says you need to sit down with your friend when she’s sober and tell her what you’re going to do, no negotiations, no bargaining. You need help to deal with this. Talk calmly with her parents when she’s not there. Keep talking if they don’t believe you – they must suspect something. If they refuse to listen, take your concerns to your parents, to someone in the clergy, to a mutual teacher or guidance counselor who knew your friend in high school, to a responsible adult who is in her life. Be prepared for your friend’s angry pushback (and that of her parents). Say this to your friend:

Letitia, this will be hard for you to hear, so listen up. You’re killing yourself with alcohol, and you’re a drunk. I’m your best friend, and I’m going to speak to your parents, and, if they don’t believe me, I’m going to speak to anyone who knows you and who can bring your problem to them and make them listen. You may hate me. You may never speak to me again. But I love you, and I’m concerned about you. You need help, pure and simple. If this means the end of our friendship, it’s worth it to me because I’m saving your life, which is the most important thing.

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