Thursday 22 February 2018

Ask Brian: My friend is a drunken mess on nights out and I'm fed up

Our no-nonsense agony uncle gets straight to the point of your most pressing issues.

Young beautiful woman in depression, is drinking alcohol and smoking.
Young beautiful woman in depression, is drinking alcohol and smoking.
Brian O'Reilly

Brian O'Reilly

Our no-nonsense agony uncle gets straight to the point of your most pressing issues.

Dear Brian,

Before I start this I need to say I really love my friend. She's kind and funny and great person to be around.

However I've reached the end of my tether when it comes to going on a night out with her.

Every night repeats the same pattern. She drinks way too much, gets messy drunk and needs to be looked after by the rest of us.

To make matters worse she also gets really aggressive when she's that drunk, she starts thinking that we're all out to get her when we just want to help.

She makes up these stories of us sleeping with her boyfriend of having WhatsApp groups set up to talk about her.

There's no convincing her that these stories are figments of her imagination, she thinks that we're all in it together and making her out to be crazy when she knows "the truth".

One time she got so angry she started smashing all our glasses on the floor and got us kicked out of a nightclub.

The next morning it's always the same, she "can't remember" what happened and then when we tell her she just laughs about it like it's par for the course on a crazy night out.

It's like there's two different people, and trying to bring it up with her when she's sober would seem like kicking a puppy, she's so sweet normally.

But I can keep going through the same thing, what should I do?

 

Brian replies:

"The drink doesn't suit them" - it's a phrase we've all heard someone be described by at some point.

It seems your friend certainly falls into this category.

Some people have a Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde dynamic going on when it comes to how they react to alcohol.

They can be very kind and sweet normally, like your friend, and then alcohol flips a switch in them that makes their normal demeanour dissappear.

Everyone reacts to alcohol differently - some people become boisterous but harmless.

However others - and your friend would seem to fall into this category - can have very negative reactions when they drink.

I understand the difficulty you have in bringing it up to her when she's sober, it almost feels like you're speaking to a different person who has nothing to do with the drunken outbursts and actions of the night before.

However sober people decide to get drink and get drunk. Sober people enable those drunken actions and outbursts by drinking when it doesn't agree with them.

So while it may seem like a different person, that sober person enables the vicious drunken one to emerge.

She needs to know that her behaviour when she's intoxicated isn't acceptable to you or the rest of the group.

I'm not sure I necessarily buy her claiming she can't remember anything - I think we've all played that card at some point for an embarrassing drunken incident we didn't want to discuss.

Whatever about being a messy drunk - the fact she becomes aggressive and paranoid around people who are trying to help her is a cause for concern.

The wild accusations she makes could be a sign of issues she's able to keep under wraps when she's sober but bubble to the surface when she's drinking.

She could be very insecure as a person, which transfers into her relationship with her boyfriend and indeed her friendships.

I think there's two separate issues you need to discuss with her - the aggressive streak that drinking brings out in her, but also the issues that it raises as well, the fuel of the outbursts.

It could be possible that a lot of the aggression is driven by these issues she doesn't discuss when she's sober.

The only resolution to this situation will be through making her aware of how you all feel, but also offering her support to discuss anything that might be bothering her.

I don't know the dynamic of your group of friends - whether there's someone particularly close to her who can broach the subject or whether several of you should bring it up with her.

Either way she needs to be told to change her ways - or you stop inviting her on nights out.

I can only offer you advice on the situation itself, for further information on the health issues associated with excessive drinking you can visit the HSE's website on alcohol at http://www.askaboutalcohol.ie.

 

Do you have a problem you'd like some advice on? Email askbrian@independent.ie  to submit in confidence.

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