A friend who drinks too much

Published: April 22, 2009 | Last Updated: April 22, 2009 By | 5 Replies Continue Reading


Dear Irene,

My friend started on anti-depressants about 6 months ago, and has been drinking a lot lately. Drinking while on medication is usually not a good idea. It’s gotten to the point where she goes out every weekend, gets so drunk she pukes, and makes a total fool of herself. She ‘blacks out’ and forgets nearly half the night. She’ll be all over guys, some of them complete strangers, spilling her drink, and losing her phone, too. It used to be fun going out with her, but now she gets drunk so early in the night that I feel like I have to babysit her.


A few weeks ago, she got into a car with some guys that we knew. She wanted me to go with them but I declined. I had work the next day, and had a feeling that I wasn’t going to get to where I needed to be by noon. I insisted that she come with me, but she didn’t want to get out of their car.


The next day, I found out from her roommate that my friend had said something wrong to the driver of the car, and he kicked her out, 3 miles from her house, at 3AM, in the country. She lost her phone, and had to walk to find a phone to call a friend.


I felt badly for her, but I thought it served her right for being so ridiculous. I thought that it would get her to tone it down, but she’s just getting worse. This weekend, she puked in the street. It really makes me upset, because she’s such a strong independent woman. I’ve never seen her act like this before. It’s like she’s trying to destroy herself, and I don’t want to see my best friend get arrested, raped, or worse.


I just don’t know what to do in this situation. I’ve told her to stop, but she won’t. I’ve talked to another one of our close friends, who has known her longer than I have, and she doesn’t know what to do either. We tried getting her to do other things, but she just isn’t interested. Her roommate started being rude to her just so she would leave. She was tired of my friend coming home at 4am all the time, and waking her up.


Is there something I could tell her? Or should I just leave it alone, and wait for her to wise up on her own?




You are right to be concerned about your friend’s well-being. It sounds like she is engaging in a number of very risky behaviors.


It’s always a problem when someone needs but doesn’t want help. At this point, it sounds like your friend’s behavior is out of her control and she should be diagnosed and treated by a professional. A few thoughts:

•    Can you talk to her when she’s sober and see if she is willing to call or go back to the person who prescribed her anti-depressants?

•    Can you contact one of her family members and let them know what’s going on?

•    Can you provide her with contact information for Alcoholics Anonymous in your area and see if she is willing to attend a meeting?


If none of these are possible, you may want to assemble her friends as a group to let her know how concerned you all are. You didn’t mention whether she is able to work and has a source of income.


She is fortunate to have a friend like you. Encourage her to talk to you and gain her trust. Continue to express your concerns for her well-being and maybe you’ll be able to catch her at a moment when she’ll respond.
Of course, if she seems to be in danger or she is homeless, you should consider calling 911.


My best,



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Comments (5)

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  1. Irene says:

    Hi E-

    While your friend sounds like she is having a lot of problems, I really feel for you, too! It is quite a burden for you, as a teenager, to feel responsible for your friend’s life. And, unfortunately, denial is typically associated with addictive behavior.

    Is there some family member of hers that you can reach out to? This might help save your friend and also help relieve your burden which has to be extraordinary.

    Also, you might want to talk about the problem to a guidance counselor in your school. If you don’t feel comfortable naming names, at least the counselor could provide you with support to help you handle this sad and difficult situation.

    My best,






  2. Anonymous says:

    I’m somewhat happy I found this post. I just stumbled upon it now and I have been having similar problems.

    My closest friend has always been a bit tempermental, and I knew that. But recently she has been completely out of control. She drinks until she’s sick or unconscious, smokes a lot (and I don’t mean cigarettes), and vying for the attention of men. We’ve been together forever, and yet we both turned out so different (since I am so against the use of illegal drugs).

    It’s gotten to the point where her other friends want nothing to do with her anymore. Boys don’t want her to hit on them, girls don’t want her to hit on their boyfriends, and no one wants to take care of her. I’m all she has, but her antics have left me so stressed that I’ve become physically ill.

    I tried talking to her about it while she was sober and only denied that this was a problem. The usual “it’s my body and I’ll do what i want with it” speech. But i don’t know if I can keep taking care of her. And she won’t survive “learning the hard way”.

    She’s been at risk for suicide before, and I don’t want her life on my conscious. So i can’t just cut her out of my life.

    The only difference is that, being a teenager, it makes talking to people about it that much harder without ruining her future in college. And the last thing she needs is to be arrested.

    I don’t know where I was going with this. I guess, I hope you have luck with your friend and that things get better.


  3. Irene says:

    I’m not aware of Effexor leading to drinking but the same underlying condition which the drug is used to treat, depression, may also increase the risk of alcohol abuse.


    When it comes to medication and their side effects, it is best for an individual to consult with a psychopharmacologist.


    Thanks for your post!



  4. Anonymous says:

    If she’s taking Effexor, that might be pushing her to drink. Seriously. I was put on that in my 20s, and REALLY hit the bottle. Much, much later, I found out that is a common side effect. No more antidepressants for me, ever. The rest of it, well, if she’s drinking without Effexor then she has a problem and I’m afraid there’s not much you can do – she has to deal with it herself. Better to get away from her.

  5. grasshopper says:

    Just stumbled on this blog while Googling ‘red flag relationships’.

    One thing that struck me in your story, Kayla, was this sentence:

    It really makes me upset, because she’s such a strong independent woman.

    I’m wondering, maybe she’s not as ‘strong and independent’ as you think? Maybe it’s having to keep up that image that’s driving her to drink? Sometimes people need their friends most of all as a place to stop faking it, to talk about what they’re really feeling.

    Did she have something happen in her life just before she started taking the anti-depressants? A breakup with a boyfriend, fallout with a family member, lose a job, fail a test, anything like that?

    It might be that she just really, really needs to talk, and doesn’t know how to bring it up, because she’s used to being the ‘strong independent’ one.

    Just a thought.

    I might also suggest not ‘telling’ her what to do, but rather asking, gently, whether there’s anything you can do to help. People who are feeling desperate and cornered enough to get into cars with total strangers are generally dealing with some pretty heavy emotionas and/or issues that are just simply too big for them to deal with alone. It may also be that she needs help on her terms, not on other peoples’ terms.

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