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Dinner party: inviting 2 friends round who each have alcohol issues... bad idea?

(7 Posts)
magnificatAnimaMea Tue 08-Mar-16 01:55:39

Having 5 friends over for dinner. 3 moderate drinkers, DH lightweight, me teetotal, and two friends with quite bad alcohol problems. Small town, everyone knows about both friends' alcohol issues, though we dont habitually discuss them.

Just wondering if we should try to tactfully warn friend 1 that friend 2 is also coming to dinner and thus the alcohol will probably be flowing rather freely?

With friend 1 (who doesn't discuss it, still drinks "secretly" and is supposedly dry, though we all know she isn't) we normally get round the issue by not offering alcohol at all. Typically she doesn't put herself in the path of alcohol if she can avoid it.

Friend 2 is still in the almost-daily binge drinking stage, not interested in getting help. However, him feeling less isolated is a step in the right direction - thus getting him to join the group we have over for dinner fairly frequently (we all do an activity together, and we all get on with him very well, so it makes sense for him to be invited anyway). He is likely to come to dinner equipped with several bottles and probably drink the lot (and get driven home by another friend).

Should I say anything in advance? Should we not invite both friend 1 and friend 2 together? Or just let it happen, say nothing, and hope it's not too hard for friend 1?

WhereYouLeftIt Tue 08-Mar-16 14:02:33

Can you have a menu that doesn't include alcohol? Or just a specific drink, e.g. an Elizabethan theme so the only drink available is mead?

I would not be happy to have a guest binge drink in front of me. It would make me feel complicit, and I don't want to be.

Xmasbaby11 Tue 08-Mar-16 14:05:48

Personally I wouldn't say anything and would allow friends to drink what they want. They are adults and in charge of their own behaviour.

But then I have lots of friends who drink a lot and I wouldn't say any of them have a problem - maybe I'm not sensitive enough to it!

ProfGrammaticus Tue 08-Mar-16 14:05:51

Surely the moderate drinkers being there is a problem too, if their presence will lead you to make alcohol available? I think you need to warn the one who isn't dry.

Xmasbaby11 Tue 08-Mar-16 14:06:47

Wouldn't friend 1 know friend 2 was coming anyway? It's Normal to say who will be there.

magnificatAnimaMea Tue 08-Mar-16 19:22:50

Thanks for the perspectives.

Whereyouleftit re complicity - I think it's safe to say that when Friend 2 has had an alcohol problem for the last 35 years, there's not much point me saying "I don't want to know about your alcohol problem". He's likely to have it on display whether we want to know or not... and we all want to be better friends with him so he can get more of a sense of self that isn't about drinking himself to oblivion, having no confidence, regret, etc. He's bloody marvellous, when he's not drunk or depressed & wallowing.

Xmasbaby11- i totally agree that they're adults and am not aiming to do anything other than (1) be their friends and (2) make sure there's a strong support network available for each of them when it all inevitably goes tits-up - however, I'm just trying to be sensitive to friend 1's needs, since this would be the first time we've had her round and offered alcohol. I think it's up to her if she drinks, but I don't want to put her in the position of being in a social situation where she's having to try desperately not to drink, or feeling like crap because she wants to drink and can't in public. She tends to beat herself up about it a lot. However, "warning" her about it makes it obvious i know she isn't dry. That's a whole other can of worms that might be safer not to open.

Re the moderate drinkers - they're pretty sensitive, and are likely to drink only one or two glasses of wine at most in a situation like this as they would be aware they might need to drive the others home. At past gatherings involving friend 1, they have typically not drunk alcohol at all.

ProfGrammaticus Tue 08-Mar-16 19:57:57

Would it be possible then for you, DH and the moderate drinkers to agree not to drink at all that night? So you'd only have the unstoppable one drinking? It all sounds very difficult not a party I'd inflict upon myself TBH

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