Alcohol ruining our friendship(8 Posts)
I don't really know where to start with this problem. I'm not sure I'm reading too much into this issue but my friends alcohol fuelled behaviour is really starting to have a very negative impact.
She's always been a heavy social drinker but after she got married and had children I thought that would calm down. About 18 mths ago she got a job at my company working directly with me part time. Problem started early on; she was constantly putting me under pressure to go out drinking with her after work. When I started to make my excuses she changed it to lunchtimes when she's be ordering bottle after bottle of wine and 2 hrs (shes quiet senior at the company) later stumbling back to the office. I can't function on more than 2 glasses and subsequently struggled to do my job whilst having to appear sober. Within an hour of returning to work she suggests she buy a 'sneaky' bottle to drink in mugs at work. If I say no she gets very angry and sulky so I'm forced to go along with it (although pour my wine away in pot plant when she's not looking). I have tried to stand up to her to say NO even claiming I was on anti biotics for fake toothache but the reaction is always the same. And I have told her no more alcohol at work... Since I maintain a no for 9 out 10 of invites for evening drinks she's really picked up the pace during the day starting at lunch time and carrying on all day - with various colleagues she persuades to join her. Last week I went to the bar I knew she'd been in all afternoon and she was completely pissed (couldn't even dress herself after the loo). also she hardly eats so is even more pissed. She has become very aggressive, thinks I'm moralising, says really nasty personal things to me then has no recollection afterwards and is full of regret. She's my friend but there's a boundary and I can't take much more. I've thought about telling a more senior person at work but I know she'd get the sack and I can't do that to her as she's my oldest friend. I've tried to discuss this with her as I'm terrified if work find out about this I'll be tarred with the same brush. After her last wine fuelled melt down she told me her marriage was in trouble (her husband hates her drinking) so I feel I can't let her down in her hour of need. And I don't want to end up with a drink problem myself (and possibly the sack) by joining her but by saying no I'll loose her as a friend.
Loose friend or loose job? It's a no-brainer. She's not your friend if she's putting you under this pressure. Stand up to her before your work reputation is ruined.
I think you've got to be honest with her. I would purposely engineer a chat when she was sober and try and tell her that you think she has a problem, that it upsets you, you are worried about her, and worry that she will lose her job. Be firm and also categorically state you are NOT prepared to take the same risks as her.
On a different note, also tell her that you care deeply about her as a friend and will help and support in any (non alcoholic) way you can.
As an aside, is there an Occupational Health facility at your place of work?
You have my empathy, I have a long standing (30 odd years) friend who is a chronic alcoholic. I have helped him many times over the course of the last 10 years. Sometimes I have had to take a very difficult step back as it was really affecting me. But ultimately he is a dear friend and has no one else, family or otherwise. So I feel responsible in a "Well if I don't help him, no-one else will" kind of way.
Hi Shakey1500. She's also pretty much on her own. I have had that sober chat but it all starts up the next time she comes in. There is no occupation health facility in the company unfortunately. This week I've told her to talk to her GP and also to seriously consider resigning to give her time to focus on her family and get away from the temptation to go out drinking. It's at break point now (been getting steadily worse for 18 months). I know minibmw that its appears a no brainer but feel like I'm kicking her when she's down but know you're right...
What did she say to your suggestion of seeing GP etc?
Eventually I had to frogmarch my friend to the GP and spell it out to them. He'd never been honest about the amount he drank (to the GP). I made him tell them and told them that he would NOT survive the winter without urgent help (his house had no heating/electricity/water). They contacted Social Services and he was classed as a "vulnerable adult". Thankfully he is now in a sheltered housing type of thing. BUT the GP said that (in our area at least) there was a list as long as her arm for people begging for help with alcohol problems. There were NO residential facilities for him to go to, or even any outpatient options. Not a lot of help at all available sadly.
I hope she listens to you, and I sincerely hope the GP can help her.
Again, I know you don't want to 'kick bet while she's down' but that sentiment won't help you (and neither will she) when you get fired. That might be harsh but that's what'll happen when (not if) you both get caught drinking on the premises - they won't be overly interested in why you're doing it, just that you are
Sorry to be bleak but the only person who can make her stop drinking is herself. If she's getting through the amount you describe I'm amazed she's still got a job, and I'm not remotely surprised her marriage is in trouble.
I'm afraid you need to stop socialising with her in any way if alcohol is involved. She will say all sorts of horrible things if you stop joining her for her sneaky work-time bottles, you'll just have to ignore it. She sounds like she's in complete denial about it being a problem.
Alcoholism is a complex mental health disorder and she sounds like she's well past the simple 'stop' cure point which most of us who have flirted with abusive levels of drink manage to sort themselves out at.
Sadly alcohol and drug services on the NHS are woefully underfunded. A six week residential course at eg Clouds House will be ITR of £12,000.
It is very hard to be around someone in this kind of downward spiral without getting drawn into some kind of "enabling" role. This happens with the best of intentions but the net effect isn't good. There is no way you will be able to pull her out of this - only she can do that.
The only time I have seen someone manage to get out of this kind of situation is because things got so very bad so quickly that they were shocked into realising just how far over the line they had got. In that case, the person in question is still sober and has marriage intact, kids OK etc. But I do wonder if that would be the case if the final decline had taken four times as long.
To get some perspective on what's going on, I really recommend going to a meeting of Al-Anon ("Al-Anon is a fellowship of relatives and friends of alcoholics who share their experience in order to solve their common problems").
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