anonymous Asks ...
My friend is 27. She has been drinking a fifth of rum everyday since she was 24, or sometimes more when she goes out to a bar. How long can she survive if she continues to drink this much every day? I am very worried about her but she will not listen when I tell her how dangerous this is! She says lots of people drink a bottle a day. The problem is all her other friends drink like fish too so she has a funny idea about what is normal.
Anna Deeds Says ...
Thank you for your question. Unfortunately, your friend is in grave danger. Alcohol does a lot of damage to the body when it is used to excess. A bottle or more of rum a day is definitely excessive drinking. That much alcohol is damaging to the brain, heart, liver, pancreas, immune system and can even increase the risk for cancer. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism can give you more information about how alcohol affects each part of the body.
I understand how worried you are about your friend. This screening tool could help you show your friend that her drinking is excessive. You may want to try presenting the facts about the damage your friend is doing to her body. However, she may not want to hear what you have to say. It's important that when you talk to her about this, you let her know you are telling her this because you care about her and don't want to see her get hurt. Let her know how her excessive alcohol consumption is affecting you but be sure to do it in a caring way instead of yelling at her or telling her what to do. You may also want to let any family members know your concern for her if they are not aware of the problem. Her family may be able to get her more help.
I also encourage you to go to Al-Anon meetings which will help you deal with how you feel about your friend's drinking. You can learn more about alcoholism, resources for treatment in your area, how to talk to your friend about her problem and how to not enable her to continue drinking. Enabling behavior is anything you may do, even unintentionally, that helps your friend continue drinking. Examples of enabling behavior are covering for her to keep her out of trouble from her drinking or keeping her drinking problem a secret. Alcoholics sometimes need to experience the consequences of their behavior to be able to recognize the problem so they will want to stop.
I hope this information helps you and I wish you good luck with your friend.