In a feature I call “Your Turn,” in which you, the readers, get to answer the question, I’m presenting the following letter without commentary from me:
We strongly believe that this friend (who is in her late twenties) has increasingly severe social anxiety, and has been dealing with it via alcohol. We’ve seen her steadily increase her drinking over the past three years, and we’ve noticed a pattern where she drinks heavily at the small number of social functions she does attend. Lately, the amount of alcohol she drinks is not proportionate to the occassion (i.e, getting pass out drunk when I cooked dinner for us and two others at my house). She avoids most other larger social gathering all together, bailing at the last minute, or if she does go she leaves in the middle of it. When she comes to visit us or one of us goes to see her (she lives a few states away), she’s distant, not interacting much, and always has either a drink or her cell phone in her hand.
So now, I just don’t know how to tell her I’m worried. I’m over the dissapointment of her bailing on wedding plans, but what can we do to help? She lives a few states away, has no significant other and recently moved to a new apartment. When I saw her two months ago, she got so drunk in a low-key setting that she was sick the next day and skipped a high-cost sporting event we had tickets to. Her slide into a (suspected) bottle of wine a night has worried us more and more. But she’s hiding behind an ultra marathon-runner’s facade of being healthy, so I know she will be so defensive or won’t come clean as to what’s really going on.
I worry about and miss my fun friend. — Worried about Bridesmaid