Dealing with Drunks Part 2: A Guide for Helping Your Drunken Friends

By Gamal Hennessy

Click Here to Read Part 1 

In part 1  of our drunken guide, we gave you tips on how to deal with strangers. Now let’s get to a more delicate subject; dealing with your drunken friends.

Friends: When your friend, date, client or family member is the drunk, it’s rude to just hand them over to the bouncer and keep on drinking like we did in part 1. It is a major undertaking to save your own personal drunk from himself. Shepherding a drunken companion is a sign of true friendship, but if everything turns out ok, it is also great ammunition for funny stories later.

Once you look over at your friend and realize they need help, focus on controlling their consumption, shielding them from danger and monitoring them for more serious conditions.

Controlling Their Consumption: The first thing your drunken friend probably wants is another drink. This is a bad idea, but as we saw earlier, logic is not in your friend’s vocabulary right now. Wikihow offers some suggestions on how to give them drinks without giving them drinks. If they call for another drink, try to give them harmless drinks. Try water, a very watered down version of their drink or just a soft drink. Depending on how drunk they are, you can simply hand them a coke and claim that it contains vodka. Unless they have very sensitive drunken palettes, they might not notice, especially if you're distracting them (hint: distracting a drunk is normally easier than distracting a sober person.) Don't give them a lot of stimulating drinks such as tea or coffee since this can accelerate dehydration. And don't force a drunk person to eat, since it could create a choking situation.

Shielding Them from Danger: Your friend needs protection when he is drunk because he can’t do it himself. First, you need to make sure he doesn’t engage in risky behavior including driving a car, fighting with other people or trying to make out with random individuals. Do your best to help your drunk avoid physical injury, especially through falling. Nicole John is the most extreme example of this hazard, but even a fall on the dance floor can be dangerous. Help them find and stay in a safe seat or even sit them the floor. It’s not the cutest look, but they can’t fall very far if they are already on the floor.

If your drunk needs to visit the bathroom, accompany them and wait for them to make sure they don’t slip and bang their head on the toilet. Above all, don’t leave them alone to sleep it off in any venue. They could be molested, robbed or snatched from the venue by a stranger.

If it is possible, try to deal with your drunk’s personal effects after your drunk is safe. Make an effort to find their phone, make sure their tab is closed and collect whatever clothing or accessories they discarded in their travels.

While you are looking out for your drunk, don’t forget to look out for yourself. Avoid saying anything that could provoke or anger the intoxicated person, since you don’t want the person you are trying to help fighting with you. Do not try to physically lift a drunken person or stop someone much larger than you falling down–you may injure your back. Instead, concentrate on protecting their head.. If you need help to help your drunk, look for the operators. It might be embarrassing for your drunk, but it is better to ask them for help than to have them kick you out when your drunk gets out of hand. Besides, a little embarrassment is a small price to pay to avoid more long term problems.

The final step in shielding your drunk from danger is getting them out of the venue and back to a place where they can safely wait for their hangover to arrive. That could be their place, your place or any place where they can crash. Your social relationship might prevent you from monitoring them after they leave the venue, but in extreme cases it is advisable to keep an eye on them.

Monitoring them for Serious Conditions: Once you make sure your drunk isn’t continuing to drink, fighting with the bouncers or sleeping in the street, you have to make sure they are resting safely. It helps to lie them down in a recovery position (on their side with the higher knee bent). to prevent choking. Put something behind their back to prevent them rolling back onto their back or stomach because vomiting in either position can cause them to choke or drown. Just because Jimi Hendrix did it doesn’t make it cool.

As they sleep, look for signs of alcohol poisoning including:
● abnormally slow breathing
● unresponsive to being prodded and pinched firmly
● blue lips and fingertips.
● rapid pulse.
● vomiting while asleep and not waking up even when vomiting.
● cold clammy hands/ feet.

If your friend starts to exhibit these symptoms, then it is time for you to stop helping them and time for medical professionals to start. Call 911. High levels of alcohol poisoning can lead to respiratory failure, coma or death.

I’m offering these tips with the understanding that I am not a medical professional. I’m just a guy who has caught a couple of falling drunks in my time. We all have too much at one time or another. Hopefully these tips can help you and your drunk get through the night so everyone can live to drink another day.

Have fun.