Dealing with a Belligerent Drunk
We have all had experiences, especially around the holidays, when someone we know gets too drunk. In some cases, that person may be a relative such as a brother, sister, husband, or wife. Other times, the belligerent drunk may be another partygoer, a co-worker, or a friend of a friend. Whatever the case, dealing with a belligerent drunk can be a difficult problem for everyone involved. They can easily ruin a function, cause problems for everyone else, and be a massive embarrassment.
What are some things you can expect from a belligerent drunk? This isn’t, by all means, a comprehensive list. Yet, if you have encountered a drunken fool before, you can likely expect the following personality types:
The loudmouth: he/she doesn’t seem to be able to shut their mouth. They ramble on, often aggressively. They interrupt conversations. Often, they will mention the same topics repeatedly (as if we didn’t get their point the first time). They always feel they are right, and will argue persistently if you disagree. They commonly have ‘important’ points to make, and they won’t hesitate to regal you with exaggerated tales of their self worth.
The tough: he/she may get violent. This could be a recurring theme whenever they get drunk. For whatever reason, they have too many drinks and they like to pick fights. They may get provoked at the smallest slight whether perceived or real. Maybe they didn’t like something you said, or a way you looked at them. They may also break furniture, use profanity in excess, and scare other guests.
The fool: he/she is pretty much a stumbling, falling down drunk. They may not act violently or run their mouth, but they basically will ramble on about nothing in particular. They slur their words, and make little to no sense at all. They may even be filled with bouts of self pity and all but sob into their liquor as they recant a woeful tale about how life has wronged them. They may be so apt to injure themselves that other people feel the need to watch over them, like caretakers. These caretakers often have to spend their time monitoring the belligerent drunk instead of enjoying their time with family or friends.
From personal experience, I will say I have dealt with all of these types of belligerent drunk alcoholics (or problem drinkers) in the past. Often times, the three suggestive personality types I have outlined for the belligerent drunk will merge. The loudmouth will also act as a tough. The fool will act as a loudmouth. Depending on various states of drunkenness, the belligerent drunk may experience personality shifts. All of these types are likely perfectly good and capable people when sober. Sadly, they almost always seem to have a few too many drinks and the result is often the same.
What, if anything, can we do about them?
First off, if they do get violent, or appear to be one the verge of violence, I highly advise calling the police. This puts a huge damper on any family function, but may be necessary. After all, no one wants to see Uncle Marty unconscious and floating in the pool when it could have been avoided. Sometimes, before any physical alterations take place, many family members will pull the belligerent drunk aside for a ‘time out.’ Often, before it reaches this point, if a spouse is involved, the spouse will appropriately suggest they leave. Unfortunately for them, this is an all-too-common occurrence, and the belligerent drunk once again has made a fool of them.
One technique that may prove useful is to ignore them. Just nod politely, let them ramble, and accept that it is the alcohol talking. If they are too drunk, there really isn’t anything that anyone can do or say that will sink in. No amount of lecturing will get them to behave or act normally. By agreeing with them and just nodding, it may be less likely to upset them and hopefully they get bored and go bother someone else.
Another option is to send the belligerent drunk home, either via a cab, or through someone willing to take them. If enough people suggest they leave, they may take the hint. Sometimes, they will be too intoxicated to really know what is going on or to argue about it. In that way, you can kind of sway/guide them toward certain objectives.
Whatever the case, if you have dealt with a belligerent drunk husband, or a belligerent drunk boyfriend, etc, in the past, you already know that it is nothing but a pain. If this person regularly behaves poorly, or drinks too much, perhaps the best suggestion is to get them into treatment. Many people cannot control their drinking and they cannot stop. They may use many excuses for drinking too much, especially on holidays. They feel it is their right to drink as much as they can. In truth, it is not, and they also do not have the right to interfere with the lives and the fun of everyone else.
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