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Our friend drinks too much. Should we say something?

A reader writes: We're a group of women who've been getting together on trips for years. One of us, who gets very emotional when drinking, recently said some unforgivable things to one of the group. Now some of us want to exclude her permanently, and others say no. No one sees her often enough to confront her about her drinking. Advice?

Reduce the booze

Maybe your group would work better if the overall level of alcohol consumption was trimmed back. It sounds as if it could help your wayward friend. You're not teenagers any more. As for the things she said, blame it on the drink and move on.

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Michael Moore, Toronto

Confront her

Why doesn't the strongest-minded of your group confront her ahead of the trip? This can be done in a diplomatic way, but if she gets angry and doesn't come with the group, at least you know you were fair to her.

Heather Drope, Halifax

Try to understand

A drinker may not know when they have overstepped the boundaries. In a group setting possibly each woman could relate an incident that they were embarrassed about. These indiscretions may elicit an apology for the unforgivable things said.

Alan Strid, Calgary

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The final word

I got this, people! Tell your friend you've all finally seen the light, become Muslims and you're heading for Mecca on your next vacay. And since your new faith forbids alcohol or being around anyone who drinks, she won't have any fun, so she needn't come.

But before you all thunder off to the mosque, hold on a sec. Heather's right; you're going to have to talk to your friend. You can't exclude her without telling her why.

Imagine the scenario: You all run off to Sin City and sin without her, then she finds out and wonders why she was dumped. Which brings you back to the same problem. See what's happening here? You're in a ruinous circle of hell. Alcohol is a disinhibitor and she needs to know that when she partakes, her oversharing affects her friendships. Then she can make the decision, as Michael suggests, to cut back her alcohol consumption so she won't reach that point.

Alan's idea of sitting around the campfire recounting embarrassing incidents may not work because she doesn't know she said something unforgivable (no one told her). You gals may be acting as enablers. It's possible alcohol may be affecting other aspects of her life as well. She may need this information more than you realize.

And for the love of Allah, do not send an e-mail. This sort of delicate conversation requires human contact. There's an invention called the phone and people use it to exchange all sorts of useful information. Once an aunt from Pakistan called to tell us Grandma died. This contraption works even when there's an ocean between you – never mind cities. So ladies, stop eyeing those hijabs and grow a pair (breasts don't count). Tell your friend the truth. Trust me, it'll be easier than praying five times a day.

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Regina-based Zarqa Nawaz is the creator of the CBC-TV sitcom Little Mosque on the Prairie.

Next week's question

A reader writes: I am a confident, single twentysomething, happy in my life. But I want that little something extra. Problem is, I have a talent for talking myself out of relationships before the first date. I've been hoping someone will fight for me. So far, no luck. Should I take a chance on the current potential, or keep waiting?

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If you would like to participate, e-mail us at grouptherapy@globeandmail.com. All questions are published anonymously, but we will include your name and hometown if we use your response (it will be edited).

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About the Author

In 2007, Zarqa Nawaz created the television series Little Mosque on the Prairie, which premiered to record viewership and ultimately became CBC’s highest rated sitcom. The success of her series ushered in a new era of television in Canada. More

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