If your description of her is accurate, then she definitely has a drinking problem. Most of the behaviors you mention are classic signs of alcoholism (see this list). That’s the bad news. Now here’s more: there’s very little you can do about it.
You’ve heard the clichÃ© about people not changing until they want to change? It’s a clichÃ© because it’s true. Until your friend decides for herself that alcohol is a problem in her life, nothing you do or say will make much difference. Just ask the millions of spouses, children, parents, siblings and friends of drunks who fill Al-Anon meetings around the world every single night. At these meetings, people don’t learn how to cure the alcoholic they love, but how to come to terms with the fact that they cannot cure him or her.
That doesn’t mean you can’t tell your friend that you think she has a problem. You are concerned and you have a right to say so if you choose. Just don’t expect her to race to an AA meeting on your word, and don’t expect her to be grateful for your concern. Most alcoholics live in denial, so she will be shocked and hurt and angry that you would say such a horrible thing about her. She might even decide you aren’t her friend anymore.
On the flip side, hearing your words might plant a seed in her mind. Perhaps she has never considered the idea that she has a problem (doubtful), and to hear it from your lips might be the first step toward her recovery. You just have to decide if it is worth risking your friendship to say something. Even if she eventually recovers, your relationship will suffer in the short term. Whether it’s a worthy sacrifice or a pointless move is a decision only you can make.
One thing you can definitely do is to make sure she doesn’t drive drunk if you’re out with her and she’s wasted. Take her keys and get her home before she kills herself or someone else. I will warn you, though, that this gets old very fast; you go out to have fun, not babysit a perpetually drunk friend. Many people eventually choose not to go out with the friend anymore.
I wish I had better advice, but I don’t know of any. I’ve been in your shoes more times than I care to remember, and I know how excruciating it is to feel powerless as you watch someone slip slowly into the abyss, like those dreams where a loved one is being hurt and you try to help them but you can’t move your legs.
All I can say is do what your heart tells you to do. Even if you can’t change her, you can have the peace of knowing you did what you thought was right.
Thanks for the question.