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Old 04-01-10, 10:14 PM
peripatetic peripatetic is offline
 
 

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advice on helping a friend with an addiction? how? is it even possible?

so my favorite female's problem has come to a head and i'm completely at a loss for dealing with it. i'm hoping someone with personal addiction experience can either give me some suggestions for helping or disabuse me of thinking there's anything i *can* do.

if you have ideas but don't want to post, please message me and i assure you i will never breathe a word of your circumstances

here's the situation: the friend mentioned a problem months ago when she was in trouble at work (she's a nurse). her plan was to discontinue and get her sh*t together. sounded totally reasonable and i was largely feeling impressed with her candor and reaching out, right.

so, that 'no plan' plan hasn't been working. she's in trouble again for no-showing (which, i have to say i agree with her not going in if she's been up all night, etc, etc). her major concern is that she doesn't want to lose her job/license. mine is, of course, that i don't want her to lose her life!

treatment programs seem to be extended inpatient scenes. the first time this came up i suggested counseling. she went to a psychiatrist and was ultimately put on anti-depressants. (i don't know what, but can find out if it matters) sadly, i know for a fact that she lied to this person. she's said herself that she knows *exactly* what she should be doing, what she needs to say, etc. (she's a nurse for f**k's sake, so i guess she would know...)

what am i to do? i assume she's telling me because she wants some action on my part, but what? thus far i've told her that i do not want to hang out while she's doing it. she's agreed not to, but, frankly, i never knew she was and would be unable to gauge whether she was doing it or not

what else is there? do i tell her parents? (they're 3,000 miles away) it would break their hearts. i've thought of snagging her cellphone and deleting all of her numbers that i don't recognize, but how long would that last? i'm sure she has the means to work around any sabotaging. one last point: to my knowledge i'm the only one she's told (she said so) and i *hate* that i feel obliged not to discuss it with our other friends. i don't want to betray her confidence, but i don't feel equipped to solve this solo...

here's the real kicker (in my opinion): i asked why she was doing this. it's expensive, she's in debt, it could cost her the job she's worked hard to get and protect, it compromises her ability to go out and meet people and be social (which she claims to want). why, why, right? what is the allure here?

her response: i'm bored. i sit by myself and feel lonely and bored and so i make a phone call and stay up all night.

really? boredom??

barring my spending every waking minute keeping her occupied (impossible, by the way) and not feeling alone, what am i to do? is it even possible to rid oneself of this sort of habit without an inpatient treatment program? if so, how??

anyway, that's the dilemma. if you were her, what would actually be of help? anything?
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  #2  
Old 04-01-10, 10:34 PM
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Re: advice on helping a friend with an addiction? how? is it even possible?

Sadly enough, there really isn't anything you can do. Most addicts have to hit rock bottom before they see the light and realize they need help. The important thing is that YOU need to realize that if something happens to her, it's NOT your fault and there's not ONE thing you can do to prevent it. Trust me, I'm one of those people.

Addiction is not a choice, it's a disease. Boredom isn't causing her addiction, genetics are.....chances are that if you did contact her family, you'll find there are more like her in the family tree. She will not be able to stop by herself and her job (nurse) is the perfect job (or worst) for an addict. Addicts, because of their disease, are opportunistic, cunning, and manipulative. They will do whatever it takes to feed their addiction regardless of the consequences. Addicts only live in the moment, never looking to the future.

I would suggest that you attend an "open" AA meeting in your area. They are open to anyone who is interested in the program. I think you will get some important and honest insight into the mind of the addict. Don't worry if she's not an alcoholic, because addiction is addiction and I find AA members to be more forthright than most any other "rehab" organization.

It's tough to watch someone you care about destroy her life, but I didn't think about those people when I was abusing, so I guarantee she's not thinking about it either. She needs to have an epiphany on her own. Many times, it takes losing a lot or everything for the addict to come to the ultimate realization that they need real help and are ready to travel that difficult road to recovery. You're a good friend to her, but it may just be time for you to step back and let her take a tumble.

Feel free to pm me if you have any other concerns or just want to vent.

Good luck.
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  #3  
Old 04-01-10, 10:57 PM
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Re: advice on helping a friend with an addiction? how? is it even possible?

hi FA,

thank you for your response it wasn't necessarily what i'd hoped to hear, but i'm well aware of my tendency to put a sunshiney face on most anything and hold out hope (in spite of facts, sometimes) that everything will work out if i can just figure out a solution.

you're also right to suggest that i'm feeling like there must be something i can do and that i'll feel considerable guilt if i 'fail'.

i think that's largely due to my confusion over why she's telling *me*?? why me?? why tell if you don't want something to come of it?

did you ever mention your problem to someone? if so, what was your rationale? i realize the answer might be that there is no rationale in the throes of addiction i'm just perplexed as to why she'd lament the issue and not want solutions to it... maybe i'm thinking along the lines of someone suicidal who *wants* help but doesn't know how to ask for it? i'm not sure.

i think going to one of those meetings could be really useful. my concern is that i'd be seen as an interloper of sorts (someone showing up to gawk). maybe that's off base, though? i guess i feel that way because i'd not want to pull out my dirty laundry in front of people who don't have the same laundry... i can get over that and always leave if people find my presence interferes with their group workings.

in my city we have AA and NA. maybe she would go to the NA meeting if i accompanied her?? or is that just fantasy on my part?

anyway, thank you again it *is* very difficult to watch her flailing around, but i clearly see that she'll need to be the one doing the 'work', so to speak or it won't matter.

cheers
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Old 04-01-10, 11:11 PM
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Re: advice on helping a friend with an addiction? how? is it even possible?

Peripatetic,
A very important thing I learned about helping people,
Is that it is very important to learn that you may not be able to help.
For me learning this issue helped to deal with similar issues.
Life really... sucks some time.(without sarcasim)
Sorry to hear about the stress.


What is your friends addiction?
Do you have any addictions? (things you need ...daily)


FunnyHead
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Old 04-01-10, 11:26 PM
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Re: advice on helping a friend with an addiction? how? is it even possible?

Quote:
Originally Posted by peripatetic View Post
hi FA,

thank you for your response it wasn't necessarily what i'd hoped to hear, but i'm well aware of my tendency to put a sunshiney face on most anything and hold out hope (in spite of facts, sometimes) that everything will work out if i can just figure out a solution.

you're also right to suggest that i'm feeling like there must be something i can do and that i'll feel considerable guilt if i 'fail'.

i think that's largely due to my confusion over why she's telling *me*?? why me?? why tell if you don't want something to come of it?

did you ever mention your problem to someone? if so, what was your rationale? i realize the answer might be that there is no rationale in the throes of addiction i'm just perplexed as to why she'd lament the issue and not want solutions to it... maybe i'm thinking along the lines of someone suicidal who *wants* help but doesn't know how to ask for it? i'm not sure.

i think going to one of those meetings could be really useful. my concern is that i'd be seen as an interloper of sorts (someone showing up to gawk). maybe that's off base, though? i guess i feel that way because i'd not want to pull out my dirty laundry in front of people who don't have the same laundry... i can get over that and always leave if people find my presence interferes with their group workings.

in my city we have AA and NA. maybe she would go to the NA meeting if i accompanied her?? or is that just fantasy on my part?

anyway, thank you again it *is* very difficult to watch her flailing around, but i clearly see that she'll need to be the one doing the 'work', so to speak or it won't matter.

cheers
Heya Peri,

I know it's hard news to hear, but that's why they call it "tough love", because as much as you long to hold them up and make them better, you have to stand back and let them fall.

I stopped drinking when I was 25 and I did it on my own. I didn't have a drink for 18 years, but I started using prescription narcotics to cope with a very difficult situation as a caregiver to a disabled wife and mother-in-law with Alzheimer's.

I quit the drugs and then started drinking again and fell REALLY hard. I wound up having a DT seizure and flat-lined on the way to the hospital. THAT was my wake up call. I had been to the hospital several times with bleeding ulcers and alcohol poisoning and still found a reason to binge here and there. It took dying for a few minutes for me to finally realize that I needed help.

I had no problem telling people I was an alcoholic when I first quit drinking, but I was only fooling myself because quitting the substances is only part of the battle. I never took care of the other things that kept leading me back to that behavior. Then I joined AA.

To be able to talk with people who understand everything I've done and didn't judge me was a huge weight off my shoulder. They won't judge you either. As a matter of fact, they will welcome you because you are there out of love for a friend in crisis. People like you are heroes to the recovering addict/alcoholic.

Her telling you about her problem is a sign that she knows she has one, and telling you about it is the first step in the right direction because addicts are great at hiding. Once discovered, we tend to shy away from those who know about our problem or hang with others with the same addictions.

Check AA.org for your local chapter and look at the meeting schedule. Look for meetings listed as "O" for "open". Those meeting are for anyone who has, is trying, wants to, or knows someone who needs to quit drinking. If you can convince her to go with you, she'll see so many people with the same issues and realize that she's not a freak and there are plenty of people who will help her get where she needs to be.

Peace!

Gary
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Old 04-01-10, 11:34 PM
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Re: advice on helping a friend with an addiction? how? is it even possible?

hi FH,

she is using cocaine. i do not know that it extends beyond that. she certainly drinks socially and she smokes cigarettes when drinking.

i do not have any addictions, which is, at least in part, why this is such a conundrum for me.

i'm not saying i've never done anything illegal (i did go to college...), but nothing consistent or more dangerous, i suppose you'd say.

if your question is more along the lines of whether i've done what she's doing, the answer is no. this may be because i've been diagnosed for a pretty long time and never felt the urge to try those particular types of substances given my prescriptions...they're just not attractive to me. i don't know??

i have always liked running, but i wouldn't say i *need* to do it daily. i need to brush my teeth, i guess. i like ice cream a lot. yeah, not a lot to work with...
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Old 04-02-10, 08:46 AM
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Re: advice on helping a friend with an addiction? how? is it even possible?

Quote:
Originally Posted by peripatetic View Post
hi FH,

she is using cocaine. i do not know that it extends beyond that. she certainly drinks socially and she smokes cigarettes when drinking.

i do not have any addictions, which is, at least in part, why this is such a conundrum for me.

i'm not saying i've never done anything illegal (i did go to college...), but nothing consistent or more dangerous, i suppose you'd say.

if your question is more along the lines of whether i've done what she's doing, the answer is no. this may be because i've been diagnosed for a pretty long time and never felt the urge to try those particular types of substances given my prescriptions...they're just not attractive to me. i don't know??

i have always liked running, but i wouldn't say i *need* to do it daily. i need to brush my teeth, i guess. i like ice cream a lot. yeah, not a lot to work with...
Peri
I am just heading to work.
I don't believe in tough love,
well I do know it exists but just like the issue of hitting your kids,
we just don't do that anymore. There is better ways.
Love is good.
Remember you might not be able to help.
I will think about your thread today.
It is really nice to see you care about your friend.
I will talk to you tonight.
FH
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Old 04-02-10, 09:52 AM
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Re: advice on helping a friend with an addiction? how? is it even possible?

hey there FH,

you're an absolute sweetheart

i've received wonderful advice on this thread thus far and i thank you for your kind words. both you and FA said supportive things about my being a good friend and that is *very* much appreciated as i haven't been feeling like a good friend. i've been feeling like i'm superlatively self-centered to vent about my feeling impotent in the face of the situation and, quite frankly, a little pi**ed off about knowing.

for the record, i just want to say that i have *not* told her that i'm feeling helpless and frustrated with *her* problem. admittedly, i did consider it--not because i wanted her to feel badly or not confide in me, but because i wouldn't want her to be putting all of her eggs in my basket, so to speak, given that i have no proper guidance to give. i realized (fortunately) that saying anything of the sort could make her feel like a burden, more worthless, etc, so i managed restraint

anyway, again, thank you and i hope you have a lovely and productive day at work
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Old 04-02-10, 10:51 AM
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Re: advice on helping a friend with an addiction? how? is it even possible?

Heya again Peri,

I do have to clarify and comment on what FH said regarding "tough love". It is not in anyway like "hitting your kids". "Tough love" is stepping back when your heart is breaking and refusing to enable that person any longer. Addicts are "users" in every sense of the word. We use substances at every opportunity and we use loved ones at every opportunity to GET those substances. Tough love usually has to be employed in most addiction cases, because as long as we haven't lost everything, we'll use what's left to get high. Rock bottom is the big wake-up call for most addicts.

Now, please understand that I'm not saying to stop loving or caring ABOUT her, but you need to stop taking care OF her until she surrenders and says "I need help."

Once she makes that admission, I would do everything I could to help her along the process. It is important that you do not enable her financially during this process, but support her emotionally. The 12 step process is really difficult when done with ultimate conviction, because it forces the addict to take a really long, hard look at themselves. That can be a traumatic experience coming to grips with all the damage you've done to yourself and others through the course of your abusing.

If you do decide to attend AA meetings, and I do recommend AA over NA, regardless of her addiction, feel free to share your story and struggles as a friend and I know everyone will listen and thank you for coming. Like I said, addicts leave a lot of broken relationships and destroyed friendships along the way, and once sober we all appreciate that one person who never gave up on us. As a matter of fact, I don't think you'll ever have as true a friend as the recovering addict. We are as grateful and sincere to our friends as anyone can be.

Peace!

Gary
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Old 04-02-10, 11:39 AM
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Re: advice on helping a friend with an addiction? how? is it even possible?

Quote:
Originally Posted by FinallyAnswered View Post
Now, please understand that I'm not saying to stop loving or caring ABOUT her, but you need to stop taking care OF her until she surrenders and says "I need help."

Once she makes that admission, I would do everything I could to help her along the process. It is important that you do not enable her financially during this process, but support her emotionally.
hey there FA,

so, can you be more specific on the first quoted sentence? specifically (), what qualifies as taking care OF her? more specifically, is it 'enabling' her when i take her rambly calls or go over and hang out with her after she's been up all night?

the former seems like i'm just being an ear, yes?? the latter, though, is the only thing i really do that i think qualifies (i don't give her financial support, but that's likely because she hasn't asked. i'm assuming that i should decline if asked?? hmmm...that will be tough. i can do it, of course, but we come from different financial circumstances and i *would* feel badly...).

anyway, she has called me after staying up/out/whatever and asked me to come over. this has happened, maybe, 4 times in total?? i'd have to really think about it to give a definite number.

the upshot is that she'll call and express her anger with herself, her fears about getting fired, her 'freaking out' overall. she'll ask me to come over and sit with her/chat with her.

without exception i go. i may not go *right* at that moment, but i'll go after teaching/before teaching/etc. it depends on when she calls and what commitments i have, but i generally end up hanging out with her for a few hours.

she'll tell me how horrible she is and i reassure her that she'll get it together (yeah, ok, so i'm seeing how that's a bad idea...but i have operated from the perspective that feeling impotent would be bad because then she wouldn't feel able to overcome the situation. am i just totally off base to think she needs to feel empowered here? thinking that she needs to stop feeling helpless or she won't be feel strong enough to surmount this? *is* feeling helpless, at some point, on some level, actually necessary for her success??).

i encourage eating, showering, sleeping, going outside for some sunshine, etc. she largely ignores me for some amount of time, then does all of the things i think she should do and then i take off. (ostensibly, she really does go to bed and doesn't make more f*****g phone calls, but i guess i really don't know...)

i'm going to google meetings...
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Old 04-02-10, 12:14 PM
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Re: advice on helping a friend with an addiction? how? is it even possible?

I've had this around for awhile and wanted to share it. I'm not sure who wrote it but I am both the (recovering) addict and the loved one of the (recovering) addict and I can say this really speaks truth in way that shows how saying "no" and not enabling is the loving thing to do. It's important to allow the addict the dignity to make their own poor choices, as painful as it is to see.


If You Love Me Let Me Fall

"IF you love me let me fall all by myself. Don't try to spread a net out
to catch me, don't throw a pillow under my *** to cushion the pain so
I don't have to feel it, don't stand in the place I am going to land so
that you can break the fall, (allowing yourself to get hurt instead of
me)

Let me fall as far down as my addiction is going to take me, let me
walk the valley alone all by myself, let me reach the bottom of the
pit....trust that there is a bottom there somewhere even if you can't see
it. The sooner you stop saving me from myself, stop rescuing me,
trying to fix my broken-ness, trying to understand me to a fault,
enabling me.....The sooner you allow me to feel the loss and
consequences, the burden of my addiction on my shoulders and not
yours....the sooner I will arrive....and on time....just right where I need
to be...me, alone all by myself in the rubble of the lifestyle I lead...resist
the urge to pull me out because that will only put me back at square
one.

If I am allowed to stay at the bottom and live there for awhile, I am
free to get sick of it on my own, free to begin to want out, free to look
for a way out, and free to plan how I will climb back up to the top. In
the beginning as I start to climb out....I just might slide back down, but
don't worry I might have to hit bottom a couple more times before I
make it out safe and sound.

Don't you see?? Don't you know?? You can't do this for me...I have to
do it for myself, but if you are always breaking the fall how am I ever
supposed to feel the pain that is part of the driving force to want to
get well. It is my burden to carry, not yours.

I know you love me and that you mean well and a lot of what you do
is because you don't know what to do and you act from your heart and
from knowledge of what is best for me....but if you truly love me, let
me go my own way, make my own choices be they bad or good.
Don't clip my wings before I can learn to fly....nudge me out of your
safety net....trust the process and pray for me.....that one day I will not
only fly, but maybe even soar."
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  #12  
Old 04-02-10, 12:27 PM
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Re: advice on helping a friend with an addiction? how? is it even possible?

wow, nova. remarkable. will definitely need mulling over, but quite eloquent on expressing the need to pull oneself up

as much as i get that, though, i guess i'm just lost on what to *not* do?? do i stop accepting her calls? do i cut her out until she sorts it all out herself?

thus far i've only been 1. listening to her lament the issue, 2. going over when she asks me to come sit with her, 3. telling her that she's great, she'll succeed, she'll be able to do it, etc (general--perhaps flailing--attempts at building her self esteem).

what things do i stop?? we don't work together, so i don't have anything going on there. we do have some friends in common...so you could add to that list the fact that i don't divulge her problems.

should i not suggest going to a meeting with her and just go by myself?

thank you, again, nova, for sharing your lovely declaration i can only hope that she'll have one of her own at some point.

cheers
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  #13  
Old 04-02-10, 12:39 PM
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Re: advice on helping a friend with an addiction? how? is it even possible?

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Originally Posted by peripatetic View Post
hey there FA,

so, can you be more specific on the first quoted sentence? specifically (), what qualifies as taking care OF her? more specifically, is it 'enabling' her when i take her rambly calls or go over and hang out with her after she's been up all night?

the former seems like i'm just being an ear, yes?? the latter, though, is the only thing i really do that i think qualifies (i don't give her financial support, but that's likely because she hasn't asked. i'm assuming that i should decline if asked?? hmmm...that will be tough. i can do it, of course, but we come from different financial circumstances and i *would* feel badly...).

anyway, she has called me after staying up/out/whatever and asked me to come over. this has happened, maybe, 4 times in total?? i'd have to really think about it to give a definite number.

the upshot is that she'll call and express her anger with herself, her fears about getting fired, her 'freaking out' overall. she'll ask me to come over and sit with her/chat with her.

without exception i go. i may not go *right* at that moment, but i'll go after teaching/before teaching/etc. it depends on when she calls and what commitments i have, but i generally end up hanging out with her for a few hours.

she'll tell me how horrible she is and i reassure her that she'll get it together (yeah, ok, so i'm seeing how that's a bad idea...but i have operated from the perspective that feeling impotent would be bad because then she wouldn't feel able to overcome the situation. am i just totally off base to think she needs to feel empowered here? thinking that she needs to stop feeling helpless or she won't be feel strong enough to surmount this? *is* feeling helpless, at some point, on some level, actually necessary for her success??).

i encourage eating, showering, sleeping, going outside for some sunshine, etc. she largely ignores me for some amount of time, then does all of the things i think she should do and then i take off. (ostensibly, she really does go to bed and doesn't make more f*****g phone calls, but i guess i really don't know...)

i'm going to google meetings...
Hiya Peri,

That's the "tough love" part.....is she calling you pretty much ONLY when she's high? If so, then she's using you as what recovering alcoholics term as a "wet nurse", or someone who essentially babysits the addict when they're using. If she continues to use without making a wholehearted legitimate attempt to get help, you'll need to take a stand.

Tell her that you are there to help her......that you'll do everything you can to help her get sober but until that time, she has to stop calling you when she's using. Tell her that you'll be more than happy to spend time with her when she has sobered up, but you will no longer be there to hold her hand when she's stoned.

I know how hard that is, especially when you obviously care a great deal. It wasn't until I got sober that I finally realized how much I had put those around me through. I as an addict thought my girlfriend didn't care for me any more when she told me to leave. Little did I know that while I was off drinking myself into a stupor out of self-pity that she was crying herself to sleep every night. It's not that she didn't care, it's that she loved me so much that she couldn't any longer watch me do that to myself.

These are some of the steps that you're going to have to take. Let her know that you will go the extra mile to help her in her recovery, but you won't be available until she makes a decision to get clean. Telling her she'll "get her act together" is well-intentioned and usually a supportive thing to say, but to an addict is interpreted as condoning our actions....because we twist everything to our benefit. She needs to realize that she's not getting her act together, she's on a slippery-slope to losing her act altogether.

P.S. Thanks for the PM....I understand.

Gary
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Old 04-02-10, 12:59 PM
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Re: advice on helping a friend with an addiction? how? is it even possible?

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Originally Posted by FinallyAnswered View Post
is she calling you pretty much ONLY when she's high? If so, then she's using you as what recovering alcoholics term as a "wet nurse", or someone who essentially babysits the addict when they're using. If she continues to use with making a wholehearted legitimate attempt to get help, you'll need to take a stand.
ah, i see what you mean. so, the answer to your question (is she calling your pretty much ONLY when she's high?) is no. we talk daily--usually texting here and there with a chat at some point on most days. we also usually have one brunch together per week, maybe meet up for a walk/hike if it's nice, and so forth.

so, she'd only be strictly calling when messed up if she is, indeed, ALWAYS so. i don't believe that to be the case--not because i am quick on the uptake...clearly--because those calls she has made include expressing a strong desire NOT to interact with others. for example, the last time this happened...earlier this week, in fact...i went over after i got my dog out, etc, and suggested we go out for a walk (it was gorgeous outside and i know she loves walking/hiking). she was 100% opposed to going out, possibly running into someone she knows, etc.

at one point i mentioned that my partner and i might have people over for dinner and she might feel better after eating. she was beside herself at the thought that my partner might see her in her (then) current *state*. (which i thought was weird because, really, i didn't think she seemed that unusual looking or anything...maybe a bit ragged, but not freakishly so...i just didn't think he'd even notice.).

here's the thing that likely is quite problematic, though: to my knowledge, when she is freaking out from screwing up and having been up forever, etc, etc, etc, i AM the ONLY person she calls. in other words, she's only relied on me in this way 4 times to my recollection. however, i do not believe she's ever relied on anyone else in this way.

i can see that you're saying i should not go comfort her in these times, that i should force her to work through coming out of these things solo. i guess i thought i was being forceful by saying i didn't want to be anywhere near her while she was using it, and i need to go further by saying that i won't be hanging around while she's suffering from the effects of *having used* it.

question: is that dangerous? i mean, she seems really down on herself in those times. i do not at all believe her suicidal, but she's certainly feeling very badly about herself and talking in very negative terms. she has NEVER mentioned self harm, but she seems so depressed and unstable... is that me being the 'wet nurse' person and i should just put it out of my head??
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Old 04-02-10, 01:31 PM
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Re: advice on helping a friend with an addiction? how? is it even possible?

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Originally Posted by peripatetic View Post
ah, i see what you mean. so, the answer to your question (is she calling your pretty much ONLY when she's high?) is no. we talk daily--usually texting here and there with a chat at some point on most days. we also usually have one brunch together per week, maybe meet up for a walk/hike if it's nice, and so forth.

so, she'd only be strictly calling when messed up if she is, indeed, ALWAYS so. i don't believe that to be the case--not because i am quick on the uptake...clearly--because those calls she has made include expressing a strong desire NOT to interact with others. for example, the last time this happened...earlier this week, in fact...i went over after i got my dog out, etc, and suggested we go out for a walk (it was gorgeous outside and i know she loves walking/hiking). she was 100% opposed to going out, possibly running into someone she knows, etc.

at one point i mentioned that my partner and i might have people over for dinner and she might feel better after eating. she was beside herself at the thought that my partner might see her in her (then) current *state*. (which i thought was weird because, really, i didn't think she seemed that unusual looking or anything...maybe a bit ragged, but not freakishly so...i just didn't think he'd even notice.).

here's the thing that likely is quite problematic, though: to my knowledge, when she is freaking out from screwing up and having been up forever, etc, etc, etc, i AM the ONLY person she calls. in other words, she's only relied on me in this way 4 times to my recollection. however, i do not believe she's ever relied on anyone else in this way.

i can see that you're saying i should not go comfort her in these times, that i should force her to work through coming out of these things solo. i guess i thought i was being forceful by saying i didn't want to be anywhere near her while she was using it, and i need to go further by saying that i won't be hanging around while she's suffering from the effects of *having used* it.

question: is that dangerous? i mean, she seems really down on herself in those times. i do not at all believe her suicidal, but she's certainly feeling very badly about herself and talking in very negative terms. she has NEVER mentioned self harm, but she seems so depressed and unstable... is that me being the 'wet nurse' person and i should just put it out of my head??
Hi Peri,

Okay.....so it's not an ongoing or regular thing. That's good. I'm sorry I'm speaking in generalizations, but I think it's always best to work on a "worst case" scenario basis when discussing addiction, because eventually that's what usually happens.

I understand what you mean when you worry about her state of mind. Several years ago, my brother whom I hadn't seen in a few years had called my house, but I wasn't home to take the call. He left a voice mail but no return number.

A month later, my father called me and said that the police had just stopped over to inform them that my brother had been found hanging from a tree in a secluded part of some nearby woods. He had been there for about three weeks before he was discovered.

I was devastated, because I was one of the people he tried to contact in the days prior. I spent years wondering "what if?" and I now know that was one of the unresolved issues that led me to drink. I also now know that even had I been home, nothing was going to prevent him from taking this action. When people hang themselves, there is a lot of planning and forethought that go into the action. It isn't a spur of the moment decision because it takes several deliberate tasks to complete the act. He was going to do this no matter what.

You have to realize that you have no responsibility for her life. If she decides to end it, it would be a horrible tragedy for you but in no way could you blame yourself in any way, shape, or form. This is the life that she chose and the consequences are hers to deal with. We can only hope those we love see the light before making the same decision my brother made, but sometimes that's how it ends.

If you are truly worried that she is capable of harming herself, don't hesitate in calling 911 and send the police to her home. Most states have a law requiring a mandatory 72 hour stay in a mental health facility for persons at risk of harming themselves. My g/f did this to me and I called her from the hospital and thanked her for saving my life. She was crying and questioning her actions, but I reassured her that she did the right thing. The next day, I had my DT seizure and "died". Turns out she DID save my life through what she thought at the time was a hurtful thing. It wasn't....it was the best thing she ever did for me and I love her beyond words for doing it.

Go to a meeting without her if you can. That way she won't feel uncomfortable and you'll be able to speak frankly about her situation. They may not discuss it during the meeting, but I'm sure some will want to help you after the meeting is over.

Peace!

Gary
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