Too many of us have watched our closest friends succumb to addiction. Many of us have watched them pay the ultimate price. Whether it’s one of our closest friends or someone who goes just beyond an acquaintance, we feel a great sense of anguish because we’re watching this tragedy unfold with seemingly no ability to do anything about it. Some of us feel as though we’re overstepping our bounds or that it’s not our place to even speculate. Some of us feel a great sense of anxiety even having such a conversation, and some of us feel that we have to everything we can do intervene and save our friends from addiction. If our inclination is to intervene, there are a number of things we can do in order to help:
Plain Talk – If we’re concerned that our friends are struggling with drug or alcohol abuse, this fear is most likely based on something. We don’t have to lead with our assumptions, but rather ask them if there’s anything they want to discuss about what’s going on in their lives. If we know that they’ve been abusing drugs and alcohol, we can push a little harder and let them know that we’re concerned. We have to be prepared for a certain amount of denial, and even indignation, which we should counter with emotional maturity and support.
Say Something – As resistant as we might be to breaking our friends’ trust, there may be situations in which we may have to talk to their significant other or sibling or parent about their substance abuse. This is especially viable true when we don’t have a particularly close relationship with our friend. We may not feel comfortable talking to them one-on-one, and our only way to step in may be to alert someone closer to them. They can then take the appropriate measures to get their loved ones into a program.
Back It Up – If we’re going to intervene, we need to make sure that we can back up what we say. The last thing our vulnerable friends need is someone who’s going to cut and run when they truly need help. While we don’t need to put ourselves out or disrupt our lives, we need to make sure we can let them know we’re there for things like moral support and, if necessary logistical assistance.
We all cherish our friends, and it tears us apart when we see them struggling with drugs and alcohol. While it can be hard for us to begin intervening on our friends’ behalf, it could have a potentially life-saving impact.