What You Can Do to Help a Friend Addicted to Drugs
Having a friend who is addicted to drugs is difficult. You want to see them get help, but there is nothing you can do to force them to do so. If they are over the age of 18, legally they have to check themselves into rehab and no one can make them do it. As a friend, you may feel a sense of guilt if you ever partied with your friend because they went down a dark path. Assuming you are not on that path right alongside them, you want to be careful to protect yourself, but at the same time offer them the help they need to push them in the right direction of eventually getting treatment and quitting drugs altogether.
Set Boundaries With A Friend Addicted to Drugs
One of the most difficult things to avoid if you have a friend or loved one addicted to drugs is enabling them. Enabling means that you inadvertently give them ways and means to continue in their addiction without getting consequences. For example, your friend may ask you for money and you give it to them. If they are heavy in their addiction, they may tell you the money is for something like a car repair or food, when in fact they are spending all the money they can get on drugs.
Another example would be allowing them to stay with you so that they don’t have to go home high. When you let them, you are showing them that their behavior is ok and that they can keep getting away with things. As hard as it might be, it is important to set boundaries so that your friend doesn’t continue to take advantage of you and have you cover for them when they are doing something that is harming them.
As tough as it may be, you need to have a talk with your friend explaining that while you care about them, you can’t continue to cover for them or support their habit. You have to be tough and explain that you want what is best for them, and drugs aren’t it. It may be difficult and they may get angry, but in the long run, they will understand and thank you once they get sober.
Offer Healthy Support to a Friend Addicted to Drugs or Alcohol
Once you have set your boundaries, there are things you can do to offer healthy support to your friend. Offer to go with them to the doctor or a therapist to help sort out their problem. If they talk about quitting, listen to them and offer your support and help. You can even suggest drug-free activities you can partake in together, like going to see a movie, catching a cooking class, or going to the gym. They may not take you up on it, but at least the offer is there.
If you see that your friend is struggling and their life is in danger, additional steps are necessary. You may want to speak to their family and the people closest to them to discuss a plan to help get them into treatment. A great option is to coordinate an intervention, where all of you come together and confront the addict in a friendly manner about your concerns. Having a number of people who love them in one room all expressing the same concerns might be the tipping point that opens the addict’s eyes to how serious things have become.
In the end, no one can force a friend addicted to drugs or alcohol to get help, unless they are in imminent danger of hurting themselves or someone else. Do your best to support them but don’t put yourself into situations that can endanger you. Also, don’t let them take advantage of you, as unfortunately, many drug addicts tend to do. Stay strong and keep setting a positive example, and hopefully, they will follow.