My best friend is an addict

By Daniel J. Tomasulo, PhD, TEP, MFA, MAPP

Hello. I have been friend with a guy since grade 6th. We were in the same grade and best pals of each other. Two years back I realized that I love him unconditionally and what all we shared was not merely friendship but I had other feelings for him. First I thought the feelings were mutual and so did all our common friends told me. But when I proposed the GUY, he refused me and said he never felt so. And everybody, including his brother and cousin who are my good friends too, have taken his feelings for me wrongly. He was just a friend to me always and had no such feelings for me. He certainly stopped talking to me. No contacts at all for 8 months. But I still loved him n I still do. I was always concerned about him. So kept a detail about him through his brother and friends but he fought with them too. At a point of time he broke all his ties with everyone and entered a new life.

After almost 8 months he contacted me again and apologized for everything. Within few days we were back to normal of being BEST FRIENDS. He then told me that he had started taking severe drugs (WEEDS) and in past 8 months he got addicted to it badly. Instead of going to the classes, he bunked them and joined a group of dopers. He dopes twice a day, one in the afternoon and the other in the evening. He had once told me about it earlier too when we were best pals. But then he just mentioned he was doing it for fun and just for once. But after we guys broke up, he became used to it. He had one night stands and paid sex too. I knew about this. He was a chain smoker too. After knowing all such details too I have always tried to bring him back to the right path but I too lost my way when he broke up with me.

Now he has exams next month but he has lost himself in this addiction. His dopes keep him unconscious for the whole day and night. I asked him for the reasons for going into such a miserable life. He said he was guilty of what all he did with me and moreover, his family has been pressuring him to take family responsibilities and he is afraid of all this. So he decided to opt for this carefree path. Basically he is behaving cowardly and trying to run from his fears of responsibility. He belongs from an average family with no good facilities. So, he really can’t opt for proper medication or join any rehabilitation centers. And I cannot share anything with any of his family member too. Though, he has now decided to quit these ill habits but he is very weak person. And I cannot be with him all the time to keep a track on him. So I need your help to sort out this problem.

I want him to leave doping forever and to take all the responsibilities of his family but have no clues from where to begin. I just want him to behave bravely and face the situations rather then running away from them. I am really tensed about him. Please help me by giving your valuable situations for how can I help and motivate him. Because one thing is for sure, if he is been motivated and courage, his self-confidence will boost up and he will leave all this crap. Please help me out as soon as possible because this is a really crucial time for him. His exams begin from May2 and he is busy being unconscious for the whole day by doping weed. I hope to get a response soon from u.

Thanks.

A: I appreciate you asking this difficult question. It is hard to love someone who is addicted. Let’s see if we can sort some things through.

In your desire to help your friend you see his potential. You can’t see what his abilities and capabilities are. But when someone is immersed in compulsive drug use, they don’t fully realize what is happening or what to do about it. You see it clearly and this is what causes the anguish.

The struggle to find a balance between wanting to help and knowing you may not be able to has been experienced by many people before you.

Because you live in another country I am not familiar with the availability of Al-Anon or Nar-Anon meetings. These are 12-step meetings for people involved as family or friends of people abusing or addicted to alcohol or drugs.

If there are no meetings I would strongly recommend reading the book Codependent No More by Melody Beattie. This book specifically talks about how to untangle from this by detaching with love, and focusing on yourself.

The best thing you can do for your friend is to know you are limited in helping him, but that you still care. This requires you to be strong enough to manage your life and continue to grow, while not letting his struggle with drugs become a drain in your life.

Wishing you patience and peace,
Dr. Dan
Proof Positive Blog @ PsychCentral

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 20 Apr 2011

APA Reference
Tomasulo, D. (2011). My best friend is an addict. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 31, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2011/04/20/my-best-friend-is-an-addict/