From the U.S.: I need advice on what to say to my best friend regarding her husband’ spill addiction and depression. Last night was the final straw for me as I received a phone call this morning from her telling me her husband punched a hole in their wall and shot a hole in their floor as their three years old slept down the hall. I know she is at her wits end dealing with his addiction and I don’t know how to help her. He is prescribed pills from his doctor for a work related injury, but he also steals pills from other family members. I have witnessed him when he has taken pills and it’s very concerning. He is also threatening to kill himself if she leaves. He won’t go to rehab or seek any type of help. I’m not sure how many pills he takes daily but I do know it is in the double digits, depending if he can get more. He blames her for everything. I have told her to tell the doctor he I addicted, call a therapist but she hasn’t due to what she thinks he will do. What does she do from here? I feel her safety and their child’s safety is at risk. She has been hoping that he will get better on his own but I don’t believe that he will. Please help me help her.

A: This is a very dangerous situation. Your friend is terrified of what he’ll do if she leaves. I’m terrified of what he’ll do if she stays. She and her child are in danger. I think you should call child protective services. In most states, such calls can be anonymous. Our first obligation is to protect little kids who can’t protect themselves. Perhaps a visit from child protection will be the wake up call this couple needs. He won’t be able to blame her if the call came from someone else. She may get the message that she needs to get out of this situation before she or her child get hurt. You might also research where the nearest shelter for women escaping domestic violence is located so you can provide her with the information.

I understand why you might hesitate to take action. But think about how you will feel if in the next phone call you learn that it was the child, not the the floor that was shot.

I wish. You well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Jun 2014

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2014). My Best Friend’s Husband Is Addicted to Pills. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 24, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2014/06/21/my-best-friends-husband-is-addicted-to-pills/