How do I address a friends recreational drug use before it escalates?

I have a good buddy who I'm worried about.

We're both from similar backgrounds, being knockabout kids in our youth and growing up with some pretty bad guys around.

He's grown up, has a great job, good apartment, financially very secure.

He had a girlfriend that kept focused finanacially, but provided no love or emotional support. They broke up, he has a new girlfriend who's lovely, but less motivated and he now enjoys a lot more freedom.

This means some old friends are back in his life, they just can't get their shit together and obviously look up to him. 

With them has come 'meth'. This stuff is everywhere and so common now, but I can see it taking a toll. I think his girlfriend is involved because she was someone with a real spark in her eye and now looks tired, unhealthy and hagged. When I was in my late teens and through my twenties I saw plenty of drug use. I'm not shocked by it and I've walked away from those people to save myself from their destruction but this is a good guy with everything at his finger tips and full of potential. I can't walk away.

I've tried to raise it in a really casual way. I don't want to be judgemental, but I know the longer I leave it the harder it will be to use logic to help him see what he's doing.

Any ideas would be useful - cheers

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You say, "Dude, you're fucking up."  Then walk away.

In a nutshell, that's pretty much it. Beyond what Shane said here, it's neither your business, your responsibility, your place or your right. 

 Let him know that he is wasting his life, enabling his girlfriend to throw away hers, point out to him the demonstrable evidence and tell him you're not interested in having that level of destruction in your life. Then tell him to call you when he is clean and walk away. 

If it's a true friend, and not simply an acquaintance; it is his business, responsibility, place and right to help.  It's just that I've seen what meth does first hand.  It'll be less heartbreaking to walk.

If it's a true friend, and not simply an acquaintance; it is his business, responsibility, place and right to help.

Only if the guy wants the help. 

Obviously it's impossible to force help.  But, it is your responsibility to try.

Thanks lads,      he's definitely a good friend, one I don't want to loose and he's a decent bloke. 

You're right Shane, I've got to try.

His physical syptoms of the abuse are starting to show, but he's got the cash and job stability to skim past what the rest of us would see as warning signs.

I'm just going to be straight up, bring it to his attention lay some facts out. Be there if he wants help, if not, cut tie.

cheers for the advice

I've known lifetime heroin users who, as long as they held a job, could manage their high.  Coke makes you work harder.  Pot makes you chill out.  There are no old speed addicts.  And meth is a particularly hideous form of speed.

When tweakers were released from jail after serving their time, I'd give them their intake mug shots.  To a person, they had the same reaction to seeing how they looked before they came in.  Before six months of cold turkey detox.  They all swore off the drug.  They were all right back where they were within a month.

Can the habit be kicked?  Yes.  But, your friend will need to really want to kick it.

Here are some things that I think you should consider.

- Remember that there is a big difference between being "judgmental," and being analytical.

- Is he just experimenting, or has this gone beyond experimentation and into addiction?

- To what extent is the girlfriend instigating this? Did she bring meth into the relationship? If so, she might be with him in part, or in whole, to facilitate her habit.

- Remember that meth is not the kind of drug that can be used "recreationally" for a sustained period of time. He will become addicted at some point if he doesn't stop.

- If he is already addicted, its going to take a rock-bottom experience to get him to turn himself around. How severe rock-bottom will be is going to depend on the severity of his addiction.

- Many employers are willing to get a troubled employee into rehab rather than lose them. Mental health services are already included in the insurance premium with many plans, so the employer is paying for it whether employees are using it or not. Conversely, replacing an employee is expensive.

- It is important that you do nothing to enable him. Don't lend him a dime, no matter what. Don't vouch for him if he needs an excuse for misconduct. I think you get the idea here.

- Check out Nar-Anon for more resources geared for the family and friends of addicts: http://www.nar-anon.org/naranon/

Pretty good advice Milo,

I think his use has been becoming more regular since Christmas/New Years. He's financially very stable and it's a cheap drug here so there's not the fear of the immediate financial issues that would be faced by others.

He's experienced a lot of success, but hasn't ever found himself a mentor or someone too look up to in the business community, instead he's got a bunch of leeches hanging around.

My challenge is raising it, I'll just be straight-up about it, the hard part will be getting him to see how his friends are dragging backwards and refocusing him.

Thanks for the Nar-Anon resource. I'm definitely going to contact them.

Cheers, I really appreciate it.

I had a my best friend go the route of drugs.  I did not.  At one point we stopped hanging out because he just wanted to go hang out and get high.  As I did not I was not much fun to be with anymore.

Tell him what you told us about the spark fading.  Offer a hand to get clean.  When it is rebuffed let them go.  I learned a while ago you can't keep someone from hitting rock bottom.  You can wait for them to hit rock bottom and offer a hand when they are ready to change.

I have a different friend who is 48 days sober.  I'm cheering and routing for him all the way.  But it was HIS choice.

Sound words David F.

Having been fooled around myself, I can comfortably say that neither my parents, siblings or friends could sway me at the time. I had to fall to stand up again. Once I decided to stand up again, that's when all the support from those around me came to my aid.

Rehabilitated: Check in from time to time (as hard as that may seems), try not to be forceful as it will only make matters worse, be available if he wants to chat and offer help if he asks for it.

You can't be responsible for your friend but you can be there to support if and when he decides he wants to change. Don't forget to take care of yourself as these situations can be frustrating when we can't help those we like.

Good luck!

My deepest sypathy, my friend. Having been on both ends of this (having treated meth users as patients and having to deal with a problem of my own), the only real way is for him to crash, and hope he doesnt burn. You may be able to talk him out of it for a short time, but he will eventually go back unless his motivation comes from within. That being said, from the bottom of my heart, i wish you and your friend the best of health and luck.

 

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