Dear Mz. Pink,
I have friends who are dying from heroine addictions and don’t know what to do. I want to help them, but there’s nobody to stage an intervention with. I want to support them mentally because money, shelter, and food would do no good, they would take advantage and steal and use the money for more drugs.
fs it better to keep my distance and let this happen or should I try to get some help for them? It is getting very bad and it’s pretty scary to watch them fall down this spiral. I don’t hang out with them anymore due to their addictions because it is too much of a risk and I have a life, I have a job and I have things that I want to keep.
I’m just not sure where to go from here. We’re not kids anymore and we make our own decisions and lives, so should I just let them live their lives until they die?
This is a very serious and touchy situation. Any addiction is a bad addiction and very difficult to deal with especially when it’s you that’s watching it all unravel before your eyes. It’s like a train wreck and you can’t look away, but there’s not a lot you can do about it. I know how scary this situation can be for you when these people are your friends and you just have to let it go.
There are a few things you can do to help yourself accept the fact that you can only help when they want to get assistance. They have to realize that this isn’t the life that they want and that they want better for themselves. If that realization doesn’t happen then either you can enable them or you can love from a distance.
First you need to face reality. This isn’t your life. You’re doing the right things in your everyday living. You chose to live differently than your friends. You didn’t hand anybody drugs to use, so this isn’t your fault. It stinks that they have no one else, but the burden should not be yours — period. You can’t control or fix your friends, even if you could stage an intervention because unless they are at their end of the addiction it wouldn’t work. You can’t force anyone to live a certain way or to stop something that they want to do.
Learn how to love them fi om a distance. Set boundaries, because if you don’t they will use you too. It’s not that they are intentionally being vindictive to you, it’s just where they are in their lives right now. It’s the drugs which are ruling their lives, so if you give them an inch, they will take a mile.
If you give them money, they will use it for what they want and come back for more. You have to stay healthy during this friendship also, meaning if you start giving it will take all of you and so much out of you that you will start to lose important things that you have worked so hard for. Say “no” and stick to it. Like you mentioned before, love them from a distance.
Stop feeling guilty for wanting to maintain who you are and the lifestyle you live. You’ve worked hard to get where you are and since you’ve chosen a different path and have decided that doing drugs and partying are not for you, you should never feel guilty for that no matter how long you’ve been friends with these people. Don’t try to understand an addict’s mind because it will just drive you crazy. It’s not worth beating yourself up over. Unfortunately, you have to accept what is happening in order to move on with your life.
If you want to communicate to your friends why you are keeping your distance I think you should. But don’t be surprised if sharing this information has no impact on them. Remember it’s not that they don’t love you; they just have too much going on in their own minds and lives. Keep in mind that you telling them anything may not make any difference one way or another. Communicating is only for your peace of mind.