When a Friend is Using too Much or too Often
Helping a friend who you believe is having a problem with drinking or other drugs is often a tricky situation. Your friend may continually deny that there is a problem or simply refuse to talk about it. Even broaching the subject may be difficult if you and others in his or her circle also use the drug that is at the heart of your friend's problems. You may even avoid the issue because it leads you to questioning your own use. Like we said, it's tricky ... but avoiding a problem seldom works, and confronting the situation is often fruitful. Sometimes all that treatment professionals and counselors can hope for is to plant a seed in the mind of a problem user. So have hope and be a friend to that friend in need - even when they don't see the need.
First let us to point out some behaviors that are may indicate that someone you care about may be experiencing difficulties related to problem use or abuse of a drug. An increase in the occurrence of these behaviors may indicate a problem. If person never did something but has now done it, that's an increase.
- Missing classes or assignments or work
- Grades going down
- Time spent in pursuit of or use of the drug
- Not remembering what happened when they were using
- Money spent on the drug
- Fighting or arguing with friends while using
- Fighting or arguing with other people while using
- Hangovers or feeling "dragged-out"
- Only wanting to go out or to parties if the drug will be available
- Doing things he or she would not normally do or is opposed to when she or he is sober or straight
If you are unsure about the warning signs or need to discuss the situation please, stop in and see us. We are here to help. If you do decide to talk to your friend here are some guidelines that may be of help.
- Don't attempt to confront your friend to discuss his or her drug use when she or he is under the influence of the drug - try the following morning whenever that might be.
- If others in your circle are also concerned it may be helpful to enlist their support and involvement.
- Keep your discussion focused on your friend's behavior ... what they did or did not do; if you are a fellow partier don't let the conversation be about who drinks or smokes more. If it's disgusting -say so, if you don't like it - say so, if your worried - say why ... but stick to behavior ... don't attack the person.
- If you have found pertinent facts while surfing this site or going through the links brings those facts into the discussion.
- If your friend sees that there might be a problem and is willing to do something about it give encouragement. If he or she is willing to seek help give her our phone number or show him our web site. If your friend is afraid to go alone, by all means come in together; the idea is to get him or her to reach out for the help she or he needs.
- If at any time during your discussion your friend gets really defensive and/or angry - and he or she very well could - call a recess and bring it up again later.
- Don't give up, keep the best interests of your friend in mind, and if you need to discuss things because the whole situation is beginning to wear on you - give us a call or drop by to talk it over. We're here.
Updated August 18, 2008. ©Smart Choices, Binghamton University Alcohol & Other Drug Program
Webmaster email: Smart Choices