Please Help - Need Urgent Advice

Old 08-30-2010, 11:03 AM
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Exclamation Please Help - Need Urgent Advice


My dear friend has sunken deeper and deeper into addiction and depression over the last few months and now things have come to a head - she doesn't care whether she lives or dies or to put in any effort into getting her life together. She's on prescription pills in the form of benzos that I know of, along with barbituate migraine pills which she has admitted to abusing in the past, possibly Ambien which she has abused in the past and possibly cocaine (has a history of heavy use) and alcohol. She admitted to a major cocaine problem a couple of years ago which stopped at one point though not sure if it is back in the picture. She also admitted to snorting heroin in the past "just to try it".

Since losing her job last Spring, I've watched her turn into a bleak shell of her former self - deeply depressed, unmotivated, indifferent, insecure, insensitive, self-centered and completely passive in her view of life. She doesn't have an immediate need to work since she owns her apartment and has some inheritance.

The past few weeks have gotten really bad in terms of her mental state and ability to function and she's exhibiting paranoid / psychotic behaviors (she sent me an email that was out of left field asking why I had dumped her as a friend after we had spoken just a week before and had a very friendly, warm and upbeat conversation). She sleeps most of the day and then when she gets up, agonizes over how terrible her life is, gets high on pills (and possibly the other aforementioned) and then goes back to sleep. Repeat cycle. This insanity has been going on for months.

I stopped by her apartment to surprise her a several weeks ago and I was beyond horrified at the state that I found her in. Upon opening the door, I saw that she hadn't showered in days. Her apartment smelled dank and dirty. There was litter from her and her dog all over the floo (she stopped going outside and so her dog was going to the bathroom on wee wee pads in her tiny apartment)r. She had scabs/sores on her face, arms and legs and was completely pale. Two things worse of all - she could barely speak correctly and was slurring her words and, though already very very thin, looked like she hadn't eaten in over a week. Whenever I think about that afternoon, I am sickened and want to kick myself for not taking her to the emergency room (or put her dog in protective services).

I reached out to her family immediately after finding her in the above state (parent and a sibling who both live overseas) and despite initial concern and the parent speaking to her about coming to stay, NOTHING happened. My friend then went away on vacation to get away, came back sounding upbeat and now is back in the sh*t and possibly worst off than before. She sent me that totally nutty email a few days ago and I'm of the opinion that she needs professional help at this point - both to detox and learn some life skills.

Another friend and I can't stand to watch as she wastes her life away and are planning on talking to her tomorrow evening in person and encouraging her to get help. Past efforts to get her to get her life together have been answered with a passive, "yeah... I know <crickets>".

What do we do? How do we push rehab and get her to go? Can you please recommend a place that focuses on both rehabilitation and adaptive life skills? We are in New York City, so anything local would be a plus. Additionally, Buddhism appeals to her very much and a place that incorporates holistic healing / yoga might make going to rehab seem more appealing.

We are out of options and pained at having to watch her progressive decline.

Thank you for your advice,
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Old 08-30-2010, 11:48 AM
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((lady luck))

If your friend's health is at danger/risk - you can bring her to an ER and let a dr assess her. You can share with the staff at the hospital you believe she may have a problem with substance abuse.

If they recommend her for treatment, you can offer to bring her, offer her mental support her while she's there, and send out good thoughts and prayers for her ~ but the very sad and real part of this disease is like the old saying . . .

"You can lead a horse to water but you can't make them drink it"

It is very painful to watch a loved one walk that path of addiction, active using and self-destruction ~ but until they want a different life there is not much we can do. You can provide the options for them but they usually have to want to change themselves.

There are usually listings for treatment centers at the local hospitals, AA meetings, etc - I'm in a different part of the country so I'm not familiar with any in your area.
But you can check those options for listings and what finanical options your friend has available to her.

Another suggestion would also be for you to attend some Al-Anon meetings to help you know what is healthy for you and your friend in facing active addiction. They have truly been a lifesaver for me!

Sending out good thougths & prayers for all involved.
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Old 08-30-2010, 12:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Japic05 View Post
"You can lead a horse to water but you can't make them drink it"

It is very painful to watch a loved one walk that path of addiction, active using and self-destruction ~ but until they want a different life there is not much we can do. You can provide the options for them but they usually have to want to change themselves.
Lady, if you look to the left you'll see a link for a blog I wrote over a year ago. Your post reminded me of the anguish I felt when I typed it.

My friend is fine now, though it took another year of hell before she climbed out of it. She had to lose so much, everyone walked away from her for a while including family, but she ended up reaching out for help and found herself
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Old 08-30-2010, 02:24 PM
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Take her to an ER and they can assess her. The trick is if she is a danger to herself then they can 5150 her (psych hospital). But that is a determination they would make.
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Old 08-30-2010, 03:18 PM
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It's hard to watch a friend destroy themselves with drugs. But unfortunately, we are powerless of the behavior of others. What you can do is draw a boundary about the kind of people you will surround yourself with and the kind of behavior and treatment you will accept in your life. Then make your boundaries clear (say what you mean, mean what you say but don't say it mean) and then detach yourself from her problems. Sometimes it takes losing everything (friends, home, family, dogs, freedom) before an addict will truly commit to doing whatever it takes to recovery.

When I was in the depths of my crack addiction, one of my dearest friends said to me, "Katie, I love you too much to watch you destroy yourself. I don't know what you are doing, but I don't want to be a witness to it. When you are better, call me. I'll be there for you." My brother said, "Katie, You are a smart girl and you are a survivor. I know you'll figure this out, but until then, I can't be around you. Watching you destroy yourself is killing me."

Eventually, not too long after, I got the hint. I chose recovery for my sake. I hit my own bottom. Not because anyone pushed me into it. It just came to a point where I had lost enough and was ready to make the climb back up to humanity. I'm glad my friends and my family drew tough boundaries. And I'm glad they waited at the top with outstretched arms, instead of descending into hell with me.
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Old 08-30-2010, 03:36 PM
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You've got some great advice here LL.
I'd just like to add - don't forget your own recovery in all of this.

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Old 08-30-2010, 03:46 PM
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Yes it sounds like your friend is in a very cronic situation right now. I live in Aust so I can give any advice on who to call. Someone may come along soon with that. In the meantime, Id try to find out where your friend can go to detox and rehab, talk to those people (they will probably tell you that your friend needs to call first) but I seriously would talk to your friend whilst sober if you can and really encourage her to go ahead with it. Many will tell you that you cant help her (this is true that you cant stop her) but you can try to assist her with resources where you are.
I encourage you to get her professional help. She may be ready for it or she may not be but at least you have provided her with another alternative.
Good Luck JJ
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