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'Functioning Addict' Will Quit When His Time is Right

A concerned friend asks how to intervene with a peer's drug use.

Dear Lizzie,

I have a close friend that is addicted to drugs, and I don’t know how to help him.

He has been smoking weed and snorting coke for about four years now. His family doesn’t know, and he often hides it from them.

The thing about it is it has not affected his personal or professional life. He calls himself a “functioning addict.” It’s nothing to joke about, but when I think about it, he may be right.

He made it through high school and is succeeding in college part-time right now. His job doesn’t have drug testing, and as far as I know, he hasn’t fouled up at work.

My concern is that he won’t be able to kick his habits. He jokes about being a functional drug user, but is this something he will obsess about his entire life?

I’ve asked him before to quit, or at least tone it down, but he thinks there isn’t a real problem.

How should I approach this? Should I mind my own business? Thank you.

– Dragged Down by Drugs, Souderton

 

Dear DDD,

My advice is this: Unfortunately, in a lot of cases, a person has to get to a low point before they realize they have a problem.

You have to wait and see what happens. He may be able to stop cold turkey when he decides to stop.

But sadly, in these situations, the person has to get to a point where there is a problem, and seeing that there is a problem, to get help.

It could be something he’s going through, and when its time for him to stop, he’ll stop.

Keep letting him know your concern and that you’re there for him, but in the end, it’s up to him.

Just like people that smoke cigarettes: They can’t stop it unless they want it. Your friend has to come to a point where he has to stop, or an intervention has to happen.

The bottom line is if he can handle it pretty well; he will just have to wait until he’s ready.

Got a question or need advice on a matter? Write "Dear Lizzie" at dearlizziepatch@gmail.com.

Raymond A Hopkins June 13, 2011 at 06:31 PM
Lizzie...One thing you did not mention is setting boundries. SOmetimes if friends or loved ones enable and accept the behavior, the abuser will continue. Addiction is something that once it grabs a hold the person will not shake until everything else is going to be lost. Souderton should also know that you can set limitations on this friendship. Tell them that while they are doing this, you can not be around them. That you believe what they are doing will possible lead to problems for them and that you are there when they need help to stop, but until then you just can not live a life where you are always worried about "what ifs all the time". This person may choose the addiction over you, but if you have tried and told them, this may be all you have left to prove it. show them you are serious and only if they get help do you come back in their lives slowly. Support is key in recovery, but they can also get a ton of support in NA (Narcotics anonymous) and you can be the person out side that group that love the person you knew before. Good luck, but remember you are not responsible for them and if you set expectations you have to also allow them to deal with the consequences.

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