. . . soulful musings and mindful reflections on everyday living
How can I help my addicted friend?
December 18, 2015
Dear Clare & Posey
I keep trying to help my friend with her addiction, but she won’t change or listen. How can I help her? I am so sad to see her life upended. Is there hope?
Clare: You are a very empathic, giving soul who would love to help your friend. However, you must realize she is on her own journey of life just as you are. Hers may end up being one of deep suffering and pain while yours is very different. I see how hard it is for you to watch someone you love go through the downfall of addition. Your soul aches for her because you are healthy and you want her to be healthy. You want to roll the clock back to when you had a fun, loving, silly relationship. Sadly, people who are addicts of any kind need help, but you are not the right person for her. It is possible she can and will change, but only when she is ready, not one minute before. You can push and suggest all you want, but when there is no definitive interest on her part, there will be no action. There is always hope, but how her life plays out is completely up to her and her journey.
Soul message: Rather than trying to change her, change your ideas about how you react and interact with her. Continue living your life and doing what is nurturing for you. Feel and hear your soul speak as you express your bright inner light. The only thing you can do for your friend is to be centered in your soul, to live your life without judgment and love her as unconditionally as you can, yet with solid soul and human boundaries. She may unconsciously pick up your love and find her way out of her sadness. Remember, any addiction is a way of hiding from overwhelming pain, which may come from this lifetime or others. This is her life path, complicated and sad as it is, just as your life path is uniquely yours.
Posey: This scenario is a hard one for the addicted person, their family and friends. Your friend can no longer live life, think or feel like you. Her addiction relieves her deep continued pain and in her confused mind she will reach for the bottle, needle or pill at any cost, even losing you as a friend. You can be there for her, but not as a rescuer…that will get in you in trouble. If you keep trying to help and she is not responding, you are taking on a role that does not serve you.
Ego message: As your ego, I suggest you distance yourself from her. Do not continue to find her a place to live, food to eat, a job, or help until she is making sincere inroads to do that herself. Refuse her calls, texts or visits. This is what is called ‘tough love’. Make sure she knows you will help, but only under certain circumstances – not when she is begging for a place to stay or money. You need to create solid boundaries when dealing with someone who takes advantage of your high hopes for her and your good nature. You can try to find help for her, but as Clare says, she will only change her habits when she is ready. Until then, you have your life to live. As a wounded human she is secretly shamed by her actions but is unable to change without professional help and desire. Sadly even with your determined ideals, you cannot save her.