If you have a new account but are having problems posting or verifying your account, please email us on [email protected] for help. Thanks :)
Hello all! Please ensure that you are posting a new thread or question in the appropriate forum. The Feedback forum is overwhelmed with questions that are having to be moved elsewhere. If you need help to verify your account contact [email protected]

My only friend is addicted to drugs but he refuses to help himself.

  • 20-06-2020 2:00pm
    Registered Users Posts: 166,026 ✭✭✭✭

    I've always been a shy, introverted guy and I have managed to make it to 31 years of age having just one friend in the world. I live in quite rural area which probably hasn't helped. The problem with my friendship is that my friend been addicted to cocaine for 8 years and he refuses to help himself even though it's the cause of all his problems in life.

    My shyness and introversion mean that not only am I anxious in new social situations, but they also drain me of energy quickly. I have invested quite a lot of time into the friendship with my friend, and it is very hard for me to feel so comfortable with someone that I can talk to them about anything and just be myself.

    But, I'm starting to think any positives might not be worth it, even though I literally have zero other friends and I can't even be myself around my family because they have their own problems.

    My friend has been in and out of psychiatric institutions quite a lot over the years. I've visited him several times every time he's gone in. And he always goes in for the same reason: psychosis brought on by constant drug use.

    He had a difficult upbringing so it's understandable that he turned to drugs to numb the pain. But I thought he'd realize by now, at 34 years of age, that the drugs just make things worse for him. Literally every time he comes out of hospital he avoids drugs for a few weeks, gets back into taking them regularly, and ends up back on the psychiatric ward again.

    He always makes plans when he's high on drugs that never come to fruition. Whether it's going for a meal or grabbing a coffee or doing an activity. But of course, the next day, feelings the effects of a comedown, he's sleeping it off and the plans rarely ever happen. All we end up doing is having cans, which for him then leads to taking coke after 3 or 4 cans.

    As soon as he gets the drugs into him, it becomes quite unpleasant to socialize with him. The same tired stories from 10 years ago are constantly told, and he completely loses his sense of humour, which is one of his best personality traits. There's also that constant nagging fear that he'll have an attack of paranoid thoughts, which I've to then deal with by trying to calm him or driving him to hospital if it's really bad.

    I don't really know what to do. It feels like my own low self-worth is keeping me in what is quite a one-sided and negative friendship. But I don't want to have it on my conscience to contribute to him ending his life or something like that. I know for sure he's had bad thoughts like that.

    I feel kind of stuck between a rock and a hard place.


  • Moderators, Social & Fun Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 6,208 Mod ✭✭✭✭HildaOgdenx

    Is there anyone at all you can speak to, in confidence about this? Your G.P. for example? Not about him, but about the impact it is having on you.

    I have often heard / read that an alcoholic cannot be helped until they acknowledge that they have an addiction.
    I presume that the same applies in the case of drug addiction.

    It doesn't sound like there is much for you in this friendship anymore, and that's one of the reasons why I feel you need to start putting yourself first. In relation to him, and any action he might take, that is not something you or anyone else except him, can take responsibility for.

    There's a HSE helpline which might provide you with a starting point.

    I wish I had more advice for you. I hope someone else will be able to help to point you in the right direction. It's not a situation that can continue, and I know you have recognised this, by posting here.

    All the best.

  • Closed Accounts Posts: 2,910 ✭✭✭begbysback

    A friend is someone who is there for somebody, which it appears you are. You have zero chance of getting an addict off drugs, accept your friend is an addict and leave him to it, for your sake.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,377 ✭✭✭Airyfairy12

    You cant help an addict unless they are serious about giving up their addiction and even when they do they often find another vice that becomes life consuming. Addictive personality types will always have an addiction of some kind.
    It sounds like the real problem is your own mental health, anxiety and social phobia that is preventing you from developing healthy friendships.
    Your friendship with him also sounds codependent, youre not responsible for anything your friend does and that includes him ending his life, its clear he has allot of issues and needs allot of help and support that you cant provide for him as youre not a professional. Youre taking the weight of the world on your shoulders with this friendship.
    Id suggest that you get help for your mental health, the only person you can fix here is yourself.

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,319 ✭✭✭JustAThought

    OP - over the years many friendships evolve, or their nature changes and as people have other pressures they erode or fade away or become less relevant. With his drugs and your lock of other and normal friendships guilt in the mix it becomes even more complicated. From what you say it sounds like your friendship has taken its course - the stories are old and worn, the characteristics you used like in your friend are gone or not the same, and you have become stressed and worried by the friendship which has evolved more into an unbalanced caretaker type role.

    It is normal and natural for you to need and to want to pull away from this ageing friendship. You are ‘allowed’ to do this and after 8 years you have done more than your share of caring and being a good friend to him.

    His family have not cured him, medical professionals with all their resources and training have not ‘fixed’ him, and all the therapies and counselling in psychiatric facilities have not turned him and his life around after nearly a decade.

    From what you say it seems like you know that the time is near to start being unavailable to him and his needs. A friendship may be give and take and have different balances over the years but when it becomes a facility or
    total reliance for one party with few of the underlying original bonds left then it had become
    something else - a mental health worker role, a needs facility, a aquaintenceship with requirement on you. No doubt your good nature and good
    memories of the past as well as having few friends will make it hard for
    you to take a side step away but you possibly know that you have to. If it helps you and you know them well you could consider saying it to his family or even to him. You find you both have little in common anymore and his drug use and dependency has eroded the friendship and while
    you will always hold fondly the memories of years past a lot has changed since those days and your mental health cannot deal with the stress of his addiction and bahaviour anymore.

    OP, I know its hrs to get out and meet
    people or join sports or groups at the moment but hopefully in the future it will become easier and you will find and grow into new friendships. There are some outdoor and trecking/hiling and adventure groups in that are back meeting and doing socially distant events that you could look at that the moment and join/go along to.

    Either way it seems that socially distancing yourself from him is something that you have realised you need to do and to find ways to evolve into new circles of friends or groups.

    The covid-19 might be an easy way to use an an excuse to also extract yourself from meeting him
    or hanging out.
    Your lifes and values have grown apart and diverged - at 30 you now need to focus on your life and needs and evolve into healthy and drug free friendships - sad and all
    as that may be to hear to have to do - for your own self. You should be out chatting and enjoying life and maybe meeting someone and looking at the possibility of falling in love - not a carer for a worn out friendship that has no common ground anymore other than being a (bad) habbit and where you are emotionally fraught over his actions and emotionally guilted into keeping him on in case he damages himself. That is not a friendship and you are not his social welfare worker or minder.

    I am sorry your friendship is over.
    There are other people and other friendships waiting to be made - you deserve this and a normal happy life.

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,528 ✭✭✭ShaShaBear

    On the topic of social anxiety and finding it difficult to make friends, I can assure you that toxic friendships like this one are actually going to make it worse for you in the long run.
    For people like us who are introverted, shy, quiet and struggle with social interactions (even with people we know), it can be immensely difficult to know when a person is worth getting to know, if their reactions and interactions are normal, healthy and positive and if they are being a good friend once you get past those first few hurdles. The same is said of people who only have been involved in toxic relationships - the trust vanishes and people find it hard to decide if they are being treated well, or just better than before. If these people are truly good, or just better at masking the bad.

    Your friend is literally never going to get better as long as there is someone in their life that accepts their behaviour and lifestyle (which you do), is always there for them in a crisis (which you are) and who enables their habit (which you have done). I am 100% speaking from experience here - rock bottom only comes when everything has been lost and while your friend still has support, companionship and love they will never see it for what it is.

    The best thing you can do - both for yourself and this friend - is to cut contact. Give yourself some time to heal and then think about what you can do to try and meet new people in a setting you are comfortable with. I find the easiest way is to find a group of people (online at first if it helps) who are passionate about something you also love. Be that a craft, an activity, a game etc - something that guarantees you and these other people will have something to talk about. The bonus? The things that us socially-anxious introverts love is quite often universal - chances are that the person who also loves that game, or that series of books, or that craft/activity also struggles in social situations and are usually as relieved as you to connect with someone over common ground.

  • Advertisement