Supporting Friends with Drugs/Solvents
It can be awkward, as a friend, if someone you know begins to ‘go off the rails’ as they call it. You can become quite distanced when your opinions begin to differ from one another, and this may be damaging to the friendship.
There was a time when I was friends with a large group of people who were at school with me, and we would meet up regularly and throw parties together. However, when a few of these friends started sniffing glue, I started to get anxious about being around them. It was strange for me that one particular friend was getting more and more distracted in school, to the extent that he was sniffing glue in the middle of class. It was odd that something which was a supposed past-time was influencing other parts of his everyday life. At this stage, he did not recognise this as an issue, but this was the start of a negative chain of events.
I wasn’t too sure that there was anything I could do personally to help him. I would talk to him in school, not to persuade him of what not to do, but to try and find out how he was coping. It was hard for me to see someone intelligent, in my opinion wasting their time with solvents and falling behind. He didn’t seem to want help or advice from any friends who were concerned about his habits or missed opportunities, and this became somewhat of a social barrier in my friendship with him.
After the solvents, he began to move on to cannabis instead. This seemed to be socially acceptable at parties but when he was high it was strange to see such different, out-of-control behaviour. At one time he nearly fell out of a two-storey window from losing his concentration, and from then I could really start to see the dangers of cannabis use, as you may have with any other drug. I admit that by this stage, I was too afraid to speak to him about his addictive habits – I had decided that if he wanted to change, he would probably need to make the initial decision himself after realising that he couldn’t carry on in the same way.
This did happen – one day, after weeks of paranoia and headaches, he started job-hunting and found work. This role really changed his behaviour, as he would have to be punctual and work hard in order to make more. His friends all actively encouraged him, and alongside good pay and other motives – he found his way out of drugs and started to make more positive steps in his life.
Overall, friendships do need mutual trust and you may rely on each other to give you useful opinions and constructive criticism, but at times you may differ in opinion to such an extent that it is difficult to be honest with each other. I believe that if your friends start doing drugs or drinking too much, you can’t tell them directly to stop, but with your support and steady encouragement, they may come to terms with their problems on their own and transform their life for the better.
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