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That's Why They Say Just Say No

That's Why They Say Just Say No

Dear Sugar
My best friend is addicted to Vicodin. I want to help her, but I know she has to be ready on her own to want to give it up. Yesterday I went over to her apartment to talk to her in person and I laid down the law. I told her that she has a week to get help, or I will not be around to support her.

I come from a family, who believes in tough love. My brother is a recovering drug addict, so that is my experience and my approach to dealing with addicts. I love her and don't want to see her hurt anymore but I can't just sit back and watch her waste her life away. What do you suggest I do? Please help. Fed up Fifi


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Dear Fed up Fifi
Worrying about a friend who is in trouble with drugs can take a real toll on you, but she is extremely lucky to have someone like you looking out for her well-being. You are correct, you can't make your friend kick her drug habit, she has to do it all on her own, but having you there is a crucial part of recovery.

Have you talked with her about considering rehab? Are her parents aware of her pill dependency? Since you have experience dealing with addiction through your brother, you know quitting a drug habit will not happen overnight. Try to keep in mind, that this is her first time dealing with addiction.

She doesn't know what lies ahead and I feel like it's a bit unreasonable for you to expect her to be ready to make that kind of clear headed decision for herself after a week. Addiction recovery is a process. Perhaps your brother has burned you out and you don't have the patience you once had to help her as much as you would you like to.

That's ok. Helping an addict can be extremely draining for those who are supporting them. I believe you have the best of intentions, but I am not sure you are able to handle her alone. Since you believe in tough love, talk to her, let her know you are there for her, but you don't want to stand by and watch her spiral downhill.

Once you have said your piece, keep your distance, and give her the space that she needs to work on herself so she can make her own decisions. If you act as her protector, you will only be hurting yourself in the long run. Hang in there.

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