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DearSugar Needs Your Help: My Best Friend Is a Total Mess!

DearSugar and She's Gone Off The Deep End Danielle need your help. Her best friend is leading a secret life of alcohol abuse and infidelity and she doesn't know what to do. Her family is all in the know but she's in such denial that their attempts to help aren't working. She's spiraling out of control so do you have any advice to offer before it's too late?

Dear Sugar,

I have known my best friend for over 17 years. We went to junior high, high school, even college together. We live in the same town now and lately, I've become very worried about her. I’m planning a wedding (she’s the matron-of-honor, but hasn't helped at all), and we hardly talk or see each other anymore. Until her husband and mother called me on separate occasions, I would have no idea about the secret life she leads. Apparently for the past seven months, she’s been going out three to five times a week, often alone, to bars where she drinks excessively to the point of blacking out. When she drinks, she gets very flirtatious and her husband told me that she admitted to cheating on him when he was away. He even says when he goes to bars with her (to make sure she’s safe), that she kisses other guys and girls in front of him.

He loves her and says he's going to stand by her side “for better or worse.” They’re in couples counseling, but nothing much has changed. He often calls to confide in me (my friend has no idea), and I am in shock from what I hear. When I tried talking to her about it, she denied everything — said she only goes out once a week, doesn’t have a drinking problem, didn’t cheat on her husband and claims to be working through the problems in her marriage. I think she’s having a mid-life crisis, resorting back to her college-like behavior. It breaks my heart that she has changed into this person I’ve lost all respect for, and I feel so badly for her husband. I’m desperately worried about her and miss my best friend. I fear for what her future holds so I'm wide open to any advice you could offer.


Join The Conversation
cubadog cubadog 9 years
While you do need to be there for her until she faces her demons chances are she is not going to tell you the truth if there was indeed some kind of trauma in her life. She has to hit rock bottom and until she does that there is nothing you can do to help her. All you can do is let her know that you are there for her. Your relationship with the husband is weird it think he needs his own counselling.
Ikandy Ikandy 9 years
I totally agree sunnyheart...
K-is-For-Kait K-is-For-Kait 9 years
I know it's hard, but there may not be anything you can do short of getting involved with an intervention. It seems like her family and husband aren't really trying to talk sense with her, but someone needs to. If you really want, you can try to verbally knock some sense into her, but chances are it'll lead to her resenting you. But if you're willing to face that consequence in an attempt to help her, it's a risk you can take. If not, you simply have to accept that your best friend is not the same person she once was and decide whether or not you still want her to be involved in your life.
sparklestar sparklestar 9 years
If they are in couples counselling then I don't see what more can be done. It's nice you're being the shoulder to cry on for her husband but does he voice his concerns to her face or just to you? You need to encourage them to communicate and she needs to... grow up?
sundaygreen sundaygreen 9 years
Not really a secret life when your entire family and husband know, mmm? The best thing you can do is try to convince her to get some help.
Meike Meike 9 years
Heh, seems like a lost cause, really. She, herself, has to want change. No one can convince a person to do that.
sunnyheart sunnyheart 9 years
I'm going to go a different direction. Stay involved stay involved stay involved. Ask your friend directly if anything serious has happened to her. Has she had a miscarriage, an abortion, was she raped, did a family member die, did she have an affair before all of this kissing other men and women began? Some times people drink to deal with trauma or depression they do not know how to handle as a signal to others that they need help even if they don't know how to talk about it. Ask directly and tell her you will be there to support her if the answer is yes. I agree there is more to the story, and if there are not big changes you may need to back off. But before you back away, make sure you have done what you need to do for your conscience to feel like you have done what you would hope your best friend would do for you in the worst situation you can imagine.
xoxoxx xoxoxx 9 years
A person will only change when they're willing to do so...she's made it obvious that she isn' her friend, you have the right to help her best you can [that is, if she's listen]. As of her husband...I would have been out of the picture a long time ago.
JaimeLeah526 JaimeLeah526 9 years
I'd just do everything you can think of. Keep talking to her, get her some help, entertain her so she doesn't have to be out drinking, whatever. You've already lost her so it's not like it's going to get any worse. She needs all the help she can get and you wouldn't want her to give up on you. Take her away from the situation and see if she can change. You might not be able to help her but you can definitely try.
Melo-D Melo-D 9 years
Well dear, you already had a one on one talk to her. Now, I say you need to get the family together and have a meeting with her in love. If she rejects it then, you need to also consider the possibility of getting outside help. Speak to a pastor/addiction counselor/therapist/whoever about what to do in the interim until she's ready. Really you need to delegate this to the husband. The bottom line is she has to change for herself. She won't change what she tolerates. When she's sick and tired, then she'll change and everyone will be equipped to help. Tell the husband to figure out what changed. Maybe something happened that caused this random behavior. I know my friend never truly dealt with his mom's passing. 9 years later, he got his reality check. Unfortunately yet thankfully, it was the law. You never know what it will take to snap someone back into reality. Another point, be careful. I know this might sound ridiculous but something doesn't sit right with the husband calling you without your friend knowing. Emotions are all over the place I'm certain so just be careful.
lucky_karabear lucky_karabear 9 years
well, if this was my bff of 12 years (we lived across the street from each other when we were 10 and the rest is history) I would pick her up kicking and screaming and either take her back to my apartment or someplace else that's away from the husband and family and just allow her to detox. Basically force her to be out of that constant drinking at bars environment and then straighten up and freaking listen. That's what best friends are for sometimes-to smack you back into reality.
geebers geebers 9 years
I hate to agree with the others but sadly you cant help her. She doesn't want to be helped and she is denying anything is wrong. You can offer her the support of a counselor or a professional but from what I am reading-she will not accept. I am sorry.
Marci Marci 9 years
Unfortunately, you can't help someone who isn't helping themself. All you could do is open up to her with your concerns and let her know you care, but she could get defensive and might even keep her distance from you afterwards. But I think speaking to her from your heart is the route to take. Kf she ever decides to get help for herself, she'll know you were a real friend and really do care.
GlowingMoon GlowingMoon 9 years
In my opinion, I regret there is nothing you can do. Only your bestfriend can turn her life around, not you. Besides, she's denying her sketchy behavior to you. Clearly, she does not want to talk to you about it. Clearly, she does not want you involved. She's put down a boundary. She does not want (or thinks she needs) your help. I understand it's painful to watch someone you care about being self-destructive. However, sometimes that's all you're can do -- watch, as the noted person does not want or welcome your help.
jessie jessie 9 years
In all honesty I don't think is really anything you can do. You can try, but she more then likely blow you off and ignore you and pretend like nothing is wrong. If it becomes to a point where she becomes a danger to herself and others they should have her committed to a facility. Since he loves her so much, he needs to take protective action with her now.
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