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Addiction: Substance Abuse Community
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239164 tn?1207263007

Helping a Friend?

I have a dear friend who, for the most part, I don't see or talk to anymore.  She has isolated herself to the point that she only calls her family and friends when she needs money.  We have all taken a "tough love" stance and have decided, as a united front, to not send money anymore.  We will, and have in the past, paid bills for her, called in credit card numbers to pharmacies for her psychotropic meds, paid mortgage payments, etc.  I'm going to give a brief synopsis of her situation and then I would love if anyone has a suggestion on how to help her.

About 10 years ago she had neck and shoulder pain.  She went to a chiropractor who maniuplated her neck and back.  Almost immediately she got worse.  She went to an M.D. and found out she had two ruptured discs in her back...they were bulging on the x-rays the Chiro took and he did the manipulation anyway and screwed her up.  She ended up having surgery.  After her surgery her doctor prescribed pain meds and xanax.  She ended up hooked on the xanax.  At this same time she developed a gambling problem.  It progressed to the point that she lost her business, spent all of the money she and her husband had in savings that she could get her hands on, sold off a small fortune in collectibles (which was the business she was in, also) and opened numerous credit cards in her husband's name to the tune of almost $70,000.00.  When he found out his first reaction was to divorce her and take their three kids away.  We convinced him she needed help so he agreed to have her committed to a psych/rehab facility.  She was there for about a month and then got very involved in GA.  She never addressed the xanax problem.  At the time we weren't really aware there WAS a problem.

Long story short...her husband could really never forgive her and they ended up divorcing about a year later.  AS SOON as the divorce was final, like within days, he was diagnosed with terminal Stage IV esophageal cancer.  They had been high school sweethearts...started dating when she was 14 and he was 16.  They were in their early 40s at this time.  She immediately took charge of his care, surgeries, chemo, etc.  They ended up re-marrying for legal reasons and inheritance reasons.  During the time they were seperated she had met another guy and continued to see him during her husband's illness.  Her husband died 4 years ago.  She, somehow, got her hands on the life insurance money and his retirement account funds.  She gambled it all away in a matter of months, and it was a significant amount of money.  She has three children, two still school age.

She married the guy she had been seeing and things really got bad.  He began calling us, telling us she was addicted to crack and taking any other drugs she could get her hands on.  We have confronted her about this many times and she's always denied it. She is very, very manipulative and very, very intelligent and personable.  It's easy to believe her.

Her second husband died in March of a methadone overdose.  The extent of her using was becoming evident to everyone.  Several months prior she had agreed to go into rehab as a concession for her sister bailing her out on some financial problems.  She got kicked out because she got caught with cocaine in rehab.

She is now living on her son's SSI and refuses to get a job.  As far as we know, she is using xanax heavily...we have no idea where she's getting it.  She says her psychiatrist is prescribing it, but we know better...at least not at the amount she's taking.  She is about to lose her house and calls us now, all the time, begging for money for groceries or any thing else she can think of.  We've sent her Wal-Mart gift cards until we found out that she has figured out how to get the cash off of them.  We are all at our wits end.  She so desperately needs help and won't acknowledge to anyone that she even has a problem.  We have just recently learned that she is now dealing.

Does anyone have a suggestion of how we might help her?  I've suggested an intervention, but I don't know.  Could we even help her at this point?  I'm so afraid, every day, that we're going to get "the call".  It's so bad that I didn't even invite her to my wedding.  How sad is that??  

Anyway, I was sitting here and she's on my mind, as she is often.  I would appreciate any suggestions anyone may have.

Peace
Rosie
28 Responses
Avatar universal
I guess my first question would be what about the children??  is she able to even care for them or is she neglectful?  maybe if she is neglectful (sounds horrible but it worked for me) you could (in a sense) use her children as a reason why she better get clean...and she needs to do it now ..or else.  i know if i didnt have my 3 boys (if i never had kids) that i most likely would have kept going down the road of self destruction...maybe if she "thinks" there is a possibility that she "COULD" lose her children because of her problems, maybe that will be incentive for her...it was for me...just a suggestion.
239164 tn?1207263007
I should have addressed that...her kids are now grown, except for the youngest, who is 17.  He is a lost cause unless he straightens up, too.  He was the most precious child and it breaks my heart.  He has been in and out of trouble with the law for drugs, arson, etc.  He has dropped out of school too many times to count.  She has always managed to get him back in, but I've got to tell you, he is totally unmotivated.  The middle child, a girl, was actually doing okay, considering...making good grades and then got pregnant so didn't finish her senior year of high school.  The oldest one is the only one doing fairly well...he joined the National Guard, has a job, and is in college full time and taking care of himself.  Since his father died he has tried to look after the younger two, since his mom won't, but he's really a kid himself, you know?  He has tried on several occassions to have his mother committed on a Coroner's Hold and she always talks her way out of it.

We're all desperate at this point.  I just don't know if ANYTHING we would do could help.  I've seriously thought about contacting "Intervention" but that's probably not even a viable possibility.  Most of her family and old friends have given up on her.  There are only a few of us who will even take her calls anymore.  I hate to see this...it just breaks my heart.  

I just wonder what it's going to take to get her to wake up?  You would think, for most people, when her husband, who she claimed to love more than anything in the world, died of a drug overdose she would have realized how dangerous what she's doing is.  I don't know what has to be "bottom" for her....she is seriously about to be homeless...they've already started foreclosure.  We are debating whether to bail her out of that again.  Maybe that would be her bottom because at this point no one is willing to take her in...we don't trust her not to rob us blind!  She's done it before.

Anyway, thanks for replying.  I'm so sad about it.  I just want to shake her and say, "Wake up!"  And then, of course, hug her...but we won't enable her, either.  So I can't do that.

xoxoxo
Rosie

Avatar universal
Hi Rosie,
I am afraid you will have to let her go for now and hope she finds "her rock bottom" and gets clean.  You have your own recovery to worry about and I know you want to roll it up into a ball and give it to her but it sounds like she is not ready, nor does she have the capacity to honest with herself.  Let her go Rosie, it is the best thing you can do for her.  Could anyone have stopped our using other than ourselves?  Give her the number or address to an NA meeting and then walk away.  I'll write you later when I feel better.  
Avatar universal
i would have to agree with wdagain...if her children are mostly grown..then she is basically on her own...maybe being homeless will be her bottom...at that point the state could get involved with 17 yr. old (i think?) if he is still in school...wich will not be good for him...unless oldest brother would be qualified to take youngest brother in until he finishes school...to avoid foster care...   call intervention...see what they have to offer....i have thought of doing that before.....keep your chin up...her botton will come eventually....just pray it comes in time before something worse happens...XXOO
Avatar universal
i agree with the gals above.. you gotta quit giving her ANYTHING.

as for an Intervention - go to the website for the show.  it should have information there on what to do.  if not, contact the people at the show and ask them how to stage one.

at this point, you can all either simply walk away and not give her one more penny (or attention,) OR you can stage the intervention.

since i work in "the biz" i know a few folks over there.. contact them, and see if they can help you with how to stage it.  i'm sure they'd be happy to help...

xoxox
mj
239164 tn?1207263007
Thanks, you guys.  I know, in my heart of hearts, that's what we all need to do.  It is basically what we've been doing for the last few months.  It's just so sad.  She's never far from my heart.  

mj...if you know how to get something going with Intervention that would be awesome!  I've actually looked at their website before and then didn't do it because I honestly don't know how many people would take part at this point.  I do think there are a number of us who would, though.

I can't really even begin to think about it until the last week of September when we get back from our honeymoon, though.  My wedding's in less than two weeks, now.  I'm going to pray the "worst case scenario" doesn't occur between now and then.  

Again, thanks for the input...you guys have reaffirmed what I already knew.  It's really hard when it's someone you love so much.

xoxoxo
Rosie
239164 tn?1207263007
Let me tell you...his death was MY wake up call and I wasn't even fond of him...okay...I couldn't stand him.  As soon as the funeral was over I checked into detox.  What's it going to take for her???

xoxoxo
Rosie
Avatar universal
yeah, it's pretty unbelievable....

honey, when you are ready, find out how many people would be willing to participate.  on or off "camera" - i do think they will help you.

maybe we can figure out after your wedding how to exchange emails and we can talk about it further...

xoxox
mj
239164 tn?1207263007
Thanks!  I will definately do that.  My maid of honor (who is my lifelong best friend) is her little sister.  I'm going to pass this by her...I know she's willing.  We've talked about it.

xoxoxo
Rosie
Avatar universal
Your a good friend rosie. Your right though, she has to hit HER rock bottom. I can't imagine where that is though, seems like she shouls have been there by now. Losing two men and seeing the children turn from children to growing up way too fast. Her story is incredibly sad. I hope theres something that can help, but unless she wants it herself, you know the rest.
Avatar universal
I don't watch tv, so there's a show about intervention?
222369 tn?1274474635
I wish I could tell you something that would help. I'm just at a loss to suggest anything. I just wanted to let you know that I think you're an awesome person. You have to be a wonderfully caring person to even try and deal with this during your own recovery. I can tell from your posts how big of a heart you have. If I had any way to help her, I would do it just to help you. Just don't let that golden heart neglect your own recovery!! I'm here if ya ever need me...
Avatar universal
With you clinical background I would ask you what does your gut tell you?
239164 tn?1207263007
Honestly, my gut is telling me that she wants to die.  There are many, many psychological issues at play with her.  I think the biggest one being that she's histrionic.  I just feel like if somehow we could get her on the path she might not be too far gone to come back to us.  She was/is a beautiful, intelligent, talented person.  She sings like an angel, can strum the hell out of a six-string, and retains knowledge with a photographic memory.  She has so much to offer, still.  If she would just come back.  I also know she has to want it.  It's so hard to be objective when it's someone you love.

:-(((

  
239164 tn?1207263007
Thanks.  I am probably too tender hearted for my own good, sometimes, actually.  I have let her manipulate me, and I KNOW better.  I can't stand to see someone suffering, even when it is for their own good.  Heaven help me if I ever face anything devestating with my child that requires tough love.  I know the drill, but can't quite do the steps when I'm personally involved.  I'm getting there, though.  

My recovery is the most important thing right now, though, obviously.  She doesn't even want help.  Hell, she won't even admit she needs help, other than financially.  Not even to her closest friends and family.  

Avatar universal
Most people who become addicts are almost always the type of people who were special, and talented and wonderful. Or the favorite of the family. I have heard those stories over and over again. I still can't understand why that happens, but it makes me really sad..:( I wish your friend luck.
239164 tn?1207263007
Thanks.  
Avatar universal
In my addiction and finding myself in some really bad slum places I have seen such talent even my years in jail so many guys so talented like your friend "wasted talent" what a shame.......
One day I hope to speak in front of congress to hopefully make government understand that addiction is a disease and should be dealt with .........
An addict today who wants to seriously go into a inpatient professional detox can't unless they have a lot of cash or great insurance.......how wrong is that and how wrong is society and government to have this in place.........
My drug Therapist at Search went infront of congress and helped start the Search program in the state of Ohio, he had a dream not just to lock up addicts but to provide a faciliy to treat addicts.....

I hope to do the same in Michigan in a year or two.........
Avatar universal
I have an aunt like this. There is nothing we can say or do to help her. As with your friend  there is nothing you can do. She will either figure it out or die. We have given up on my aunt when she beat up my grandmother in a drug rage. My grandmother found her going through her purse and confronted her, that when she lost it. We have not helped her or talked with her since. Some things are a lost cause. I don't lose sleep over my aunt, but I do still have many fond memories of her when I was young. That is how I will remember her.
Avatar universal
Good for you!  That would be such a great thing to do!  I was very fortunate that my dad was able to send me to Hazelden and The Meadows.  I have become very upset that our government and especially our insurance companys are letting people die.  I watched a show on HBO a couple of months ago, it was a series about addiction.  On one of the shows it told the story of a woman whose daughter had checking into rehab only to be sent out after like 2 days, she was just starting her detox.  They sent her home and she died the next day from an overdose I think, cause she couldn't handle the pain.  One mother on the show had such a great analogy of addiction, it made me cry.  She said "we (the mothers) see our little football player's and ballerina's, everyone else sees them as drug addicts, scumb of the earth."  And you know, it broke my heart, but it is so true.  And people are dying that really want and deserve help!  Keep up the good work and fight for those who are less fortunate!
Avatar universal
hey, let me know if you do decide to do the intervention, i watch it when i can, and was always quite curious as to how it works...i am asking just because i know of someone who used to be very dear to me who i am pretty sure she is at deaths door... i have even heard through the grapevine, that she has asked her husband to start looking for someone else for himself to love him and their children for when she is gone...very sad story, it gets worse but i think you get the picture.  so if you decide to do it, i could use some insight to how it works...   and i am sure she watches the show so how do they get around that?  .thank you...
Avatar universal
Wow is that a sad post.........

you know I am so focused and committed in the studies and helping addicts...........

But to do this I know that I am one but I am going to fight to change society and for the rights of addicts.........

Good people become addicts not just scum bags ...........

Avatar universal
Yes it is so sad!  I pray that you can make a change for all of us!  Best of luck to you!  And yes, good people become addicts!  I have never met a bad one yet!  Keep me posted as to the progress you are making!  I am going to listen to a speaker here in a little while about a device called neuro electric therapy, also NET for short.  It is a very promising device to help through withdrawels and bring the brain back to above normal functioning stage of where it should be.  Do some research on it online and you will find more about it.  I will tell you more after the seminar!
Avatar universal
For once we have come to an agreement on something. I too have been fighting (alongside a professor of mine) for the government to take the disease of addiction more seriously. I live in Las Vegas (truly the city of sin), which has one of the highest percentage of alcoholics and drug addicts and we have 1 (yes i repeat 1) state funded detox facility where one can go to get clean if one has no money. It holds a maximum of 75 people. 75 people in one of the fastest growing cities in America! And what is worse is that they basically make the patients go cold turkey. They do not offer the meds that help ie: Klonidine, sub, valium etc. They are basically there just to watch you and if you get really sick they just call an ambulance. The wait to get in that place is so long that there are people lined up outside the door that sleep in the grass just waiting to get in. And the place is absolutely gross inside. 1 bathroom for the girls, 1 bathroom for the guys. And you know that withdrawal causes horrible things to happen to your stomach so imagine 20-30 guys and gals sharing 1 toilet while going through that. Mostly homeless people show up to get out of the heat and get a meal and a bed, so if you really want to get clean your screwed. I had no choice but to go there the last time i detoxed cause I was pregnant, and all they gave me was benedryl and vitamins. I was scared for my safety every night cause there was no security and any guy could sneak into our room undetected. We do have some nice re-habs but you have to have insurance or lots of cash. It really makes me sick, and I have been writing letters to our senator, governor, and other congressmen to no avail. It's just not right. So I wish you luck in Michigan.
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