When I was younger and I learned about drugs, peer pressure and addiction, I promised myself that none of that would ever happen to me or anyone I was friends with. I also promised myself that if it did end up happening to a friend, I would do everything I could to help him or her get through it. And then… it actually happened to a friend of mine. And I definitely did not act the way my 12-year-old self would have approved of. In fact, I feel so guilty about the way I acted that I want your advice. So here’s my story about how my friend got addicted to drugs and I wasn’t there for her.
About two years ago, a good friend we can call C here (to protect the not-so-innocent) started dating G. G was, and still is, one of the biggest dirtbags I have ever had the displeasure of meeting. Our first encounter at a concert was a nightmare: G was beyond rude to my friends and I, he lied about money and even got in trouble for punching someone in the face. I was disgusted that C was dating him.
A few weeks into their relationship, C practically disappeared. This was a girl who I used to spend three or four days a week with and suddenly, she was MIA constantly. She was always with G, sleeping at his house, driving him everywhere he needed to go (because he lost his license over a DWI) and only hanging out with his friends. She dropped our entire group of friends to be with him and honestly, we were more than a little annoyed.
We knew that G was bad news, but at first, we just assumed that him and C were just being lazy together. After a few months, it became clear that G was even worse than we all thought – he was helping C get hooked on drugs. G pressured C into abusing prescription drugs like OxyContin and Roxies, which are very serious medications with very serious side effects. They’re also extremely addictive. It didn’t take long for C to get addicted and to start doing other drugs like cocaine.
When I heard from her best friend that C was legitimately becoming a drug addict, my anger at her dissolved into feeling alarmed and worried. C was snorting prescription pills? How had that happened?! I was really worried about C, but when I tried to reach out to her to ask her to hang out, she blew me off. She blew us all off and eventually, our worry turned back into being annoyed. How were we supposed to help someone who obviously didn’t care about us at all?
The first time I saw C, after months of her being with G, was honestly terrifying. The drugs she was doing were making her look horrible – she was bloated, she had circles under her eyes, her hair was falling out and she looked beyond exhausted. I couldn’t help but wonder how this girl, who had once been my outgoing and happy-go-lucky friend, had transformed into this sad drug addict. She was a completely different person – with bloodshot eyes, she droned on about things that made no sense, repeating herself over and over again. It was incredibly sad to watch.
Seeing how much C had changed honestly really freaked me out… and that’s when I did something that I probably shouldn’t have done. I pushed her away. My ex-boyfriend had gotten himself hooked on prescription drugs a few years before, which was obviously very hard for me – I couldn’t imagine going through something like this again with another friend. I decided that C was toxic and I couldn’t have her in my life. I didn’t want to be friends with someone who was voluntarily destroying herself just to be with a loser like G.
Our other friends felt the same way. We tried to include C at first, but since she kept resisting, we finally gave up and let her do her own thing. We stopped inviting her out and making an effort to be around her – after all, she had zero interest in making an effort to stay friends with us. A few of my friends wanted to confront her parents to get them to help, but they were scared to get involved. When we found out that G had tricked C into doing heroine, we were so scared that we all backed away even more.
Thankfully, C is now on the road to recovery. She broke up with G and she stopped doing almost all the drugs she was doing. She’s in the process of detoxing and she’s trying to distance herself from G as much as possible. But even though she’s getting better and coming around more, I still can’t help but feel guilty… especially after C yelled at me and told me that we were all horrible friends for not helping her more.
I retrospect, I should have done things differently. Looking back, I feel like I abandoned C the moment things got really tough. I tried to reach out to her in the beginning, but even I have to admit that I didn’t try hard enough. I should have told her how much I hated her boyfriend, I should have let her know that I was genuinely worried about her. I should have gone to her parents or someone else to get her serious help.
But at the same time, I feel angry at C for putting herself, and me and my friends, in this position. True, I could have done more to be there for C, but C is an adult who makes her own decisions. C knew I didn’t like G and she knew I wasn’t comfortable with the drugs. She knew she was doing the wrong thing and still made her own choice. You can help, but at a certain point, you can’t do anything. That person has to decide for themselves that they want help and at the time, C did not want help. Was I supposed to put my own busy life on hold to be there for a girl who never reached out to me? Plus, I’m not in expert in addiction. I’m not qualified to help someone who is doing something as serious as heroine! I honestly did not know how to act.
So I want to know what you guys think: should I have tried to help C more? Did I do the wrong thing? Was it wrong of me to be scared of her addiction and to back away? What should I do now? What would you have done in my position? Tell me in the comments.