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Author Topic: Updated: Sad day for a friend  (Read 3214 times)
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hepcat
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« on: June 04, 2008, 06:57:24 PM »

So I have a friend who was a successful male nurse after college.  Male nurses are rare so they command a pretty decent price in the health care market (at least at that time they did).  He was making almost 6 figures a year working for a private home care company.  Unfortunately, he's always been prone to anxiety attacks and had issues with drinking.  Putting him into a job with access to pharmaceuticals was, in hindsight, a really bad idea.

He got in a car accident and started taking pain killers.  After he recovered, he kept on taking the pain killers.  Eventually, his wife left him, he lost his job, and the police arrested him for forging scripts.  He was sent to rehab and then to jail for a year.  When he got out he moved to Columbus, Ohio and got a job with a home security company.   Unfortunately, he kept on drinking like an Irishman on St. Paddy's day.  He then added Klonopin to the mix.  He got a prescription from a doctor for his anxiety attacks (he says).  It was soon after that that I told him that every time I talked to him, he sounded high as a kite.  He laughed it off and said that the drinking wasn't an issue since he could quit any time and that the Klonopin was prescribed by a doctor so it was alright.  I pointed out that his doctor most likely gave him a doseage limit that was a bit more specific than "a handful when you feel like escaping reality", but he kept telling me, "I'm a nurse, I know what I'm doing."

Fast foward a few years to this week.  He takes two Klonopin AT WORK and then falls asleep at his monitoring station.  His boss walks in to find him asleep with alarms going off around him and can't wake him.  He eventually has to punch him in the arm to rouse him.  He then sends him home.  Today his boss drops by his apartment and tells him that he has to let him go. 

My friend calls me, upset.  He relates his tale and then tells me he has three options:

1) He can look for another job in Columbus.
2) He can move back with his family in Cleveland as they've been suggesting he do for a while.
3) He could move to Chicago and live with me!

I told him, in no uncertain terms, there's NO WAY IN HELL you're moving in with me.  Dropping you into my neighborhood in Chicago would be like putting a kid in a candy shop.  He asked, "So you honestly think I'd be out buying drugs if I lived with you?".  I told him I had no doubt in my mind whatsoever that he would.  He then pointed out that he had no money to buy drugs and I told him point blank that I truly believed that he would sell everything I own and steal the rest to get drugs.  I told him I (and many others) had been trying to get him to seek help for the last few years but that he never listened.  I told him I felt bad for him but that he'd brought this on himself.  I then told him that he needed to move back in with his family so he had people around him 24x7.  I then told him to quit the damn drinking and toss the Klonopin. 

I don't think he wanted to hear that.  I think he wanted me to welcome him into my life here in Chicago.  But that's not going to happen.  I hope that doesn't sound selfish, but I can't take care of an addict.  I fear that he would eventually destroy me as well as himself.  I told him I'd talk to him anytime he needed someone to listen to him, but that I was done being anything but frank with him from now on. 

Now I feel kind of bad, but I honestly think I did the right thing.  Going back on that now would only end up hurting him in the long run, IMHO.

 icon_frown
« Last Edit: July 29, 2008, 02:24:17 PM by hepcat » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: June 04, 2008, 06:58:43 PM »

YEah. You don't need that mess messing you up too.
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« Reply #2 on: June 04, 2008, 07:01:04 PM »

I just want to say, as someone who has dealt with the serious drug and alcohol problems with friends and family....you absolutely did the right thing.  nod
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« Reply #3 on: June 04, 2008, 07:02:54 PM »

In my experience, you can rarely ever save someone from his or herself. They have to do that part on their own.
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« Reply #4 on: June 04, 2008, 07:04:39 PM »

More people need friends like you! Hopefully he moves back to his family and cleans up, or I wonder if he'll end up dead one day.
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« Reply #5 on: June 04, 2008, 07:12:33 PM »

Quote from: Booner on June 04, 2008, 07:01:04 PM

I just want to say, as someone who has dealt with the serious drug and alcohol problems with friends and family....you absolutely did the right thing.  nod

 thumbsup
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« Reply #6 on: June 04, 2008, 07:23:55 PM »

Quote from: hepcat on June 04, 2008, 06:57:24 PM


Fast foward a few years to this week.  He takes two Klonopin AT WORK and then falls asleep at his monitoring station.  His boss walks in to find him asleep with alarms going off around him and can't wake him. 


i thought you were going to say he had died.  there's a reason they don't want you to mix drugs and booze.  he should know better. 

stay strong and don't let him deny what he has done to himself.
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« Reply #7 on: June 04, 2008, 07:25:57 PM »

Good call.  There's no way you want him in a bad neighborhood with a drug problem, and especially on his own a lot.
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« Reply #8 on: June 04, 2008, 07:26:44 PM »

Well done for both you and your friend.  Hopefully he is able to get past his addictions and back to the person who became your friend in the first place.
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« Reply #9 on: June 04, 2008, 07:26:57 PM »

Quote from: Moliere on June 04, 2008, 07:12:33 PM

Quote from: Booner on June 04, 2008, 07:01:04 PM

I just want to say, as someone who has dealt with the serious drug and alcohol problems with friends and family....you absolutely did the right thing.  nod

 thumbsup

Yeah, wow, that's pretty much how a friend needs to talk to a friend in that situation.    If he doesn't get a clue from that, he never will.   But it wasn't mean or uncaring, nicely done!
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« Reply #10 on: June 04, 2008, 07:41:31 PM »

Good call.  If only for purely selfish reasons, like him not messing up game nights (any more than you already do!)
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« Reply #11 on: June 04, 2008, 08:12:22 PM »

What would carrot top do? 

But seriously you absolutely did the right thing.   I once had an Ex threaten to commit suicide if I left her.  I left her and told her that I couldn't be responsible for her.  Of course I knew it was a manipulation, but still.  He was obviously looking for an enabler.  No good could have come out of it.  As hard as it is, most of the time its for the best. 
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« Reply #12 on: June 04, 2008, 08:24:03 PM »

You did the right thing. Hopefully his family will be able to help him and he wont just take advantage of them like he would have taken advantage of you.
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« Reply #13 on: June 04, 2008, 08:40:09 PM »

I had a friend who was terribly addicted to heroin which is some serious bad news. I "accidentally" hinted to his mother whom was like a second mother to me what was going on. He ended up hating me for a long time but I don't think he would still be here if I hadn't. He's been clean for years and I just recently went to his wedding. He's also #1 in his law class right now go figure.

You did the right thing don't feel bad about it at all!   thumbsup
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« Reply #14 on: June 04, 2008, 09:05:17 PM »

Have you considered offering him another chance once he completely finishes rehab?

If he moves back in with family and does change, he might be looking to head back out into the world and giving him a future to look forward to besides a life in rehab can also help.
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« Reply #15 on: June 04, 2008, 10:37:01 PM »

You did exactly the right thing.  Trust me, every addict has to reach his or her "bottom".  If he's got other options, especially less appealing options, he has less incentive to get the help he needs.  Rehab, and AA and other 12 step programs are tremendously effective, but the addict has to be willing to do whatever is necessary to get better.  You are exactly correct.  Your friend would have continued using and would have damaged your life and not done anything for himself.
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« Reply #16 on: June 04, 2008, 11:06:45 PM »

I agree with everyone else - he needs to go home to his family, if not to rehab.  Besides, there are also plenty of positions to be found at the Cleveland Clinic and various care facilities in the area, so I'd have high hopes of him getting a job while being with family if his old boss will toss him a bone AFTER he's cleaned up his act.  That combination should help him avoid relapses.
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« Reply #17 on: June 04, 2008, 11:10:33 PM »

Quote from: hentzau on June 04, 2008, 07:41:31 PM

Good call.  If only for purely selfish reasons, like him not messing up game nights (any more than you already do!)

it does drive home the point that i've been actively pursuing the life of a hermit the last few years and need to surround myself with like minded (read:  as old as me) people who aren't alcoholics or people i work with.  expect me to start trying to reenter civilization over the next few months  icon_wink
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« Reply #18 on: June 04, 2008, 11:18:18 PM »

You absolutely did the right thing-'it's ok I can stop anytime'.  Classic addiction case!! He maybe be your good friend and have good intentions but he would steal from you to pay for drugs.  It's sad to see the way his life has turned out.
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« Reply #19 on: June 04, 2008, 11:32:47 PM »

Nothing else you could do.  Letting him crash at your place is enabling him.
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« Reply #20 on: June 05, 2008, 03:09:32 AM »

The way I see it you were being a good friend by being completely honest with him. Its not your job to take care of him.
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« Reply #21 on: June 05, 2008, 01:39:01 PM »

Quote from: PaulBot on June 04, 2008, 07:04:39 PM

More people need friends like you! Hopefully he moves back to his family and cleans up, or I wonder if he'll end up dead one day.

Paulbot, we all end up dead one day. slywink

As for hepcat's situation, you did the right thing.
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« Reply #22 on: June 05, 2008, 01:57:01 PM »

Quote
I then told him that he needed to move back in with his family so he had people around him 24x7.
You are 100% correct.  You can't be there 24/7/365, and that is exactly what this guy needs.  He'll thank you for it later.
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« Reply #23 on: June 05, 2008, 05:49:30 PM »

Just saying dittos to what has been said before.  Sometimes the right thing is the hard thing to do.
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« Reply #24 on: June 05, 2008, 08:45:23 PM »

You could also try the approach that one of my friends used and proved successful. Go ahead and invite him to live with you, while he's asleep sedate him so that you can move him to a room which you plan to imprison him in, keep his legs and arms bound so that he can't move too much. Feed him, whatever, but keep him clean of drugs for 30 days. He won't go to the police after because he'll be thankful that you helped him with his problem.
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« Reply #25 on: June 05, 2008, 09:08:09 PM »

Quote from: Ridah on June 05, 2008, 08:45:23 PM

You could also try the approach that one of my friends used and proved successful. Go ahead and invite him to live with you, while he's asleep sedate him so that you can move him to a room which you plan to imprison him in, keep his legs and arms bound so that he can't move too much. Feed him, whatever, but keep him clean of drugs for 30 days. He won't go to the police after because he'll be thankful that you helped him with his problem.

Jesus H. Christ!  Someone here has read John Fowles' The Collector WAY too many times...
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« Reply #26 on: June 06, 2008, 04:56:04 AM »

Quote from: hepcat on June 05, 2008, 09:08:09 PM

Quote from: Ridah on June 05, 2008, 08:45:23 PM

You could also try the approach that one of my friends used and proved successful. Go ahead and invite him to live with you, while he's asleep sedate him so that you can move him to a room which you plan to imprison him in, keep his legs and arms bound so that he can't move too much. Feed him, whatever, but keep him clean of drugs for 30 days. He won't go to the police after because he'll be thankful that you helped him with his problem.

Jesus H. Christ!  Someone here has read John Fowles' The Collector WAY too many times...
Ridah is a troll. Ignore him.



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« Reply #27 on: June 06, 2008, 05:04:05 AM »

And Ridah, you're always so antagonistic in most threads that I can't help but feel that you're TRYING to make people angry. I do not hate you, you've been around here a long time and I respect you as a member of this community but god damned man you seem like you're trying to make people upset. 



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« Reply #28 on: July 29, 2008, 02:23:48 PM »

Unfortunately, I received this email from a mutual friend yesterday regarding my friend who I THOUGHT was getting better:

Quote
Wanted to let you guys know. I received a disturbing phone call from [name deleted] today. He has burned through all of the money that he has received from the state (Unemployment checks) . He has three different bank accounts (God knows why). One of them has $15 in it. The other two have negative balances and over $100 in overdraft fees. He gave me access to the account into which he had deposited the original $1300 that he received from the state less than a month ago. He tried to say that the money went to paying bills, which maybe $200 of actually did. There were many withdrawals from ATMs, checks made out to cash, and charges at 3 Star and other convenience stores, and at least one bar.

 

He tried to tell me that he had lost his bank ATM card and/or he was the victim of internet fraud. I honestly donít believe that either one is true. He claims to have contacted the banks who have frozen his accounts and are investigating the supposed fraud. I fear that in the end he will be the one accused of fraud for initiating these transactions and then claiming that he did not.

 

I have suspected it for some time, but I am now fully convinced that [name deleted] is once again a full-fledged drug addict who has been spending most of his time acquiring and consuming various prescription medications. On his bank account there is a charge to a bar that he claims he doesnít remember going to and has no idea where this bar is located. I believe that heís telling the truth in the sense that he was so high at the time he doesnít even remember going there.

 

He, of course, asked me to lend him money to pay the rent, which I refused to do. Iím telling you all of this not because I think he will try to hit you guys up for money next, if he hasnít already. Iím telling you this because I am afraid that heís going to do something drastic like commit bank fraud, piss off the wrong drug dealer, OD, or even commit suicide. Maybe Iím being a little melodramatic about this, but Iím worried for [name deleted], and Iím not sure what to do.

Bringing everyone up to speed:  after he lost his job in the incident I earlier detailed, he went underground for a few weeks.  Finally I got him on the phone a few weeks ago and he told me things were looking up.  He had a job lined up with someone who he had worked with at his previous job.  He had received his unemployment checks (his former boss had disputed his claim, I guess) and he seemed positive.  Cut to a week later and I call him again for a status update.  He tells me that he hasn't started his job as planned because he'd received a black eye while playing basketball (which I found out is a total lie) and he was waiting for it to heal. 

He had it all at one time, that's what makes this even more tragic.  Great job, beautiful (if annoying and shallow) wife and a fantastic house in one of the nicest suburbs in Ohio.  Now all that's gone and he's getting beaten up by dealers. 

At this point I am absolutely out of ideals.  I'm finding out that everything he's been telling me for the last few months is a lie.  I've known this guy for over 2 decades.  We're like family.  But I just don't know what I can do anymore.  It seems like he's completely given up and is now just doing whatever he wants until he either gets caught or dies.    icon_cry

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« Reply #29 on: July 29, 2008, 02:30:29 PM »

Ridah's suggestion seems more "Trainspotting" inspired.

Your friend needs help for sure. See if religion can turn him around. When people have nothing else left to hold on to, sometimes they can still hold on with faith.
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« Reply #30 on: July 29, 2008, 02:37:15 PM »

Quote from: Purge on July 29, 2008, 02:30:29 PM

Ridah's suggestion seems more "Trainspotting" inspired.

Your friend needs help for sure. See if religion can turn him around. When people have nothing else left to hold on to, sometimes they can still hold on with faith.

neither of us are religious, but i actually suggested that he go to his nearest church and ask the priest if they have any support groups for alcoholics or drug addiction.  he assured me that he would...which he of course did not even attempt to do.
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« Reply #31 on: July 29, 2008, 02:38:38 PM »

That's where the rope comes into play. In all seriousness dude, you have to decide if this is important enough for you to dive in. Often drowning people sink their rescuers so I'd advise you go to a support group yourself (such as AL-ANON) and research what techniques for coping.
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« Reply #32 on: July 29, 2008, 02:42:42 PM »

The biggest problem is that I live 400 miles away, unfortunately.  I'm in chicago and he's back in Ohio.  He wanted to come live with me, but putting him in Chicago, as I mentioned earlier, would be a bad idea in my opinion. 
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« Reply #33 on: July 29, 2008, 02:44:55 PM »

Getting to this thread a bit late, missed it the first time around.  You did the right thing in the first case, hell most people I know would have folded, takes a real friend to not imo.  Sad that things didn't get better for him.  Sometimes people have to hit bottom before they realize they have to change and for some people the bottom is so far down they won't survive hitting it.  

I'll second Purge's suggestion that you yourself check out a support group if for nothing else than to get more information on how to help and deal withit without putting yourself off, either emotionally or otherwise.  I think you've done a great job of not being codependant, but don't know what to tell you other than that.

Hope things look up for your friend and I hope you don't let it get you down too much, you can only do so much.  Thankfully it sounds like many of his friends understand that helping him in the easy ways could be a detriment to his well-being.  I do wish he'd move in with his family as was suggested though, that would at least be a step in the right direction if they wouldn't be enablers.
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« Reply #34 on: July 29, 2008, 02:55:08 PM »

thanks for the good advice purge, hark.  i really do need to find out what i can do to help him.  i'll check out some support groups for drug addiction and see if they can provide me any information.

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« Reply #35 on: July 29, 2008, 03:02:11 PM »

Quote from: hepcat on July 29, 2008, 02:55:08 PM

thanks for the good advice purge, hark.  i really do need to find out what i can do to help him.  i'll check out some support groups for drug addiction and see if they can provide me any information.



You also have to wonder whether your friend really wants help or not.  I know that he wants help as in the monetary kind, but does he really want out of the situation he's currently in?  Some people just don't want to be helped; they want someone to keep enabling their lifestyle.  At what point do you draw the line and cut ties with that person before they drag you down their path?
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« Reply #36 on: July 29, 2008, 03:07:42 PM »

I don't have any useful advice to give, hep. Just wanted to say I'm sorry to hear about your friend. My prayers go to him and his family. Perhaps he'll find a way to turn his life around before its too late.
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« Reply #37 on: July 29, 2008, 03:08:10 PM »

In my personal experience (which sadly is far too much) most addicts won't want help until they are unable to ask for it.  You can't really make them see that, they have to hit that point themselves.  The best you can do is make sure that they know where to get the help and what the help involves and try to at least keep in touch so that when/if they do hit the point that they are willing to get help they can.

It can be tough to be there for someone and not be there for them at the same time, that's the hardest part imo.  It can take quite a bit out of you which is another reason I'd suggest you work through it with others who can help you.
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« Reply #38 on: July 29, 2008, 03:19:20 PM »

Quote from: rickfc on July 29, 2008, 03:02:11 PM

Quote from: hepcat on July 29, 2008, 02:55:08 PM

thanks for the good advice purge, hark.  i really do need to find out what i can do to help him.  i'll check out some support groups for drug addiction and see if they can provide me any information.



You also have to wonder whether your friend really wants help or not.  I know that he wants help as in the monetary kind, but does he really want out of the situation he's currently in?  Some people just don't want to be helped; they want someone to keep enabling their lifestyle.  At what point do you draw the line and cut ties with that person before they drag you down their path?

oh, i'm painfully aware that he doesn't think he has a problem.  the numerous lies he's been telling to cover up his fall back into drugs is proof of that.   icon_frown 
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« Reply #39 on: July 29, 2008, 03:25:51 PM »

Quote from: hepcat on July 29, 2008, 03:19:20 PM


oh, i'm painfully aware that he doesn't think he has a problem.  the numerous lies he's been telling to cover up his fall back into drugs is proof of that.   icon_frown 

He's an addict.  He's not going to accept real help until he realizes himself that he has a problem and wants to deal with it.  I did, to a lesser extent, with cigarettes.  I 'quit' several years ago, but would smoke here and there every once in a while.  I finally stopped altogether at the beginning of the year after seriously considering WTF I was doing lying to all my loved ones and myself about it.  It was pretty easy after that.

Until your friend reaches that point, he's not going to quit or better his life regardless of how many times you tell him so.  Once he does, if he does, more than likely he won't need any help at all.
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