If A Friend Needs Help

If A Friend Needs Help


What to do if a friend needs help: Educate yourself about the substance. Learn more about the drug/alcohol.

Talk to an adult you trust (counselor, teacher, coach, doctor, or parent): You may feel lonely, scared, or confused.

Plan what you’re going to say to your friend: Give thought to what you want to say and how you want to say it.

Pick the right time and place to talk to him or her: Talk to your friend when she/he is sober and clear headed.

Educate yourself about the options for help.

Don’t shoulder the burden alone.

Practice your words a few times before you confront your friend.

Choose a setting that is calm, private, and free of distractions.

Pick a time when your friend has time (not running off to an activity or needing to study for an exam).

Convey  your affection and respect: Let the person know how much they mean to you.

Tell them what you really enjoy and respect about them: Be caring and non­judgmental, e.g. you are my best friend and I’m really worried about you.

Use specific examples: Provide examples of when and where you’re observed worrisome behavior. Stay away from blaming language and accusations, e.g. “You’re an addict” or “You’re destroying your life.”

Give friend information about some of the help options: Counselor at school, community agency, self­-help meetings, etc. Know that your friend might make excuses for why he or she doesn’t need any help.

Don’t be a co-­conspirator, i.e. don’t lie for, make excuses for, or cover up for your friend. Set limits for what you will and won’t do, e.g. I only want to spend time with you when you’re sober or I’m not going to let you copy my homework.

Don't expect miracles. Remember you’ve planted a seed – your friend will likely be thinking about what you’ve said even if they don’t make immediate changes.


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