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Our Long Time Friend Is Addicted to Alcohol, Cocaine and Other Drugs

We are a very close knit group of 8 friends, and our one friend is addicted to alcohol, cocaine and quite possibly other drugs. He went through a long and complicated divorce about 5 years ago (it was just finalized last year).

Since 2006 (that we know for sure) he started drinking VERY heavily and doing a lot of cocaine. One of the biggest reasons the marriage didn't work out was due to his drinking (he has always been a drinker, ever since he was a teenager. His family also heavily drinks).

We had an impromptu "intervention" of sorts last summer with him as he chose to drink and do cocaine at one of our friends wedding. He turned into a different person that night, tried fighting the bride's brother and put us all in danger when we went back to his place to hang out after the wedding.

A few of his "friends" came over late at night and they were doing coke in the bathroom and later a coke dealer came to his place and our friend started loosing it on this person (banging on his car windows, taking off his shirt wanting to fight, etc). We (the group of friends) were very scared that this person would come back with others, possibly with weapons so we all had to leave at 3am to a nearby place.

Our friend refused to come with us because he thought no one was coming back and we were all over reacting. One of our friends, just burst into tears and that was enough to make our friend come with us as we left his house. It was terrifying. So the next morning we all got together and confronted our friend of the danger we were put in and we called him out on his addictions. He didn't come out and acknowledge his addictions.

That was last year. Earlier this month someone challenged him to stop drinking for 90 days, he seemed like he really wanted to do it but he lasted a week. He now drinks a designated 4 times a week, that we know of. He lives in a town 2 hours away from where we all live, so it's hard to keep tabs on him and what he's doing.

I would love to hear from others on this ...Is there anything we, his true friends, can do to help him? Should we tell his parents?? ... We believe that they may have an idea of what's going on but are choosing to ignore it.

We really love him and only want the best for him. If he keeps going at this rate though, we are scared that he will not be around for his 40th birthday, or even his 35th. :-(Can anyone give me any advice?? Thank you Answer

You simply have to challenge your friend with total and even brutal honesty about his drug and alcohol addiction. Not sugar-coating or minimising the truth. Make it clear you love him and will do whatever you can to support him, but you can't stand by and watch him kill himself any longer.

The reality is though, ultimately your friend has to want to change and do something about his drug and alcohol addiction. But if he knows he has your backing and support, he may be more open to doing what's necessary to turn his life around.

A lot of addicts don't address their addiction because of the stigma attached to admitting it. So by making it 'safe' for your friend to 'come out' and really admit to his drug and alcohol problem, maybe it will make it easier. And that's half the battle won.

From there then you want to encourage him to get professional help, i.e. go to drug and alcohol rehab, where he can concentrate on getting healthy and starting his journey to a new life. Again, because of the stigma, many people have this fear about going to rehab and receiving the appropriate professional help ... so by making it okay for your friend, hopefully he'll be more inclined to do so.

At the end of the day though, there is only so much you can do. It will boil down to how badly your friend was to overcome his addictions. Because that's the over-riding factor in all this. As friends though, you also need to be careful not to enable his behavior, because if he thinks he'll be missing out because you guys are always living it up and partying hard, that doesn't help either.

So it's tough, but open and honest conversation is where it starts. Get all of you in a room together and go from there. If need be, going the formal intervention route is also something to consider, because your friend needs help, and you need to be doing everything possible to facilitate that.

Best of Luck

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