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Friend back from rehab, was doing so well, and now hes back on bars

Discussion in 'Helping an Addicted Friend' started by secretfriend, Nov 4, 2016.

  1. secretfriend

    secretfriend Member

    My friend recently returned from rehab due to a horrible addiction to Xanax about two months ago. He came back enlightened, focused, and determined to fix his life. He became closer to God, and those friends who were great influences. But now I have come to realize that within the past few weeks that he is slowly taking bars again, and I don't know what else I can do that rehab didn't already do. I've always supported him, loved him, and I want the best for him. He loves the advice that his family and I try to give him and I know he wants to do better, but he just never puts those words to action. I'm all out of ideas, I've never felt to useless.
  2. deanokat

    deanokat Community Organizer Community Listener

    @secretfriend... Welcome and thanks for sharing. I'm sorry to hear that your friend is back to using Xanax. But I'm glad you reached out.

    Please try your best to not feel useless. As Nar-Anon and Al-Anon teach: You didn't cause it, you can't control it, and you can't cure it. When someone we care about struggles with addiction, we wish we could make things better for them. But they're the only ones who can do that. If we get too caught up in the situation, we drive ourselves crazy.

    My son, who battled an addiction to heroin and other substances, went to rehab four times before things finally began to "stick." It's my theory that sobriety is a learned behavior and, just like other learned behaviors, it can require practice before someone becomes an "expert" at it. Look at it this way: If your friend decided to learn how to speak Russian, you wouldn't expect them to be perfect at it right away, would you? Of course not. They would take beginning steps to learn the language, get some education, practice, make mistakes, learn from those mistakes, practice some more, and eventually get good at it. That's how I think sobriety works. Do some people go to rehab, get clean, and stay clean? Sure. But it's much more common for it to require multiple tries.

    I suggest you sit down and have a heart-to-heart conversation with your friend. Tell them that you're concerned for their health and well-being. Tell them how their drug use makes YOU feel. But do it with love and compassion; not anger and confrontation. Maybe something you say to your friend will get through to them and help them decide to get help again. But if it doesn't, please don't feel like you failed. Remember: It's up to them. It doesn't matter how much you want them to get help. They have to be the one to pull the trigger.

    We are here to help and support you however we can, so please don't hesitate to reach out anytime you need to. You may also want to check out a book called Beyond Addiction: How Science and Kindness Help People Change. It's written specifically for partners/loved ones/friends of addicts and it's full of incredibly helpful information. I think you'd benefit a lot from reading it.

    I hope your friend decides to get help again. If someone mixes willingness with hope enough times, they can achieve long-term sobriety. But sometimes it just takes practice.

    I'm sending you positive vibes and hugs full of hope. You're a great friend for caring about this person and coming here for support.

    Love and light to you.