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How can I help someone who doesn't want help yet?

Discussion in 'Alcohol' started by Carrie, Oct 1, 2014.

  1. Carrie

    Carrie Member

    My friend of over 20 years clearly has trouble controlling herself around alcohol (she has a DUI and recently blacked out while I was with her, then she fell on me and broke my foot... and has not offered to help out in any way since).

    After the accident with my foot, I asked her to please give me space and to get help, but as far as I know, she has not done so. She has given me a lot of space, but I also figured she'd send a card or do SOMETHING to express that she is sorry for what happened. I recently saw pictures of her going out with other friends, so I assume she has not curbed her consumption. I've been her friend for so long that I can't even imagine my life without her. But if she chooses not to stop drinking heavily, I don't think I can risk having her in my life. It makes me really sad, but I worry I have to cut her out entirely.

    Should I check in with her? Or should I just wait until she comes around and actually sincerely apologizes to me for the damage she has done? Or is there really no hope of this ever getting better and I should cut my losses?
    Joseph likes this.
  2. Jen S.

    Jen S. Guest

    Hey Carrie,
    I'm sorry to hear about your friend AND your foot. Ouch. Here's the reality - you can't help anyone who doesn't want to get help. It's heartbreaking. What you CAN do is try your best to communicate exactly how you feel. So rather than just saying "You need to get help!" try something more like "I'm concerned about you for the following reasons. I'm worried these things are going to happen if you don't get help. I feel this way when you do these things and cannot allow these behaviors in my life." It's important to understand you're not responsible for whether or not they choose to get help. Be supportive, but protect your own sanity and stick to any ultimatums you give. I would recommend following it up with "I love/care about you and will always be here for you - when you decide to get the help you need."
    Jasmine2015, JessiFox, kearns and 2 others like this.
  3. sweetkymom

    sweetkymom Member

    Sounds like this friend has not identified herself as having an alcoholic problem. Until reality soaks in and she realizes what she's missing out on, there's no help. I hate that she played part in breaking your foot. I hope that heals rather quickly.

    I hope your friendship survives but if she's not willing to see the damage she's done, I'd reconsider. Good luck.
    kearns and Joseph like this.
  4. Joseph

    Joseph Community Organizer Community Listener

    Hi Carrie,

    Great post. I can completely identify with this from both sides of the coin. In my sobriety I have a few long time friends who I have experienced similar situations with, although nothing quite as cold as your situation. I can also reflect back on so many people throughout the years who I hurt because I was thinking about myself. I think Jen is right. Ultimately we can't change other people. We ultimately need to walk our own journey but we can certainly be compassionate. I do feel this is one of those situations where you need to follow your heart. The pride in me says ditch those friends and find new ones but I know it's easier said than done sometimes. Most importantly, get well and healed up very soon!
    RoseK and Jen S. like this.
  5. Peninha

    Peninha Community Champion

    From my experience I have to say that it's impossible to help those who don't want to be helped, so if it was me I'd try to decide what to do, the best way to help her might be tell her the truth, she has to deal with it because it's making a mess out of her life.
    Carrie and Joseph like this.
  6. Carrie

    Carrie Member

    This is SUCH wonderful advice, Jen. Thank you. I think this is something I can certainly write down to express to her -- probably almost word-for-word what you've said. I'd have a hard time doing it in person right now, as I think I'm still a bit angry about what's happened. Thank you for your support. It means a great deal.
    Jen S. likes this.
  7. yari1123

    yari1123 Member

    Unfortunately, we cannot help those who cannot admit they have a problem or want to get help. In this case your broken foot was a consequence of your friend's behavior. I am sorry to hear she has been avoiding you as I'm sure you expect more from the years of friendship you both share. However, your friend may be pushing away people who truly care on her path to self destruction. There is a chance your friend may be depressed and self medicating with alcohol. She is most likely masking emotions that are hard to deal with and drinking alcohol is the only way she can numb these feelings. Attempt to have an open conversation with your friend, avoiding an accusatory stance as this may "shut her down". Explain your concerns and fears about her behaviors. Hopefully, your friend will seek and accept help before hitting rock bottom. Don't lose hope.
  8. Jen S.

    Jen S. Guest

    You're welcome, Carrie. Feel better soon and let us know how it goes. What an awful situation to be dealing with.
  9. Igotthebuzz

    Igotthebuzz Member

    I believe that you should tell them how they are going to get help. You have to make them REALIZE why they need help. You have to get them to understand what will happen if they don't get help. Most times they feel sorry for themselves. You should left their spirit then mentor them in doing the right thing.
  10. Allen24

    Allen24 Active Contributor

    I agree that you cannot help someone who doesn't want help. People often have issues realizing they have a problem. I have had good friends with similar alcohol problems before. I tried to approach them as a friend and ask if they needed help and they always declined. With some, eventually they came around and saw the issue after friends/family brought it up. For others, they are still having problems and making destructive decisions.
  11. popcorn365

    popcorn365 Member

    One of two things could be happening here. 1. She doesn't think she has a problem. That could be why she isn't apologizing for the foot thing. If she doesn't think she has a problem then she doesn't think she did anything worth apologizing over. 2. She knows she has a problem and isn't ready to deal with it. She is giving you space because she feels bad about what happened but she isn't ready to deal with her own problem so she is ignoring both it and you. Either way, the best decision is to follow your heart.

    I've been in a similar situation and stuck it out for as long as I could and then walked away knowing that I did everything in my power to help. They have since turned their life around but our friendship is gone and it's hard but I'm just glad they are better.
  12. tasha

    tasha Community Listener Community Listener

    That is awful and sad! The truth is that waiting is not going to help her as she probably doesnt realise just how bad it is. You should go and let her know that she needs to get help and you will be there to support her. People with the problem also want to have to get help otherwise you will be wasting your time trying to find an apology.
    Get to her and tell her that she needs help before its too late and she is too far gone to care
    Carrie likes this.
  13. allswl

    allswl Member

    Chances are she does not even remember the incident with your foot because she was so drunk. I would confront her about the situation and let her know my feeling about the situation and encourage her to seek help before it causes her much more problems and pain. In fact you can get a few of her close family and friends together and with the help of a professional, have an intervention.
    Carrie likes this.
  14. Charli

    Charli Community Champion

    I don't think you should expect an apology because people in this state of mind are on a different plane so they probably wouldn't realize the need until to make amends unless they sober up. That said, I think only you could make the decision of cutting her out of your life since it will be you who would live with the consequences whether you do or not. If it were me, I would ask myself how far I am willing to go to save my friend from the most drastic scenario such as a car crash or an attempt of self harm.
    Carrie likes this.
  15. LadyMiles

    LadyMiles Active Contributor

    Sorry to hear about what you are going through. It sucks to sit back and watch someone that is loved and cared for spiral downwards and not be able to do anything to help because he or she is not ready. Sometimes it takes for an individual to hit rock bottom before they even sense there is an issue, some not even realizing the problem once they do hit. Regarding your foot, that's pretty messed up that she hasn't even acknowledged what damage she has caused, not only physically hurting you but emotionally damaging your friendship. I would definitely do my best to get my point across and then move forward. All you can do is hope for the best for her from that point forward. Although it hurts, you cannot hold it against yourself or feel guilty as it sounds like she needs to face reality and assume responsibility for her actions. You can lead a horse to water but you can't make it drink!!
    Carrie likes this.
  16. jackslivi

    jackslivi Active Contributor

    I would wait it out. But when she messages you, act like it has not bugged you. Make sure that you find out how her drinking has been going. Honestly, when she messages you, she will probably be upset by something to do with drinking. The only thing I recommend is being there for her. You have already said what you needed to say, now it is her turn to figure it out. You are doing the right thing. It sucks waiting for a friend to realize these kinds of things. If she is a true, good friend, she will come back. Now it might take a year, but she will come back. I know that if you say more, she will not even want to be your friend. It's best to just wait. There is going to be plenty of times when she calls you and she says she is done with drinking. Let me tell you that she will go back. It's a vicious cycle, and until she realizes this, you need to be there for her when she falls down. You will be her rock in the end.
    RoseK and Carrie like this.
  17. DancingLady

    DancingLady Community Champion

    I think you have already done what you can do. Trying to push her will probably just push her away until she realizes for herself that she has a problem and does not want to continue in it. If she doesn't want help, even going to AA or something will not really help her because she would only be doing to get someone off her back, not because she wants to change.
  18. mscolumalum

    mscolumalum Member

    Wow, I'm sorry to hear about your friend and I hope your foot has healed up. I understand how much you might want her to get help, but ultimately she has to come around to it on her own. I've had a few friends that I had to let go of. In the end real friends will come back to your life when they've gotten themselves together. I wish you both well!
  19. xTinx

    xTinx Community Champion

    I hope your broken foot will heal fast. I guess she's just ashamed to own up to her fault. You can't keep waiting for her to have a change of heart and be ready for rehab or to receive help. Putting off help will only prolong her agony. She had better act fast or she'll lose herself to alcohol. What you need to do is let her see this reason. If you have to be frank to her, do it. I guess you already broke it to her gently but to no avail. This time, you should be firm and have conviction. Your resolve will hopefully convince her.
    Carrie likes this.
  20. skullalif

    skullalif Member

    God, your friend is being kind of an ass (sorry for being harsh), you should try to make a gap between you and your friend as a sign of your discomfort, don't treat her like a baby, she's a grown up adult and she should learn to care about you too as her friend. Sometimes deterrent effects help more than constant guidance.
    Carrie likes this.