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Supporting a friend from afar

Discussion in 'Helping an Addicted Loved One' started by singingintherain, Sep 17, 2015.

  1. singingintherain

    singingintherain Community Champion

    I have a very dear friend who lives a 2 hour plane ride away. We catch up regularly via the phone and emails but I only see her in person a couple of times each year.

    She has been steadily increasing her drinking over the last two years since she broke up with her long-term partner. I don't believe she is upset about the breakup or anything, I think she is perhaps just 'reliving her youth' or the time that she 'missed' while with her partner.

    Over the last two weeks she has been trying to reduce her alcohol intake and have some sober weekends. None of these attempts have been successful though and she has continued to do things like leave work for an hour in the afternoons to have a drink, before returning for the last part of the day (and then attending work drinks).

    If she were in the same town as me I would be trying to plan some sober activities with her. As we are separated though I'm not sure how best to help. I would welcome any ideas!
  2. deanokat

    deanokat Community Organizer Community Listener

    @singingintherain... Welcome and thanks for sharing. You are a great friend!

    I think supporting your friend through phone calls and emails is the best thing you can do right now. Maybe sending her a daily email with some sort of inspirational quote, or a quote about sobriety, or something like that would be a cool idea. Something like this one, from actor Rob Lowe:

    "Being in recovery has given me everything of value that I have in my life. Integrity, honesty, fearlessness, faith, a relationship with God, and most of all gratitude."

    Or this one from singer Ryan Adams:

    "Getting sober wasn't about stopping anything. It was about starting everything."

    Just a thought. :)
    Rainman likes this.
  3. zaerine

    zaerine Community Champion

    Maybe try video calls like Skype so that conversation can feel more like near to each other. Maybe try motivating her more on being sober or tell her more about the harm she might encounter from drinking too much.
    Rainman likes this.
  4. LinB

    LinB Senior Contributor

    The distance will play a major role. Although there are social media like Skype and Facebook Messenger that allow for video conferencing and face to face communication, you would still not be able to do certain things in occupying your friend's time productively. It's just something unavoidable. Just continue to be encouraging and be that good friend that you already are. Turning from drugs is a personal decision but you can have an influence nonetheless.
  5. singingintherain

    singingintherain Community Champion

    @LinB I think that is likely the best (and most practical) approach. Continuing contact and trying to be encouraging might be the best I can do for the time being.

    I'm sharing with her the new choices I'm making for myself so I guess if she can see the positive that is coming out of them, she might be more motivated to stick to her own goals.
  6. Tremmie

    Tremmie Community Champion

    Right now the best you can do is stay in contact with her, do you guys use whats app? I think you guys should use that app to keep in touch, that way she can check in with you as often as she feels like it, it really is more simple and easy than e-mailing. This can be a really useful tool for truly close friends, so why not give it a try? You can call each other using that app as well, send pictures...
  7. Rainman

    Rainman Community Champion

    It's relatively easier these days to stay in contact with anyone wherever it is they are in the world.

    Though you might not be there with her, you could still help her plan incorporate some sober activities to her daily life. Volunteering for example makes people want to do some more good and it just might be the inspiration one needs to change.
  8. singingintherain

    singingintherain Community Champion

    @Tremmie we keep in touch via text messages, phonecalls and emails. We usually exchange at least one email a day so are reasonably up-to-date.

    An example from the weekend just been: she was intending to have a quiet weekend and not drink. She ended up going to parties both nights (Friday and Saturday) and staying out until very late (7am). She has unexplained bruises (presumably from stumbling around) and had a falling out with one of her new housemates. We were messaging back and forth during all of this - me from my couch at home where I was reading a book.

    I guess maybe I just need to not get too involved with it all. I can't force her to make any changes. It seems like she's really not ready to commit to any yet.
  9. Tremmie

    Tremmie Community Champion

    With whatsapp you can text for free ;) That is why I suggested it. Plus I think you can now also call for free with it in some countries, or at least that is what I heard :) I haven't tested that myself because I no longer use it (I'm waiting to move out to the new place to get my new dutch number). But yes, I think you shouldn't get too involved, she obviously hasn't touched rock bottom yet, maybe once she does she will be ready. All you can do now is being there and just be supportive. Not much we can do when we are in this position :(
    singingintherain likes this.
  10. singingintherain

    singingintherain Community Champion

    Thanks for the suggestion! I get unlimited free phone calls and texts with my plan so it's not an issue for me luckily :)

    It's really hard to just watch from the sidelines I must admit! Especially when she's sending me photos of her bruises. It makes me wonder what will happen before she actually hits rock bottom.