- A few of my best friends have started drinking, smoking tobacco, smoking pot, etc. They usually get their pot from their dad who has a lot in his room. Is there a way I can get them help without them finding out it was me?
This is a difficult situation, and you are definitely a good friend for wanting to help your peers. One of the best ways you can help your friends is to let them know you disagree with what they are doing. Sometimes just having that conversation with them is enough to encourage them to change their behavior. Often, teaming up with another friend to talk to your peers can be encouraging and help you get your message across. If this doesn’t help, it may be a good idea to talk to a trusted adult about the resources available in your school, or in your community.
- My boyfriend used to get high with his friends before we got together, and then he quit. He had a slip up last week and we got into it pretty bad, but we worked it out. I told him if he did it again then he would lose me. What should I do to prevent him from getting high again?
It’s tough to stay away from drugs once a person gets started, but it can be done. It is easier to lead a healthy life away from drugs and alcohol with support. The fact that you’re setting a boundary with your boyfriend is very good, but you may also want to encourage him to find other resources to help him stay clean. Seeing a trained professional can be helpful and will allow him to develop coping skills to deal with his cravings to use. That professional can also work with him to help him identify potential triggers that cause him to want to use, and how to avoid those triggers or lessen their pull on him.It may be a good idea for your boyfriend to consider changing his friends if he wants to stay clean. If he continues to associate with them frequently, and if they continue to use, the combination would likely lead him to using again.Finally, you have to know that it’s not your responsibility to fix this problem for him. You can’t make him stay clean, but you can support his good decisions and healthy lifestyle.
- My brother does drugs. I’ve tried to make him stop. I talk to him about it and I’ve tried everything. But he just won’t listen. He thinks I’m overreacting, but I know I’m not. What should I do?
The fact that you told him that you’re concerned about his drug use is the first step (and often the hardest). You can’t force your brother to stop using drugs, just like he can’t force you to do anything that you don’t want to do. One of the most effective ways to help him is to be consistent with what you say to him. For instance, you might say, “you know, I worry about you when you take drugs. If you ever change your mind and need help, I will always be here to help.”Another piece of advice is to make sure that you don’t do anything that will enable him to continue using drugs. For instance, don’t give him money, don’t cover up for him with your parents and don’t protect him from the consequences of his drug use (like doing his homework or his chores).Finally, if you need more support for yourself, there are groups called Al-Anon (which includes Ala-teen for younger people) or Nar-Anon that are for the family members of drug users ? These support groups can give you a lot of other ideas on how to deal with your brother’s drug use.
- Is getting help hard to do? I’m not sure where to turn about some of my problems.
The hardest part about getting help is taking the first step and asking for it; once you take that courageous step, you will find that there is a wealth of information, and people willing to help you. Consider confiding in someone you trust and let them know you need help. It might be easiest to start with a friend, and then ask him/her to help you talk to an adult.It is important that, at some point, you talk to someone who is trained and who has experience with the problems you’re dealing with. Whether you are struggling with drug use, family pressures, body image, or food-related concerns (or any other stress that you’re feeling), there are professionals trained to help while also respecting your confidentiality.There will be people there who can relate to you and what you’re going through. Also, you can find help locally by calling NCADI (National Clearinghouse of Alcohol & Drug Information) at 1-800-788-2800 to be referred to a confidential hotline in your area or receive other resources.
- I am almost positive one of my friends is either bulimic or anorexic, but she won’t listen to anyone who tries to talk to her about it. How can we get her some help, and make her listen?
This is a tough situation for everyone involved, but your wanting to help is important in saving her life. It is very important to diagnose and treat eating disorders as soon as possible. At first, eating disorders are often difficult to detect, and teens usually make excuses or deny having a problem or needing help, just like your friend does. But this is exactly when the problem needs to be addressed.No matter how patient and supportive you are, your friend may not admit to needing help. This can be very stressful and discouraging for you, especially when your friend doesn’t listen. You may want to consider discussing your concerns with a respected school nurse or physician, teacher, coach, or counselor. Then they may be able to talk privately with your friend or involve a parent.Ultimately, she is the one who must realize her eating habits are harming her health, and she may need professional help in order to do this. Keep in mind, that the earlier eating disorders are addressed, the better the outcome.
- One of my friends gets high almost every day. I’ve tried to talk to him but he doesn’t listen. I think he’s on his way to addiction. What can I say that could make a difference? Do you have any medical information or statistics I can mention that might get him to think twice about what he’s doing?
This is a very difficult situation. There are many facts that you could share with him, most of which can be found on this Web site. Here are a few:
– Just like any other drug, you can become addicted to marijuana.
– While you’re a teen, and your brain is still developing, you’re also more vulnerable to addiction.
– When marijuana use becomes daily, or close to daily, alterations to the brain can lead to weakened verbal communications, lowered learning capabilities and a shortened attention span.
These facts may get him to think twice and are worth letting him know about. But even more important is that you tell him you’re concerned about him. Check out the Help section for some ideas and examples of what to say and how to try to reach your friend. Making a careful plan and even practicing what you might say is a good idea. Continue to let him know that you are worried about him, that you like him better when he’s not stoned, and that you’d like to be his friend, but not when he’s using. Even offer to help him quit. Most importantly, don’t give up on him, but also don’t support his use. Be clear that you’d like to be friends with him, but that he needs to quit for you to spend time with him. Last, try to remember that there is only so much you can do. Be proud that you are trying to help, but don’t take responsibility for changing him.