Christine (shewasfire) wrote in comfybed,
Christine
shewasfire
comfybed

-Screams-

Hello. My name's Christine and I need some wisdom on my little problem that's going to make my brain implode on impact any second now with further thought.

* - Changed name.

Mary* and I have been friends for the past 11 years, since I was six years old. We met in the later semester of kingergarten and I have many fond memories of us playing together and the like. You could call us best friends, as we were always together up until fourth grade when she moved away to another city, fifteen minutes away. Though it was quite a distance to hassle our parents to drive to, we saw each every two months - not bad for a pretty distant relationship amoung friends. However, as the years passed and we entered highschool, we grew more distant and farther away from each other.

Just this weekend, I saw her again. She drives now, so she can go back to our neighborhood full of nostalgia, talk about good times, have some fun, and drive away until our next meeting. Imagine my surprise when everything just about falls apart.

She smokes now, kiddies. And does drugs: crack and pot and weed. She drinks too, liquor.

I don't know how to approach this problem. It's a problem, alright. One, its dangerous for her health as she's only 17 now. She started a year ago, when she was 16. Two, its dangerous for my health because having an autoimmune disease makes one very vulnerable to outside toxins and dangers. Three, its damaged my view of her as a friend.

I don't even regard her as a friend anymore. I can't. She does too many bad things and its a danger to my health - to everyone's, if you think about it in the bigger perspective. It's just plain BAD.

I want to break it down to her. I want to help her. But she's already crossed my judgement on just how impaired she is when it comes to smoking.

On Friday, she went to a gas station and bought ciggarettes. The cashier didn't card her since she appeared over 20, and she would have just gone to a different place to get them if they didn't give it to her. She starts smoking. [STRIKE ONE]

Saturday; She picks me up and my friend. (Mind you, she's endangering my friends.) She starts smoking. AND CONTINUES TO DO SO FOR 5+ HOURS. [STRIKE TWO]

I made up my mind slightly; the next time she smokes, its STRIKE THREE.

Just... how can I break it to her? How can I help her? I've offered to get her nicotine patches, to break away before it gets really bad and she took it as a joke. She smokes half a pack a day. That's ten ciggarettes in one day. Help, please?

-Christine
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I know that at your age, there's sort of an unspoken code about these things, but my first suggestion would be, assuming they are not neglectful, to tell her parents. There is very little you can do for her beyond letting her know how worried you are for her health and safety, and this is not a decision you should have to make.

I know you considered her a friend, but once she starts putting your life and the lives of your other friends in danger, you need to get away from her. If she's doing drugs, it's probably not safe for her to be driving. These drugs are illegal for a reason.

If you can't tell her parents for whatever reason, talk to your parents or a teacher you trust about the situation.

There may also be hotline numbers you can call and ask for more expert advice. I bet if you run a search for drug abuse, you'll pull a few.

Good luck.
Thank you.

Yeah, I've already told my mom about her - about an hour after Mary* dropped me off on Saturday. I forgot to mention: She also has ADD.
When I was your age, I thought smoking was the worst thing ever, too. However, if she considers you her friend, she should respect your wishes by not smoking infront of you, ESPICIALLY since you have an autoimmune disease. Thats serious stuff. Though, from what you wrote, it doesn't sound like you asked her to stop smoking. Just explain to her that you have this disease which makes her smoking a huge threat to your health and could she please not smoke in front of you. Ultimatly, its her life and her lungs shes fucking up (excuse my french) and since you don't go to the same school or even live in the same town, I'm sure that she can control herself by not smoking when shes around you, you know?

As for the drinking ... what 17 year old doesn't drink? So, she'll go to a few parties, keggers, whatever. Have some shooters, beers or whatever. Then she'll spend a couple of days being sick because she drank too much. Believe me, you learn from that.

Just ask her not to smoke when shes around you and if she really considers you her friend, she'll respect your wishes.
Thank you for your input.

I don't have as much trouble with her drinking as I do with her smoking, as I've er, popped a few Smirnoff's too, though they aren't that high in alcohal conten, but she's talking about the big stuff. The heavy stuff. The.. I don't know, budweisers? 'don't know much about it and all, but I don't want to hear news like that. :/
I agree with the above two for the most part. Tell her that you want to be her friend, but that this smoking around you is seriously harmful to you because of your sensitive health.

The drinking... a drink or two every so often, la de da. But if she's constantly drinking, and over-doing it every time, and drinks and drives... thats serious stuff.

And the drugs... not good at all either. Especially should not be driving if she's doing drugs. Some of my friends do do pot, but they're "responsible" about it and only do it at home, with a few other friends, and don't go driving around, they don't overdo it, and they don't do it ALL the time either. But thats pot. The other drugs are much more serious than that, and can be very dangerous to others and to her.

((hugs)) Good luck in telling her all this... I know its hard to face a friend you once felt like you could trust 100% but now feel differently... Her choices may force you to distance yourself further away, especially if she doesn't adjust her conduct around you at least.
Thank you. :)
Smoking 10 cigarettes a day is, at this point, probably not the most pressing issue when it comes to her health. That won't kill her for a long time, and hopefully she'll wise up and quit (hopefully I will too, someday). It is, however, quite dangerous for you, and you certainly should not have to be subjected to secondhand smoke. Ask her very seriously not to smoke in your presence, and explain why such that she knows you aren't just joking around. If she's a true friend, she'll respect your wishes on this matter.

The scarier issue for her, at this time, is the fact that she's doing drugs like crack. Now, in this day and age, nobody doesn't know that smoking, excessive drinking, and hitting the crack pipe are bad for you. So, frankly, you informing her of these facts isn't, most likely, going to do much good. There's a strong chance that she has other issues that are resulting in this sort of damaging behavior - perhaps depression? Express concern for her. Be open to listening to any problems she might want to spill. You don't have to dance around the fact that you find her substance abuse highly disturbing, but don't be accusatory as that will put her on the defensive.

To be honest, though, you might be met with a lot of hostility. Addicts quite often do not want to be faced with the reality of their addictions.

And, yes, tell her parents. Or have your parents (or someone else) tell her parents.

You sound like a very compassionate person. Hopefully your friend will realize the damage she's inflicting on herself, and seek appropriate therapy/rehab - a decision she's going to have to make for herself.
Mm, really? I rather thought 10 cigarettes was a lot, but that just shows how much I know. But yes, as well as another form of a depressing scene, is that she has ADD. I think she was diagnosed last year as 'properly' having it, but I don't know the exact details as she always changes the subject on these things.

Her family's actually quite difficult. I suggested to my mom, on the low, to call her mom and tell her about Mary*'s addiction. Like, in a 'secret agent man' kind of way - but my mom figured that a) her mom wouldn't like my mom telling her about this kind of stuff - the things that a mother would know and b) that her mom would recognize my mom's voice and rat her out. :x We're kind of tentative, my mom and me.

But thank you. Thank you ALL for the information and input that you've given me. It's been very enlightening and very helpful.

-Christine
Yeah, 10 smokes a day is pretty minor on the smoker scale. Most regular smokers do a pack a day. I have also smoked since I was 16 (am 30 now), and there's definitely a correlation between young smokers and depression.

It's too bad her parents are so inaccessible. But, hey, that is NOT your problem. You've done what you can and been the best friend possible in light of some screwed-up circumstances.
I pretty much agree with what everyone's said. (Except for the part about drinking being ok, but I only hold myself to that standard, not other people.) I think it's very important that you focus, in the first place, on her not smoking around you. If she wants to mess up her own life, that's her business, but if she's you're friend, she'll respect your immune problems and not smoke with you. If she can't do that for you, I would probably not spend much time with her.
I'm really glad that you want to help her, that's really good on your part and shows that you're a good friend. :)

It's weird whenever your friends start to change and it's like it's a downward spiral from there on with your friendship. Things just keep getting worse and worse and even though you want to help them you can't.

I have a friend who, I mean we were close, we were like each other's best friends all throughout elementary school and then this year in high school she decides that's she's too good to hang out with me because she's on the volleyball team (even though she's always been on the volleyball team.) She has major confidence issues and stuff and even though she might not like the people she's hanging out with, does it anyways because she wants to be popular. I tried to help her but failed and in situations with friends that are like this it's hard to get them to change but it's worth a try. So here I go...

First of all, even though you did mention it to her that one time about getting her a nicotine patch, and she took it as a joke...Talk to her again about it. Tell her all the health risks, go as far as getting pictures off the internet of a lung that some patient has had to get removed because it's cancerous or something. My dad (just this year) had lung cancer, a tumor on his lung from smoking. He smoked like 2 packs a day I think and that's 40 cigerettes. It's so weird now because I don't even remember him smoking because it's like as soon as he found out we threatened him if he didn't stop. He hasn't smoked since then and it's the best feeling ever when he stopped. I mean it could happen to her, I never thought it would happen to my dad and I don't think he thought it would happen to him either. He's a lucky one who didn't have to go through all that therapy and stuff afterwards and he's fine now. When he was in the hospital for like a week though, he would have much rather not have smoked all those years rather than been in that hospital for that week. It's hell, not only for the person it's happening to but for the whole family.

You need to remind her constantly about the health risks that what she's doing has on her. Not only her but her family, friends, everyone. What she's doing not only effects her but people that she knows now and people she's going to meet down the line. Such as her children, what if she gets lung cancer like my dad and dies because she's not so lucky? It's being selfish if you ask me.

Basically, just talk to her about all the risks, if you think that it's really a danger to your health being around her (which it is)Tell her that if she's going to chose drugs and alcohol over her friend that she's been friends with for ages that you just can't be her friend anymore because it's a danger to your health. Especially with an autoimmune disease like you have.

I hope I helped and I'm sure everyone else before me has said practically the same thing but I just HAVE to tell people my story because it can happen to anyone and not just people you see on those commericals. If you talk to her about it, I'm sure we'd all love to hear about how it went. :)

Best of luck,
Stacey - Ravenclaw Healer
Wow, that's some heavy stuff,talk to her again, this time more seriously sit her down and make it serious. If she doesn't listen and brushes you off, there's not much you can do, you can always talk to someone, a counciller or a parent, even if it affects your friendship, you'll be helping her in the end.

<3 Athy