Help my friend stay sober
November 25, 2008 6:35 AM   Subscribe

How do I help a friend in recovery from narcotics make it to two clean years?

A friend of mine is coming up on two years of narcotic-free life. He is feeling 'the jitters' and is hinting that he is worried he might relapse or somehow sabotage it. He attends several meetings a week, but he's expressed that he still feels unstable.

I've told him I am open to talk or just listen at any time, any day, but I wish I knew how to go about this in a less naive way. I can't find many resources on this, but perhaps I am looking in the wrong places.

It is less than two weeks until his two-year date and I want to help him make it there, drug-free.

Please share your experiences or advice!
posted by rachaelfaith to Society & Culture (9 answers total)
Is he involved with Narcotics Anonymous? If he isn't, he probably should be. They can talk him through something like that better than you can.
posted by electroboy at 7:32 AM on November 25, 2008

Best answer: As they'll tell you in AA or NA or whatever - it's not about the next two weeks, it's about TODAY. He has to not use TODAY. He can worry about tomorrow tomorrow.

One day at a time. Can you help him not use TODAY?

Can you talk to him today and go for coffee today, or go to a movie today, or....?

You're a great friend.
posted by tristeza at 7:33 AM on November 25, 2008

Response by poster: electroboy- He is in NA, as well as several other support groups... I was just looking to supplement them when he needs it.

tristeza- Yes, I agree... taking it one day at a time is key. Thanks!
posted by rachaelfaith at 8:02 AM on November 25, 2008

Best answer: You might suggest that your friend should bring the subject up at the next meeting he attends. Feeling squirrely when you are close to a sobriety anniversary date is very common. If your friend brings the subject up at a meeting he will get to hear how other people have dealt with this problem and gotten through it. It is great that you are so supportive and just having caring friends helps. But recovery from any type of addiction is difficult and your friend needs the help of people who have dealt with this problem successfully.
posted by calumet43 at 8:03 AM on November 25, 2008

Yeah, man, anniversary jitts are totally not unusual your first couple years, tell him to put it out on the floor and he'll be swarmed by people who went through the same thing. Encourage him to just stay close to the rooms and other recovery folks until he hits his date. There's no boogeymen, no voodoo, no magic that makes you pick up; if he's determined to get another day, he'll get another day. It's as big a deal as he makes it.
posted by The Straightener at 9:35 AM on November 25, 2008

You might consider checking out a Al-Anon or a Nar-Anon meeting in your local area.
posted by RobGF at 5:02 PM on November 25, 2008

Hang out with him as much as you can. Any time he spends with you is time that he's not using drugs.

Other than that, there's not a whole lot you can do. I wouldn't make a big deal about the anniversary if you can help it--that's not to say it isn't a big deal, it is--but you don't want him projecting too far into the future, you just want him to stay clean one day at a time. See if he can get to any relapse prevention-specific meetings if he's really feeling on edge.

He probably knows this already if he's been in the program for two years, but remind him to HALT if he feels like using--does he really want to use, or is he just hungry/angry/lonely/tired?
posted by cosmic osmo at 11:37 PM on November 25, 2008

Response by poster: Thanks, all. These are really helpful.
posted by rachaelfaith at 6:09 AM on November 26, 2008

My 4th year is coming up - and I still sometimes make comments to friends about wanting to drink - in fact just last night I felt depressed and mentioned that it would be really nice to drink till I passed out...The two friends that I said this to reacted in perfect ways. One of them just shook her head at me like I had just suggested the most ridiculous thing she had ever heard. That's really all she had to do. The other make a comment about how she wished that I would not do it, was sad that I felt that way, but she reminded me it was my choice. I think that's essentially what does it for me. I think the best reaction is under-reaction. In many cases, we are just hurting and testing the waters. If we "play the tape" as they say in AA - as in, we think the whole thing through to how we will feel when we wake up alone the next morning, and we know that we don't want to feel that way either. If our comments don't elicit the drama and attention we want, we will just abandon them....or maybe that's just me. Everyone is different...but in the end, we are all responsible for our own actions - and an alcoholic needs to be aware of this fact more than anyone - our lives depend on knowing it.
posted by BellePal at 9:44 PM on June 19, 2009

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