Week of:
Oct 20, 2017

I'm worried about my friend's escalating drug use

Dear Alice,

I have a friend at school who quit smoking last year in January 2003, and went back to it in October 2003. I have no idea why, and he also started doing other drugs, such as smoking blunts, doing ecstasy, and taking steroids. The drug that I am worried about him doing the most is ecstasy, because it's a dangerous drug. Also, he is always talking about doing drugs. How can I help him? I still want him to be my friend. Please help. This is serious.

How should I help my drunk friend?

Dear Alice,

Two questions on alcohol:

A friend has had a lot to drink, and they are on the verge of collapsing or throwing up, etc. I'm good at the emotional consolation stuff when people get upset, but what about what I should do physically?

Should they lie down, sit upon the floor, sit in a chair? Should they drink water? Should I get them to eat something? Should I take their wrists and make them wave their arms to keep blood rushing? Should I get them to walk? Should they be outside in the fresh air, or in the warmth? Where should I be, sitting side by side with them, sitting on the floor with my chest to their back?

Secondly, if I'm also drunk and I think that the atmosphere around me is getting aggressive, how can I accelerate sobering up to retain the role of a coordinator and get people sorted out?

Thanks if you can help.

Best friend in an abusive relationship with his wife

Dear Alice,

My best friend is in an abusive relationship! And he knows this! He married his wife about a year ago, when she was 19 and he was 21. And since then, she's verbally abused him, hit him, and even broke down their door once to get to him when he had locked himself in his room. But he refuses to do anything about it, since he "loves her so much." I hate seeing him like this. I'm worried about him. He's been physically hurt by her a lot. And while he can hold his own without getting seriously injured, it's painful to see. He calls me a lot, feeling upset about what she's done... I'm so worried about him.

He's told me he knows she's abusive, and that he wants to take her to marriage counseling... but I know that won't help. I don't want to sound biased, but she's very close minded and I know she won't listen to any counselor. But he "loves her so much" and "doesn't believe in divorce". What can I do to help him?

Friend's mother has cancer — What should I say or do?

Dear Alice,

The mother of one of my best friends from high school was diagnosed with liver cancer a few months ago. She is quite ill and in a lot of pain. She's been in and out of the hospital lately and things don't look so good. My own father was diagnosed with prostate cancer a year and a half ago, but he is really doing quite well (with medication, treatment, etc.). My friend's mother will probably be dead within six months to a year, so I'm not going through an immediate crisis.

My question is: What things should (and shouldn't) I be saying to, and doing for, my friend? I try so hard to be there for her but I really don't know what she's going through. She is very matter-of-fact about the fact that her mom is going to die. But I'm sure there's something I could be doing, isn't there? I hate feeling like I'm actually making her feel worse! Could you give me some idea of what she might be going through right now and how I could help? Even if it's a method for taking her mind off it occasionally (if that's a good idea).

Just Trying to Help

My friend sleeps around — I'm worried

Dear Alice,

My friend has only been at college for two weeks, and she has already had sex with several guys. She is having safe sex, so it's not dangerous in that sense and she claims to be enjoying herself. However, it seems to me that such behavior is unhealthy and damaging to one's emotional state and reputation — but I'm not sure how to explain to her how I feel, or articulate what is wrong with her how she's acting. Do you think what she's doing is wrong, and if so, how should I confront her?

— Concerned Friend