Supporting a friend with solvent and drug addiction

AliM was determined to offer support to a friend who got addicted to solvents.

True Stories

two men looking at each other

Being there for a friend overcoming a drug addiction

Solvent abuse

There was a time when I was friends with a large group of people who were at school with me, and we would meet up regularly and throw parties together. However, when a few of these friends started sniffing glue, I started to get anxious about being around them. It was strange for me that one particular friend was getting more and more distracted in school, to the extent that he was sniffing glue in the middle of class. It was odd that something which was a supposed past-time was influencing other parts of his everyday life. At this stage, he didn’t recognise this as an issue, but this was the start of a negative chain of events.

I wasn’t too sure that there was anything I could do personally to help him. I would talk to him in school, not to persuade him of what not to do, but to try and find out how he was coping. It was hard for me to see someone intelligent wasting their time with solvents and falling behind. He didn’t seem to want help or advice from any friends who were concerned about his habits or missed opportunities, and this became a barrier in my friendship with him.

Other drugs

After the solvents, he began to move on to cannabis instead. This seemed to be socially acceptable at parties but when he was high it was strange to see such different, out-of-control behaviour. At one time he nearly fell out of a two-storey window from losing his concentration, and from then I could really start to see the dangers of cannabis use. By this stage I was too afraid to speak to him about his addictive habits – I had decided that if he wanted to change, he would probably need to make the initial decision himself after realising that he couldn’t carry on in the same way.

This did happen – one day, after weeks of paranoia and headaches, he started job-hunting and found work. This role really changed his behaviour, as he would have to be punctual and work hard in order to make more. His friends all actively encouraged him, and alongside good pay and other motives – he found his way out of drugs and started to make more positive steps in his life.

Supporting a friend

Friendships need mutual trust, but at times you may differ in opinion to such an extent that it is difficult to be honest with each other. I believe that if your friends start doing drugs or drinking too much, you can’t tell them directly to stop, but with your support and steady encouragement, they may come to terms with their problems on their own and transform their life for the better.

Next Steps

  • Addaction helps people recover from drug and alcohol addictions.
  • Chat about this subject on our Discussion Boards.
  • Need help but confused where to go locally? Download our StepFinder iPhone app to find local support services quickly.

By AliM

Updated on 29-Sep-2015

Picture posed by model from Shutterstock