Wedding Party

We tried to make her go to rehab... (but she said no no no)

Sorry this is long. The comedy of the title is about all I can muster for this topic. 

The short of it is one of my bridesmaids needs to go to rehab, and I have no idea how to get her there or what to do. Maybe some crowd sourcing here will give me ideas, reassurance, IDK.

--

I chose "Sally" (fake name) to be a bridesmaid early on because we've been close friends since high school, went to college 3000 miles away from home together, and she introduced me to my fiance. Probably since the first month my fiance and I were dating she'd say, "When you guys get married, I get to be a bridesmaid." I know there are woeful tales of picking too early, but I hope you find this to be a different scenario: I still want her to be a bridesmaid; I just want her to be SOBER. 

Let's back up so I can explain this situation: 

Part 1: I'm worried. 

Probably 3 years ago, Sally went a bit off the deepend after a bad breakup and was put on antidepressants, antianxiety medications, and she started recreationally taking aderall. She's a fashion stylist in NYC, so she has weeks where she does nothing and then weeks where she never gets a chance to sleep. This leads to taking a TON of aderall to stay awake and then a lot of xanax to go to sleep. (I think typical doses for aderal range 10-30 MG? She takes an average of 100; she regularly wakes up days later next to empty bottles of xanax.) On top of this, she typically starts drinking at around 10am and occasionally does other recreational drugs (weed, coke, etc). I have zero other friends who behave this way, but it's extraordinarily acceptable in her industry (dare I say encouraged?) so I think it's difficult for her to see exactly how bad this is. To make matters worse, she's successful with her job and would likely not be able to function the way she is if she did not participate in this destructive behavior. We currently live on opposite sides of the country, so most of our interaction is via gchat, text, facebook, etc, but she typically does not remember our conversations from the day before. All of these drugs mixed with sexual promiscuity make me feel like she's going to die or get killed, and she freely acknowledges these risks with a shrug.

Part 2: my fiance is p!ssed.

My fiance and Sally were very good friends before she went off the deepend. She was fairly mellow and never partied much, but the bad breakup she had was with one of his best friends. Drama ensued, but they've reconnected in the last year. Unfortunately as her addictions have progressed, he has lost his patience. He had been trying to be a sounding board for her, but she was continually disrespectful to him. Although she was very excited when we told her about our engagement, she's since taken to regularly saying things to us like, "Well who cares? You're going to get divorced anyway!" or "Weddings are stupid and embarrassing I can't understand why anyone would have one!" or "I want to enjoy my life and my youth, not waste it in a relationship." My fiance wants to cut the cord on this friendship.

Part 3: I'm in over my head.

I've always been good at offering friends advice and acting as a sounding board for their problems. I've always believed that having someone to talk to is crucial to one's sanity. I have done my very best to try to find out WHAT is going on (the best I've gotten is that she's bored), but I'm getting nowhere. I don't want to stop being friends with her and then attend her funeral in a year, but my fiance feels like at this point I'm enabling her behavior (and I'm starting to agree). She's being a horrible friend (and honestly, a horrible person), but I don't believe that she's bad deep down; I think she's going through a rough patch and needs help, but I don't know how to provide that. Her family avoids the issue (sometimes her mom sends her self help books?), her other friends enable or promote her behavior -FOR GOD'S SAKE HER DOCTORS PRESCRIBE THESE MEDICATIONS! This girl is beautiful, succesful, wealthy; "she has everything going for her."

Ultimately I'm worried that continuing to try to have her in my life (and my wedding) will create problems between me and my fiance. I'm just genuinely worried she's going to end up dead. Any friend that has said that to her in the past has been immediately cut out of her life. Is there anything that I can do? 

On the wedding front, I want my friend back who is happy and supportive and the life of the party (isn't a typical line on here that bridesmaids just need to show up sober in the dress they're supposed to wear?), not miserable and wasted stumbling around before the ceremony even begins. On the life front, I want my friend (and friendship, if possible) to survive! 

Advice? Undecided
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Re: We tried to make her go to rehab... (but she said no no no)

  • You may want to check out a local chapter of Al-Anon (it's for family and friends of alcoholics/addicts).  They will have great guidance for you as far as what you can - and can't - do for someone you care about who is an addict.  You can't force Sally to get help, but you can talk to specialists in this area who can give you guidance on how to help her without enabling her.  Good luck and I'm sorry you're going through this with your friend.
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  • In Response to Re: We tried to make her go to rehab... (but she said no no no):
    You may want to check out a local chapter of Al-Anon (it's for family and friends of alcoholics/addicts).  They will have great guidance for you as far as what you can - and can't - do for someone you care about who is an addict.  You can't force Sally to get help, but you can talk to specialists in this area who can give you guidance on how to help her without enabling her.  Good luck and I'm sorry you're going through this with your friend.
    Posted by StephBeanWed61502
    This is pretty much exactly what I was going to say.
  • Do you know her parents or any of her close friends in NY?  I feel like you need someone else's help, particularly since she's not in your area.  I would try contacting someone else close to her that might be able to actually do something since it sounds like it will be hard for you to get anywhere on this.  

    Sorry to hear, that sounds tough!
  • First of all, I'm sorry for all that you and your fi and friend are going through. I used to have a friend who perpetually engaged in destructive behavior, though not to the extent that your friend has, and after awhile I realized that nothing I ever said to her had an impact, and so it was time to stop trying to convince her how destructive her behavior was, she was going to do what she wanted regardless. In my case, my friendship with her was beginning to impact my life, and so I found it necessary to end contact with her. Your friend will likely need to hit bottom before she realizes that this lifestyle is no good for her, but so long as she is having fun and is socializing with people who lead a similar lifestyle, she may not. My suggestion to you, bearing in mind I am not a counselor or anything of that sort, is to let talking to her about her problems go for now, while not condoning her lifestyle. In other words, I would not try to "save" her, if you will, she will need to do that herself when the time comes. I would lessen contact, but would not stop contact as someday she may decide to let the drugs go and will need friends and family to be there for her when that happens. My other suggestion to you is to always put your health and the health of your relationship with your fi before all else, if this is impacting your mental health (causing stress and worry) and is hurting your relationship with your fi, then you may need to take a step back for awhile.

    Hopefully some of that helps, others with more experience with these situations may be better able to offer advice than I, but I also ditto the pp's suggestion of reaching out to AA to see what guidance and support they may be able to offer you.
  • kmmssgkmmssg
    Moderator Knottie Warrior 5000 Comments 500 Love Its
    mod
    edited July 2012
    Addiction and alcoholism are RAMPANT in my immediate family so I have some knowledge and experience I'd like to share with you.

    First, ditto pp about checking out Al-Anon.  They will help you learn to stop enabling her and to set healthy boundaries for yourself.  You can't control what she does, but you CAN control how your react, and how much you will let her in your life.

    You canNOT solve this for her.  You can't walk her to the solution, and you will most likely have to watch her hit bottom so hard you won't believe your eyes.  It is incredibly rare for an addict/alcoholic to get serious about wanting help until they have hit rock bottom and everyone has cut them out of their lives.  The sooner everyone cuts her off, the sooner she will be able to see she needs help.  As long as people are trying to be supportive, help her, yada yada, she will not have a problem - she will have a harram of enablers which is what they all want.  So..

    Part 1: I'm worried. 

    Probably 3 years ago, Sally went a bit off the deepend after a bad breakup and was put on antidepressants, antianxiety medications, and she started recreationally taking aderall. She's a fashion stylist in NYC, so she has weeks where she does nothing and then weeks where she never gets a chance to sleep. This leads to taking a TON of aderall to stay awake and then a lot of xanax to go to sleep. (I think typical doses for aderal range 10-30 MG? She takes an average of 100; she regularly wakes up days later next to empty bottles of xanax.) On top of this, she typically starts drinking at around 10am and occasionally does other recreational drugs (weed, coke, etc). I have zero other friends who behave this way, but it's extraordinarily acceptable in her industry (dare I say encouraged?) so I think it's difficult for her to see exactly how bad this is. To make matters worse, she's successful with her job and would likely not be able to function the way she is if she did not participate in this destructive behavior. We currently live on opposite sides of the country, so most of our interaction is via gchat, text, facebook, etc, but she typically does not remember our conversations from the day before. All of these drugs mixed with sexual promiscuity make me feel like she's going to die or get killed, She very well may die or get killed   and she freely acknowledges these risks with a shrug.

    Part 2: my fiance is p!ssed.

    My fiance and Sally were very good friends before she went off the deepend. She was fairly mellow and never partied much, but the bad breakup she had was with one of his best friends. Drama ensued, but they've reconnected in the last year. Unfortunately as her addictions have progressed, he has lost his patience. He had been trying to be a sounding board for her, but she was continually disrespectful to him. Although she was very excited when we told her about our engagement, she's since taken to regularly saying things to us like, "Well who cares? You're going to get divorced anyway!" or "Weddings are stupid and embarrassing I can't understand why anyone would have one!" or "I want to enjoy my life and my youth, not waste it in a relationship." My fiance wants to cut the cord on this friendship.  That is the very best thing he can do right now

    Part 3: I'm in over my head.

    I've always been good at offering friends advice and acting as a sounding board for their problems. I've always believed that having someone to talk to is crucial to one's sanity. I have done my very best to try to find out WHAT is going on (the best I've gotten is that she's bored), but I'm getting nowhere. I don't want to stop being friends with her and then attend her funeral in a year, but my fiance feels like at this point I'm enabling her behavior (and I'm starting to agree). Your Fiance is absolutely correct, you are enabling even though you don't mean to. She's being a horrible friend (and honestly, a horrible person), but I don't believe that she's bad deep down; She's not bad.  She has a disease that requires her to hit rock bottom to get help.  I think she's going through a rough patch and needs help,  but I don't know how to provide that. You can't provide the help she needs.  Her family avoids the issue (sometimes her mom sends her self help books?), her other friends enable or promote her behavior Her family and other friends are helping her kill herself-FOR GOD'S SAKE HER DOCTORS PRESCRIBE THESE MEDICATIONS! This girl is beautiful, succesful, wealthy; "she has everything going for her."  An addict/alcoholic can't see that anymore.  They truly have a disease that requires lifelong treatment.

    Ultimately I'm worried that continuing to try to have her in my life (and my wedding) will create problems between me and my fiance. I'm just genuinely worried she's going to end up dead. Any friend that has said that to her in the past has been immediately cut out of her life. Is there anything that I can do? Yes, tell her exactly the same thing and make sure YOU tell her she  has no place in YOUR life til she is clean and sober.  And whatever you do, don't backdown on that!!

    On the wedding front, I want my friend back who is happy and supportive and the life of the party (isn't a typical line on here that bridesmaids just need to show up sober in the dress they're supposed to wear?), not miserable and wasted stumbling around before the ceremony even begins. On the life front, I want my friend (and friendship, if possible) to survive! 

    I have lost immediate family members to alcoholism and addiction.  Multiple immediate family members.  I've walked this path.  The most painful was back in 2006 when my brother JD finally died from his addictions.  I did his eulogy.  He was my best friend in the entire world, my big brother and biggest defender.  

    I have sat through rehab sessions as a family member, I have been involved in interventions.  I have been through my own counseling to learn about being an enabler and how it only helps your loved one to be an even better alcoholic or addict.  I have been there.

    Bottom line - the best friend you can be to her is to tell her she is not welcome in your life anymore until she is clean and sober.  You will become the biggest beotch in the world for that by the way, but you will be the first person to stand up and give her what she truly needs to find her way to rock bottom and get some help.

    You don't need to worry about the wedding.  You need to decide if you will continue to let her in your life (which enables) or whether you will take a stand and tell her goodbye til she is clean.  Hardest thing you will EVER EVER do.  I know.  Whatever is to happen with your wedding will follow that.

    I wish you good luck but I implore you not to be the friend who is there for her and "is supportive", it is the last and worst thing for her.




  • In Response to Re: We tried to make her go to rehab... (but she said no no no):
    Do you know her parents or any of her close friends in NY?  I feel like you need someone else's help, particularly since she's not in your area.  I would try contacting someone else close to her that might be able to actually do something since it sounds like it will be hard for you to get anywhere on this.   Sorry to hear, that sounds tough!
    Posted by mcskatcat
    Her parents just ignore the problem. They live in CA (where I live) so I think they just refuse to believe it's as bad as it is. ("How can it be so bad if she's able to be successful?") And anyone we used to have in common friend wise has been cut out of her life (or they've gotten fed up and cut her out of theirs). Anyone she's currently friends with participates in the same destructive behavior. ("My Dr. prescribed these meds, afterall." "Yeah, but not in those doses!")
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  • I agree with what PPs have said, but I do want to add that I really admire you for thinking about your friend and not what this friend could "do" to your wedding.  You are putting your friend and her well being first, your wedding far behind, which is something a lot of people who post about this kind of thing switch up.

    I hope that your friend accepts the help she needs and comes to recognize her issues and makes choices which will allow her to get healthy. 
  • In Response to Re:We tried to make her go to rehab... but she said no no no:
    I also agree that Al Anon would be a great idea for you, and I too am so sorry for what you're going through. But I also have to say it really bothers me that you seem to be blaming her industry, because that is total horse hockey. I have a few incredibly successful friends in the fashion industry and none of them have addiction issues, nor are they dare I say encouraged to wreck themselves with pills and booze. This is HER problem. Not her coworkers' or her competitors' or her industry's. That's like blaming infidelity on being a movie star.
    Posted by StageManager14
    I've worked in fashion PR, and I still find caffiene to be more than I can handle so I know that a job doesn't make one an addict! Sorry if I made it sound like that was my point of view! :)

    All I can comment on is her experience in the industry. There are a million head stylists you can work with, and I'm sure there are ones who are 100% clean and sober, but the stories I've heard from her are the exact opposite of that, as are that of the other asst stylists she works with. Maybe it's the type of styling she does (leans much more toward high fashion with the super skinny young models?) or maybe it's just that addiction/misery seeks addiction/misery.

    I'm certainly not blaming her industry, just simply explaining that it doesn't seem that professional rock-bottom is something that's heading anytime soon. Her bosses and clients are some of her greatest enablers. And I do believe that the people you spend the most time with have the ability to "normalize" certain behaviors.

    I'm not sure there's any "blame" in this situation other than the universe (who can comment on what pushes people toward this kind of behavior? We haven't walked in her shoes), but if anyone is to blame it is herself. 


    Thanks everyone for the kind words! I'm definitely one of those people who doesn't know when to say when. One sober day and I start to think everything is on it's way to healing, and I need to stop thinking that way. 
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  • Just wanted to say thank you for all the advice you offered to the original PP.  I'm going through this right now and have been struggling on how to deal with this.

    Good luck to the PP as well.
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