‘What can I do to help someone close to me with an addiction?’

Oct 11, 2019
"What's wrong with that, some might say? Well nothing, if it were only a glass or two, but she seems to go through a whole bottle." Source: Getty Images

Know anyone with an addictive personality? I have a friend of many years who has suffered in so many different ways that she drinks wine every afternoon. What’s wrong with that, some might say? Well nothing, if it were only a glass or two, but she seems to go through a whole bottle.

She is using her benefit money on wine and does not buy enough food for her and her pet. I finally got to see her in person recently — it had been a couple of years — and she was drunk and her cat was emaciated. They were both in a horrendous state and I feel there is nothing much I can do for her now, she is too far gone.

I went to see her recently and she hadn’t eaten for three days. The cat was obviously hungry. I took a few items with me as I though she might be in a bad way from the phone conversations I’d had with her during the week. I’m glad I did! I took cat food, toilet paper, sausage rolls and a few other small items including house cleaning products. She didn’t have any money left from her benefit day to buy anything so hopefully my small gifts were helpful.

She had been living with her daughter and grandson, but sometime last year her daughter asked her to move out. It had taken her a long time to find a decent one-bedroom flat in an older home that is spacious enough for her furniture and it’s not a studio apartment, it actually has a designated bedroom. She pays $395 a week. In Auckland, New Zealand, rental accommodation is horrendously expensive and you get a shack for $400 usually.

The problem is, she moved in with her cat when the lease clearly said ‘No Pets’. She’s already been warned by the agent that she’ll be evicted if she keeps the cat and we are only in week one!

I took two cans of cat food and the cat ate both of them. My friend sat and drank wine the entire visit, one glass after the other.

What I can do is support her, but I cannot help as I’m on a benefit as well. The budget is tight for me too.

She’s not very good at budgeting. I know the power bill and telephone and internet will all eventually be cut off — that is the pattern she’s followed for the past 20 years. I never knew someone who self-sabotaged so much.

Her daughter rang her doctor and told her how the alcohol is basically making her dysfunctional and making her life a misery. My friend won’t talk about it at all and none of us can get through to her that the behaviour has caused most of her current health and living issues.

Some people do not have the capabilities to live productive and fulfilling lives, especially if they have addictive personalities like my friend. They self-sabotage and those of us who can cope better do all they can to assist.

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What would you do if you had a friend in this situation?

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