Sober Living America’s ‘Friend Guide’

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Sober Living America’s Friends Care Campaign was created to serve students, the addiction community, and their friends and loved ones. One of the most unique offerings of the Friends Care Campaign is the Friend Guide, an educational brochure created specifically to help friends and loved ones identify a friend struggling with addiction, and help them in their recovery. Through their 20+ years of service, SLA has identified that friends can be a tremendous asset in a successful recovery. Not only are people more likely to listen to their friends and respect their opinions, but they are often the people most likely to witness addictive behavior.

For example, there are several key signs friends should look out for that would indicate that they have a friend who is ‘one in 12’ (one of the one in 12 Americans who struggles with addiction):

– Is your friend always (or usually) drunk or high?
– Does your friend always recommend activities that involve drinking or using drugs?
– Are you often worried about your friends drinking or drug habits?
– Do they black out, embarrass themselves, or lose control when drinking or using drugs often?
– Has the frequency or amount of drugs they use increased over the years?
– Do they occasionally try to give up using or drinking – or switch from hard liquor to beer?
– Do they call you late at night, but don’t remember the conversation the next day?

It can be difficult to identify a friend’s behavior as that of an addict. However, over time, you may notice that your friend or loved one demonstrates several of these traits. For a full list of signs and symptoms, please visit the Sober Living America website at www.SoberLivingAmerica.org.

It can be extremely difficult to confront a friend about suspected addiction issues- people are often afraid of their reaction, and of the possibility of damaging their friendship. However, it is important to know that often, friends can help where parents and spouses cannot. If you think your friend might be displaying some of the traits above, Sober Living America has created a list of suggestions to help you talk to your friend about your concerns.

Here is a short list of ‘quick tips’, to help you get started:
1. Avoid Judgment: Being judgmental will only breed resentment. Be kind, caring, and compassionate.
2. Come Prepared: Bring some written material to help back up your beliefs, and leave it with them if they aren’t ready to talk.
3. Be Supportive: No matter what, be prepared to support your friend, no matter what they decide to do.
4. Respect Their Decision: Your friend might not be ready for treatment right away. The only thing you can do is help them when they are.
5. Be a Friend: No matter what happens, be there for your friend. They need you now more than ever.

The full list of suggestions and a complete Friend Guide is available for download on the Sober Living America homepage, at www.SoberLivingAmerica.org.

The Friends Care Campaign’s mission is to aid individuals in recovery by expanding their support system, thereby giving them a greater chance at successful recovery. By encouraging friends and loved ones to reach out to their friends who are showing these signs, SLA hopes their Friends Care campaign can help begin a productive dialog with the individual. If you have a friend that you think needs treatment, Sober Living America is here to help.

For more information on Sober Living America’s educational program, visit www.SoberLivingAmerica.org. Or, if you have a friend or family member that needs help, call us at 404-634-4974.

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