Last summer, I returned home for a long weekend to visit my family and catch up with dear friends. As soon as I saw him, I knew something was different. He was fidgety. He was always fidgety, but this time he was fidgeting at what seemed to be 100 mph.  We were all gathered at a small local bar to share a drink in the company of old friends. But he was up and down. In and out. Hot and cold. Jumpy. Instead of talking to me, he seemed to look right through me. My heart broke. Not for the lack of sincere attention that was usually so characteristic of him, but for the dear sweet friend I once knew, who seemed to be lost in some other world.

His friends had told me earlier that evening that they were worried about him. “If he keeps going like this, he could end up dead in some alley. He is out of control.” “What’s he on?” I asked. “What is he not on?” his friend replied. His friends didn’t know what to do. They had tried to talk to him, and he completely disregarded their concern. He was in control, of course. Why did he need help? That night I approached him at the bar when he was alone. I told him he seemed different, and asked him if he needed “help”. I offered my concern. He looked at me with wild eyes, shrieked that he had no idea what I was talking about, and stormed out of the bar. This was not the guy I once knew.

I woke up the next morning and tears welled in my eyes just thinking of him. I was scheduled to leave early that evening but I knew in my heart that I could not leave without helping him. The only thing I could think of was to tell his parents what I suspected – because they loved him dearly, and would do everything they could to help him. We always had a very close relationship, and I felt comfortable expressing my concerns to them. And while I had never seen him take drugs with my own eyes, my intuition was never stronger. Within two hours I was sitting on their couch, explaining what I knew. Tears flowed freely amongst us, yet his parents were relieved to finally have an answer. Their suspicion and deepest fear had been confirmed and they were ready to act. The healing could begin.

Continued in Part 2: Listening To Your Instinct And Helping Someone You Love

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