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by Abigail Van Buren

Social Media Connection to Addict Could Threaten Friend's Career

DEAR ABBY: I have known my friend "Isabella" since elementary school. When we were teenagers, we both developed medical problems. I tried to help her as much as I could, but it became clear that she was having trouble dealing with her condition. She was headed down a bad path and struggling emotionally, so we gradually grew apart.

I friended her on Facebook because I still wanted to remain friendly, but she never posted anything until recently. Now she has started posting about heavy drug use and how much it "helps" her.

I don't want to be associated with this. I'm building a career, and I don't want anyone assuming I use drugs, too. However, I want to remain friends with Isabella on Facebook, since it's our only method of communication, and I want to help her overcome this. What do you suggest? -- DISCREET HELPER IN THE SOUTH

DEAR HELPER: I'm suggesting you unfriend Isabella immediately for the reason you mentioned: the fear of guilt by association. As much as you would like to help your old friend with her addiction problem, and while you might suggest she enter a treatment program, it won't happen until she finally realizes the drugs are not only not improving her life, but preventing her from accomplishing it. From what you have written, Isabella is still neck deep in denial, and you cannot fix that.

Read more in: Friends & Neighbors | Addiction | Work & School