DEAR HARRIETTE: Recently, my friend has been putting off his work and other obligations to spend time with his friends. When he started to spend more time with these people, he started developing their habits. These friends are a very bad influence on him because they got him involved with drugs and alcohol. Ever since he started spending time with these people and doing drugs, he has changed. He doesn't want to do anything besides sleep, eat or do drugs. I've tried to tell him to stop, but he won't listen. What is the best way to tell him that he is really harming himself? -- Losing a Friend, Los Angeles
DEAR LOSING A FRIEND: When people get caught up in drugs and alcohol, it is highly unlikely that they can see clearly to a rational point of view, even if it comes from a close friend. Addiction has a nasty way of clouding one's vision. Your friend may be lost to you right now as he falls deeper into the clutches of bad influences and substances.
That said, you do not have to give up on him. If you can find a sober moment when you can get together with him, do so. During that time, tell him that you are worried about him and his current behavior. Tell him you fear he will lose his job and his life if he continues down this current path. Remind him that you love him and want him to have a good life. Ask him if he would accept help. If so, point him to Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous as initial free options for help.
Second to a one-on-one encounter, write your friend a letter that expresses your concern for him and your prayer that he will be able to rise above this current quagmire.