"Speak now or forever hold your peace in pieces."
I can remember a time when I was lost, confused and blinded. I was there, but the person I knew, and everyone else knew, wasn’t.
I had turned into the person I swore I would never become, indirectly hurting the ones who I hold dearest at heart, all due to my selfish and arrogant change. I convinced myself that I was right, everyone was wrong, and slowly shutting the ones who mean most to me out of my life.
I had sunk into the lowest of the lows. It was my own mistake, and I caused all this mess. Especially when that is the case, people will not know how to help. People will not know if they should even help, considering the fact that it was all self-inflicted pain. For those who were suffering in the process, it will always be an endless haze of confusion, of what to do next, who to trust and where to go. Anybody who has a friend or family member going through an extremely rough patch in their life would most definitely have good share of stories and great amount of lessons to be taught, and looking back on that time myself, now that I’m thinking sober, it almost felt as though that it never happened, almost like it wasn’t real. If I hadn’t been come over the delusion I was right, it never would have happened. Or rather, if I had thought the way I always have, I could have avoided that mess altogether. It’s like for a moment there I got hit by a train, and my senses went vital.
To say that I have changed from the person I was during this rough patch would be an understatement. I have embraced it. My road to recovery was not short and quick, but definitely worth it, and I have also come to realize what it takes to help somebody in the same kind of situations I was in, especially if you’re a friend.
The first thing a friend needs is to understand. To know is that their friend, amidst all that confusion, is still in there somewhere. They might have been lost in all that haze, but believe me, they are still there. Just imagine having lost the trust of your loved ones and losing your dignity because of a mistake you made. Of course you’d act differently. You’d be scared, angry and hopeless. You feel the need to cry all the time to let out pent-up frustration of not knowing what to do. The fun-loving friend you knew has now hid in a shell of fear. Though they want to desperately come out, they’re torn between doing what is best and doing what they want. That is usually the main core of the matter. When I went through my downfall, my needs and my wants became extremely blurred. I knew what was best for me, but I went the other way, thinking to myself that this is what I truly wanted. I noticed, but refused to acknowledge, that in the process, I was hurting the one I said I loved most. If things had gone the way I wanted it to back then, I am pretty sure that life would not be as blissful as it is now, and I would not have changed into who I am today.
The next thing a friend should do is ask. Know what the person is experiencing. The simplest way to do this is to merely ask. What’s going on? How do you feel? There is no harm in sitting down with them and trying to uncover what is going on in that dazed mind. They may push you away, or tell you everything is fine, but persist. They’ll see you care snd eventually surrender.
Which brings me to my next point: Listen. And trust me, your friend would be more than happy to unload because no one really bothers to ask about their well-being. Doing so would make the person feel accepted. Everyone needs someone to talk to, and sometimes all your friend needs is a listening ear. Don’t be alarmed if whatever comes out of their mouth sounds irrational or does not sound like them at all. Very likely, that is the case. At this point, don’t tell them off, don’t tell them what’s right. Chances are they’ve blocked out any sort of sound advice because they are convinced they are right. What’s real or right to them may seem completely out of realistic context. Let them unload all their fears, wants, needs, anything at all. Sometimes what a troubled friend needs is just a place to release. Don’t do anything. You don’t have to. Just listen.
The last thing a friend needs to do is be patient. Remember the saying, “patience is a virtue”? And in this case, it really is. Being patient with a friend in a rough time will create a lasting bond. At this time, there is nothing more your friend needs than someone to never give up on them. They’ve lost far too many and for all you know, losing you could be the last straw.
Just be a good friend. Just be there for them. Know that the friend you know may have changed from the one that you first met in high school, and right now they’re just going through a rough time. How long this rough time might last, no one knows, but it does not mean that your friend is gone. They’re just a little shady now. There may, hopefully, come a day where your friend will be more diligent in recovery and things will feel closer to normal, or better.
Personally for me, I cannot stress enough how thankful I am for the friends that stuck by me through my worst times, listening to me when I needed someone, making jokes when they felt I needed a laugh. But most importantly, I thank them for reminding me of the principles I vowed to live by. That was the beginning of me waking up. This rough patch opened my eyes to what went wrong before, and who are the ones that matter now. Needless to say, it was the most painful reality check I had ever gotten. But support from family and friends kept me on my feet. For those going through a rough time, believe me when I say that those who know you best, know what’s best. Though at the time of the moment, what they think is right is not on the same page as your definition, I just thought I’d make it clear that it is for the best, your best, no matter how hard it is.
Being with a friend who is not thinking straight is never easy. I know, because I realize my level of maintenance during my problem. But believe me, when things get better and life is finally back on track, not only will you have a loyal friend, but you’ll have memories to laugh at together. You’ll be rewarded with great respect, love and friendship, all because you stuck around when no one else did.