April 9, 2010 in Features

Tell friend truth of beau’s addiction

Washington Post

Hi, Carolyn: I’m in a bit of a pickle. My best friend since college, “Ellen,” has been dating “Jim” for three years. They are quite serious, and though not yet engaged, I think that’s the way they’re going. A few months ago, Jim confided to me that he has been struggling with an addiction to OxyContin for the past eight months, but that Ellen was not aware of the problem. The addiction was quite serious, he had spent over $30,000 on the drug, and after trying to wean himself from it, became depressed and suffered from withdrawal.

He has since undergone treatment and is recovering nicely, however he still refuses to tell Ellen, despite my urging. Ellen has noticed that Jim has been depressed and out of it, but as far as I can tell, she remains in the dark.

Almost everyone in our group of friends knows about the problem, except for Ellen. As Ellen’s best friend, I feel like I’m living a lie by keeping this from her, but I also don’t want to destroy her relationship by forcing him to tell her. My thoughts are that it’s necessary that she be told, because this information might affect whether she chooses to spend her life with this person. What should I do? – S.

You deem it “necessary that she be told,” yet you haven’t told her?

And you’re her best friend? And the man she trusts is lying to her, publicly humiliating her, and denying her an opportunity to protect herself from possible emotional and financial devastation?

This is a moral imperative, not a deli garnish. She doesn’t just need to know of Jim’s addiction. She also needs to learn that Jim himself is a lie.

Tell Jim what you should have said a few months ago: that he has 24 hours to tell Ellen, or you tell. You won’t “destroy her relationship”; Jim did that when he abused drugs and then “confided” in Ellen’s best friend.

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