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I witnessed something last night that I hope I never witness again. My friend has been huffing solvents. Her favorite flavor is computer keyboard cleaners (liquid air, that stuff you spray to clear dust away).

She was admitted to an in-patient treatment program after being discovered passed-out in the bathroom at work. She had to be released after 5 days because insurance won't cover a 21-day in-patient program unless you first fail out of an out-patient program. I find this retarded beyond words. She is completely out of control.

So the plan was to get her into an out-patient program and promptly fail her, so insurance would cover the in-patient program. Did I mention that she is 100% out of control? And how retarded the insurance policy is? I left work early yesterday to be with her. We see the same shrink. My appt was at 5, and hers at 6.

She couldn't come in to my session, but I brought her to the lobby with me. I took her wallet. She had a credit card in her bag. By the time I was done, she was locked in the bathroom, huffing. Our shrink took away the can and apparently they had a good session. We went back to her place.

I went down to the lobby for a minute. When I came back up, there was loud music playing. I knocked on the door, and she let me in like there was a big party going on, big smile on her face, laughing, continuing a conversation that didn't exist with someone who didn't exist. I went in and she didn't know who I was. She claimed there were two other people in the room. She was very confused. She backed away from me, told me to stay away. She swore I was in the room before I knocked on the door. She started to get hysterical.

To anyone who hasn't had to deal with a situation like this before, congratulations. It is a completely helpless feeling. There is nothing I can say or do to calm her. I call our shrink. What do I do? She is hallucinating. Call 911, what else can you do? Meanwhile she is in the bathroom, water on, "taking a shower". I never should have let her close the door. She is laughing, or crying, like half-way in between, yelling and I swear she is yelling, "goodbye!" OMG is she cutting her wrists? I force my way in. She is huffing. Hallucinating. Drooling. Tells me to stay TF away from her. Now I'm on the phone with 911, I don't know her address, she won't tell me, I'm trying to physically stop her, she's yelling Don't touch me! They need an address. I need 4 arms. I find a prescription in the mdeicine cabiet. I get the can away from her. 911 is asking the most retarded questions. IT DOESN'T MATTER, JUST PLEASE SEND SOMEONE, RIGHT NOW. That works.

They released her from the hospital and I stayed with her until after 10. That's when Staples closes. I would really have benefitted from a sedative. It was one of the worst nights of my life. I hope she can make it through today.
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I'm sorry you went through that, whafa. I hope your friend gets some help today and that things start getting better.
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Remember, you're a small cog in the big machine that *can* help her. My track record with Soldiers who use is pretty bad, despite all the effort I put into it. Most end up using again and had to be separated. One I put in 28 day in-patient promptly got drunk again, broke his restraining order, and fought with the cops when they responded. I sent him to the pen for seven months. Don't know what happened after that.

Some get it. Some perservere. I saw one of that select group last month when I went back to see a change of command for my successor's successor taking over at Combat Camera, and it was good to see him upright, lucid, and looking like he had it together. Probably two that can't recover and spiral into the gutter for every one that makes it. And I could command refer them to treatment, as in if you don't go, I call the MPs. And as their commander, I was probably the largest authority figure they faced. And they all went through basic training and such so had at least a baseline of discipline and professionalism.

It's hard, hard work, and requires a huge team - both physical and mental health docs, lawyers, counselors, friends, bad cop friends, etc - and in that team the most important member is the individual. They have to have at least a kernel of motivation to change. Then they have to have the fortune/serendipity to be out of the bad situations and avoid temptation of relapse.
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