It’s past time someone spoke up

Published 2:50 pm Friday, May 1, 2020

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Today, I’m writing to you as a friend on a subject I’ve found difficult to discuss for quite some time.

Growing up, you start keeping secrets almost instantly. You decide to secretly cover up where you spilled juice on the carpet, despite the fact no drinks were allowed on the carpet. You make your sister promise not to tell that you hit her. You promise your friends you won’t tell who their crush is on the playground. The list goes on and on.

As we get older, the secrets become a little more serious and so do the repercussions of telling or not telling. The people you’re holding these secrets for are your most inner circle, and as we know the older you are, the smaller the circle gets. Leaking a secret and losing one member of the circle seems unthinkable.

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But, what if the secret needs to be told for their safety?

We all have friends who have struggled with something, but never really mentioned it.

You’ll notice at your regular get-togethers that while you’re on your second glass of the night, they’re on their fifth or sixth. If you’re like me, you’ll make a mental note, but what’s one night of being over served? However, as time passes that mental note comes to the forefront when six glasses becomes the rule and not the exception to one night out.

If not the drinks, you’ll probably have another friend or two who seems to be having a really rough go of it. You’ll see them taking their regularly prescribed Xanax, while halving another. They’ll promise you “it’s been a really stressful day” and you’ll shrug your shoulders, because doesn’t everyone have those? But, just like the six glasses that one stressful day turns into one stressful week, one stressful month and it’s an every day occurrence.

You question if it’s your business to approach them about it; you don’t have to directly say “hey I think you have a problem!” but maybe you can skirt the issue and just ask if everything is okay.

You convince yourself that by staying in their life and asking that question and always being there if something isn’t okay that you’ve done your duty as a friend.

Being a friend isn’t easy; it’s not about skirting the issue or just being there on the bad days.

A friend plays a lot of roles- they sometimes act as your parent, your soul mate, your sibling, your “unofficial doctor” but no matter what role you play as a friend you should always ask if you’re doing what’s best for them.

I recently realized I hadn’t been the type of friend everyone needed. I had been skirting the issue way too long and I had been keeping secret after secret about an illness that could’ve been fixed years ago if I had just opened my mouth.

Due to my secret keeping and fear of opening my mouth, my best friend since I was 12 years old will now spend the next year in an alcohol treatment center and was forced to celebrate her 25th birthday there instead of with her friends.

It seems unfair that as a friend you would have to betray someone with their secrets to help them, but unfortunately life requires that sometimes. It may seem unthinkable and it may even make you sick to your stomach, but it has to be done.

You may think you’ve lost your friend forever, but in the end you’ve given them a lot more time, maybe not to be your friend anymore, but now they have a chance to build a new life and one they can be proud of again.

I urge you to be the friend that speaks up and shares the secrets when deemed necessary. We all hope someone else is going to speak up, but before we know it, it’s too late and something far worse than the original problem has happened.

So, speak up, make that call and don’t feel guilty for saving the person that you love most.