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She Needed Me This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.


I always thought that I was a good friend until I met Sarah. At first it was OK because we didn’t really know each other. So we talked and laughed. She used drugs, but I didn’t really think about that. She never acted like she had a problem so I didn’t bother her about it.

Then our talks got longer and deeper. She talked about her family and all the things she had been through. I, being a good friend, listened and tried to do all I could for her. Meanwhile I talked to her about my problems and she sympathized with me. We got really close because we had been through a lot of the same things.

She started talking about her drug use, or abuse. Gradually that became the only thing that we talked about. Sarah was using almost every day. The longest she would go without drugs was two days. But I stood by her. I told her that she needed help and we would get into fights about it. I would always back down because I knew that she needed someone and I was the only one there for her. She took my listening to her as if I was saying it was OK. We would fight about me thinking she had a problem. She would tell me that I didn’t think she had a problem, while I would tell her that I knew she did.

I know she used me. Sarah used my friendship to convince herself she was OK. If her straight friend could accept her and would talk to her then she couldn’t possibly have a problem.

Sarah called me about a month ago because she had taken too many drugs and scared herself. If she told me the truth, she should have died that night. She was shaking, getting cold sweats, and foaming at the mouth. She wouldn’t let me come over or get her help. As her friend I had to help her the best way I knew how. I talked to her for a long time that night. She was incoherent and hallucinating, but I tried to keep her calm. When I hung up, I was mad at her. I wanted to scream at her and shake her until she understood that she was out of control and was taking me down with her. In order to be a good friend I thought I shouldn’t yell at her because she didn’t have anyone on her side. I had to be there because she needed me.

The truth was she didn’t need me on her side, she didn’t need me to be there for her. She needed me to give her the truth. She needed me to talk to her parents and get her help. I wasn’t being a friend to her by letting her make me feel responsible for her life or by letting her walk all over me. While I was her friend, I knew that if anything happened to her I would be responsible because I didn’t try to help her help herself. I was saying it was everyone else’s fault and what she was doing was the right thing.

I haven’t really talked to her for a long time but she knows that I am here when she is ready to admit that she has a problem. Until then she has to take care of herself. I’m not saying that every time it gets tough to drop your friends; it’s just that sometimes all you can do isn’t going to be enough. Letting go doesn’t mean saying good-bye, or “I don’t care anymore.” It means saying I have done all I can do and I have nothing to give.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.





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