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How to Save a Life


Erica_UpshawConfronting a friend with a problem is a daunting task – but being a true friend isn’t always easy. Brothers of Phi Delta Theta, have you ever talked to a friend about his self-destructive drinking habits? Have you ever wanted to say something but didn’t?

I know all too well the consequences of silence. My brother Joey died at his Ohio State fraternity after a night of heavy drinking with his brothers. Everybody knew Joey partied hard, but nobody identified his warning signs as a problem at the time. Looking back, I missed so many opportunities to say something. Unfortunately, I had also lost myself in the Greek party culture. Things were blurry.

We have all laughed at a drunken person at one time or another. But, when do you stop laughing and start acting?  Do you have a brother who frequently wets his bed? Constantly sleeps through class?  Has an alter ego?  Maybe he’s violent, makes bad sexual decisions, or regularly blacks out? Many of us know in our hearts that something isn’t right, but instead of stepping up and taking accountability; we sit back and justify inaction by telling ourselves “he will grow out of it.”

Don’t repeat my mistake – make a decision today to say something. Take your brother to lunch or find a time when it’s just the two of you. Let him know you are concerned and don’t want to lose him. Be specific about the things he does when he drinks. There’s a good chance he doesn’t even know it. Your brother cares what you think. You have the power to help him see things clearly. You might just save his life.

Erica Upshaw is a speaker with CAMPUSPEAK.  For more information on her programs for college audiences, please visit www.campuspeak.com.  You can also visit her weekly blog and website at keepfriendshipalive.com.