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Hey all,

I fairly recently was told by a friend (let's call her Sarah), that she had been working as a professional escort for some months, and asked not to tell a soul. The usual people I would ask for advise on this, I haven't wanted to go to because I don't want them to guess it's Sarah, and then end up breaking my promise. Sarah told me that she makes between 300 and 1,000 a night. And works and works between three and seven days a week.

Sarah used to work with children, but her cannabis and cocaine taking eventually got in the way, and she was fired. -Though no disciplinary proceedings were bought against Sarah, it was more a case of her job being terminated because of her tardiness and 'spaced' state when she did go to work. Sarah currently claims benefits (depending in which type, could be ~45 to ~100 a week).

Sarah is a clinical depressive, and a very insecure person, especially regarding how feminine and womanly people see her. In my eye there is no doubt she looks like a woman, shape/ clothes/ hair/ jewelry. She's never told me to much, though I am under the impression she was sectioned (detained under the Mental Health Act), but I don't know for how long, or how many times.

Sarah has a coke habit, as well as smoking an inordinate amount of skunk, and drinks spirits everyday. Once I was at her home, and she kept 'popping to the toilet', returning each time wiping her nose with a bloody tissue. The few occasions since she's stopped working that I have seen her sober; She's been clucky. Agitated and irritable, because she is not high or drunk or both.

I recently found out through a mutual friend (let's call her Jane) that Sarah has genital warts. I don't know if Jane knows Sarah is working as a prostitute. Sarah told Jane she got the warts from her boyfriend. I haven't had the opportunity to talk to Sarah since I fund out about the warts. Did she get them from a client? Did she only find out she had an STI because they showed up? Does she have any others? Is she making sure all her clients use condoms? I don't know. I know that she is still prostituting.

When Sarah told me, I asked how she felt about it. She responded that the drink and drugs got her through it. So, she buns, snorts and drinks so that she can work to pay for the drugs that enable her to get into a state where she can forget/hide about the job that pays for them. She doesn't like it, it's clear. But she explained to me that she is now so used to earning over 2,000 a week, spending it frivolously, and being so used to being trashed all the time she doesn't want to give it up. Before this, Sarah smoked, and snorted, but never to this degree. It's like: If she's not fucked off her head, she's not comfortable being her because she can't deal with being her.

When I asked if she'd saved any of the money she earned, she said that she had not. So, I gave her a money tin, for her to save in. I told her that if she wasn't going to give it up anytime soon, she may as well use the proceeds from what makes her feel bad, towards somethings good, like school, or driving lessons, or what ever she ends up spending it on. -She wants to save, and as far as I am aware, has been. Was I wrong to do this? -Did I condone her behaviour by doing that?

Sarah is not the type of person who cannot take criticism well. She is the type who will close up, and go on the defensive. I don't want to advise/ tell her summit, only for her to go the other way because she feels cornered. And in this is were I ask for advise
How do I approach this?
What can I recommend?
What can I say/ do to improve things?
How have you delft with an issue like this before, or how haven't you?
What do I do? -Coz pussy footing around certainly isn't helping.

I know that he needs something positively engaging to fill her days, and an holistic approach to eliminate all the voids she fills with drugs. But I just dunno what to do or say.

Thank you for reading this post, I look forward to anything anyone has to offer.

{Gothic Angel}
Ack, hun. What a mess sad.gif *huggle*

A couple of questions, if that's ok:

1) Was there a time before she started being an escort when she wasn't uncomfortable with the her who is off drugs?
2) Has she solicited your opinion/help in this, or did she just tell you in conversation/whilst drunk or high/because she needed to confide in someone?
3) Is there anything else in her life other than the drugs and prostitution (Obviously yes, becuase she clearly still speaks to friends, but does she have a hobby, or a boyfriend or something)?

From what you've already said, I can say a few things, but this is just what I would be inclined to do, and I have never been in your position before, so please don't feel this is an exhaustive list or anything:

- Firstly, try not to go into this feeling like you'll be a bad person or a bad friend if you don't "rescue" her. She made the decisions to get herself into this position, and she has to make the decisions to get herself out. All you can do is support her through the hard ones, and advise her if she needs it.

- If she's clinically depressed and seeking validation of her existence through blokes and booze and drugs, then she probably should, in a perfect world, have therapy and rehab, but to be honest, that seems somewhat unlikely. However, if you could ring up one of them confidential helplines, they might be able to give you some advice - or even go and speak to someone (hospital psychologists are often helpful) yourself, as they're trained to deal with this sort of thing, and can give you some pointers.

- You did not "condone" her behaviour by helping her to get something positive out of a potentially bad situation. Thinking like that is self destructive and won't help you or her. Silly tongue.gif If she manages to save and not blow the savings on more drugs, that could be a really positive thing. Help her with it - see her when you can and ask how its going, and be really positive when she's managing to do it.

- Have a talk with her, and see what she really wants to sort out in her life. Don't be judging (not that I think you would be for a moment smile.gif). If she really wants to sort something out, suggest she lets other trusted friends in on it, so she has more than one person to turn to in stressful times. That reduces the pressure on you, and means she's got more people to keep an eye on her without you breaking your promise.

- When you give her advice, say "Well, what I would do is.... but that's just me." Then it can't be veiwed as orders, and it leaves her the option to say "That doesn't work for me because..." without being defensive and paranoid (Which I do myself, incidentally, so for that part at least, I know what I'm talking about tongue.gif)

I guess that's all pretty much common sense stuff, but I will ponder this and maybe post more later. And you have lots of people to talk to if it gets tough for *you*. Cos you're important too smile.gif She has no right to drag you down with her if you're offering her a hand up.
It's a very complex situation, that's for sure.

It sounds like, as is often the case, the crucial problem is with self-confidence. If that was restored then that would be a huge step in the right direction. Sadly, that's not something that can be achieved easily, especially with so many barriers in the way.

The biggest block seems to be the drugs. Personally I believe that escorting (which doesn't always equate with prostitution) can be a decent way to earn a fair bit of money, but she's fallen into the trap of viewing it simply as sex-for-cash-for-drugs.

Obviously, if she didn't have the drug addiction then she wouldn't need all the money, or if she could save a decent amount and do something productive with it then maybe she wouldn't need to look outside for validation so often. It sounds like she's in a very bad state with her addiction, and the only way that she would get off it is with a very severe session of cold-turkey. I'm guessing that rehab is out of the question, and I'm not convinced that those are always the most useful of situations anyway; when you put a person in rehab you're effectively saying to them 'we can't deal with who you are currently, or don't want to', which isn't the intention, but I suspect that's what it often means to the patients.

Maybe a useful approach would be to try to reverse engineer the situation, taking steps backwards up the chain: encouraging her to save is good, because that helps her learn respobsibility towards herself. Next is to make sure she is always having safe sex and at the same time she absolutely must can some treatment for herself. Hospitals have Genito Urinary clinics that can test and treat you anonymously, as well as giving you drugs without making you pay for them. After that, when she's feeling like she is capable of controlling her life a little, seeing if she can just do the 'escorting' not the prostitution side of things. It will probably cut down her money, but that will help reduce the amount of drugs she is taking. Eventually the aim would be to get her to a situation where she felt ready to start asserting control over her body as well as her life, which is when the drugs need to be controlled.

Well... That would be one way of doing it. Small steps.

The other would be to find some literature about helping people quit drugs and locking her in a room with everything she needs for a few days. Get her approval before you start, and maybe try and tell the neighbours what you're doing, in case she bangs on the walls a lot.

About how to approach this:

Find out how she feels. Does she feel happy? Does she want to change her life? Does she want to quit? Find out what she wants to do. Maybe try a 'in five years I want to be doing...' conversation to see if you can get her to aspire to anything. If she can get a really clear and positive image in her mind then that will help her progress towards it.

Hm... That's not a bad idea: if you can, try and get her to think of a really good, happy picture or herself. Get her to think about what she's wearing, how she feels, what the smells and sounds are, how people are looking at her. The more senses you can involve the more real it becomes for her. When she's got that idea in her head then it will work on her subconscious, prompting her to make decisions that are more likely to help her achieve that goal.

A good way to do this would be to do one yourself first, so get something ready, and think about as much detail for it as possible. When it's her turn, encourage her to think about the same level of detail that you have used. This way you will already have taken part, so she can't feel that you're picking on her so it hopefully will sidestep some of the defences that she would have built up for traditional approaches.

As I said, I think the drugs are the key to the whole cycle. You can either go in heavy-handed and forcibly remove them from the equation through a cold-turkey session, or you can try reversing the steps that have led her there. The second one takes a lot longer, but might be more likely to work in the long run.

Good luck with it. *hugs*
When I was a teenager, I had a huge drug problem as well. And as Mata has stated, it stemmed from a huge problem with self esteem. I escaped life for long periods just so that I could handle life. Unlike her, I turned to violent crime instead of escorting and prostitution. Of course, that most likely because of my gender and not from personal taste.

I had very few friends that even bothered to stick by me once I made it clear where my life was heading. But I had 2 in particular, who locked me in thier closet for a long time, never paying attention to my screaming and pounding. After HELL, I came out clean, and decided to improve my life some.

Of course, some of the vital aspects were still ignored. And that's partly why what happened Sunday night happened. The drugs were gone, but nothing positive took its place. I just managed to push my way through life for the last 9 years. But if you're going to help Sarah, you need to be there to help her rebuild her life around positive things instead of her drugs and prostitution.

I wish I had someone like you when I was 16 Froggy...
As an update: I've had no contact with her since before I posted. So. Well. That's about it.
{Gothic Angel}
From your perspective at least, that may be a good thing tongue.gif At least you'll be prepared if she does come knocking *cuddle*
There are a lot of ways you can go about helping your friend. I had a friend, once upon a time, who was 15 years old, getting plastered all the time on anything he could get his hands on, and selling coke to people twice his age. When he confided in me that he'd started doing coke too, I knew I needed to do something.

I cared about him like a little brother, and one day I skipped school, went to his house (he'd been expelled for possession of a deadly weapon and spent his time selling easy rock out of his home) sat him down and had a serious talk. At first, I was calm, and assured him that I loved him very much, honestly wanting nothing but the best for him. In addition to calming my own nerves on what I had to say next, it made him feel better, even though he didn't know what was going on. From there, I told him he was ruining his life, he was disgracing himself and his poor mother, his brother, and everyone else who cared for him. Not only was he hurting himself, but he was proving everyone who told him he was a failure, fuck up, low life right, that he was falling into the trap everyone always said he would. "You're out of control! You can't handle your own life anymore. The drugs and lifestyle you love so much are eating you, and you're too beautiful to be taken that way." All this was met with what I expected, a big "F*** YOU! Who do you think you are, telling me how to live my life?!" Every time he said this, he started walking away, but I'd grab him, throw him back on the curb and keep him there. I told him I wouldn't be saying this unless I really meant it, unless I cared, and even if he didn't care about himself, how could he possibly be so selfish as to fuck with the lives of the people around him who DID.

We ended up talking for about an hour, maybe longer. He told me (like Sarah, I'm supposing) that not only was he afraid to get out of the business, but his higher dealers would be none too happy to say the least, and he wouldn't have any money and he'd been in this lifestyle of getting wasted for so long and and and.... excuse after excuse. With every excuse I shot him down, until finally he became silent and just nodded. Within 2 days he'd stopped selling coke and wasn't doing it anymore. He actually got a day job to occupy himself, and he'd made a promise to his mother he'd help with their money situation. I was completely shocked. I knew I'd made an impression, but not so much. He never stopped smoking weed or drinking, but he cut out all the heavy stuff.

i suggest you take a similar approach with Sarah. Keep her calm when you begin to talk, and then ease into why you're really there. She will likely get angry (you said she was defensive) and will try to leave, or tell you to leave, or blow it off, but whatever you do, don't let her. You should be in control the whole time, because the person you're talking to definitely isn't. Every time she makes an excuse, give her another option, show her there's another way to make money or occupy herself. Make it exceedingly clear that you and many others care about her and are worried, and don't want to see her destroyed by something so terrible. Just, whatever you do, don't let her leave. Keep talking until she calms down and actually listens to what you have to say. I'm an addict, and I was given the same speech... many many MANY times before, and let me say from experience, when someone tries to talk to you about it, the first thing you start thinking is "Who are they and what do they know about MY life? Nothing. They can't tell me what to do, hell, they don't even know what they're talking about. F*** this and f*** them." It isn't easy, but it's definitley possible. *Phew* I'm typing a lot.

As for her physical addictions, after you talk her into maybe changing her life for the better, I agree. Lock her in a room Trainspotting style and don't let her out until she's good again. This is emotionally difficult, I know, but it's for the best and everyone will come out of the situation for the better.

I hope this helps. In my experience, simply yelling at a person (especially an addict) to change and how much of a screw up they are only makes them feel worse. You need to nurture them back to some kind of mental security before you try anything. Preaching is not the answer, only logic and love will do.
QUOTE (acid_rain_child @ Sep 6 2006, 12:46 AM) *
Preaching is not the answer, only logic and love will do.

i dont know much but id like to chuck my two pence in (if it helps i dont know) but is there anyway you can help your friend off the drugs as speaking from experience of watching people close to me, that being clinically depressed and drug taking does not mix, it just amplifies the depression and your friend wont get anywhere until shes clean, but obviously shes got to want to help herself first and when she's ready be there for her, she'll need you.

secondly you mentioned she has genital warts, id advise her to get that sorted asap as HP virus can lead to cervical cancer (someone very close to me has that virus laying dormant in her body, shes never had the warts but it didnt make a difference, she now has abnormal cells in smear tests etc and theres chance it can progress)

i hope this has helped but mostly i really hope you and your friend come out the other side of this and that she'll be alright.
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