PART ONE………CAN TRUE FRIENDSHIP SURVIVE ALCOHOLISM?

66fb283d15da2f9c1e4ddbc5dd9fb7e01I met a good family friend of mine 21 years ago but let me tell you, it didn’t come without some serious drama………..She answered my newspaper ad (can you believe that we actually read newspapers back then)! I placed the ad for daycare openings. I was a stay at home mom because my daughter had open heart surgery at 7 weeks old and I wanted to be with her full time. I started babysitting her daughter when she was 13 months old. We quickly became friends and turned into family.

She had a second baby (a son) a few years later that I would also get to care for. She decided to leave her husband and file for a divorce when the baby was about a year maybe 1 1/2 years old. My friend moved in with us and that is when I really was able to see the troubles she was carrying around with her. She got involved with another man right away (I knew he was even bigger trouble). I also watched how much she was drinking. She loved her rum and diet coke. She always had to have a bottle of rum in the freezer. Fast forward 6 months, she had moved out got her own apartment but she wasn’t OK. Then, One night she called me freaking out that she was going to take a bottle of pills wash it down with a bottle of alcohol to kill herself and she was going to give the kids cough medicine so they could go with her.

I drove to her house. I marched in there I took the pills and dumped them down the drain then I poured out the alcohol and told her to “get her shit together” and in the meantime I was taking the kids with me and I did just that! I called their dad and told them what happened and before long serious shit went down and her and I stopped talking. I couldn’t be surrounded by that lifestyle so we stopped talking for 8 years. I knew she needed help but she wasn’t ready for that and I know I could have handled it better too. Of course this isn’t all that happened this is just what finally caused a break in our friendship.

Our girls were now 13 years old when we met again and it was as though none of us skipped a beat it was like no time had passed. Our girls were inseparable when they were little and they were that way again. We all became much closer this time and now I was married and had step-children. We got together all the time for dinner and game nights, spent the holidays together, special events Etc. During this time I was more aware about what heavy drinking and alcoholism was, after all my husband was a binge drinking alcoholic and now he had a drinking buddy. One time about a week after she had a surgical procedure done we all went to see a concert up in Lake Tahoe. They hid a Ziploc bag of rum in my husbands pants so they didn’t have to pay for all the alcohol they needed. They were so wasted it was ridiculous! We had to get a wheel chair for her because she just had surgery and couldn’t even walk.

There wasn’t one family night or event we went to where these two didn’t drink. However my husband drank an excessive amount while she kind of paced herself but I noticed that she had to drink every single day at least 1-2 drinks a night during the week from what I knew and the weekends it was a free for all. Fast forward again to 2011 and her drinking had progressed and her poor choice in men started to cause more problems in her life. Her boyfriend at the time broke up with her and she had a serious emotional meltdown, so bad that another friends son was over at her house one evening and at about 10:00 I received a panicked phone call from him saying that she was threatening to kill herself and then go kill her ex. My problem is I was so involved in her life that I took her problems on like they were my own because somehow I could save her. She was family and I cared about her and the kids, it killed me to see her slowly killing herself with alcohol and she wasn’t even aware at what the problem really was. To her it was everyone else because to an alcoholic manipulation, lies, blame, and denial go hand in hand.

My husband and I raced over there and I ran upstairs to where I found her sitting on he stairs and she was so drunk. She said to me “If you and the rest of the family really loved me you would just let me kill myself” I said absolutely NOT!  We love you so we WILL NOT be sitting by while you hurt yourself or someone else. On our way over to her house I had called the police and told my husband to let me know when they were there. Within 5 minutes of being there I said “lets go downstairs, you are not going to be happy but this needs to happen” she came down the stairs and saw the police standing there. Boy was she pissed!! After talking with her or trying too and her freaking out and being belligerent they gave her a choice she could go on her own to the hospital in the ambulance or they would be making her go. She was so out of control yelling at them. She was so pissed at me BUT she wanted me to ride in the ambulance with her so I did. She was so rude and out of control at the hospital refusing to put on a gown saying she would sue people it was crazy. That is what alcohol does to you. It creates this false sense of reality and entitlement.

Well they released her several hours later I have no idea why they didn’t put her on suicide watch but they didn’t. She came to see me the next day, she was a total wreck she asked if she made an appointment with her doctor if I would go with her. She got in the next day I believe with the nurse practitioner. She was rocking back and forth on the table and she was shaking and crying but she was telling the nurse that if this guy would just come back to her everything would be fine she would be OK. The nurse started asking her questions and suggested that checking herself into rehab would be very beneficial for her. My friend flat out refused, she said all she needed was HIM to come back to her and she would be fine and she repeated it over and over again. The nurse tried to encourage her to really consider rehab but she absolutely refused she was unable to see the problem was within herself not someone else.

A few weeks later she proceeded to get worse and a friend of hers called me and filled me in on the situation which was she had chosen to stop eating she was just going to drink alcohol and kill herself that way. Her friend said her parents were coming to town to visit and she suggested we tell her parents the truth about what’s been going on with her and see if they can help her. Whenever her parents would come to visit she would hide all of her alcohol while they were here and she wouldn’t drink either, each day they were here she would become more anxious and angry because she wasn’t able to drink she feared they would catch her and for whatever her reasons were she didn’t want them to know. I begged her so many times to just be honest and talk with them that they would understand but she was so worried about disappointing them. I told her they love you they can help you. So we decided to do an intervention. So you have to imagine the people involved in the intervention was my husband another current alcoholic, another friends husband, alcoholic, and the other friend addicted to prescription pain killers and me who has no addiction problems but somehow I get myself into these situations because I want to help and I mean well. Definitely not the best group of people to do an intervention but what are you going to do you work with what you have, right?

We didn’t know it at the time but it was her Father’s 70th birthday (when I found out I felt so terrible). I was outside talking with my friend and I had no idea that her other friend and the two men were inside spilling everything to her parents, this didn’t go as planned. Well my friend absolutely flipped out she went crazy and she went after the other female friend telling her how much she hates her, then her and her father had such a struggle he threw her down on the couch and actually had to kneel on her to try and make her stay. there was a lot of yelling. It was such an upsetting day very difficult to watch, it broke my heart.  We left to give her family time to deal with what just happened but we hoped that she would finally get the help she needed. I left that day knowing that would be it for our friendship, I couldn’t do it anymore. I knew that it would be a long time before we ever spoke again if we ever did. She was one of those friends that I had fun with and talked to almost daily, she was company for me during a time when the world was pretty dark for me but nobody really knew that…….our kids grew up together they were family BUT she was very selfish, she was never there when I needed her, and when she was she would let me know how inconvenient it was for her. Things were getting so bad with my husbands drinking, our marriage was awful she couldn’t really see it, she had no idea how much I was hurting and what I was going through, because she had the same type of thinking my husband did, thinking from the mind of an alcoholic is so different. So I decided once again I had to walk away from our friendship and this caused me to become very depressed and sad because the evil part about alcoholism is it takes the very soul of the person you once knew and in it’s place it leaves the shell of that person you no longer know……………….

TO BE CONTINUED……………………………

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