PART TWO……….CAN TRUE FRIENDSHIP SURVIVE ALCOHOLISM?

funny-friendship-quotes-a-good-friend-would-offer-you-an-umbrella1This little photo quote cracks me up!  My friend and I laugh so hard at these stupid little minion quotes. We have weird sense of humors, sometimes dark sometimes just crazy! You have to learn to laugh at the shitty things that happen in your life at times. When you put a twist on it, it can change your whole outlook. There is a silver lining even in the darkest cloud….Look for it! Anyway on with the story. We had just done a half ass intervention on her Dad’s 70th birthday (still feel like a jerk for that) but there is no good timing to help save a friends life.  The other friend and I talked for a short time after this happened, she had a very hard time accepting that our friend wasn’t speaking to us. I tried explaining that we went in knowing this could be the end of the friendship for a while. I kept telling her to stop calling her, give her time to digest what happened just let her be for a while when she is ready she will talk to you. As for me I had already decided to walk away until she got help for herself. I wasn’t judging her but what had happened is our friendship was me being the friend and her not so much. When I really needed her she wasn’t there for me and I was going through my own hell with my life that I would put aside to be there for her and it just became too exhausting.

So she buddied up with this other woman and started posting all these photos of them on FaceBook and ALWAYS with drinks in hand. I remember one in particularly that stood out to me a few months after this happened. They were in a pool at 9:30 A.M. drinking and appeared to look drunk already. Her caption was “Hanging with my BFF” I thought “good lord she has really gone off the deep end”. One thing about me to know is I am an absolute animal lover and will rescue any animal. They are part of my family! Our Rottweiler had battled breast cancer for 3 years and was nearing her end of life and my friend always knew when that happened I would need her. Well all this drama with her happened in July of 2011 and our dog passed away a few days after Christmas that same year, I was devastated. I assume Her daughter told her what happened and a few days later I found flowers and a card from her on my front porch saying “how sorry she was that we lost her”. I sent her a message and told her how shocked I was that she took the time to do that but also how much I appreciated her thoughtfulness. We sent a few casual messages back and forth and that was it.

Meanwhile my husbands alcoholism had gotten so bad my life was just falling apart. My fathers MS was progressing and his health was declining. It was all a mess and the one person I could talk to daily was gone, I could no longer trust her, I felt so alone. My husband ended up getting a DUI in 2012.  It was a crazy year. I had heard that she met some guy on the internet and married him six months later. I knew that was a huge mistake. We didn’t talk for 5 years. One day in March of this year 2016 some photo memories came up from years ago on FaceBook with my dad and the rest of the family and her having a game day at Mom’s and something compelled me to send her a message. I reached out just to let her know that I never meant for anything bad to happen that day I was just trying to look out for her and do what was right and that I hoped life was good to her. That led to a few messages back and forth and then a meeting at Starbucks. I learned to listen to that inner voice of mine!

friendship-quotes91We are those people that just seemed to pick up where we left off. It was as though those 5 years went by in the blink of an eye, yet in the moment it seemed like forever. I told her I finally got to write and publish my book and she told me she is with another guy who has addiction problems and she isn’t happy. Part of me thought “oh no she’s the same”.  She started to tell me about her life and what had happened since we last spoke.  She always said she wanted to marry a man with money. I always told her how superficial she was and how that isn’t where true happiness will come from. She finally found that man and she was miserable. In fact so much so that even living in Barbados she was in HELL! She told me that he was lazy, lied, drank all day just wanted to sit in front of the TV, manipulated his boss & hardly worked, he wasn’t the man she thought she had met. She said she was drunk everyday just to cope and took Xanax. She had the ocean for a backyard and she was miserable! She said she always felt if we were friends during that time that she would have NEVER married him. I told her that I didn’t believe that to be true because as much as she thinks I could have “saved her” from making that choice in her life the truth is it was all supposed to happen. And not to long before that I tried throwing her the life boat she just kept popping it she didn’t want to be saved. There is a lesson in everything we go through and if we look really hard we will eventually feel the meaning behind it.

I brought her a copy of my book Married Under The Influence because she wanted to read it. She read it all in 3 days! She said she could not believe even though she was always around us and we talked all the time she could not see what was happening in my life with my husband and kids. She said she didn’t know how bad it really was. She genuinely apologized and that was all I needed to feel from her to know she was sincere.  I told her that’s because she herself has a drinking problem and it’s hard to see past the alcoholism.  She explained to me that her drinking got so out of control she convinced her parents that we exaggerated.  She had told me that she wasn’t working at one point and the female roommate she had is also a problem drinker.  She said for a long time she would wake up and start drinking, drink all day then go to bed drinking.  She said I have no idea what the hell happened to me but it became such a serious problem I couldn’t stop drinking and I didn’t want too.

Then about 3 weeks before we met her son had asked her to see if she can go just one week without a drink. She said it really opened her eyes and made her think so she stopped. She was trying to do it on her own though and she lives with someone who has their own addiction problems so by the time I saw her she was struggling to keep it together. She wanted to stay sober but didn’t think she could because she had no support from home. She started going to one AA meeting a week with my husband and I but she wouldn’t go to any other meetings. The thing about my friend is she is a follower, she likes to fit in and be accepted, she is afraid in a way to be her own person to stand for herself. She remained alcohol free for about 3 months but then when friends would come over if they asked her to drink she would. She has a few other friends that she always drank with and that is all their friendship is about. I had explained to her that when she becomes truly sober and stops drinking and is around old friends who want to continue their addictions she will see that the friendship doesn’t seem to have that bond it once use too. I explained that it is the alcoholism that they have in common not necessarily a true friendship. It Doesn’t mean that it isn’t a true friendship either that is just what I have witnessed so far. I told her that a true friend will not pressure you to drink, get mad if you don’t drink, and will support you in what you want and what you need to do to take care of yourself. However another alcoholic will not be able to see this reality because they themselves are fighting the same evil demons she is and they want company.

So we have had our family game nights again, we get together for lunch, we talk often. She and her kids are family they have always been family and always will be. Right now she has fallen back into the trap of “I don’t want to be the only one NOT drinking”.  My response was “do you want to drink”?  Her response was “No I don’t but I feel I have too”. I understand that vulnerability that people have. When you are afraid if your not doing what the other people in your life are doing because they will judge you or not be your “friend” anymore you are giving in to the demonic part of alcoholism, the disease that will control your life and take it if your not careful. You know the one that convinces you that you don’t have a problem! Now she wants to get out of her living situation with this man who also has the addiction problems but she has become “comfortable” in her words. It would be almost impossible for someone like her to become sober and get into recovery living the way she’s living. It would almost be like a crack addict living in a crack house trying to remain sober, it just wouldn’t work it isn’t healthy.

I have learned that every friendship is different and every person is different. In my own opinion I think a true friendship may be able to survive alcoholism but not without serious changes, or time away from one another.  Once a person finds recovery and is serious about it and seeks the help they need they will change.  As the poison that once filled their minds and body begins to detox reality starts to creep in and for the first time in their life they are able to see things the way they really are and not the way they wanted to see them. It certainly doesn’t happen over night but what I know is this. My friend had 3 months of sobriety and during that time she had one foot in recovery and the other hand on the bottle. She has God in her heart, a little AA on her mind and the devil somewhere in between.  She wants to take a step onto that right path but I believe she is afraid she will miss her old “fun life” not realizing that it is all a façade it is the addiction convincing you it’s all real everything is fine. That couldn’t be further from the truth.  When you can take a look back at the trail of destruction alcoholism leaves behind you, you’d never want to live that life again!

I will always help her where I can but I have to be careful not to get so involved in her problems that they become my own. I have learned with our time apart how to separate myself out of her problems and know I am just helping guide her to the place and person she is fighting so hard to be. I literally can see the alcoholism eating away at her. She tries to please everyone by being the type of people they are when she is around them, but that isn’t who she is. I encourage her all the time to be true to herself, to really find the true essence of the person she is inside not to worry about who she loses along the way because if they leave they were only meant to teach her a lesson. She has a very strong faith to God, she goes to her favorite church every Sunday. But even today I saw her for lunch and she is struggling so hard with her current situation because of the addiction home she lives in, she says “I know it’s wrong and its hurting my heart everyday I know God doesn’t want me to live like this”. It then follows with “but I’m comfortable” what that means is she is terrified of the unknown so even if “comfortable” means bad she will deal with it.  We have all been in that dark place and it is no fun to be.  All I can do is be her friend, not judge her, be honest, communicate and help her the best way I know how.

tina-and-kim

Like I said to my friend today. “Remember God may have a plan for you but it won’t happen if you aren’t willing to listen and take that first step to put it into action”. I have my friend back in my life and Even if I don’t always agree or like the choices she makes they are hers to make. When she needs me she asks and what I give her is complete honesty and she respects that. I have learned no matter how much time apart we may take, we will always be friends, we will always be family and that will never change!

Wishing you Peace & Serenity…………Harmony Rose

 

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