Sunday, January 4, 2009

Fun Monday-Deep Thoughts


Faye over at Summit Musings is our gracious host this week, and she has a very interesting assignment for us.

"What's on your mind as we close out 2008 and begin 2009? Large and small. What are often your first thoughts the minute you wake up? When you're alone and unguarded? Working? Stuck in traffic? Playing with the children? Walking the dogs? When you can't sleep?"


The voyeur in me is really interested in what everyone else has to say in today's posts. The coward in me really doesn't want to tackle this issue. Also, I don't want this to come across as a plea for sympathy. This topic is a tough one for me, and I'd rather pass, but for the sake of honesty I won't. The truth is most of my thoughts are wrapped around my alcoholic friend and the effects the disease has had on our friendship. It's what I think about when my eyes open in the morning. It rolls through my head as I drive to work. I think about it when I'm running or cooking dinner, and it's still playing in my mind when I lay my head on the pillow and drift off to sleep at night. It is my first and last thought every single day. It has been for several weeks, and I don't see that changing anytime soon.


We've always been like sisters until recently. For the sake of my mental and emotional health and the safety of my family I've had to step back from this friendship and put some space between us. And it hurts. Deeply. I don't want it to be this way, but it seems to be the only way we can have peace between us. She refuses the help she so badly needs, and I can't do a darned thing about it. It isn't my decision. It is hers to make. She would rather I ignore the drinking and the reckless behavior, but I cannot live a lie. And I will not enable. Anymore. I've done that, and I'm done with that. It doesn't help her. I also cannot put my heart out there again for more manipulation and emotional abuse. It just hurts too much. I'm sure it's hurting her, too. In fact, I know she's hurting much more than me. There's a line in the movie Places in the Heart where a police officer asks a recovering alcoholic if anyone in her AA group could have kidnapped a missing baby. Her response is, "No Harry, we're alcoholics. We're generally happy abusing ourselves." Only someone who has dealt with alcoholism could write that line.


I am struggling with finding a way to be close to her without getting sucked into the madness called addiction. There's a fine line between friendship and enabling. I don't know where it is. I am attending Al-Anon meetings and trying to follow the program. It's been extremely helpful because it makes me focus on my own behavior, and I realize I've made so many mistakes in this relationship. More than once I have abused her with angry words. Ah, the anger. It runs so deep and is so hard to turn loose. I'm working on that area, but it's going to take a long time to get to the point at which I need to be. To be honest, I'm still very mad at her. In fact, I don't think I've ever been this mad at someone. My brain understands it's a disease, just like cancer or heart disease, but my heart doesn't understand it. It still feels like willful behavior, even though my reading material says it isn't. Mostly, I'm mad because she refuses the appropriate treatment even though she knows this disease could kill her. I've taken to reading the blogs of recovering alcoholics lately because they give me insight into what it's like "on the other side". It's helping me to realize how selfish my motives have been at times and how to pack away that martyr badge I've been wearing for months. Let's just say I have a lot of work to do...on me.


And I will continue to do just that...work on myself, no matter what path my friend takes. I hope that one day she can be healthy and happy, and we can put this behind us. Frankly, the odds of it happening seem very slim right now. As they say in Al-Anon, I have to "let go and let God" handle it. Obviously, that's easier said than done since my thoughts keep winding around and around my friend.

15 comments:

Jan said...

Oh, man, this is heart wrenching. I have a friend who is in recovery; you're right, it's something they have to do for themselves, but it's tough. Bless you for wanting to help; your friend knows you're there if she every gets her act together.

karisma said...

Oh Hula, you poor thing. I learned this lesson the hard way too. It is impossible to fix everyone and every person on this earth has their own free will. Sometimes we have to step back and let people work things out for themselves. I know its hard when it is someone you love but sometimes you have to for own sake as well as your families as you say.

What you need to focus on is forgiveness. Try to forgive her and let her work out her own shit. As much as it hurts to do so. She needs to work it out for herself. Step back and look after yourself. Pray for her if thats what you do. Pray hard. And don't stop loving her just keep your distance.

Big hugs xxxx

Sayre said...

I've been involved with several alcoholics over the years. It is always a hard thing (and I have to wonder sometimes what draws me to these people) to let go and let God. Having lost a few to alcohol-related illnesses, I really hope your friend can pull herself together - and that you can keep yourself from being dragged down with her while still being there for her.

Alison said...

I am sorry you are going through this right now. I think you are doing the right things, focusing on your self, going to Al Anon, those are all positive steps. I hope she realizes she needs help soon.

Molly said...

My heart sank as reading your post. A few years ago, my neighbor, an alcoholic and a drug addict, and I were at a similar place. She called on me when she was distraught over her abuse, and I answered her calls, held her hand...well you know. Finally, after some soul-searching, I realized that my helping was just enabling. Eventually, she left left her abusive husband and became sober.

I wish you well in your own difficult journey. You have made a very brave choice for yourself and your friend. "let go and let God handle it" Take care.

Pamela said...

It is sad that chemical abuse causes people to choose the "stuff" (be it drugs or alcohol) over their friends and families.

You may have to wait until she is ready for help. I hope it is soon.

Hootin' Anni said...

There is only one thing you CAN do, and that is be there when her call for help has finally triggered her NEED to GET help.

It's tough. And I think you're doing the right thing with your stance...tough love!

It's up to her.

Come read mine if you can find time. Happy Fun Monday!!

Cruise Mom said...

You are doing the right thing, and Al-Anon is a fantastic organization that will give you the tools you need. I've been there, and you can only find peace when you realize that the only person you can change is yourself.

Janis said...

Hula, just know, you are doing the right thing by going to Alanon. right now all you can do is pray for you friend and keep the Faith. No one can help her but herself. She has to admit she has a problem and ask for help. Its hard to see someone you love ruin their life right before your very eyes. I can see it is eating you up inside, you truly need to "Let go, Let God" for your own sanity

Faye said...

There is nothing so painful as losing a friend to something that is beyond your control. I don't know very much about alcholism but that it is a demon that you have to want to be cured of before anything can happen.. It sounds like your friend is not to that point yet. Meanwhile, you have to walk that fine line between supporting her and not damaging yourself or your family. Best of luck and hopefully your friend will ask for your help some day soon.

{i}Post said...

This is a very difficult situation and it is understandable why it can become all consuming. I dealt with a similar situation years ago with a girl who was in my wedding, whose daughter was my God-daughter, and who I loved very much. I had to step back because I could not and would not live with that kind of negative energy in my life. It is too exhausting. Two years later she came around and now we are "cautious" friends again. Best wishes for a good resolution with this!

Jason, as himself said...

Ohh, Hula. I'm sorry you're still dealing with this. But then, these kinds of things don't just resolve themselves quickly, do they? Hang in there. I think you're handling it very well.

ChrisB said...

This post hit a bit close to home as a member of my family is trying to deal with a similar situation and I have not been able to give any useful advice. I do hope your friend is able to turn her life around. It seems you are doing everything you can to help.

Trailboss said...

It is hard sometimes isn't it? Thankfully my son entered a rehab of sorts this week. He has committed to 6 months so we shall see. I feel your pain and know all too well how you feel. You know that all we can do is take care of ourselves. After all, you want to still be around and healthy if and when your friend does get help.

Prayers for you.

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