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.