It doesn’t take long to understand which friends are able to support us and which aren’t. It is an ugly thing when a good friend turns out to be an opposing force.
I had another topic I was just about done writing when a text came in from one of my girlfriends. We’re supposed to be hanging out this weekend with our families, and she asked a whole bunch of questions that ended with, “What’s going on with the drinking?” I know she wants to party and have it be like old times. Old times have always included alcohol. This is the same friend who, upon first finding out my husband was attending AA said, “What? This is totally going to mess with my partying.” She was joking, but it was still irritating, making it all about her when we were dealing with something pretty serious to us.
It is frustrating when people misunderstand alcoholism as something that goes away after awhile. They may think that one beer is a harmless thing to an alcoholic trying to stay sober. They might not understand why a little bit is such a big deal. Don’t be to alcoholics what Tom Cruise is to postpartum depression. Seriously. This disease is real and there are so many people battling it, trying to have decent lives. An alcoholic cannot have a few sips, be satisfied, and la-dee-da go back to sobriety in a snap. Sobriety is something the alcoholic fights for every single day. It’s not a joke, a plaything, it’s not a whim that disappears because a friend wants drinking buddies.
For the most part, the people we’ve told have been very supportive. On the other side of the spectrum, there are those who have looked at me with pity. We have a difficult situation: we’re working through it. Don’t look at me like I’m a puppy with parvo. Pity is not helpful. It’s condescending. There are so many things that have improved since we understood our situation. I’ll take today over the past anytime. I think the people who pity can’t see past the label. It’s not a desirable label, but it’s helped us understand what kind of help we need. In some way, I am thankful for it.