“This is who I am,” said the disease.

Nearly nine months working it in Al Anon, and there’s nothing I can do as I watch alcoholism engulf one of my best friends.

She’s that friend who I could tell anything to, even the shittiest thing I did, and she’d nod and ask more questions and then tell me some ultra shitty thing she’d done. Always over wine. We watched our kids grow up together and viewed ourselves as extended family.

When my husband began going to AA, naturally, I confided in her. Her reaction was not what I expected. “You know I’m an alcoholic too, right?” I hadn’t known, but I wasn’t entirely surprised. I’d heard all about her growing up with an alcoholic mother and as an adult, she herself always had a glass of wine in her hand, regardless of the hour.

She had no intent of doing a 12 step program. “This is who I am,” she firmly told me, at once establishing that she would not be making any changes, and that I should not expect any of my husband, either.

I went home perplexed. How does one know they have a sickness and not want to eradicate it? I did not know much about alcoholism at that point.

The months passed. Initially, my friend would come over and bring her wine with her, as we no longer kept alcohol in the house. She’d ask me constantly if my husband was still not drinking. As he continued with his program, she visited and called less and less. She had reasons why she couldn’t go out with me each time I’d ask.

I never lectured her about drinking, never advised her to stop. I’d even offered several times to go to her house and bring the wine, just so we could have time to hang out, but she had begun to shut me out.

When her daughter would babysit mine at her house, she wouldn’t come out of her room to see me when I arrived. At this point, she only briefly answers my texts, then ends the conversation abruptly for some reason or other.

I really miss my friend and I still sometimes wonder if I had done anything wrong to cause this. The Al Anon literature reminds me I didn’t cause it, I can’t control it, and I can’t cure it. But it still really, mega sucks. 

For now, our friendship is another casualty of this awful disease, a sad rendition of “Just for today.”