“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.” 

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6 thoughts on ““This is who I am,” said the disease.

  1. We all, including the addicts in our lives, get it when we get it and no sooner. The loss or shift of relationships while working the program can be shocking and profound, as those around us adjust to our new ways of thinking (or even just our participation in the program). We will falter in that adjustment and often, so do they. The serenity prayer guides us to accept that we can’t change another’s thinking but that we can change our response to it. I’m sorry you’re hurting. It does mega suck! It does get better. Keep coming (or going) back!

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    1. Thank you for this. While I have been able to work the program in relation to my recovering alcoholic husband, I am finding that in some ways it is harder to work with my best friend. Part of me simply holds girlfriends at a higher standard. I’d not shut her out, but she isn’t me, and of course I have no control of her actions. Even though I am now familiar with alcoholism, I feel abandoned by my best friend, I still am seeing her hurtful actions as her own and not dictated by the disease. Need to turn a lot of things over to my higher power and like you said, keep remembering the Serenity prayer. I hope our friendship isn’t gone for good.

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  2. Alcohol is an insidious beast. It creeps up on us virtually unbeknownst. We are often the last to truly know the extent of the territory its pillaged and plundered from us. Your friend needs your friendship, even in small measure, for the day that will inevitably arrive if she keeps to the course of destruction she’s on. Hang in there! ((((Hugs))))

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  3. When I began attending meetings, several close friends distanced themselves from me, and I, them. I feared their judgment; I isolated. And I suspect they felt similarly. It was, initially, shocking and sad to me.

    Over time, however, I’ve noticed that my recovery has helped me open up socially. I’m more confident. I can be honest. I don’t have to cover things up, or act like everything’s peachy when it’s not. As a result, I’m making new friends in unexpected places, and reconnecting with some very old ones in new ways. These are gifts of the program that I could not conceive of when I entered the rooms!

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    1. It is good to hear from someone else in the rooms! I haven’t blogged in a long time and it was nice to come back to this. I love the honesty in the rooms and it’s always helped me to be accountable for my own crap.

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