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Old 04-20-2009, 12:49 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Question My Best Friend's an Alcoholic

First, let me say, I feel so out of place. I've gone to a few Al-Anon meetings and I feel like a fraud. My parents are wonderful, as is my kind boyfriend, and I have a good life. Emotionally and mentally I am constantly torn because of my best friend. He's an alcoholic and I met him while I was bartending. We became really close and their was potential for more than friendship back then, but he just wouldn't be capable of it, not then, not now. I have since moved about a hour away, met someone, doing well, etc. but I think of him all the time. I worry about him, how he's doing, how much he's drinking, if he's in trouble and you know the rest... Recently I came to a breaking point. He was in jail on a rehab unit, again (fourth time in three years) and I wrote him and visited with him several times. The last time I visited him he really expressed how this was it. When he got out, he was going to do all this stuff differently blah blah and like an idiot I believed him. Since he's been out, he drinks just as much as before and we keep getting into arguements. I'm so tired of fighting and I have no idea why I can't just walk away!!! If you'd look at the basic facts, it's really hard to see why we're friends. I sometimes don't know why either, except for the fact that when we're together, everything fits. That may not make any sense, but it's just a feeling that things are okay. So, if I could, I'd stop talking to him. I'd stop being there for him all the time...but I just can't. (Talk about needing to learn loving with detachment) The thing is, always being there for him doesn't bother me. It's that he's never there for me. We have a 90-10 relationship. I always go 90 percent of the way, and he's the other ten. I know I'd bend over backwards for him, but I sometimes doubt he'd do anything for me, let alone be there should I ever really need him. I feel like he doesn't care about me and that hurts. I'm not saying he should stop drinking for me. I know he has to do that for himself, but sometimes he's so selfish and I'm not sure if that's alcoholism or if that's just him. We got into a fight a few days ago and now he wants to see me, but I'm not sure if I want to keep going in this endless cycle. People who have parents or relatives who are alcoholics don't walk away, what about if it's your friend? What do you do then?
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Old 04-20-2009, 01:09 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I'm not sure why you feel like a fraud going to Al-Anon, you went there because someone you love and care is an alcoholic and it is affecting your life. They say you should try it at least 6 times to see if Al-Anon will be of benefit.

One other thing, with an alcoholic, their best friend in the world is their drink of choice, everything else is secondary. As long as your friend keeps drinking, it will stay 90/10 as you say, which is a pretty good ratio at this point, but be prepared for it to go to 100/0 if he continues to drink.

I hate to be a bummer, but just basing it on years of experience in dealing with AF and AS. The hootch always comes first, over family, friends, and their health.

Welcome to the board and read the stories of many who are/have walked in your shoes in dealing with someone they love with is an alcoholic. Go to Al-Anon, it does help and it took me a while to accept that, but it does!
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Old 04-20-2009, 01:36 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Welcome to SR.
Al-Anon is a good place for me to learn how to stop dismissing my own needs for the sake of others-especially those who don't care for me or have my best interests at heart. The main person I had to face- that didn't have my best interest at heart was...myself.
I hope that you will continue to read and post in this forum, read the sticky threads and learn the truth about this disease. You aren't alone, we're all here to share our stories and what it took for each of us to find a better way to live.
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Old 04-20-2009, 04:54 PM   #4 (permalink)
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People who have parents or relatives who are alcoholics don't walk away
Yes, we do indeed walk away when that is the best thing for us to do. I cut my alcoholic parents out of much of my life. I left and divorced my alcholic husband. I have ended friendship with alcoholics. I had to to save my sanity and to build a good life for myself. I couldn't cahnge, cure or control them. I could and did decide I didn't need the madness that is alcoholism in my life.

It comes down to accepting them for what they are and deciding what they means for you. Accept that alcholism is part of who they are, that they are not going to change. This certainly seems to be the case with your friend.

So, what are you getting out of this friendship besides pain and drama? What need inside you is this relationship filling? Is this what you consider part of a friendship? Or is a friendship suppsoed to be between equals, adult who respect and accept each other and do not cause each other needless pain?
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Old 04-20-2009, 06:54 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I'm new and I don't know how to do the little quote boxes, but you said,

"It comes down to accepting them for what they are and deciding what they means for you. Accept that alcholism is part of who they are, that they are not going to change. This certainly seems to be the case with your friend."


I'm not sure how you can say that. Isn't that what this is all about? Finding change? Deciding that it's not all okay and looking for, and working towards, a better life? I guess I look at it like this....If my friend got cancer and decided to refuse treatment, would I stop being there friend? I guess I'm just holding on to the hope that someday he'll decide he is ready for treatment and I want to be there when that happens. Everyone else has given up on him and I know what it's like to feel like all the peole you love have jumped ship on you.

You're right though about all those questions you asked me. I think I need to do some deep thinking regarding what I get from this friendship. Thanks.
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Old 04-20-2009, 09:10 PM   #6 (permalink)
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MyItalianlove,

I was in a similar situation. I became very close to a man while working on a project together. I am and was then an alcoholic in recovery. Wil was a wonderful guy, funny and smart. I knew he drank but didn't realize how much. Or maybe it just got worse over the few years we were best buds.

After a horrible night on a business that involved me having to get out of bed and go downstairs to pay the cabbie that brought Wil to the hotel in a stupor, I set a boundary of no drinking around me. I still got some drunken phone calls until I refused to talk to him when he was drinking.

He was prone to getting beat up and I went to pick him up a few times. I told him he had an alcohol problem and needed help. And that I wouldn't pick him up again. I suggested rehab. He declined.

Finally, he was arrested for drunk in public while on a business trip in another city. Big Trouble. I helped him get into rehab which he hated and only went as it was a condition of keeping his job. Of course he drank almost as soon as he was released.

I sat down with him when he was sober and told him I loved him. I said I couldn't be his friend unless he got into recovery. He chose to continue drinking. I run into him on occasion and always hug him. He looks terrible. I hear stories of his drunken escapades from colleagues. I fully expect him to die from alcoholism.

I had to detach with love. He knows I'm here for him anytime he wants to get help and stay sober. I really miss him. But there's nothing I can do unless he wants to get help.

Please do go to Ala non. Believe me, you can't help someone who doesn't want help with the core problem of addiction. But you can learn how to take care of yourself.

I hope this helps.

Love,

Lenina
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Old 04-20-2009, 09:21 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Hi and Welcome!

Not wanting to give up on my xabf is part of what kept me stuck. He will drink whether you are there or not and he will have to decide if/when he wants to quit. You being miserable because of him is not helping him or you. Think about yourself and what you want.

(((MyItalianLove)))
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Old 04-21-2009, 05:01 AM   #8 (permalink)
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I'm not sure how you can say that. Isn't that what this is all about? Finding change? Deciding that it's not all okay and looking for, and working towards, a better life?
Ah, I work toward change in me not the A. I have no right let alone ability to change another person. We are all adults with the right to screw up our lives as much as we choose to. DOesn't mean I like that fact that my xAH for example refuses to admit he is an alcoholic and certainly hasn't done a thing to deal with it. But I accept that he is who and what he is. I cannot change him. I cannot control him. I cannot cure him.

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If my friend got cancer and decided to refuse treatment, would I stop being there friend?
I didn't say you have to stop being a friend. Just examine what that friendship is doing to you and think about whether you want to continue it.

And yes, if some one I cared about had cancer and refused treatment and by doing this harmed me in some way, I would stop being their friend. I don't see that as at all likely becasue another person refusing cancer treatment rarely has negative effects on those around them as alcholism does.


[QUOTE=MyItalianLove;2200487] I guess I'm just holding on to the hope that someday he'll decide he is ready for treatment and I want to be there when that happens. Everyone else has given up on him and I know what it's like to feel like all the peole you love have jumped ship on you. [/qutoe]

I left my xAH about 2 yrs ago now. I still hope he gets out of denial and seek sobriety. But I care from a distance. I am no longer enmeshed in all the fallout from AH's choices.

Hope is a wonderful thing. But if hope casues me to forget that my needs and wants matter, causes my life to become unmanageable, hope has turned into something else.

There is nothing wrong with setting a boundary on this friendship that says somethign along the lines of "I care for you and hope you seek sobriety. When and if you do, we may be able to continue our friendship. But as long as you are an actgive alcoholic, I cannot put myself in to the pain and drama that is involved."
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Old 04-21-2009, 01:32 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Dear MyItalianLove,

I suspect that you are more than a little in love with this man...in fact, is he Italian? If so, and if you decide to continue in this relationship, it may be that there are reasons you prefer drama in you life right now. Are there things in your own life that actually need attention, but you are putting it aside to think a lot about him? Or perhaps, although you are at peace with your current boyfriend, you may not really be in love with him, and this other relationship is more compelling. If that's the case, just be honest with yourself and get single for a while.

Trust me, there are men that you can fall in love with that are not drinkers. And you don't need one man to get free of another that just doesn't quite fill the bill. Know what I mean?

Love,
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