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Old 11-19-2010, 01:14 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Drawing the line for a friend. This hurts.

My best friend (who stopped drinking over 10 years ago) is in a relationship with a WONDERFUL guy for 5 years, except he is an alcoholic. I am the only one she confides in and its beginning to way heavily on me. I am the person she calls FIRST when he didn't come home or she can't find him. They are just a lovely couple together with this one exception, and its a big one.

He is a binge drinker. He holds down a good job but has triggers (usually family phone calls or social events) where he will leave an event, or just not come home because he started drinking. He becomes verbally abusive to her as well. Saying some horrible things to her. He can go a month without one incident then something will happen and he will drink. Most of the time he just passes out somewhere and either the police will bring him home or he wakes up and manages to get home. He does not drive, thank goodness.

I have not seen him ever in this condition but she has held the phone up and even recorded him when he is in one of his 'states.' Then a day or two later everything is swept under the carpet and she acts like everything is going to be just fine. She will say, "he is doing so much better and said he feels awful and will never drink again." But we both know that is never the case and it will happen again and again and again. They have resources/friends that are high profile in the music industry who are willing to help but they never take that next step. NEVER!

Personally, I believe she is addicted to this herself, although I have never understood that concept it MUST be true. I really do not know what to do but I cannot continue to be the sound board. My husband and I are about to go through IVF treatment and I HAVE to be in a good place emotionally to go through what we are about to endure.

I have one ace up my sleeve that I want to ask if this is appropriate: Her mother, who loves her like I have never seen, and loves him as well, is not aware of this issue in their relationship. I want to know if I can 'threaten' her with telling her mother if they do not seek help. What are your thoughts and thank you in advance from the bottom of my heart.
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Old 11-19-2010, 01:21 PM   #2 (permalink)
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It's never good to threaten people, and besides, it's not your place to tell her mother anything. Instead of that, why not just tell her that you can't be her sounding board anymore. She has a right to stay with him if that's what she wants to do and he has a right to drink if that's what he wants to do. Both of these people are adults and are out of your control. Once you remove yourself from the situation, it shouldn't matter to you one way or the other what they do. If it still does, then you have controlling issues that need to be dealt with.
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Old 11-19-2010, 01:26 PM   #3 (permalink)
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If my XH had a big purple neon sign above his head flashing "DANGER AHEAD, ALCOHOLISM IN PROGRESS", I still would have married him. I married him despite *all* my friends misgivings, and I married him in secret so that my family could not protest. It took A LOT for me to realize that I was married to an abusive alcoholic who was slowly chipping away at my sense of self, but when I did, I did it on my own.

As much as your friend plainly has no control whatsoever over her boyfriend, you also do not have any control over her. You asked if you "can" threaten her....to answer you, yes, you "could", but it would get you nowhere, except perhaps alienated from your friend.

You cannot MAKE her come to any realization, just as she cannot MAKE her boyfriend stop binge drinking. If you have serious opposition to her boyfriend, then state your boundary ("i.e. I refuse to be in his presence if he is drinking"), and then let it go. When and if your friend is ready to make a change in her life, she will. Until then, it's her business.
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Old 11-19-2010, 01:28 PM   #4 (permalink)
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are you kidding me? that is your advice? to suggest I have controlling issues because I care deeply for my best friend? seriously?

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It's never good to threaten people, and besides, it's not your place to tell her mother anything. Instead of that, why not just tell her that you can't be her sounding board anymore. She has a right to stay with him if that's what she wants to do and he has a right to drink if that's what he wants to do. Both of these people are adults and are out of your control. Once you remove yourself from the situation, it shouldn't matter to you one way or the other what they do. If it still does, then you have controlling issues that need to be dealt with.
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Old 11-19-2010, 01:32 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I do see your point here. I have come to the realization that in order for me to be healthy moving forward, I may have to cut her from my life, as sad and heartbroken as it will be. While I do not have opposition for her boyfriend - I love him dearly too and have not been subjected to seeing his 'other side', I am just at a loss of how to help. Maybe I just cannot.

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If my XH had a big purple neon sign above his head flashing "DANGER AHEAD, ALCOHOLISM IN PROGRESS", I still would have married him. I married him despite *all* my friends misgivings, and I married him in secret so that my family could not protest. It took A LOT for me to realize that I was married to an abusive alcoholic who was slowly chipping away at my sense of self, but when I did, I did it on my own.

As much as your friend plainly has no control whatsoever over her boyfriend, you also do not have any control over her. You asked if you "can" threaten her....to answer you, yes, you "could", but it would get you nowhere, except perhaps alienated from your friend.

You cannot MAKE her come to any realization, just as she cannot MAKE her boyfriend stop binge drinking. If you have serious opposition to her boyfriend, then state your boundary ("i.e. I refuse to be in his presence if he is drinking"), and then let it go. When and if your friend is ready to make a change in her life, she will. Until then, it's her business.
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Old 11-19-2010, 01:33 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Odd that that's all you got out of what I said. But, to answer your question, it is not at all unusual for people to have controlling issues when their friends or loved ones don't do what they think they should. You can read about it all over this site.

BTW - my suggestions came prior to that last line that you chose to focus on. You asked for our thoughts and I gave mine. Good luck.
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Old 11-19-2010, 01:35 PM   #7 (permalink)
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The "Thanks" button isn't showing in your post, Anvil, but Thanks! I agree with you 100%.
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Old 11-19-2010, 01:37 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Your friend needs a program like Alanon.

I don't think I could listen to her any more. I no longer have tolerance for people who won't help themselves. I would try to stay friends but I would not want to be the dumping site anymore.
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Old 11-19-2010, 01:37 PM   #9 (permalink)
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You don't see manipulation and blackmail as control issues?

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Old 11-19-2010, 01:37 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Firstly, I did not type "mommy" and do not appreciate you minimizing that relationship. We are in our 40s and all of our families are quite close. I was merely suggesting that if her mother were aware of the situations we could put our heads together .. and maybe .. JUST MAYBE .. if my friend knew I would go that far to bring her mother up to speed that she would take action.

Secondly, I listen because I care deeply for her .. for them both. I will always be there for my friends. How is that illogical?

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your solution is to tell her mommy??? seriously? how old are you guys?

if you don't wanna hear her sob story you don't have to listen. you can say on this matter i can no longer engage with you because we have differing opinions on how this should be handled. you say they have resources, they simply choose not to use them. that's their choice.
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Old 11-19-2010, 01:38 PM   #11 (permalink)
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I do see your point here. I have come to the realization that in order for me to be healthy moving forward, I may have to cut her from my life, as sad and heartbroken as it will be. While I do not have opposition for her boyfriend - I love him dearly too and have not been subjected to seeing his 'other side', I am just at a loss of how to help. Maybe I just cannot.
Another choice can also be to stand by her as her friend, but to firmly refuse to discuss him any longer. You can inform her once of the reason you no longer wish to discuss him, and then leave it at that.
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Old 11-19-2010, 01:39 PM   #12 (permalink)
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As hard as it is to hear, we have no control over the choices and decisions that other adults make. I know that you are worried about your friend and think that for her sake you need to do all you can including "telling on her" to her mother about everything that is going on. What this might do, unfortunately, is cause her to resent both you and her mother and never speak to either of you again. I can't believe that is the outcome you want for your friend.

Sadly, what Suki said is exactly correct. You have no control over this situation. We, the friends and family of alcoholics and addicts, learn something called the 3 C's.

We did not cause it (the drinking or drugging)
We can't control it (not matter how much begging, pleading, threatening, etc. we do)
We can't cure them (the addict)

The same goes for our relationships with the enablers. We can't make someone stop enabling the addict. They are grown ups and must come to this conclusion on their own...as frustrating as that is for us. We can only control ourselves.

Basically, you can't draw a line for someone who is not willing to draw it for themselves.

Hugs to you and your friend. HG
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Old 11-19-2010, 01:41 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Thank you!!! I will talk to her about Alanon. And no, I don't want to be the dumping site any longer and have begun placing longer gaps between our normal calls and visits. I used the word 'burden' recently to her in haste, but to let her know that since I am the ONLY one she confides in it is a burden to a degree. I think she knows that she has made a choice of him over me and I get it. I really do.

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Your friend needs a program like Alanon.

I don't think I could listen to her any more. I no longer have tolerance for people who won't help themselves. I would try to stay friends but I would not want to be the dumping site anymore.
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Old 11-19-2010, 01:41 PM   #14 (permalink)
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If someone threatened to tell my mother my personal business if I didn't do what they thought I should do, they wouldn't have to worry about ever hearing from me again. Sorry, but you ARE trying to control the situation. Sorry also that you can't see that.
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Old 11-19-2010, 01:41 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Firstly, I did not type "mommy" and do not appreciate you minimizing that relationship. We are in our 40s and all of our families are quite close. I was merely suggesting that if her mother were aware of the situations we could put our heads together .. and maybe .. JUST MAYBE .. if my friend knew I would go that far to bring her mother up to speed that she would take action.

Secondly, I listen because I care deeply for her .. for them both. I will always be there for my friends. How is that illogical?
I understand that you're wanting to act out of love, but I, and others on this board, have acted out of the same deep caring for our friends, spouses, families, and have all prevented them from achieving that much needed "bottom"....the realization that they need to help themselves.

You can still love your friend deeply and support her, but you do not have to keep supporting her addiction to her boyfriend.
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Old 11-19-2010, 01:42 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Ok!! You made your point!! It was just a thought i had because i couldn't think of anything else. Obviously you have a lot more experience at dealing with this then me!!! Ok!!!????

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if someone threatened to tell my mother my personal business if i didn't do what they thought i should do, they wouldn't have to worry about ever hearing from me again. Sorry, but you are trying to control the situation. Sorry also that you can't see that.
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Old 11-19-2010, 01:43 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Of course we all want to be supportive of our friends and loved ones, but not if is taking an emotional and possibly physical toll on us.

If you are concerned about the effect the stress of this may have on you and your husband and your plans for a family, you have no choice, but to step away.

None of us have any control over anyone else. Has all of your support and listening and being there really made your friend's relationship with her A boyfriend any better? Doesn't sound like it.
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Old 11-19-2010, 01:47 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Thank you so much. I am balling my eyes out now. Your words mean a lot to me. I, for better or worse, and thin-skinned, emotional and loving to everyone who knows me.

I appreciate your comments and handling this in a gingerly way. I appreciate it and will take carefully take and understand what you have stated.

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As hard as it is to hear, we have no control over the choices and decisions that other adults make. I know that you are worried about your friend and think that for her sake you need to do all you can including "telling on her" to her mother about everything that is going on. What this might do, unfortunately, is cause her to resent both you and her mother and never speak to either of you again. I can't believe that is the outcome you want for your friend.

Sadly, what Suki said is exactly correct. You have no control over this situation. We, the friends and family of alcoholics and addicts, learn something called the 3 C's.

We did not cause it (the drinking or drugging)
We can't control it (not matter how much begging, pleading, threatening, etc. we do)
We can't cure them (the addict)

The same goes for our relationships with the enablers. We can't make someone stop enabling the addict. They are grown ups and must come to this conclusion on their own...as frustrating as that is for us. We can only control ourselves.

Basically, you can't draw a line for someone who is not willing to draw it for themselves.

Hugs to you and your friend. HG
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Old 11-19-2010, 01:49 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Exactly. No it hasn't .. and I agree with you. I guess I just am not sure how to walk away.

Thank you.

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Of course we all want to be supportive of our friends and loved ones, but not if is taking an emotional and possibly physical toll on us.

If you are concerned about the effect the stress of this may have on you and your husband and your plans for a family, you have no choice, but to step away.

None of us have any control over anyone else. Has all of your support and listening and being there really made your friend's relationship with her A boyfriend any better? Doesn't sound like it.
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Old 11-19-2010, 01:53 PM   #20 (permalink)
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I think this is a VERY good suggestion. Thank you!

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Another choice can also be to stand by her as her friend, but to firmly refuse to discuss him any longer. You can inform her once of the reason you no longer wish to discuss him, and then leave it at that.
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