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Old 09-12-2012, 08:07 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Close friend in the program relapsed


Hey everyone,
I'm new to this site, but it looks like a great tool. I've been sober almost 18 months now, and I'm in the AA program, have a sponsor, work the steps, etc... The first sponsor I had relapsed about 5 months ago, while she was still my sponsor, I soon got a new sponsor, so no worries there, and thankfully my 1st sponsor was only out about 2-3 days before coming back into the program and starting over. She had more than 2 years of sobriety before the relapse that happened 5 months ago. About 3-4 weeks ago, she went out again. I can't say I didn't see it coming, she was going to 1-2 meetings a week and we talk daily and her attitude was changing. Unfortunately she is still actively in her disease, and it is bad. First she said she'd go to a hospital specifically for detox (not rehab, just the medically supervised detox) but changed her mind and said she'd do it "at home" with her estranged husband (who is sober himself, but not in the program- and when she's sober, they have a great friendship) She told him she was going out to a meeting on the 2nd day and went out to the liquor store and left him at her house and didn't return until late that night. A week ago she went to a treatment center where she'd gotten sober before (beginning the 2 year stretch) and after 2-3 days she somehow escaped. This place is in the middle of nowhere (very rural area), and she explained how she craweled through fences and into a field of goats, etc... Sorry if I'm rambling, I do have a point and question and I'm getting to it... She went back to the same treatment center the next day and after only being in there 1-2 days she left (in the less dramatic way of officially leaving against medical advice). That was yesterday. I have a really close friendship with her, and I love her dearly, and I truly do understand this disease. I have been very careful not to pass judgement or preach or lecture or anything I wouldn't have wanted anyone to do to me while I was still drinking. However, the past month or so has been really rough on me. I totally get that this is a selfish program and I have to take care of myself, and protect my sobriety. I don't feel any desire to drink, even when around her while she is, but this situation is seriously f*cking with my head. I know I can't get her sober, and that unless she's willing to try to get sober, me and anyone else is powerless to stop her. This is a situation where all the knowledge I have just is not helping me. I've talked to my sponsor about it, and she says while it's nice to be empathetic, I need to be careful not to enable her. I don't think that I am, in the sense that I'm not loaning her money, buying her alcohol or anything like that, but I'm not sure whether or not my hanging out with her while she continues to drink is enabling. I feel for my own sobriety, I'm going to have to stop being her friend unless or until she is willing to try to get sober. This whole situation breaks my heart, but I know this is what I need to do. I guess what I'm asking is if anyone's been in a similar situation and what I should do about it, and how to go about doing that (like telling her I love her no matter what, but I can't be around her while she's drinking). I'm just really confused, and very scared for her. Any advice or suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks.
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Old 09-12-2012, 08:26 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I guess what I'm asking is if anyone's been in a similar situation and what I should do about it, and how to go about doing that (like telling her I love her no matter what, but I can't be around her while she's drinking).

That's exactly what you should tell her. She know what is what. The last thing you want to do is put your own sobriety at risk, so yes, you do have to be selfish. Telling her you love her but can't be around her while she is drinking is honest. Honesty is always best. She will probably understand since she has been in AA and sponsored others. If she doesn't, well, there's not much you can do about that. Take care of yourself. She knows what to do if she truly wants to get back into recovery.
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Old 09-12-2012, 08:38 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by lele120 View Post
Hey everyone,
I'm new to this site, but it looks like a great tool. I've been sober almost 18 months now, and I'm in the AA program, have a sponsor, work the steps, etc... The first sponsor I had relapsed about 5 months ago, while she was still my sponsor, I soon got a new sponsor, so no worries there, and thankfully my 1st sponsor was only out about 2-3 days before coming back into the program and starting over. She had more than 2 years of sobriety before the relapse that happened 5 months ago. About 3-4 weeks ago, she went out again. I can't say I didn't see it coming, she was going to 1-2 meetings a week and we talk daily and her attitude was changing. Unfortunately she is still actively in her disease, and it is bad. First she said she'd go to a hospital specifically for detox (not rehab, just the medically supervised detox) but changed her mind and said she'd do it "at home" with her estranged husband (who is sober himself, but not in the program- and when she's sober, they have a great friendship) She told him she was going out to a meeting on the 2nd day and went out to the liquor store and left him at her house and didn't return until late that night. A week ago she went to a treatment center where she'd gotten sober before (beginning the 2 year stretch) and after 2-3 days she somehow escaped. This place is in the middle of nowhere (very rural area), and she explained how she craweled through fences and into a field of goats, etc... Sorry if I'm rambling, I do have a point and question and I'm getting to it... She went back to the same treatment center the next day and after only being in there 1-2 days she left (in the less dramatic way of officially leaving against medical advice). That was yesterday. I have a really close friendship with her, and I love her dearly, and I truly do understand this disease. I have been very careful not to pass judgement or preach or lecture or anything I wouldn't have wanted anyone to do to me while I was still drinking. However, the past month or so has been really rough on me. I totally get that this is a selfish program and I have to take care of myself, and protect my sobriety. I don't feel any desire to drink, even when around her while she is, but this situation is seriously f*cking with my head. I know I can't get her sober, and that unless she's willing to try to get sober, me and anyone else is powerless to stop her. This is a situation where all the knowledge I have just is not helping me. I've talked to my sponsor about it, and she says while it's nice to be empathetic, I need to be careful not to enable her. I don't think that I am, in the sense that I'm not loaning her money, buying her alcohol or anything like that, but I'm not sure whether or not my hanging out with her while she continues to drink is enabling. I feel for my own sobriety, I'm going to have to stop being her friend unless or until she is willing to try to get sober. This whole situation breaks my heart, but I know this is what I need to do. I guess what I'm asking is if anyone's been in a similar situation and what I should do about it, and how to go about doing that (like telling her I love her no matter what, but I can't be around her while she's drinking). I'm just really confused, and very scared for her. Any advice or suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks.
Talk to some of the oldtimers in your group, see what they recommend you do.
I think you should be looking for a new sponsor but I'm not familiar with the persons involved here. The oldtimers will know.

All the best.

Bob R
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Old 09-13-2012, 01:07 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I'd suggest showing this person much love and support, maybe asking members of her 'Home Group' to rally and help if you're questioning your involvement alone with her.
I've experienced something very similar, and found it a very useful measure of my own recovery and personal development. If alcoholism is a disease, just being around a loved one won't necessarily exacerbate your own symptoms.
Good Luck.
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Old 09-13-2012, 04:39 AM   #5 (permalink)
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I want to say I am so sorry, I know how you feel. My sponsor also relapsed and it broke my heart. She was very active in the program and sponsored many women. We all went over to her house and talked to her. She thinks she can drink again.

I had to cut ties with her. I couldn't watch her slowly kill herself. Some other of the girls call her once a week just to see how she is doing.

I am glad you got a new sponsor and realized that your recovery comes first. I agree with the others, talk to the old timers and see what they have to say.
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Old 09-13-2012, 05:21 AM   #6 (permalink)
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there are good suggestions in the chapter,"working with others."
IMO, hanging with her isnt enabling her, but jeopardizing your sobriety.
we are supposed to care for poeple like that,but i know that if i hang around the barbershop talkin with the barber long enough, i am eventually gonna end up with a haircut.
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Old 09-13-2012, 05:31 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Relapse is not a communicable disease...it is NOT transmitted by contact with a person who is drinking.

You do not have to condone her behavior, and I could understand your limiting your contact with her while she is drunk but...totally abandoning a friend who is, after all, in the same program you are for the same reason? Why?
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Old 09-13-2012, 09:27 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by lele120 View Post
I'm just really confused, and very scared for her. Any advice or suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks.
Ask yourself what she would do, or perhaps more importantly, what you would want her to do, if the roles were reversed.
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Old 09-13-2012, 09:59 PM   #9 (permalink)
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When going to visit a wet drunk...it's best to do so with
2 people....as suggested in our program.
That's what I do....

If that is not possible ..I keep in contact via telephone
Daily at first...less as the weeks go by.
.
No need for long conversations...I simply offer to join
them at our meeting hall.
End the call with..."Prayers coming your way for clarity"

BTW that is what members did when I kept jumping in
and out of AA before I actually quit.
It took me 4 years to earn a 1 year medallion in '89.

Welcome to our recovery community...
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Old 09-15-2012, 08:23 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Ask yourself what she would do, or perhaps more importantly, what you would want her to do, if the roles were reversed.
Excellent suggestion. "Do unto others" is so often the best solution.
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