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When friends go back out........

Old 12-29-2012, 12:53 AM
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When friends go back out........

Well tonight we had our annual Holiday Party. Around 40 people showed up and we had a bartender and lots of food. It was a great time. Anyway, one of my best friends from Rehab came and said she had something to tell me. Hmmm...well anyway, it turns out that she had started drinking, which is why she was previously avoiding me. She then said she felt awkward about drinking around me, but I said it was fine with me just be careful. I wasn't sure if that was the right approach or should I have told her that I thought she was making a bad decision. I figured that was probably the last thing that she wanted to hear so I just tried to be supportive and hear her side of things. The whole thing happened so fast that I didnít really get a chance to process the whole experience, I was just so happy to see her.

Sometimes I guess you just need to test the waters to see if you really can sink or swim. I know for me it was necessary to take this plunge when I did it, because it squashed any doubt in my mind that I could ever drink successfully. And I know other people who have felt the same way. So I'm just hoping that she makes it through this period in her life without anything detrimental happening to her.

What are your thoughts should I have handled it differently or said something to her?
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Old 12-29-2012, 02:08 AM
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Someone relapsing or using again is unsettling. It makes me question the foundation of my own recovery. I guess that's a good thing and a bad thing, but it seems it will always come as a 'surprise' when someone has some solid time behind them.

I think you did fine for an off the cuff comment in a social setting, when taken by surprise. It sounds like she really didn't,t want to discuss the issue in depth, and she is happy with her decision.

Hope it works out for her.
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Old 12-29-2012, 02:11 AM
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I'm not sure there is ever a universal thing to do. I know I've handled different situations in different ways...

I think you know your friend better than any of us do, TE?

D
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Old 12-29-2012, 02:17 AM
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I think what you did and said was fine. There is no rulebook on this. It's their path, not yours. It's not your job to play rescuer - I learned that very early on in my recovery, and it involved guys from my treatment center too. I just take it as a reminder to continue to work at my recovery and that I don't need to go out to know what alcohol would do to me if I picked up again. You will know people who go back out. Be there for them if they come back, but don't get caught up in drama. Drama is what you don't need in your new life. We were all drama queens.

Keep doing what you're doing and hopefully she'll make her way back.
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Old 12-29-2012, 03:14 AM
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You can use your experience here. Whenever you went back to drugs or drinking, was there anything others said at those times that made you stop because it was so touching or powerful?

She was simply notifying you and possibly seeking understanding and/or your approval. That she was still ok and a capable and valuable human being despite her continued drinking, which is the more comfortable way to view oneself when we are well on our way to padding the profits of our next rehab.

In other words, the words you had with her matter not and can be forgotten. Alcoholics without a sufficient answer move in and out of the drinking life continually and independently of what people may say or not say. It's a little bigger than what can be altered by a social conversation with an acquaintence at a party.
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Old 12-29-2012, 07:25 AM
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Originally Posted by instant View Post
Someone relapsing or using again is unsettling. It makes me question the foundation of my own recovery. I guess that's a good thing and a bad thing, but it seems it will always come as a 'surprise' when someone has some solid time behind them.

Thanks guys, all very good answers. This one right here really hit home, but it was good, because it made me reassess where I was in my own sobriety. I wasn't completely shocked, as she would go weeks without returning my texts, which made me think something was going on, but she explained last night that she was drinking and didn't want to tell me.

I also know her new drinking career isn't going so great, because she expressed that she has had some incidents, but kept saying it's not like before, it's different this time. But when I look back at her old texts a couple of months ago, she talks about how lost she is. Anyway, I will continue to be her friend drinking or not drinking, because that's what she will need most when she's ready to hop off this rollercoaster. She won't need any "I told you so's". That will not do anything for her recovery.
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Old 12-29-2012, 07:38 AM
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TheEnd, I'm sorry to hear about the situation with your friend. Don't believe her when she says that "things will be different this time". It never gets better when you're an active alcoholic. While it's sad that she is perhaps seeking approval from you, this can be an experience to learn from. To watch one of your own friends go through recovery with you -- go back out -- and watch their lives deteriorate further. Then you'll be glad you stayed sober and you can draw upon this experience next time you feel like having a drink -- and also share this with others.
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Old 12-29-2012, 07:39 AM
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if someone that has been in rehab wants to drink that is their choice. i dont like it, but i have otoaccept it to keep myself serene. then if/when they come to me for help to stop drinking, i am responsible to help them.
one thing i have learned from listening to many people who have been through rehab, went back out, then made it back to recovery: the people at the rehab planted a seed and the drinking/druggin wasnt fun anymore.
it reminds me that alcohol/drugs are still out there and i am eligible,too, so i must be vigilint.
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Old 12-29-2012, 08:42 AM
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Before I came to AA and was still drinking, I didn't have a choice. I never questioned when it was time to drink. I just drank. After coming to AA, I have choices. I have meetings to go to. I have people to call. I have steps to work and a sponsor I can call anytime day or hight. If I choose to give up my choices to stay sober, and go back out, well that's my choice also. I don't like seeing people choose to go back out, but I'm not God and I don't have the right to stop them. I can only pray that they don't get hurt too bad and can make it back.
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Old 12-29-2012, 09:04 AM
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That person obviously did not cut all ties to the negatives that were drawing her back. You need to sever ties with the past on all fronts. When you choose to stop drinking you are truly choosing a new life. You are reborn. Fill yourself will all positive energy and positive things. This person obviously let things linger and the devil called her. You can't let the devil in. You need to write her an email or letter explaining she is making the wrong decision. Sever ties with her because she knows she has a problem. She is choosing to ignore it. We all have free will.
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Old 12-29-2012, 09:15 AM
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Originally Posted by Reborn10142012 View Post
You need to write her an email or letter explaining she is making the wrong decision. Sever ties with her because she knows she has a problem. She is choosing to ignore it. We all have free will.
Sorry, but I will not be severing any ties. Whether she is a drinking or not drinking, I can still be a friend to her. I don't have some unwritten rule that says I can't be firends with her just because she is drinking. I think severing ties would make her feel worse and make her less inclined to reach out to me for help if she should need it.
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Old 12-29-2012, 11:51 AM
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Originally Posted by TheEnd View Post
Sorry, but I will not be severing any ties. Whether she is a drinking or not drinking, I can still be a friend to her. I don't have some unwritten rule that says I can't be firends with her just because she is drinking. I think severing ties would make her feel worse and make her less inclined to reach out to me for help if she should need it.
True. But, don't be an enabler. You can tell her to call you before she drinks...not after. If she calls you drunk, just let her know you care and hang up.
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Old 12-29-2012, 05:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Music View Post
True. But, don't be an enabler. You can tell her to call you before she drinks...not after. If she calls you drunk, just let her know you care and hang up.
Very true. Any time I had one of the guys call me when they were drunk, I would just say "Call me another time" and then hang up. Immediately. I would tell them even seconds into their drunken stupor. I did it a lot of times, and while I didn't necessarily enjoy it the first couple of times, I felt better later on because I was protecting my sobriety and I wasn't creating a situation where I was the guy to call when you've been drinking. Don't be that guy!!
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Old 12-29-2012, 05:55 PM
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You need to write her an email or letter explaining she is making the wrong decision. Sever ties with her because she knows she has a problem. She is choosing to ignore it. We all have free will.
Thank God my sponsor didn't do that.
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Old 12-29-2012, 05:59 PM
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It would be very unsettling for me to see, but I haven't experienced it first-hand, so I don't really know how I would react. I would like to think I would handle it as you did, assuring your friend that they are still your friend are you are there to support, but not carry, them.
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Old 12-29-2012, 06:59 PM
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Sounds like you handled it well.
Unfortunately Ive always been the one to go back out and avoid sober friends. I always felt extremely ashamed to let anyone know.
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Old 12-30-2012, 06:41 AM
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Originally Posted by Fallow View Post
Sounds like you handled it well.
Unfortunately Ive always been the one to go back out and avoid sober friends. I always felt extremely ashamed to let anyone know.
Shame is an awful feeling. Guilt is the feeling I get when I've done something wrong, and I knew it was wrong when I did it. Shame is a feeling I experience when I think there's something wrong with me that makes me different from everyone else. Therein lies the problem. Thinking that I'm so unique that I'm the only person that's ever done something, said something, feels something, or thinks something that no one else has ever done, said, felt, or thought, is a huge barrier to getting sober, and staying sober. It's the reason why so many people try to dodge the fourth and fifth steps which are the keys to freedom in AA. Coming clean with another human being, discovering that I'm not the only person who's ever done "those things", opens the door to admitting to my other defects, as well as making it possible for me to make amends and change my behavior.

My first sponsor, may he rest in peace told me two things I've always remembered. He said, "you're not unique" and "you're not that good, at being that bad". Thank you Jerry and God bless you for saying yes.
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Old 12-30-2012, 09:10 AM
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Originally Posted by TheEnd
Sorry, but I will not be severing any ties. Whether she is a drinking or not drinking, I can still be a friend to her. I don't have some unwritten rule that says I can't be firends with her just because she is drinking. I think severing ties would make her feel worse and make her less inclined to reach out to me for help if she should need it.
I am the same way. I am usually there for my friends no matter what and I understand that my journey is not their journey. That said, I did sever ties with someone very close to me after he started smoking crack again. His behavior became increasingly erratic and I stopped allowing him in my home and around my kids because he was always tweaking. I tried talking to him, being there for him, but I couldn't stop the train wreck. He died shortly after I cut contact. To be honest, I still have extremely mixed feelings about this. I hope your friend finds her way TheEnd.
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Old 12-30-2012, 12:35 PM
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The funny things about all those guys that I would hang up on and/or who went out. I changed phones recently and was changing over the contacts from the old one to the new one. I kept the names of all those guys I knew. Just in case they called back and I knew it was them...so I keep these things open. I don't cut them out entirely. I always like to leave a door open. I think it helps me more than it would help them. Compassion is something I have to remember too...people were more than compassionate with me when I was sick for all those years.
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Old 01-02-2013, 10:36 PM
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TE-

I'd keep her in my prayers, and, if you are involved with AA be the best example of the Big Book that she might ever see.

The fact that she is no longer avoiding you might be a cry for help.

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