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Need a reality check- becoming someone I don't like

Old 04-18-2011, 05:04 PM
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Need a reality check- becoming someone I don't like

Okay guys, I need some direction and I'm prepared for the whole truth. I know I should get to an al-anon meeting, but they are really far away and I don't want to bring my son to them. I'll apologize in advance if this is terribly long, it's been brewing for many years and I need help.

We (my husband, young son and I) have a friend who we've tried to help/guide/encourage (yes, I'm now aware I can't help him and became co-dependant) over the last 6years. He has been an alcoholic for most of his life (he's 47) and has been a drug user on and off as well. He lived with us for about a year while he worked in our town (he's an unbelievably talented, hard working Chef) because he didn't have a licence and we hoped a healthy, nuclear family would encourage him to do the right thing. Well, he ended up in prison for fighting (and broken probation for old dui's). He really worked all the programs, did well etc. so we took him back in afterward. He was sober for about 6 months, working, doing great and then he fell off the wagon. Unfortunately, when he drinks he can become psychotic. We had to ask him to leave because his behavior was intollerable and the last thing we wanted was our son exposed to his yelling, rants and scary behavior.

To try to make a really long story shorter, we tossed him out. We kept in touch, talked on the phone, saw him every few weeks, would go golfing, fishing and I continuously tried to encourage him to find sobriety. He started seeing a therapist about 2 years ago, has a psychiatrist (who has prescribed many, many pills including: lorazapam, buspirone, trazadone, clonadine, cytalopram...for anxiety, sleep disorders, PTSD). He hit what I thought was rock bottom about a year and a half ago (homeless, suicidal, alcoholic to the point where he was drinking quarts of vodka at a clip) and he asked for help. "Yay, finally" I thought. "He's ready to really do this" (been through detox 3x in 5 years). We took him back in, yes I know. Well, same cycle and out he went 4 months later after crazy screaming fights etc.

So, here we are a year and a half later. He stopped drinking a month ago because he realized we were done! I was no longer willing to put up with his bad behavior (lying, manipulating, treating me horribly when he was drunk, I can't stand the people he chooses to spend his time with not to mention his girlfriend who doesn't drink, but she's dumber than a box of rocks, I'm sure makes bad choices and leaches off him for his apartment and $). I also realized that if I walked away (we're his only real, solid, stable friends, much like family) he may actually stop drinking. Well, it worked. He's been sober from the booze for about a month, BUT, now he's abusing his meds like crazy. Off and running...

This is the part that just gets hard, annoying, frustrating and where I think I should walk away. He "said" he turned in his lorazepam to his dr. because he knows it's wrecking his life. However, he still has the buspar and I know he's abusing that. He's never truly honest with me (addicted behavior), tries to work the system and thought by telling me (today) because they were prescribed, it was fine to take them. Not more than the prescribed amount to get a high! Grrr. He forgets days at a time and we're at the point where I think his short term memory is shot (he's been know to take 30 lorazepam and drink a quart of vodka in an hour- amazing he's still alive).

(Yes, I'm married in a very happy marriage). We've always been there to try support our friend and encourage him to turn his life around as he's an amazing friend when he's sober and has such unbelievable potential. My husband has lost his patience and I'm close, but I can't seem to let go because I'm afraid if I do, he'll become suicidal again. I know it's not my job and there's nothing I can really do, I think I just need to hear it. I also miss my old friend and I want to know if you think there's a chance his brain is simply fried and perhaps I should give up. Basically, I keep looking for the person we got to know 6 years ago and he appears to be gone.

So...I've become some sort of wackado. He pushes my buttons almost every time we talk because I think he's high or he is high from his pills, I can't be sure if he's ever telling the truth, he's blown off our appointments to get together, I don't trust him and don't agree with his friend choices (they are all addicts) and I can't seem to just walk away. I miss my old friend and I keep hoping he'll "come back" and in the meantime, I'm trying desperatey to make things normal again. Ugh. Help. Thank you

Last edited by Grnmtn1; 04-18-2011 at 05:09 PM. Reason: forgot something.
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Old 04-18-2011, 05:11 PM
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Two words: Walk away.

You husband has already lost his patience and if you continue messing with this, it could cause problems with your marriage. Regardless of what this guy says, he has no desire to stop living that kind of life. He has traded one addiction for another, but nothing has really changed. If he has been to rehab 3 times, he knows what to do to get his crap together. He just doesn't want to do it.

Trying to help out a friend is one thing, but when that "friend" continually reverts back to old behaviors, a sensible person will throw in the towel. Let it go. You cannot help him.
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Old 04-18-2011, 05:22 PM
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Suki has the answer. Alanon and this site will help you do so. Excuses to not go to Alanon are excuses to not go to Alanon. That's all. Husband watches child, you go. You watch child, husband goes (if he wants to).

As for your friend? You guys are master enablers. Stop. I've rarely seen it at this level when it was not a "romantic" relationship. Wow.

As Suki said, walk away. Cease all communication. Excommunicate him from your life.
If not for you for your child. Think about what it is you've taught your child already about these kinds of relationships simply by your actions, and your actually brining this poor soul into your home. Good God. This does not bode well for your next generation.

Sounds harsh, but it doesn't stop until you stop it.

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Old 04-18-2011, 05:23 PM
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Two words: Walk away.
That sums it up I think... Turn off the phone, change your number, tell the friend you can't help anymore- no apologies, no justifications... Just walk away and enjoy your life with your H and be glad he's not an A. I envy your happy marriage. Don't jeopardize that to try and save a friend who has no desire to be saved!
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Old 04-18-2011, 05:32 PM
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If you want to help him save his life, the best thing you can do is help him find his rock bottom.
His rock bottom includes, it appears, you not being there for him.
I'm sorry...I understand...and I LOVE good food cooked by a talented chef...
but he's nobody if he's abusing, using, or dead.
Detach with love, and tell him that's what you are doing.
When he's truly sober, and working his program, he can call. You will know the difference, it will be amazing, not confusing as to whether he is using.
Save yourself.
You do realize i hope that most of the people on here have someone closer to them, if not a spouse, then a child, and it is devastating to them.
You have a happy marriage, and we all want any poison out of your life that might get in the way of that.
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Old 04-18-2011, 05:44 PM
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Originally Posted by brokenheartfool View Post
You do realize i hope that most of the people on here have someone closer to them, if not a spouse, then a child, and it is devastating to them.
You have a happy marriage, and we all want any poison out of your life that might get in the way of that.
Thank you for your kind response and yes I do realize that. The part I didn't mention is that the reason why I believe I took him under my wing, as it were, is that my father died of alcoholism when I was 23 as did a couple of my grandparents in previous years. My uncle was a recovering alcoholic for many years and I saw him sponsor many people. I am well aware of how devastating alcoholism is to a family and I'm sure I wasn't clear enough, this friend of ours means a lot, to both of us. My husband went golfing with him the other day (yes, he's tired of the antics) and we do want to help.

I understand and know what addictions to do to families and relationships and I appreciate the time you all have taken to help me see through the muck and mire.
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Old 04-18-2011, 05:47 PM
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I'm sorry that I said something to upset you, I surely didn't mean to. I do appreciate what I have and work hard to keep it. I simply wanted to help a friend in need and was looking for honest advice and I believe you gave it to me. Thank you.
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Old 04-18-2011, 05:52 PM
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One thing you will find here is honesty. We have no reason to lie or give bad advice. Coming from a family touched by so much alcoholism, you know that an alcoholic/addict will not stop until they are done. Nothing you or you husband say or do will make that happen. He has to find his own bottom and from everything you have said, he does not appear to even be looking for it.

Many of us have had to walk away from loved ones who continue to make bad choices. When those choices begin to affect our lives, we have to save ourselves and let the addict figure things out for themselves. Again, your friend knows what to do, he just doesn't want to do it.
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Old 04-18-2011, 05:53 PM
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I may be playing pop psychologist a bit here but I was reading a book I bought today about why people who grow up in dysfunctional/abusive homes tend to repeat those patterns in their marriage and here's what popped into my head when I read your post (bc it's what I was reading today)...

I'm paraphrasing... A lot of us who grow up without (without love, without stability, without safety, without sobriety in our caretakers) etc... get involved in relationships (in my case my marriage, in your case your friend perhaps) where we try to recreate what we did not get as kids. We want to "fix" what we couldn't as kids. So, I grew up with an abusive, emotionally cruel, abandoning, verbally abusive mother. And I married a man just like her and have believed for a long time that he was a tortured soul/misunderstood and needed love and compassion and I could help him get better. And I read your post and wondered if maybe there isn't some similar sort of savior complex (I don't mean this obnoxiously) that you're feeling for this friend bc you couldn't "save" your dad, grandparents etc... as a kid...

I'll apologize in advance if I am drawing conclusions about a situation I know nothing about-- it just occurred to me that what I read really fit me and it sounded a lot like what you describe too.

For what it's worth- my AH means the world to me and to my daughters. He can be a loving and good man at times and he is the father of my children and for that I love him. But someone meaning the world to us doesn't mean that we sacrifice our own peace/life/happiness/well being/sanity in order to try and help them. I'm slowly figuring that out.
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Old 04-18-2011, 05:58 PM
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Originally Posted by wanttobehealthy View Post
I may be playing pop psychologist a bit here but I was reading a book I bought today about why people who grow up in dysfunctional/abusive homes tend to repeat those patterns in their marriage and here's what popped into my head when I read your post (bc it's what I was reading today)...

I'm paraphrasing... A lot of us who grow up without (without love, without stability, without safety, without sobriety in our caretakers) etc... get involved in relationships (in my case my marriage, in your case your friend perhaps) where we try to recreate what we did not get as kids. We want to "fix" what we couldn't as kids. So, I grew up with an abusive, emotionally cruel, abandoning, verbally abusive mother. And I married a man just like her and have believed for a long time that he was a tortured soul/misunderstood and needed love and compassion and I could help him get better. And I read your post and wondered if maybe there isn't some similar sort of savior complex (I don't mean this obnoxiously) that you're feeling for this friend bc you couldn't "save" your dad, grandparents etc... as a kid...

I'll apologize in advance if I am drawing conclusions about a situation I know nothing about-- it just occurred to me that what I read really fit me and it sounded a lot like what you describe too.

For what it's worth- my AH means the world to me and to my daughters. He can be a loving and good man at times and he is the father of my children and for that I love him. But someone meaning the world to us doesn't mean that we sacrifice our own peace/life/happiness/well being/sanity in order to try and help them. I'm slowly figuring that out.
Thank you so much and I believe your pop psychology may be right on. My parents were a lot older and got divorced when I was nine, mom wasn't very "snuggly" and dad was gone to another state. I saw him 1x a year and I'm quite sure I've been trying to "save" our friend. So many people see him only for his behaviors when he's using and we've been lucky enough to live with him sober and see what an amazing man he can be. But you are right, he doesn't want to get sober, because if he did, he would. I guess that's the bottom line. (sad).
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Old 04-18-2011, 06:04 PM
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Green Mountain,

Today I went to the funeral of an AA friend's father. Friend found out he was his father six weeks ago just after the father was told he was suffering from terminal liver failure and had no chance of getting a transplant. I have no idea what this mans life was like but I do know that he continued to drink after the diagnosis. I've been in a sh*y mood all day, and I guess its the whole despair thing. Oh, and my mother died of this disease, and there's a whole 'nother website I could post on that topic. You can't do anything to help this man. Why I am able to stay sober when my mother and this man were not, even after knowing without a doubt it was killing them, I can't say. But that's the reality of this disease, and sadly, NOTHING will help some recover. Not love, tolerance, understanding, cajoling, nor loss of freedom family or health. The man you remember from six years ago still exists somewhere in the shell that remains. And only that man can bring himself forth, if he believes he can.

Move on, let him know that you are doing so, and why. Then do so without looking back. If the man you once knew returns, he'll know where to find you.
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Old 04-18-2011, 06:08 PM
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Sadly, some people do not make it.
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Old 04-18-2011, 06:11 PM
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Originally Posted by suki44883 View Post
Sadly, some people do not make it.
It is such an evil disease and appears like it should be so simple to treat. I count my blessings every day that my sisters and I have been able to dodge this bullet and am super aware of my already addictive tendencys. It's so scary and heartbreaking.
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Old 04-18-2011, 06:18 PM
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It is scary, heartbreaking, and evil. My father is one who didn't make it. Thankfully, so far, I am making it. Every alcoholic is just one drink away from being right back where we were. Recovery is a life-long effort and I am grateful that I stopped when I did, but no one could convince me that I needed help until I was done.
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Old 04-18-2011, 06:21 PM
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Originally Posted by suki44883 View Post
It is scary, heartbreaking, and evil. My father is one who didn't make it. Thankfully, so far, I am making it. Every alcoholic is just one drink away from being right back where we were. Recovery is a life-long effort and I am grateful that I stopped when I did, but no one could convince me that I needed help until I was done.
Suki thank you for your kindness and generosity with me. You are really helping me see that there's nothing more I can do and he needs to live his life however he chooses. I'm very much like a mother figure to him (even though I'm younger) and I know he's very tired of the nagging. Now I just need to try and make this break and have it stick...that seems to be the hardest part. (sigh).
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Old 04-18-2011, 06:26 PM
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I understand your endless compassion from your friend but you can look at is another way; he seems to be milking the situation (your help) for all it is worth. I couldn't have a friend like that. I'd go insane. Alcoholism or not, he is an adult and has to live his life.

Sure he is a great guy, he has to be because you are his fall back family. He has no other connections for a reason. He burnt his bridges if this pattern has been his adult life. Some people just never get their lives together.

That suicidal bit is something you have no control over whether he is in your home/care or not. And as someone pointed out, this will start to impact your marriage.
I'd send him on his way.
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Old 04-18-2011, 06:30 PM
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[QUOTE=Babyblue;293940 He has no other connections for a reason. He burnt his bridges if this pattern has been his adult life. Some people just never get their lives together.

/QUOTE]

Hmmm...very true and something that hasn't gone un-noticed. Thanks for pointing it out again though.
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Old 04-18-2011, 06:33 PM
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I have a few frineds like this.
I do not have children with them, and they are no longer the people I loved.
They are lost, and to continue with them as if our friendship was just "normal" would be a charade.

This man has come to live with you and yelled and screamed, been thrown out...

He lies to you, does not keep appointments. Your son has been exposed to severe addiction, and the person is not a parent or relative...

I know he is an old friend and he has a lot of potential. All addicts do.

BUt, I am having trouble seeing why you are holding on so tight?

He has let go.
He has let go of himself.
He cannot return anyones love, he cannt even love himself.

If you were really asking for advice, mine is to walk away.

thanks for posting, and come back
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Old 04-18-2011, 06:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Grnmtn1 View Post
Thank you so much and I believe your pop psychology may be right on. My parents were a lot older and got divorced when I was nine, mom wasn't very "snuggly" and dad was gone to another state. I saw him 1x a year and I'm quite sure I've been trying to "save" our friend. So many people see him only for his behaviors when he's using and we've been lucky enough to live with him sober and see what an amazing man he can be. But you are right, he doesn't want to get sober, because if he did, he would. I guess that's the bottom line. (sad).
I never really thought about this whole trying to save him notion until today and it really hit me hard.... My mom was not a snuggly type either and my dad spent all the time he could away from home having affairs and I wished he'd been around more. I met my AH who seemed like this tortured but brilliant soul and thought that I could give him what he didn't get as a kid (he had a miserable childhood too) and that he'd be there for me as well. All my trying to save him has done is make me ill both mentally and physically and has perhaps driven him further into his addiction since I've enabled for so long.

I really really get your remark about so many people seeing him just for the bad but you have seen your friend sober and he's so good... I spent the years my AH and I dated before we were married telling my best friend that she didn't see the side of him I did. Turns out that my best friend (who I ditched when she told me he was no good for me- brilliant move there!) was right. Yes he had and has a good side, but that doesn't lessen the bad side and the destructive behaviors. And all my "helping" has done is encourage him to continue the bad behaviors.

It probably doesn't feel like the loving thing to do, but the best thing you could do for your friend is set some boundaries and either he will decide on his own for himself to get better or he won't. I feel awful for you and your H and how worried you are for him.... Take care of yourselves and your marriage. That's all you can control.
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Old 04-18-2011, 06:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Buffalo66 View Post
He has let go.
He has let go of himself.
He cannot return anyones love, he cannt even love himself.

If you were really asking for advice, mine is to walk away.

thanks for posting, and come back
I know it may sound hard to believe, but I really am looking for advice and I think I knew what the answers would be, I just needed to hear it. I've been trying to walk away, but as with many addicts, he's a master manipulator. There's a part of me that wonders if I've been such a wretched nag lately to get him to walk away so I wouldn't have to. It's a thought and may very well be true.
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