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friendship, enabling & assistance?


Addiction & Recovery Recognizing, conquering, and coping with addictions, substance abuse & dependence.

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Old 29th May 2017, 7:53 PM   #1
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friendship, enabling & assistance?

I have a dear, lifelong friend who is an alcoholic. We've all known this for years. She comes from a family of addicts. We all probably drink too much when we are together but her situation is extreme. Booze for breakfast etc.


I'm just fed up with her bad behavior caused by too much drinking. She gets sloppy & belligerent.


I care about her but she doesn't want to hear how destructive her drinking is. She won't not drink. She sneaks if we try to plan no alcohol events.


I really do care about her but I know I can't make an addict quit. If I abandon her too I fear that she will deteriorate further & I'll be part of the problem not the solution but I can't keep babysitting her & I'm sick of the drama she causes while wasted.


How can I be a good friend if she won't stop drinking?
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Old 29th May 2017, 9:51 PM   #2
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It's hard when someone you care about is self destructing. However, it sounds like she's going to need to hit rock bottom before she makes any changes to her life. And for her to hit rock bottom, you're going to have to stop propping her up.

If you do walk away, I would advise telling her exactly how it is: That her behaviour when drunk is not OK and you can't be around her until she cleans up. Of course, tell her that you're there for her if she needs support to find a solution to the problem.
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Old 30th May 2017, 7:37 AM   #3
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She recently lost her job. I'm sure that is the trigger for the present downward spiral. I know an addict has to hit rock bottom but I feel like I don't have to kick her while she's down to hasten her trip there.


I was considering writing her a letter telling her why she's a good person who's friendship I value when she is sober & begging her to change her life now, before she has no choice because some drunken antic causes irreparable harm.


Is being kind & empowering here the wrong approach?
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Old 30th May 2017, 12:25 PM   #4
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If you love me let me fall all by myself. Don't try to spread a net out to catch me. Don't throw a pillow under my ass to cushion the pain so I don't have to feel it. Don’t stand in the place I am going to land so that you can break the fall (allowing yourself to get hurt instead of me) ... Let me fall as far down as my addiction is going to take me, let me walk the valley alone all by myself, let me reach the bottom of the pit ... trust that there is a bottom there somewhere even if you can't see it. The sooner you stop saving me from myself, stop rescuing me, trying to fix my broken-ness, trying to understand me to a fault, enabling me ... The sooner you allow me to feel the loss and consequences, the burden of my addiction on my shoulders and not yours ... the sooner I will arrive ... and on time ... just right where I need to be ... me, alone, all by myself in the rubble of the lifestyle I lead ... resist the urge to pull me out because that will only put me back at square one ... If I am allowed to stay at the bottom and live there for awhile ... I am free to get sick of it on my own, free to begin to want out, free to look for a way out, and free to plan how I will climb back up to the top. In the beginning as I start to climb out .. I just might slide back down, but don't worry I might have to hit bottom a couple more times before I make it out safe and sound ... Don't you see ?? Don't you know ?? You can't do this for me ... I have to do it for myself, but if you are always breaking the fall how am I ever suppose to feel the pain that is part of the driving force to want to get well. It is my burden to carry, not yours ... I know you love me and that you mean well and a lot of what you do is because you don't know what to do and you act from your heart not from knowledge of what is best for me ... but if you truly love me let me go my own way, make my own choices be they bad or good ... don't clip my wings before I can learn to fly ... Nudge me out of your safety net ... trust the process and pray for me ... that one day I will not only fly, but maybe even soar. ---Passion
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Old 30th May 2017, 12:26 PM   #5
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^ This helped me and I hope it helps you too
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Old 30th May 2017, 2:27 PM   #6
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I have no intention of breaking the fall, again, but I would like to encourage her to get help. One of the things she said over the weekend to my husband is that nobody ever told her that she had a problem. That is a lie but since she said it & I heard it, I want to write her a letter that tells her why she is a good, important person with things to contribute in this life & she needs to make the choice to climb out of a bottle.


I know I have done some enabling in the past. I have pulled her off guys to prevent date rape when she was too drunk to consent. I picked her up out of literally the middle of the road where she had passed out Sunday to prevent her from getting run over by a car. Yes, that is not forcing her to experience the full consequences of her actions but being drunk should not be a death sentence.


I know she's drinking to mask certain pain. She always wanted kids but didn't have them. Her relationship is unhealthy & her BF picks on her, which I can see eroding her self esteem. She just lost her job. She's seeking solace in alcohol.


I don't know what else to do to let her know she has choices. We used to pass notes all the time in high school. I'm hoping a handwritten note will harken back to a happier, more innocent time & show her a path to sobriety. Right now she's sad & lost. All I know for sure is she won't listen to her parents & her BF is part of the problem. I think he does love her (they have been together almost 20 years) but he drinks too & he's frustrated with her drunken behavior.


FWIW she lost the job due to her drinking. She was always late for work & used to "work from home" on Mondays.
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Old 31st May 2017, 8:50 AM   #7
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I think she's probably fully aware that she has a problem and has options, but she's not ready to fix it yet. She hasn't sat at the bottom and reveled in her misery enough. When she's ready to change for herself, she will.
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Old 31st May 2017, 9:06 AM   #8
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But I also don't see much harm in writing a letter. Forgive me, I'm quite bitter this morning.
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Old 31st May 2017, 9:12 AM   #9
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I wrote the letter yesterday but didn't send it. I am waiting to re-read it today.


My husband warned me it won't work but God forbid something happens at least I'll know I tried.


My therapist gave me some ideas. . . call an ambulance when she falls down & then let them commit her when she gets combative. My therapist warned me that it seems likely one of these times my drunk friend will fall, hit her head & die.


Alcoholism at this extreme is an insidious disease.
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Old 4th June 2017, 1:00 PM   #10
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I do think it's valuable to tell them straight up that they need to stop drinking and go to AA or rehab. When it's coming from a friend, it will not be what they want to hear, but they heard it.

I was the first to tell my young friend she was drinking too much when her behavior started being altered by it. She and I drank together, but after a certain night when she was going into a daze, I told her about it the next day and told her lately when she's drunk, it is predictable she will talk about one of two things (a crush and a favorite band). I told her I can tell by the look on her face when she is drifting and about to start yammering about it. This gave her a little pause, because no one wants to be predictable and a bore. Then I told her "You're drinking too much and you need to peel it back."

Of course, she didn't stop right then, but this episode was followed by me telling her it was time for her to give me my apartment back (I'd agreed for her to stay there for one month), but it wasn't being mean, just I want my space back. We were still friends.

It wasn't until probably five or so years later she actually did go to AA, but this was a young woman who in our crowd thought all partying and drinking was cool and I at least planted the seed that there were limits for some people who are more affected by it than others. Otherwise she might have just kept pushing the envelope.

Now, my experience with older alcoholics is that if you don't ignore their problem, they will naturally pull away from you and isolate and only be friends with people who support their drinking.
So one easy way to manage you having to deal with them is to point out that that "Oh, you're still drinking?" Don't carry on about it but always comment on it and they will get tired of being around you. And that's fine.

One of my ex bfs who probably thinks I have some nerve being judgy about his drinking since we used to practically be walking champagne fountains together, got huffed up after I commented he was drinking again. And why I did was because he himself, while in AA, had told me his marriage fell apart because of his drinking and she took their son because of it and then once he was sober for awhile, his ex-wife was kind enough to let him take the son to live with him so he could "catch up." Then next time I saw him a couple years later, he's drinking at noon with his son at the table, so I said, "I thought you weren't drinking since you had your son back." Haven't heard a word from him since then.

It's a little like telling someone they're fat: It may just make them eat more to dim the pain. But with alcholics, they can't just look in the mirror and know they're alcoholic and most will just deny, deny, deny, so although I don't really believe in ganging up as in intervention, I do think all of their friends and family at separate times ought to tell them they're drinking too much and are addicted and how it's changing them.
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