I was thrown off by some very unsettling news recently, so I had to put my writing on hold. I received a very upsetting phone call the other night, It was my ex, we have been in contact for years, and have remained friends from afar. Every so often he will phone me, or vise versa, just to say hi, we call it, “Just, calling to see if your alive.”
Before I start, I would like you to know that I told him that I would be writing about him, and sharing this experience. I’ve known him for over 15 years, he’s been a friend/friend of the family, and has been a long time supporter of my writing, so he didn’t mind. He was the first person to purchase my self-published book that I wrote years ago, and has always encouraged me to express myself through my writing.
I remember in high school, I always looked up to him, I considered him to be very funny, intelligent, charismatic….. His wit, and high energy drew people to him. I failed to notice the fact that most of the times that I saw him or was around him, he was drinking alcohol. At that time in my life everyone around me smoke and drank to some degree, so it wasn’t unusual, however I found out very quickly that there was more reasons for his drinking than meets the eye……He was alienated in his household because he was “different” from the rest. He didn’t believe in the religion he was raised in, and he chose to question everything, this was one of the things that made him the “black sheep” of the family. He was also labelled a “nerd” for his avid reading, interest in books, and constant quest to seek knowledge.
One night he took off his glasses, looked me in the eye, and told me that he felt out-of-place in this world. That nobody understands him, that he feels like an “alien,” and that he only feels “safe” or “comfortable” when he’s drinking. He confessed that he was drinking to cover up his pain. Now it all made sense to me……
As the years went by his drinking problem became worse, and I would constantly confront him about it. I tried to be as understanding as possible, and suggested things he could do to help him “cut down” on the liquor. There were a few people around him, who would try to talk to him about it, but he would dismiss them, as he did me. We grew further and further apart. I noticed the changes in his personality, the moodiness, the change in temperament, but I would still visit from time to time. I tried to help him in any way I could. I would even be an “ear” for him if he wanted to talk. I never referred to him as an “alcoholic” but everybody else did. My eyes finally opened up to the reality that he had a substance abuse problem, that is causing irreversible damage, and that could eventually end his life………
I made one last attempt at helping him, we discussed options, possible doctor/specialist visits, me accompanying him for support, even meetings, whatever would help him pass the first steps of recovery. He said he tried already and refused my help and I realized there’s nothing more I can do….I told him that I fear for his health being damaged to a point of no return by his late thirty’s. My influence didn’t seem to mean much, we were getting into arguments and I found myself saying very harsh things to him out of frustration and anger. I felt unappreciated and insignificant, so I made a conscious decision to separate myself from him in life. Not to call or speak to him ever again. I stuck by that decision, until I answered a call from an unusual phone number, it was him….He proceeded to tell me that he wants me to know that he went through a traumatizing incident recently, he was rushed to the hospital emergency unit due to a severe anxiety attack, his heart was beating DOUBLE times it’s normal rate. After being checked out, the doctor informed him that he has two blood clots, one on his lung, that almost went undetected had he not been rushed to the emergency room. He spared me the details, and I didn’t want to pry, but he summed it up as “being close to death,” he’s taking medication, and he’s “okay.” Of course when I said I was worried, he told me “Not to worry.”
In conclusion, I was disappointed that it took this incident to wake him up. I could tell he was reluctant to tell me the details. I had said this was my biggest concern and maybe he thought I’d say, “I told you so.” I did not say that. As a matter of fact, I asked him what he needs from me at this point. There is no sense in being “friends” with a person if you are going to throw their hardships in their face. I do not know if we will maintain contact at this point, but I’m 100% sure he learned his lesson, and for that I am Thankful. I hope he monitors his health and I wish him the best.
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4 thoughts on “The Value of Friendship….How much do you care?”
Very touching story Dawn. Thanks so sharing. I have someone very close to me who is going through a similar problem and I have tried everything to help the person because I care, but the person just pushes the world away. Like you, I also fear the worst and your blog post has taught me a valuable lesson: I can only do as much as is humanly possible and if that if the person still doesn’t change, life will end up being the voice of reason. I just hope that there is no unreversible damage as this person is a parent whose son is too young to be left alone… Thank you Dawn and all the best to your friend
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I’m glad the story had an impact on you Stella. It wasn’t easy to write…..it took me days to get the words out…you have to accept the fact that it is in their hands. You friend is blessed to have you in their corner.
Thank u 4 such a great honor of “love – blessings & sharings” The value of friensbip … How much do u care? This piece reminds me of youth-adolescent & “Being There” through £ove & Respect” My dad asked me (while holding my hand): Son, R u there 4 me? I said: yes. He commented: Im there 4 u. I retorted: Dad R u there 4 me, He said: Son – I will be there & here 4 u because I trust u. I sad: Ty I trust u. Today being there 4 your dearly loved one’s famile’s, & friends, can & may be challenging? My cultural values honor ceremony ritual customs & traditions of our tribal ancestors I am gratefuly blessed through the prayer’s of love & respect of my parents, grandparents, & extended familie’s of adopted tribal kinship that I am sober & drugfree. Today “being there” is shared through blessings of honoring who I am what I am & why I am so willing 2 share the love & respect of prayer’s to nurture “compassion” learned. I am so grateful as well honored 2 be reminded of “blessing’s” & “being there & here” 4 “trust” I am a child-adolescent who drank & covered up the hurt pain & sufferings. Everday is a miracle, I know through dream’s, vision’s, & ceremonie’s. It is the tradition’s of my ancestor’s.
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Wow! Thanks for sharing. You taught me more about your culture, and how you became the man that you are today.