Competing with a Friend’s Addiction: When Enough is Finally Enough
by Patty L. Fletcher
Not long ago, I read the astrological forecast of a dear friend. The prediction stated that he was the type of person who gave off mixed signals, and believe me, nothing could be closer to the truth. One moment he says he wants to be more involved in life and get and keep his mind active, and the next, he shoves people away.
It’s like, “I want you. No, back off.” In his defense, I don’t even think he realizes he’s doing it.
Anyhow, I’ve made every effort to include him in things I think he’d enjoy if he were willing to give them a try. They don’t require him to participate all the time, and they’re set up so he doesn’t even have to leave the house or spend money. They’re activities which would allow him to do just what he says he wants and needs to do.
For all the time I’ve known my friend, he’s repeated the same patterns and made the same statements about what he wishes his life could be, but nothing changes. He claims to be in a rut, smoking and drinking too much, and he says he needs to get his act together. And then… nothing.
I’ve mentioned a lot of great possibilities. I’ve sent info; I’ve come up with ideas I know go along with the interests I’ve seen my friend express. But no matter how I try to include him in things I’m doing, he won’t take the bait.
Once when I found a really nice, inexpensive place we could take a vacation—where my friend could safely bike and I could enjoy nature walks—his first question was, “Can we drink and smoke there?” Not how much does it cost? Not where is it? Not can you send me the website? It was all about feeding his habits. I overlooked that and tried to continue on because he insisted our friendship was important. Sadly, his actions have told me different.
Finally last weekend, after my friend’s inability to be in any way involved in what I shared with him reared its ugly head yet again, I’d had enough. In a letter to him where I expressed much of what I’ve said here, I stated…
When you find your truest real loving wonderful self, who is lost underneath the cigarettes, beer, and pot, let me know. I’d like to meet him.
Though the addiction I prevailed over myself was more of an OCD type of thing, which caused me to be unhealthily fixated on someone, I’m acquainted with addiction. I don’t believe a person can suddenly and effortlessly drop a bad habit, never to pick it up again. I understand my friend has a real problem. But my understanding isn’t enough. He must find the courage to first admit he has a problem and then take the steps to overcome it.
I’ll always care for my friend. I’ll never completely turn him away. But I can no longer compete with his addiction because doing so is ripping apart my heart. When a person is unable to be emotionally or physically involved with someone else without a cigarette, a beer, or a joint in his hand, it’s time for a change. For me, that realization has finally become brutally apparent, and I refuse to justify his behavior anymore.
If you’re out there reading and you find yourself in similar circumstances, I urge you to stand up, speak the truth about how you feel, and then walk away.
Those out there saying, “I’m not hurting anyone but myself,” please know it’s not so. We who love you, who are watching you slowly fade away into the abyss of your addiction, are hurting. As you destroy yourselves, so too do you destroy those you claim to love.
About the Author
Patty L. Fletcher lives in Kingsport, Tennessee, where she works full time as a Writer with the goal of bridging the great chasm which separates the disAbled from the non-disAbled. She is Also a Social Media Marketing Assistant. To learn more, visit her Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/tellittotheworld/.