What do you do, or can you do when you notice that of your oldest friends has become a drunk? Not a whole lot, I’m afraid. It’s hard to see someone who had a fine education, great mind and wicked sense of humor until the past few years when booze flooded her brain synapses.
Now the bottle has circumvented any substance in the person I knew and valued so much. It’s not that I haven’t attempted to steer her away from drinking when I’m at her home. When I’ve been at her house and I have to drive home, I make sure she understands that I will not be drinking with her.
When we go out to eat, I deliberately do not have a glass or two of wine because somebody has to be sober enough to drive home. When she’s at my house, I don’t offer any alcohol. That’s why we spend most of our time together at her house.She takes all of this in but doesn’t equate my lack of drinking to her excess consumption of the stuff. I have to admit, there was a time when I didn’t pay as much attention to what alcohol could do to my own brain. But when my work suffered from my inability to put words together fast enough to meet deadlines, I stopped cold. Didn’t need AA, but if I thought I couldn’t stop myself, I would have attended those meetings. Where I live there are plenty of churches that host meetings for the over abundance of drunks in the area.
I easily could have been one of them.Please don’t take this discourse as a rant against those who drink. Almost all the people I know drink occasionally and it doesn’t affect their work or their relationships. But what’s happened to Margie is different. When we go to the movies together, she frequently whispers in my ear, “What just happened? I don’t get it.”
And when we return to our homes, she almost always calls to have me “explain” the movie to her.I met this woman when I was a journalist and she was the vice president of communications for a major service organization. She would frequently serve as my liaison to the experts I needed to interview.Now she’s retired, stays “whip thin” and spends a good deal of time shopping, making starvation salads to accompany her vodka, and going to the theater. I’m sure the people she attends the shows with are barraged with questions at the end, as well.
She and her husband are retired, and with great luck, they are well fixed with cash. But money is not going to get her head straight. Nobody in her family—none of her three children who are afraid to tell her anything—will stop her. I know there is nothing I can do to stop her drinking as she waits patiently every day to continue to drink when her husband comes home from his golf game.
So, another one of my dear ones bites the dust. Illness happens with age and takes some of the best of them before their time. But I’m so desperately sad to see her disintegrate before my eyes from something that didn’t have to take her down in the first place.