One of my best friends is an alcoholic. She’s also brilliant and funny and loving. She’s also totally pissing me off right now. I suppose I am angry because I am scared. I haven’t heard from her in a while and the last time I did hear from her, via email, she shared some pretty bad news. Then she dropped off the face of the earth as she is wont to do. This is not the first time. I doubt it will be the last.
There’s a part of me that gets it. She’s probably avoiding me because she knows I won’t let her bullshit me. She can’t tell me things are “fine” when we both know they aren’t. She’s tried to tell me being unemployed and broke is teaching her lessons in humility. That’s her way of finding the bright side in a very dark place.
I’ve known her for over 20 years and have watched her take the most difficult path each and every time. If there were three options in front of her- easy, medium and difficult- she’d ALWAYS choose the difficult way. . .or the fourth alternative, complete and utter inaction. It’s like: You can either take the elevator, walk up these 5 flights of stairs or scale the wall and she’ll say, “I’m gonna scale the wall.” And then get up half-way and just hang there not able to complete the climb but too stubborn to come down.
Some people are like that. Maybe they are punishing themselves. Maybe they really are at a loss for seeing the clearer path. Maybe they prefer the hard way so that when they fail they can say, “But it was so hard!” I’m really at a loss lately when it comes to her. I have more questions than answers. I don’t know what to do or say or act like. I feel really uncomfortable. I feel really sad. And I miss my friend.
I’ve had to contact mutual friends to find out if they’ve heard from her. When they say they have, it hurts my heart. Does she not want to talk to me? What did I do wrong? Why won’t she let me help? But those questions are likely the wrong questions and this situation is too convoluted to be watered down to a couple of simple inquiries. Sometimes you can’t be what someone you love needs. I need to face that fact.
I don’t know what it will take for things to be different for her. I have no idea what her “bottom” looks like. Each time I think: This Is It. It gets worse. And excuse me while I selfishly freak the fuck out that my best friend is seemingly falling apart and all I can do is WATCH. And excuse me if I suddenly feel 13 again, helpless and torn, as I recall how it felt to watch my Dad struggle with the bottle and slowly Just.Give.Up.
Because I can’t fight for her. She has to. I want better for her. But does she?