Monday, April 12, 2010


adj. cheerfully optimistic, hopeful, or confident: a sanguine disposition; sanguine expectations.

Someone, who I really don't mean to pick on here, commented this morning that he was amazed by the sanguine way I wrote about my friend who is drinking. That really amazed me.

I think I basically said that I think she is a goner. She is one who won't quit drinking. Her mother died of alcoholism in her early 40s. She is in her 40s and is knock, knock, knocking at death's door. And she won't quit drinking. She is suicidal and driving a car. She is suicidal and drinking alcoholically.

Sanguine? I don't think so. If you mean optimistic, hopeful, or confident.

On the other hand, I have seen hopeless cases such as her get and stay sober. It can and does happen. It can happen for her. I wouldn't bet on it, but it could happen.

Maybe my choice of words doesn't give you an idea of how sick I am about this. I have talked for hours on the phone with people about it. I do not want to go to her funeral. Dammit! I am tired of tripping over the corpses.

When I call this particular woman "my friend," it is more like the John McCain kind of "my friend." She is someone I have known from my group for several years. I have encouraged her to call me and she has several times. I've met her (soon to be former) husband, and her children, I have sat at picnics and potlucks with her. I have been to her home, and she has been to mine. We don't have a big relationship. I just care about her because she is a drunk just like me - and I know that she doesn't have to die. But apparently she doesn't know that. And when someone doesn't know that, no amount of telling them seems to work.

Anyway, I feel that this is probably another minor betrayal for her. She doesn't need me writing about her on my blog.

I just felt that I had to say something.

For some reason tonight I was remembering my first boyfriend in sobriety. After his 11th DUI, I felt that I needed to break up with him. That was a heartbreaking loss. And now he is dead.

And my drunken cowboy - after he started drinking again after years of sobriety and wouldn't stop drinking and got belligerent with me, I felt that I needed to break up with him. That was a heartbreaking loss. The last I heard he had inherited some money and was rapidly drinking his way through that.... His 6'5" frame was down to about 160 lbs., skin and bones. I don't know where he is now, could be dead for all I know. But I don't think a day goes by that I don't think about him.

And Mr. Sweetie Man. What a heartbreaker that was. When he started drinking again (after years of sobriety) I knew that this wonderful relationship was never going to work. And to see his face on the news when his body was found in his home. His face on the television set in my living room - where we had shared so many lovely hours.

Oh, I could go on, but why.... I am just so tired of how we trivialize this malady - when its lethality is plain for anyone to see. It has taken so many people I have loved away from me.

Tomorrow morning, bright and early I shall write something cheerful - I have already formed it in my mind. It will be called "A sense of belonging." Because there are people who come to AA and recover from alcoholism and I need to focus on that. AA works.


dAAve said...

It may well be that she just doesn't care any more if she dies. She probably does know she can avoid it.

I lost dozens of friends to AIDS much like you've lost so many to alcoholism. I developed a sort of callousness to death that I don't like.

Findon said...

I agree with you, it is right that we remember those who have passed on for what ever reason, but more important we acknowledge those who continue on, day by day, sometimes in struggle, but never giving up.

AnyEdge said...

Wow did I use the wrong word. I didn't mean that at all: I probably meant something more like 'aplomb'. You seemed confident in your self, strong and capable, and that you hadn't let something so very troubling derail you.


izzy said...

Yes this is a tragic disease; as you say though- we need to climb up and stand in the center of our groups wagon...I have difficulty finding the balanced approach to some of the new comers,I try and help. One recently, I have had to step back from-and all I can do at the moment is pray. I will reach out to her again- trusting HP that it will be in a timely manner...

Syd said...

I think that you have described a very real and good way of dealing with the disease and its victims. I know that I am powerless over what others do and have few expectations of a dry drunk and none of a wet drunk, except that one or both will die. I don't think that I am jaded but realistic. There is nothing that I can do to stop a runaway train except get out of the way.

PJ said...

What you shared is no betrayal of your friend. In a way that is only loving, caring and concerned, you expressed your frustration and exhaustion in the powerlessness we experience when someone can't or won't get it. In reading this post, my first thought was along the lines of dAAve's comment. You say she's suicidal. It sounds as though she's given up, thrown in the towel, and sees death as the only way out of the tragic misery her life has become for her and those who love her. Yet, some small spark remains in her that is compelling her to come to meetings, some remnant of hope perhaps that it's still not too late. My prayers are with both you and this lost alcoholic. You can do no more than you are doing. It's up to her to respond to the hope and help that is still be offered to her by you and other recovering alcoholics, through the power of the Spirit. All is not lost, but only she can reach out and accept what is being offered.

Pam said...

Odd to say, but I'm still glad we ended up in the "drunk pile" of life. Isn't it strange Mary?
I always wonder if God shows the same amount of Mercy to every drunk but only some of us "feel" it. Maybe we just weren't as numb as your friend and she just can't feel it.

Ed G. said...

I'm sorry for these reflections - I have them often too. They just seem to be part of the deal.

...and, I think I will never get them figured out...

Blessings and aloha...