I reconnected with an old friend who turned out to be a chronic alcoholic

by Janet
(UK)

We were pals in our 20s. We married other people. We lost contact about 15 years ago - life happens. We reconnected in January this year. It was like I saw him yesterday. We got on like a house on fire - we always did. We now live 200 miles apart.


I went to visit him in Feb - we had the best weekend - we started to fall in love :). Then the phone calls came thick and fast. We fell out a couple of times. He was down because he had a bad back. He was down because he'd had so much time off work he was due to be dismissed. We still chatted and laughed a lot on the phone. There were a couple of late night maudlin phone calls where he told me he didn't like what he'd become and he cried. He told me he loved me, needed me and wanted me to know everything about him even stuff I might not like. We missed each other.

We arranged to meet half way between our home towns. I was really looking forward to it. He arrived and was shaking and distracted. I thought it was the bad back. It was like being with a stranger. I knew he was anxious about the impending dismissal. On the Sunday morning he had a seizure and landed on his face. The paramedics and 2 doctors told me it was due to alcohol withdrawal. The shaking was the DTs - he admitted that. He told me he'd been drinking heavily for years. He had lost his short term memory. From what the doctors told me and stuff I found out myself I realized he's a chronic alcoholic. The hospital detoxed him and he went home and started drinking again. I cut off from him but couldn't completely turn my back on him.

I'm now in Alanon. It's a great help. He's still drinking and we have spoken on the phone a couple of times and he's not always coherent or pleasant. I am going to find out about co-dependency. I can only try to help myself. I know he's killing himself - I can do nothing to help him. I am here as his friend. he has a wet brain and has all the symptoms of end-stage alcoholism. It breaks my heart.

He is bitter and angry that he has ruined things between us and that we didn't reconnect 10 years ago - I guess that was when he might've started the heavy drinking. I cannot call him. He calls me. If I don't hear from him I worry he's dead. I think I'd like to see him again one more time to say my good-byes, but it may not be possible. I have to take care of myself. I am so sad. Maybe we could've had a good time together - we will never know. The only thing I know is that I am detaching with love and I am finding it hard to do. Alanon is a safe place for me to work on myself.

I feel sad and stressed and worried about him and I wake up thinking about him. I want to be able to park him somewhere less prominent in my head. He's a very poorly man. He has never said he is an alcoholic, though he knows I know because I told him. I wish he would call me to tell me the truth and own up to being an alcoholic but that's my fantasy - and added to that I'd love to hear him say he's going to get the right help - but I know that's such a remote possibility. It's torture at the moment and I hope it starts to feel less painful for me. He's 200 miles away - he's still hoping I'll visit and we'll go on holiday as we had planned. It can't happen. I know I have to cut off but most days I decide to do nothing but that doesn't stop me worrying.

This is such an evil and pernicious disease and its effects are devastating. I know I have stuff to learn from this - otherwise why am I going through this? I want to feel serenity. I wish peace for him. So far this is my story.

Comments for I reconnected with an old friend who turned out to be a chronic alcoholic

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Mar 23, 2013
It's been 2 years
by: Anonymous

By May 2011 I had completely detached from this person. That was a month after the seizure. I had his number blocked from my landline. I changed my mobile number. I stayed at Alanon for 4 weeks. After that I didn't need to go anymore. I had given enough of my time to my friend's illness. I hear occasionally from his ex-wife who is massively in denial, as are most members of his immediate family.

I am free. It's sad but I learned how strong I am and I made healthy choices.

Good luck to you all out there who feel you have to live with your loved ones illness. Life is not easy. Learn to be strong. Ask for help. be honest.

Nov 03, 2012
Going through the same thing
by: Anonymous

I know exactly what you are feeling. I let a friend live with us for nine years. Some years were great but some were not. When he drank he would get very angry and loud. He got his 4th DWI and had to do 120 days treatment. Came home and lasted all of 6 weeks when the drinking slowly started again. Spent all his money. I new it was finally over. I love him with all my heart but cannot do this anymore. He needs more help then I can give. He is back in jail waiting trail for probation vol. I'm moving. This time am not telling him were I'm going because I know he will show up on my doorstep and want to move in. He would call all the time. Cry and plead. It is just so sad that a talent, fun-loving man life is like this. I'm so sorry for him. I hope someone helps him but I cannot.

Oct 09, 2012
Take care of yourself first
by: Anonymous

You have to find your own way through this, but keep in mind that it is not your fault and it has nothing to do with you, therefore you can do nothing to stop it, and you absolutely cannot fix him. It took me many years to realize that with my mother (also now with wet brain syndrome) and it was agonizing for a control-perfectionist like myself. I wish you the very best of luck, and be very, very careful to not go too near the edge.

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