Monday, July 16, 2012


Well, it finally happened, it took 307 days, 19 hours and so many minutes of sobriety but someone finally told me that they didn't think I was that "bad" and that they didn't understand why I had quit drinking.  It was my best friend, of course it was her, I could always count on her to tell me that.  Good thing I haven't seen her much in the last 307 days.

She was drunk when she called, I could tell when I answered the phone.  I had just finished eating dinner with my oldest son and was about to shoo him out the door so I could spend the rest of the evening determinedly finishing one of the half dozen books I've started haphazardly reading, when the phone rang.

I'll give you a synopsis of conversations that went on, including the ones in my head.

She said, "Hey, what are you doing?  I thought I'd stop by."

I said, "Sure, come on over."

In my head I said, "Shit! There goes my book.  How is she going to stop by, she doesn't have a car?  She's obviously been drinking, maybe she meant I was supposed to go by and get her.  She shouldn't be driving anyway."

I call her back but her son said she had already left.  She had borrowed a friend's car.

Knock! Knock!

 I call, "I'm in the backyard, come on back."

She comes out the backdoor carrying a plastic bag of beer.

She says, "I bought my own beer, since you don't drink anymore."


In my head I said, "What kind of friend is this?"

I said, "No, thanks."

She said, "Oh yeah, right.  So you just stopped all of a sudden?"

In my head I said, "Jesus, how many conversations have you and I had over the course of 30 years about trying to control our drinking?"

I said, "No, I tried to seriously moderate for a year and decided that I couldn't do it so I needed to quit."

She said, "I just never thought you were that bad."

In my head I said, "Yeah, because if you admitted that I was that bad, you'd have to admit you are that bad, too."

I said, "I just got tired of feeling terrible all the time and the hangovers were evil."

She said, "I never get hangovers."

In my mind I said, "Bullshit!"

I said, "Really? You never get hangovers?"

She said, "Well, I can't remember the last time I got drunk actually."

In my head I said, "You're drunk on your ass right now."

I said nothing.

She said, "I don't drink everyday."

In my head I said, "Yes, you do."

I said, "It doesn't matter if you drink every day, what matters is if you can quit drinking once you start."

 She ignored that and said, "I'm just so glad you don't judge other people who drink."

In my head I said, "Oh yes, I do.  I'm judging you right now and I have no right to.  I was you."

So the rest of the night was spent listening to all of her woes, of which she genuinely has a multitude, most of which could be laid at the doorstep of her drinking and me wanting to bean her up the side her head with one of her beer cans and say, "Get Real and quit lying to yourself."

I finally shooed her off so I could get a shower before bed and then beat myself up for letting her drive home just because I didn't want to seem like I was "judging" her (I won't let that happen again).

And today, the girl that never has a hangover called in sick to work.

I received a comment today on a blog I wrote months ago, I didn't really understand most of what it said but a couple of things stood out to me since they seemed timely in relation to my conversation with my friend last night.  One statement was that self-righteousness is as toxic as offering an alcoholic a drink.  I get that, which is why most of my self-righteousness was kept in my head and I tried to preface all of my comments to my friend last night with, "When I drank, this happened to me" instead of making sweeping generalizations.  Another quote the commenter quoted was "Good Teachers don't abandon their pupil, not on purpose." Well, I've never claimed to be anyone's teacher, hell, I've got too much to learn, myself.  But I don't like to see my friend in pain, even if it is infuriating to me that she will not take any responsibility, and I'd like to help her and I don't think sitting there accepting the bullshit she is feeding herself in big heaping smelly shovelfuls and nodding agreeably like an idiot is one bit of help.

So Whaddayado?


  1. I think talking to other people - whether they're normies, boozers, sober or sloshed - about our own personal decision not to drink any more, is like navagating a field full of mines. We're dodging shit constantly. Am I being self-righteous here? Must remember to say 'for me anyway' all the time. Should I say what I really think about their drinking? Am I right or am I too blinded by my own dysfunction/sobriety to see this from their perspective? Am I going on about booze too much? Do they think I'm boring now? Do they think I'm a saint? Do I think I'm boring now? Am I a saint? Am I judging too harshly? Why can't they see this as clearly as me? Are they in denial? Why are they so concerned with my not drinking? Can't this be a non-issue? Aaarrrgghhhh!!!!!! Nightmare scenario. Sounds like you're a good friend and handled it fairy well (aside from the driving thing, always tricky, but hell, she's in bloody denial! To admit that you're too boozed to drive would crack open a door of honesty). But bottom line .. no fun, no fun at all. Books and a bath would have been heaps better xxx

  2. Ouch! You have hit the nail on the head over and over, Mrs. D, I guess this is just part of our new existence.

  3. i've just discovered you :) I'm happy to be here!
    i've found i've learned a lot about my 'friends' when i tell them i'm not drinking. i say "i'm not drinking for now" because i don't want to get into a long conversation about the whys and the wherefores. but what's interesting is what THEY say as soon as I say I'm not drinking ... do they admit that they've been trying to cut back too? do they offer me a drink? do they say something snarky? ha, it's like a friendship litmus test.

    1. Hi Belle, I'm glad you're here too. Most of my friends up to this point have been very supportive and I think they'd trip over themselves to knock a drink out of my hand if they thought I was going to drink again. Those are good friends. I'm going to have to wait and see with this one, I'd already distanced myself somewhat but now we are back working together and I love working with her again, but when we're working we're both sober.

  4. Ditto what Mrs D said. I try and try to say the right thing but, depending on who I'm talking to, I honesty almost always wins out and then I can't speak anymore because my foot is so far in my mouth.

    You handled your friend with grace and humility Kary. Except for the driving part, I wouldn't chage a thing.

  5. Just found you Kary May. I can relate totally to what you are saying - had a virtually identical experience recently. Not long ago at a conference I had to literally pick my friend up off the ground and get her to her room as she was so drunk. On my not drinking she tells me she never gets drunk and never has hangovers and my problem is that I did not drink enough to build up tolerance!
    You know what? Its their shit. I have worked hard to get where I am. Happy to help anyone who wants to give up. But the rest of them must live with their own delusions.
    Cleo xx