Wednesday, December 31, 2008

And don't drink and blog either. Your spelling gets all crummy.

As usual, the only person in this joint who has plans for New Year's Eve is our 5-year-old daughter. She is off to a sleepover at a friend's house, where she will be able to stay up late and blow party horns and eat popcorn to her heart's content. If we are very, very lucky, her daddy and I will hit a Redbox on the way home so we can watch a movie as soon as the little one goes to bed, allowing us to have some grown-up entertainment before we pass out from routine exhaustion at 10:30.

Once upon a time, pre-children, we would have spent the evening with a few friends, making a huge meal, playing board games, and getting more and more toasted until midnight. There are a number of reasons we don't do this anymore, children being only one of them. Many of those friends have moved on from us, or we from them - depending on how you look at it - and at least one of them is slowly, but surely killing himself with alcohol.

I joke a lot about drinking and getting drunk, and I have certainly tied one on a time or two, but in the last 5 or 6 years, I have hardly tilted back a glass at all, and I cannot even remember what it is like to be truly inebriated. Maybe once a month, my husband and I remember that we have some rather tasty beer way in the back of the fridge, and if we decide to have one, we have one - which we share. And I never finish mine.

This is partly because too much alcohol can trigger one of my massive headaches, but this is usually avoided if I drink as much water as liquor - though it keeps me in the bathroom during all the fun stuff. And any kind of a hangover when you have to get up at 6:30 am and keep two kids entertained for the rest of the day is just too much of a handicap.

But, frankly, getting a good buzz on has just lost a lot of its appeal for me. A few years ago, I had to cut off ties with an old friend because his drinking had gotten out of control. There was a time when I thought my job was to try to help him, then another friend revealed to me that she was a recovering alcoholic, 16 years sober, and she explained a lot to me. Suffice to say, if you have a friend who is drowning in alcohol, you cannot fix him. You can only "raise the bottom" by walking away and saying, "I cannot have you in my life until you are sober." And I did this, and it hurt like hell, and I questioned what I did for a long, long time.

Then, later, he truly hit bottom. He drank so much that his organs began to shut down. He was hospitalized, and each day the doctors told him he might not make it to the next morning. And each day, he kept making it to the next morning anyway. Eventually he was released into hospice, which required him to start AA, and for the next three years he was sober.

But it didn't stick. My friend who is a police officer in the town where he lives, and who knows him as well, responded to a call last night, and found him on his sofa, wasting away, drunk and despairing. He was in such a bad state, he had to be hospitalized for a psych evaluation as well as for medical reasons. I don't know yet what has become of him. I'm scared to find out.

So, if you're gonna party 'til you puke tonight, please have a designated driver or take a taxi or stay home. I've lost more than one person to alcohol, and I don't want to lose any more.


Ginny said...

That was such a wonderful post,
I am so sorry for the loss of your friendship with this person, sometimes it is so hard to let a person go even though it is hurting you when you try to help, I have a sister that I have had to let go. It still is painful.
Bless you and may this next year bring you much happiness!
P.S. I have teenagers, yep my 14 year old is going out, we are staying in and watching movies too.

Cathy said...

This is truly the night of blog friends writing about letting go of bad and unhealthy friendships. I guess we all sit back at least once a year and try to look at what in our life is worth it and what part of our lives we really need to let go of. It is the tough part of being grown up.

My kids are grown and still maybe like you said have a drink to share with my hubby and off to bed way before midnight.

Happy New Year!

Linda said...

If you REALLY want to party, there`s really bad movies on tv tonight! Giggle. Yes, my children are out having a great time and hopefully being very responsible about drinking and driving. I am so not drinking! It`s hard to get the habit back after children and, as you pointed out, it`s not very god for you! Have a happy.
Lurking Linda

Cathi said...

This is a fabulous post. I can totally relate to what you wrote -- a very good friend developed a drinking problem and I got to the point of refusing to talk to her when she was drinking. After a few years, she got sober and has now been sober for almost 20 years. So sometimes it does work.
Happy New Year!

Myra said...

Sorry to hear you had a migraine over Christmas, but glad you are well again...

Great that you were able to find a sitter so quickly! Good for you! Good luck with the new job!

A lovely pink scarf... Who will have the honor of wearing it? 8-)

Friends come, and friends go, for many reasons. I think we all have such in our lives, and yes, it seems to be the time to think about such when ending a year and starting anew...

Our "big" evening was spent in the house watching movies... Our kids do enough parting for us. 8-)

Happy New Year Megan! 8-)