Casualties of Alcoholism

When I was 9, my family moved, and I had to switch schools. I remember the day vividly. My stomach was upset as I was worried about my clothes and fitting in. We started the new school right after Thanksgiving, and I can remember that I hated my coat. I was terrified.

I somehow made it through the day and on to the school bus. This was strange to me because it was the first bus I ever had to ride because at my old school we walked.

On the bus, this girl from my class plopped next to me and started talking. A lot. I don’t think she shut up the entire ride home. I discovered she only lived 2 blocks from me. Actually, I discovered pretty much everything about her in that 30-minute ride. From that day on, she became my best friend.

We did everything together. Sleepovers, swimming in summer, bowling, you name it, we did it together. It was inevitable that we took our first drink together.

The first led to many drinks together. Our jr. high and high school years were filled with many nights of drinking and holding each other’s hair while we threw up.

As the years passed and we had our own families, we didn’t see each other often, but often enough. There were very few times we saw each other where alcohol wasn’t involved.

We celebrated all of the milestone birthdays with a lot of drinking. Divorces happened, life happened, and we helped each other in our typical fashion.

Here’s the thing. I always thought she had a problem. That she needed alcohol to get through life. I never felt like it was me. I mean, I would go months without drinking until we hung out together. Sometimes she would get sloppy drunk and cry or yell irrationally at her kids. She had the dui, not me. So, she had the problem. That’s what I thought.

What I feel now is that whenever we got together, we would act the way we did when we were young. Balls to the wall – so to speak. I suspect a therapist would say our relationship was toxic. My drinking progressed with my depression. I was, after all, the one with the problem.

After my suicide attempt, I left the psych ward to discover that my family had decided she would no longer be in my life. She didn’t visit me there. My last conversation with anyone before the attempt was with her. I don’t feel like they blamed her actually, just that she wasn’t good for me. She was blocked from my phone and all social media accounts.

She had been an essential part of my life for 40 years. I sang at her wedding. We watched each other’s kids. We gave each other rides to the airport and helped each other move. Now, I couldn’t even say…what? Goodbye? See you later? We’re not good for each other? It felt like a divorce.

My heart broke a little. She never tried to contact me. (She could have reached out through mutual friends or email) She didn’t visit me in the psych ward. She just moved on while I was trying to piece together what was left of my life. I’ve cried more than a few times over this lost friendship.

It’s been 3 years. We have seen each other a few times over the past year. Her mother’s funeral and her daughter’s housewarming. We’re pleasant to each other. We ask about each other’s family. We’re socially polite.

The funny thing is – I’m glad we are no longer friends. I have grown more as a person in the past 2 years than I ever thought possible. I have surrounded myself with strong women of faith, with people in recovery and with family that only wants to see me thrive. “Iron sharpens iron.” I believe that. I think that when we were together – neither of us could ever get to our full potential. I sincerely hope that she is growing and is happy as well. But the friendship we had – looking back – seems weak to me now, as our common denominator was always alcohol.

So, this friendship goes down as a casualty of alcoholism. The breakup, however-became the leg up to my recovery.

13 thoughts on “Casualties of Alcoholism”

  1. I spent a while reading your story last night. I thoroughly enjoy reading your life. And I truly support you and your blog!

    Ok, I started drinking when I was 21. I backslid out of church and God. I got depressed about how my life wasn’t working out. I saw others from church and people from school who had friends, a love life and things seemed pretty smooth. Life was sadistic to me. I had nobody. Nothing going for myself. And I’d fail so hard trying my best at things. So, alcohol was a “solution”. I imposed my presence on guys I had went to school with and we drank Mike’s Hard Lemonade one night and it set off my addiction. My first drunken experience was me laying on the floor because I got indigestion so bad I was suffering. So no more MHL… however I learned I was a dark beer kind of guy. I kept a bottle of vodka in my truck and I got to where I could drink Jack straight like water.

    I’d always heard that alcohol takes away your problems… I’d drink and get drunk and my problems would sit on my chest and mock me. What do you do then? Drink more! Right? I’d be plastered, sloppy drunk and develop a temper because those demons were still there.

    Alcohol became a necessity. It was legal and I couldn’t stand reality. I did drugs but tried to be careful because I didn’t want any trouble. I just needed something to numb my feelings. I remained this way some years. Army life almost demanded intoxication. So I certainly drank as many of those days away as possible.

    My casualty was my wife. I don’t remember what it was that I said or did but I made her cry one night. It was at that moment I knew something had to happen. Emotions and alcohol don’t mix. I had to give it up.

    I gave up drinking, drugs, cigarettes cold turkey with the help of the Lord and my wife. I still have the urges every now and then but I always remember the rock bottom it led me to and it keeps me in line.

    So, I fully support you and appreciate you! Thank you following my blog and giving me your support!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for your comment. It’s good to know I’m not alone. Raised in the church – I feel like Fred Flinstone with the good on one shoulder and the bad on the other one.
      I really enjoy your blog as well. Working my way through it. You are a great writer. Thanks for all of your support.

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  2. I lost my best friend because of her drinking. Ironically I think it was because she didn’t like that I rarely drink. She gave up on me not the other way round. She just stopped talking. She didn’t answer the phone texts or emails. I had no clue and still don’t why she just stopped talking to me and I miss her every day

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  3. Also, when I was drinking a lot- I avoided the people that didn’t drink or didn’t drink much. It forced me to look at my own drinking – which I didn’t want to do.

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    1. It took me three years to get over her. But I’ve had so much growth in the three years that would have never happened if we were still friends. I’m sure you have experienced the same. ❤️

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