Hi and welcome back to Coffee with Clare everything Thursday! I am delighted that you are here!
I am so frustrated and upset. I am a 39-year old divorced woman. This is not about me, however. I feel hopeless about my best friend, Teresa. Teresa and I grew up together since the 7th Grade and all through high school. Of course we were separated during the college years, but we have both returned to our home-town. We have stayed close through thick and thin. Teresa was there for me through my ugly divorce three years ago, and I have been there for her through her mom’s death from cancer five years ago. She is in an unhappy marriage, but the real problem is Teresa is an alcoholic and will not admit to it.
I am quite upset and so worried…. I have seen this problem developing over the past few years, and it has increased as she gets unhappier in her marriage. I have talked with her over coffee and lunch several times about my concerns with her heavy drinking, and now it’s to the point I feel like I am “nagging” her. Teresa blows it off as “no big deal” and doesn’t see it as a problem – she thinks she is just one of the girls having some fun. Last Saturday evening, she got in her car to drive home after dinner, and I know she should not have been behind the wheel; she was so drunk. Two weeks ago, she mentioned that her boss was mad at her “for being late to work a few mornings”. She is starting to avoid me as she knows I don’t like her habit. Mostly I am just concerned for her.
What can a very concerned friend do? I am concerned for her health and wellbeing, and now she is starting to display some very concerning and destructive behaviors.
Signed – Scared in Savannah
Oh, this is such a sad and frustrating dilemma you are in – one in which many of us find ourselves in your same shoes, unfortunately. I know you feel responsible for Teresa, but your hands are tied to a degree because we adults know people have free will and make their own choices.
First and foremost, have an uninterrupted coffee or lunch date with her one more time and tell her how you feel – you are concerned for her health and wellbeing. When drinking takes priority over getting to work on time and personal safety, it is more than just a “problem”. If this uninterrupted session doesn’t seem to do any good, you may want to consider looking into professional help and possibly an intervention. The National Council on Addiction and Drug Dependence (NCADD) has lots of valuable information on this and other areas of addiction: https://ncadd.org/
Please consider that even after all of your efforts, there is the possibility that Teresa won’t be ready for an intervention or moving forward with any type of recovery. Ultimately it is her decision whether she will accept the help to stop drinking. Don’t feel bad about her self-destruction because you are trying to help her, and she is going to make her own choices – good or bad.
Please remember to get the support you need in the interim – There is Al-Anon http://www.al-anon.alateen.org/ which you may find helpful. Al-Anon is for family and friends who are working through many of the things you have described. This many help you emotionally during this difficult journey.
Readers – Any readers who have experienced something similar who can help out? We welcome your helpful suggestions!
I hope this works out for Teresa… and you.
Thank you for stopping in today! I invite you to email your questions, problems and “life challenges” directly to me at: firstname.lastname@example.org I would love to hear from you!
Until next time~