Control (Day 3 rant)

When I don’t drink my friend thinks I’ve got control issues. That I have the need to control everything in an unhealthy manner. I can’t let go and “have fun” for a bit. This seems to be a problem for her. Similarly, when I do drink and evidently can’t control it or anything else in my life at those times, she thinks I should exercise more control such as allowing myself certain drinking days per week, certain amount of drinks per session (preferably with her!). The more I go over the things she says to me concerning my drinking, the more I question her own drinking. She is a very sensible person who likes a good drinking session and even has the occasional hair of the dog on a Saturday lunch time, but very rarely does she drink during the week. When she does, she can happily (or so she says) have a glass of whisky or some wine and then stop and save the rest. That all seems like fairly normal drinking to me, but why is my drinking or non-drinking such an issue for her?

It seems like she thinks she knows best. She wants so badly to make my decisions for me that it makes me wonder what the hell her problem is! She is the same sometimes with food, but not half as bad. I remember when I’d been sober for 6 months, we went out for lunch on my birthday and she asked me if I was planning on ever having a drink again, and I said no, I can’t. She asked “But say if you were with me and I only allowed you one glass with dinner or something?”. I was speechless. I truly didn’t know what to say apart from maintaining that no, it’s not possible for an alcoholic to have even one drink even if their friend tells them they can’t have no more. That one drink may just be one drink that time, but it won’t be long (for me anyway) before it’s back to daily uncontrollable drinking.

The first drink is the one that sets the wheel spinning and you just don’t know where it’s gonna land or when. I appreciate that this is very hard for a non-alcoholic to understand but what happened to just being a supportive friend? If she decided for some weird reason to completely give up ginger bread men because they made her feel like shit, I wouldn’t dream of dangling ginger bread men in front of her and say “come on, just one, you’ll be fine, you’re with me, I’m sure it was never that bad”. Or more seriously, she can’t have wheat or gluten because it actually makes her feel like crap, so I would never pressure her to have a sandwich. She very occasionally has a sandwich but that’s got nothing to do with me.

My god. That’s the end of that rant. The reason I’m going on about it today is because my newly sober mind is trying to decide what to say or not say when I next meet up with my friend. It’s going to be at the weekend, I’m sure, and there’ll be wine involved. The reason I can’t just ditch her as one of those no-good friends that need to vacate my life to accommodate my sobriety is that I love her very much and in every other respect she has been there for me during trials and tribulations, let me stay at hers when my ex has gone wild, fed and watered me when I’ve gone through bad patches, lent me money when I’ve been short and she’s just an awesome friend. I could not let her go. I guess, in the light of that, I’ll have to figure out a way of making her understand how serious this is for me. That it’s not about simple rules and allowances. That it’s about life and death.

On that dramatic note, that’s me for now. Good night. 

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8 Responses to Control (Day 3 rant)

  1. Belle says:

    I think I’d say … you’re not describing a friend.
    she’s not your friend.
    friends help you be your best self.
    you’re not 14. you don’t need to hang out with mean girls.
    you’re taking good care of you.
    imagine you were trying to give up cocaine before it ruined your life…
    read your blog post again and substitute cocaine instead of booze/food.
    I say …
    surround yourself with people who ‘get it’ …
    or maybe they don’t even ‘get it’ but they want what’s best for you
    as YOU decide it.
    and calmly discard everyone else.
    you’re evolving into a better you.
    you deserve to be supported in that amazing and brave process.
    cheering squads line the sober streets as you drive by in your sober car.

    run over the rest of the idiots.

    love, Belle xo

    • Debbie says:

      I agree with Belle, “Run over the rest of the idiots” and hang with good, solid, be there for you, friends 🙂

  2. Lilly says:

    Oh, this makes me mad to read – it’s so insensitive. But it’s probably largely inadvertently insensitive because your friend, for whatever reason, just Does Not Get It. Not At All.

    You have a few options:
    a) You can make it clear to her, in no uncertain terms, that you need more support and if you don’t get it you will have to distance yourself from her. You’re not drinking. Period. Drop it.
    b) You can simply distance yourself from her. Or at least for now – til you feel stronger.
    c) You can try to just let these comments roll off your back and stay firm – depending just how important she is to you – but I’d really recommend a or b.

    I’ve had two friends be very unsupportive and they are the ones who have issues themselves. Some other friends have generally been very supportive but have also said and done stupid things at times (like saying ‘I know! when you go out for dinner just have one drink and stick to water afterwwards!’ – yeah, that’s gonna work – or asking me to pick up beer or make mulled wine).

    These latter friends genuinely want what’s best for me and are mostly supportive even though they don’t really get it. So I forgive them the odd slip into stupidity and don’t take it personally because they are trying to be helpful, they just don’t get it. And that’s ok. So long as they’re mostly supportive and don’t push it.

    The two other friends I ended up feeling that me being a drinking buddy was way more important to them than, as Belle put it, helping me be my best self. It actually hasn’t been that hard to distance myself as they don’t really want to be around me if I’m not drinking. Their loss. This may prove true with your friend too if she actually has issues of her own.

    Stand your ground and try not to get too wound up by this. Her issues. Her shit. You don’t need it. You KNOW you are doing what’s best for you.

    Lilly x

  3. Oh this is so hard! I have a friend who I feel may act similarly if it came down to it, but I have been evading and avoiding meeting up with her (just the two of us) like the plague since I decided to get sober. I can just about handle group meet-up situations involving drinking because I know that I only have to shrug and evade for a little bit of time before everyone gets drunk and rowdy together and basically ignores me and the fact I’m not drinking!
    I haven’t yet tried a one-on-one meet up with someone who I know will be expecting and want me to drink, because I just feel like I’m not strong enough.
    I totally get what you’re saying re: how on earth to make people who aren’t alcoholics understand without sounding like a total drama queen. Drama queen isn’t me at all and I would just be embarrassed. Couple this with the embarrassment of even having to admit ‘when I start I can’t stop’ powerlessness over something…… and I would probably smash out of there through the nearest window. I have big old pride that I never even noticed until I started all this.
    I don’t know what to suggest for you to try, I just wanted you to know that I feel the same, you’re not alone! x

  4. tfay64 says:

    Great post! I know it really sucks when someone you love and trust isn’t supporting you, having your back or like Belle said wanting what’s best for you as you have defined. Sometimes we need to “recategorize” friendships. Doesn’t mean you can’t be friends, but the dynamic of this relationship is not working for you right now. Think of it as a file drawer and you’re moving it to another one. You decide what the new category is. I’ve moved several to the “arms length” folder. Hang in there! Sending support and good thoughts. Tammy

  5. anathu says:

    Thanks to everyone who’s replied! It’s so difficult. What Belle said in the first comment is just outright scary although I know she’s right in a way. Keeping certain friends at an arm’s length distance could be an option especially as I only really see her at weekends and could get away with having other “arrangements” when she invites me out or over to her place. Or like somebody said… just keep a low profile until I feel stronger and more secure in my sobriety. During my last 6 month sober stretch I quite often socialised in pubs (and obviously still worked in one) and that wasn’t a problem in itself… What changed in the end was me. Things went haywire with the ex and I was extremely worn out and depressed and thought sod it. Plus I had stopped blogging and going to meetings (which are probably the real reasons).

  6. Debbie says:

    So,how are you holding up????

  7. I can relate with you so well, I was also a serious binge drinker a while back ago. For me to get better I had to deal with them at a distance, through phone calls and text messages and social media. Once I had a firm footing with my recovery I slowing began to let myself deal with them face to face. Now they notice the big difference in me and respect my choices and changes. It was tough for me to distance myself from them because for years we hung out every day but I knew if I didn’t I wasn’t going to be able to work on my issues.

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