View Full Version : Tough Times with Alcohol

04-30-2009, 01:21 PM
For those who are curious, no, this has nothing to do with me, however it does centre around a problematic situation involving a friend of mine.

I just had to resport to humiliation of a friend in order to make him realize his stupidity with alcohol. Let me divulge a bit more:

I've known Steve (yes, his real name is Steve. Everyone's name is Steve!) for ten years now. We started working part-time at the same time at a supermarket in the produce section, and had a budding friendship for that long. He's been there for me in bad times and I've been there for him.

He's not a very tall man. Sitting at a little under 5' 5", his round figure and lispy pronunciation of "R" gives him that added character. The speed at which he lunks around leaves a lot to be desired; many times when he would walk with me to the bus stop from his house I'd find myself almost 100 metres in front of him babbling to myself as though I thought he was still right beside me.

His love for philosophy, music and literature makes one feel in awe. Yet one thing clouds all this and turns it into a dark and devouring missive wherein all his apparent greatness is shrouded by it.

What do I mean by this?

His recent actions over the past few years have lead me to believe there's a strong issue with his alcohol consumption. He's always had a bad run-in with alcohol. Eight years ago at a friends' cottage, he got so drunk that he threw up on himself; the pictures that were taken of him lying face-first in his own pool of vomit and he's never lived it down.

He continues to indulge heavily into drinking binges that would make even the hardened drunk or wino look tame.

Over the past year he's been involved in a very highschool-ish infatuation with a girl who is 11 years his junior. Now, he just turned 30 in February. He's in school studying philosophy, albeit barely, and still works part-time at the same supermarket where both him and I first became friends.

The past year has been rather tumultuous for both him and myself as his emotional flabbergasts result in him turning to obscene amounts of alcohol as a way to cushion the blows of the infatuated war of love.

He's gone through so much, though despite my calls for reasoning he chooses to ignore it in a pint of beer. His pursuits of this girl has tested friendships and increased the ridicule he receives from colleagues, peers, and friends alike.

A few weeks ago he was celebrating the girl's 19th birthday; during a break at work he and the girl went to the Beer Store to get a case of Bud, non-chalantly bringing it into the store in front of gaping jaws and wide eyes.

His mission that night was to impress the girl and let her have a few beers to commemorate her ascent into adulthood (drinking age here in Canada is 19; it's 18 in Quebec).

They went over to a buddy's place to celebrate. Now the one thing I should mention is that this one buddy and Steve have been vying for the affection of this one girl. Much to their surprise, not only did she smother her affection, but she did it with someone else and not Steve and Jay, the friend.

Steve and Jay looked at one another and resorted to drinking. Steve took it a step further. He got so drunk that, during the ride home with another good buddy, Steve decided to release his own biological keg and spew all over the car, and the driver.

Upon getting back home, Matt, the driver of the car, tried to get Steve into the house despite being covered in acidic bile of reverence from a few hours earlier. Much to his dismay, Steve refused to cooperate, unable to stand or mutter a word. Matt wasn't able to get Steve into the house, so he left Steve on the front stoop to "sober-up" a while so he could at least get into the house. The fact that the spew was moist and causing Matt to experience chills didn't help.

Steve wound up flopped on his side on the front lawn, eventually being spotted by someone who then called the ambulance, and properly ported Steve over to the hospital.

The sad part in all this is that the day after, Steve had an exam. You'd think that in knowing you had an exam you'd spend the time studying and laying low. But apparently the call to party and assert a natural mating call was of more importance, which led to disturbing consequences.

Steve didn't so much as whisper a thank you to Matt for at least driving him home, instead acting all diva on him and criticized Matt for what he did. Not to mention that the offer to help clean the car afterwards wasn't opening stated.

Then, a week later, I found out that Steve was ready to go at it again, calling for a party to be held at a local watering hole.

I posted on his facebook account wondering how the event went, and whether he went to the hospital again. Apparently Steve didn't like that, so I retaliated with, "Hey Steve, has Alana agreed to go out with you yet? Oh, that's right, she hasn't!"

That set off a firestorm in a bottle, although I'm quite confident it had to be said. Matt and myself have taken enough strife throughout the last year listening to Steve ramble incessantly about the girl, even though we told him that she's just playing him, and all that regular outside-of-the-box-looking-in rhetoric most friends tend to relay to other friends.

And now, a buddy who has gone out west to Victoria in British Columbia is returning for a small visit next week. First thing out of Steve's mouth was to get hammered. His brother was the first to back away from that statement, saying that if he's going down to visit, he won't be drinking heavily.

He's pretty upset with me for "publically humilating him" on facebook, but I felt it necessary to say given his imminent danger of being self-indulged by alcohol.

Now he's talking about moving East to New Brunswick, saying that no one at the store where he met most of his friends really are "friends" for ridiculing him. But it's self-inflicted. His actions are the ones that are causing him the humiliation, we're merely just pointing it out to try to get him to come to his senses.

I absolutely loathe people who get massively drunk like that on a regular basis, and never take responsibility for their actions.

Alcohol was responsible for destroying my family at an early age. I certainly do not want to see it destroy another person who is close to me.

I'm upset because I think he's running away and not realizing the damage he's doing to not only himself, but to his relationships with friends and family.

And it hurts.

04-30-2009, 01:44 PM
First sorry to hear this is happening to a friend. I can tell you care and your actions are meant to help your friend.

Is there a history of alcoholism in his family?

My experience with people involved with alcohol and drugs is that there is usually an underlying reason why they're doing what they do. For some either is recreational and not a big deal, but when it goes beyond the recreational it's usually because the person is unfulfilled in some way. Maybe something is missing in their life and they use the alcohol/drugs in an attempt to fill that need. Or maybe it's a way of not having to face something painful that happened. Lots of potential causes really.

The other thing I've learned is that most people will only get better when they want to get better. Generally they need to hit their own personal rock bottom. Trying to get the person to change without them wanting to change most likely will just lead to them getting mad at you and pushing you away.

I think in situations like this it's hard to know the best course of action since different people respond differently and are at different points along the way to bottoming out. Some need to lose everything before they'll change others don't.

What you might try is in the sober moments talk to Steve and see if you can get at what those underlying causes are. Maybe you can get him to open up and in so doing allow him deal with things. You'd probably have to be very supportive to earn his trust so he'd be willing to open up.

04-30-2009, 04:08 PM
The thing is, Steve, is that there are a number of issues affecting his reliance on such substances, and no amount of myself, or Matt or his brothers telling him otherwise, it will not help him at all.

He's hit his "rock bottom" several times, yet guess what he does? He gets even more mangled. Perhaps it's out of spite for something or someone.

The thing that bothers me is that I almost lost my relationship with my father because of insidious drinking antics. I'm very close to ending my friendship with Steve merely because of his inability to really look at things in a grander scale.

The reason that the girl - or any girl for that matter - doesn't want to go out with him is because of this alcoholic binge he goes on frequently. As for specific details about alcoholism in his family, that I do not know. I'm guessing not considering his two brothers shy away from it a lot more than Steve himself does. But that doesn't mean it couldn't have genetically avoided Steve entirely. Even if there's no direct trace in his family tree, he's setting a dangerous generational inheretance should he choose to have a family in the future.

All I know is that he's providing me with tonnes of experience for when I have children. Because that's exactly what he's doing now: acting like a mindless adolescent trying to prove something.

Thanks for your support. I need it in times of really wonky emotional times like this.

04-30-2009, 05:01 PM
He's hit his "rock bottom" several times

Keep in mind only he can determine what his rock bottom is. It might look like he's reached it, but if he keeps doing the same things, he probably hasn't.

I know it's frustrating for you. Ultimately you have to take care of yourself. You can be there to support him to a point, but in the end only he can save himself. That might take losing all his friends.

Try not to let his issues get to you. I know that's hard. Part of you wants to be there for him and part needs to be away from it.

04-30-2009, 06:10 PM
The silly part is that of the ones he's got left, they're starting to wear thin. They're so few and far in between Rosie O'Donnell would have no trouble fitting through one of those gaping holes.

When news got out that he had spewed all over Matt and his car, the **** started hitting the fan even faster. People at work roll their eyes in disgust.

Ultimately it is his choice, however I've come to realize that humans are generally weak willed. Soon his only friend will be Captain Morgan or Jack Daniels, and no one will hear him weap.

It's sad, but there comes a time when someone has to grow up and move on with their lives. That said, the fact that I'm married, (will) own a house and run a business is a testament to my capability to escape the throngs of those defiled substances, largely due to a weird family history involving something similar.

There is a good thing out of all this: It's completely turned me off of alcohol completely. My wife's brother has succumbed to alcohol in his own manner, although it's hard to maintain the respect I had for individuals who continue to live by the bottle and chastise those who choose otherwise.

Now I myself am not innocent: I've had my bouts with getting smashed and the whole thing, but I grew out of it! Probably because of the lingering hereditary risks, and also the fact that it costs you more than just money in the long run.

Yes, he has to come out of it himself. As I said in another thread, you can lead a horse to water but you cannot make him drink. Heh, funny how that so applies to this situation.

Unfortunately, it'll be too late before he realizes what he's dug himself into. The only person he can blame is solely himself.

It does hurt, and it will be hard to let it go. I stand by my friends through thick and thin...yet maybe this will be the final decisive battle which determines the true outcome.

04-30-2009, 07:26 PM
It's sad, but in the end he might need to lose all his friends before he wants to get help. Sometimes you really do need to lose everything. Hard to know how you'll come out of that though. For some it makes them change, but for others it doesn't.

I think you have to do what's good for you. There's a point where you can't give up yourself anymore for someone who doesn't want help. It would be different if he came to you asking for help and then fell back. Seems like at the moment he has no interest in doing anything other than continuing as he has been.

Take the positive as what you've gotten out of this. It's turned you off to alcohol. Maybe that's what this is about for you. You're witnessing Steve ends up helping you.

05-05-2009, 06:26 PM
Oh it's not the first time his drunken antics have turned me off. A few years back he went through the same thing (involving a girl, no doubt!), getting so mashed from drinking a mickey of rum straight, then deciding to parade around his street cursing and such. In broad day light too.

Upon our arrival to the community centre's parking lot his pants decided they had enough too, and promptly fell down to his toes. Steve tumbled down immediately afterwards, perfectly timed for when the elderly couple passed by in their car, mouths agape, while Steve laid there on the grassy patch, pants down near his ankles, giggling like a school girl.

No matter. Steve's antics are just a part of the grand scheme of things. It was originally my dad's alcoholic obsession that caused my parents to split when I was 7 years old. I even threatened to cut off contact with him myself a few times if he didn't hold off on his drinking.

Fortunately he caught it in enough time to not prevent the endangerment of his relationship with his son.

I'm a strong-willed person, Steve. I don't let little things like that bother me.

I just don't see the purpose in getting insanely drunk or intoxicated with anything. It marvels me even to this day.

A light buzz here and there is fine...but to that degree? It's like constantly ramming your head against a solid wall even though it hurts more and more every time you do it.

*sigh* the human condition is so distorted.

05-05-2009, 08:08 PM
Hard to explain. When I was younger I enjoyed going out and getting drunk. Then a funny thing happened. I realized I could have just as much fun being sober with the added benefit of not having a hangover the next day.

For some people it's about looking to fill an emptiness. Maybe there's something you're not getting from life and you hope the alcohol or drugs will fill the space. Sometimes it's a cry for help. Sometimes it's a way to punish yourself. There are many reasons why someone will consistently drink to excess.

I can see why someone will do it on occasion. Getting drunk can be a release from things. If you go out once in 6 months and get drunk it's not a big deal to me, assuming the next day you don't and get back to dealing with life. When you're getting insanely drunk every day or week then you have to start questioning why.

05-05-2009, 08:26 PM
With him it's a constant endeavour no matter what day or time it is when he does it.

On his facebook he's always writing on friends' walls saying they should go out for a drink or something. It's not just once, but ALL THE TIME.

"Hey man, when you back from Ottawa? Let's get a whisky together or something!"
"Eh, you're back from Victoria, let's go out for drinks!"

If it's not that, then it's an invite to a party.

I shake my head whenever I see that. He's trying to do the whole philosopher bit, thinking that getting mashed like that will help his cause. A good majority of his status changes have been populated by rather head-smacking moments as though he's taken it out of a children's handbook.

Normally whenever is taking a philosophy major they usually attempt to write and have their works published. Steve? Not a single ounce of ambition to do so. Well, the ambition is there, it's just that he lacks the drive to make it happen.

While he's been "enlightened," I seriously doubt any real philosopher would resort to D&A to get inspiration. Naturally-gifted thinkers don't need auxiliary substances to boost their philosophical capacity. I'm not sure, but I don't think philosphers like Plato, Nietzsche or Sartre took a hit from a joint or sat in a bar writing gibberish on the back of serviettes.

Nietzsche chose a life of solitude. Plato, well, he's over a thousand years old...Either way, I doubt either of them delved seriously into alcohol or spirits to get their insight going.

If it's a cry for help then he's probably on dry heaves right now. Every day he's bunning a doob or drinking something.

It's his choice, and if it means further humiliation on his behalf, then that's fine. It's his choice.

It's just sad, that's all...

05-07-2009, 12:01 PM
Sounds like you could use AlAnon for your own peace of mind and some serenity.

Alcoholics Anonymous is there for your friend, but he may have to hit "his" bottom. By the way, ridicule and humiliation typically do not work. In my opinion, that only jacks up their self loathing which leads to even more "reason" to drink. A serious intervention with friends and/or family can bring reality to the forefront for him. He may then agree to getting help.

There are any sources of help in just about any community. Check your phone book.

Best of luck. It's a tough situation for all concerned.

05-07-2009, 06:27 PM
Any mention of AA and he laughs it off. So that's a clear sign that he's not ready to commit to something that profound.

As if his life gets any more melodramatic, his Facebook updates feel like they've come out of an Emo textbook found at a thrift store.

At this point all I can do is shake my head. Pretty much all I can do now.

I appreciate the feedback, however. Although it feels more like a bloody circus than dealing with a friend.