I received a telephone call today that set off the eternal battle between my heart and my mind. I know what I did was right, but anyone who thinks doing the right thing does not (sometimes) cause pain is living in a fantasy world.
I have never made a lot of friends. It is not anything to be particularly sad about, it just is what it is and I accept it. I value the friendships I have and if I lose one it really hurts. The times I have had to walk away from someone in order to protect my sobriety were not done because I didn't like the baseball team they were rooting for or I disagreed with their politics.
Two years after I blew up my life (I did stay sober though, and that is something) my best friend from college called me for help. She was drinking herself into the grave, her family was falling apart, she had ended up in jail and was on her way to rehab. I sprang into action (Leslie Saves America). I tried everything. I made myself available, I scolded, I praised, I yelled (not a good thing but sometimes sponsors yell, so deal with it) and I cried.
I was completely ineffectual - the situation was way over my head. When I asked for someone else to help, my friend refused to work with them. It was either me or nothing and when she blew things up in a big dramatic way here in Modesto I knew I had to walk away.
It killed me. I love this woman more than I can say and when she refused to do what was necessary to get well I had to keep my sobriety safe. I knew that if I continued to try and 'fix' the situation - even though I was following all the rules of proper sponsorship - I would end up losing my own grip on sanity and I was not then (nor am I now) willing to sacrifice my sobriety so that I can go down the tubes with someone I love.
I have not spoke to her since my father died in 2003.
Today I found out she is dying of cirrhosis of the liver and my heart is breaking.
My head tells me I did all the right things. I put my sobriety first. I took care of me. I get it. I get all of it.
My heart is breaking.
I have asked that she be told I love her and I am here if she wants to talk with me. I do ask for prayers. She needs them. She is dying.
And my heart is breaking.
Alcoholism is a dirty, nasty, ugly disease.....please, remember the dying alcoholic in your prayers.