ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. --
I’m sure you’ve been wondering where I’ve been the last few years. And although I know you feel you deserve an explanation, it’s none of your business. Even so, here you go.
There’s no denying that you’ve always been there for me. In fact, you’ve been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. Regardless whether it was a birthday, wedding, cookout, or a family vacation, there you were just chilling in the corner or mixing it up with the sodas and fruit juice.
Yep, you were the fun one in the crowd. It seems like someone was always talking about whether or not you were invited, if you needed a ride to the party or if you were going to be available for the work functions we were to attend. Some of my friends got along with you pretty well, but you and me? We were tight.
From the first time we hung out together, I felt like you made everything easier. It didn’t matter if it was meeting new people, interacting with old friends or winding down from a stressful day at work. I could always count on you to make things more relaxed … more manageable … more exciting.
And, you were there for the tough times too. You were right beside me when deaths, illnesses and conflicts crippled me with anxiety or broke me down spiritually and emotionally. You knew just the right way to numb the pain.
Yeah, we were the best of friends.
I could handle anything if you were along for the ride ... Unfortunately those rides ended up landing me in jail on more than one occasion. Still, I told myself it had nothing to do with you. When our other friends began to hang out with you less, I just found new friends who liked you better. And, over the years, that became a pattern.
What I didn’t notice was that it wasn’t just you our friends were avoiding, it was me. The baggage started piling up. I tried ever so valiantly, but I couldn’t seem to gain control of the seemingly countless suitcases filled with issues on the revolving track at baggage claim after each flight.
Those flights became more frequent.
With every trip we took together, I spent less time with my wife and children. I isolated myself from my parents and brother … my dearest friends. Hey, but with all the frequent flier miles I was accumulating, it seemed a travesty not to cash them in for another trip.
Even as things became darker, I sought refuge and ill-placed solace in your company. I tried skipping out on a few occasions without you, but it always ended up with you there – enticing me with promises of an end to my uncertainty and my damaged self-esteem.
There were weekends when I would wake up shaking, nauseous and ill … until you showed up for breakfast. And, I was thankful to see you. But then breakfast led to lunch followed by dinner. You were a houseguest who overstayed your welcome, and I was losing more of myself with each visit.
That’s when I started blaming you. When I took inventory of the bad things in my life, there was always one constant – you. Not only that, but fun was no longer part of the equation. The only thing you were offering me was a soulless black hole where I began depositing my hopes, my dreams and my desires.
When you started stealing time from me, I knew our trip had just about run its course. It was only upon great reflection that I realized you were only stealing time from my memories … not from those of the people who love and care about me who were hopelessly watching me circling the drain through a funnel into the bottom of a bottle.
So here we are. When I’m with you everything that means anything to me is at risk – my life, my marriage, my children, my friendships and my livelihood.
That said, I can’t lay the blame solely on your shoulders. I chose to take part in your plots and schemes. It was I who turned my back on those offering help, and I who continued to hang around with you even when I knew our relationship was only leading to hopelessness and despair.
So I’ll own up to my end of it. And, my end of it means that we can’t be friends anymore. There is nothing you can offer me to solve my problems … nothing you can provide that I can’t get with the help of God, my family or on my own … and nothing you can do will change my mind.
Yeah, we’ll still see each other around … on TV, in magazines, at restaurants and in corner markets. And, I know that I’ll see you hanging out with my friends. But don’t mistake my tolerance for acceptance. Our adventure has come to an end, and I’ve been on a new quest with the truest friend I’ve ever known … my sobriety.
From the author: Do you or does someone you care about have a drinking problem? Help is available. I know it’s hard, but if you just reach out and ask for help, you’ll get it. I know it can be a scary and embarrassing thing to face, but if you want it badly enough, you can do it. In my experience, the payoff is so well worth it. It’s been more than three years since I quit drinking, and everything in my life has improved dramatically. For me, not one single thing was made worse. If you're looking for somewhere to start check out the following information.
For a list of Middle Georgia Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, visit http://www.aageorgia.org/7b-meetings.html.
The Employee Assistance Program at 1-800-222-0364.
The Alcohol and Drug Addiction Prevention Treatment program at Robins at 478-327-8398.
The Alkanon Club at 1001 N. Carl Vinson Pkwy, Warner Robins, Ga. 31093 – Open meeting at 8 a.m. each Sunday.
Macon Alcohol and Drug Rehabilitation Services: 1-800-304-2219.
Free Alcohol, Drug and other Rehab resources in Warner Robins, 1-800-780-2294.
Trinity Treatment Center Inc., 221 Newberg Avenue, Macon, Georgia , 31206 - 478-788-5600.
Trinity Treatment Center provides substance abuse treatment services for adult men and women in an outpatient setting. These services include but are not limited to trauma related counseling, individual and group counseling, motivational interviewing, anger management and relapse prevention.
New Pointe Treatment Center LLC - 1031 Keith Drive Perry, Georgia, 31069, 478-987-7912.