General chatter - I really need advice on a friend
08-25-2010, 05:28 AM
I'm having a really hard problem trying to own up to a problem and i really would appreciate any advice. this is a really personal (and kind of embarrassing) problem that i don't feel i can turn to any friends, family, or bring up at meetings.
(sorry in advance for the super long post)
Okay. Me and my best friend are estranged right now since the beginning of the this summer. We met in the 8th grade (almost 10 years ago), I see her as more of a sister, so trying to atone for my mistakes and gaining her forgiveness are very important to me. A lot of problems arose with my drinking; i put a lot of stress on the relationship with constantly getting out of control and taking advantage of her kindness and patience. I'd drink to the point where I would mistreat her: call her names, cry, and put her in a position where she'd have to take care of me afterward because I'd get so drunk. Basically, i've been a pretty terrible person to her. Looking back, i am so ashamed and full of guilt on the things I've put her through, and I'm honestly surprised she put up with my antics for so long. I know that I probably don't deserve to be forgiven, but it would really hurt me if she left my life permanently. I'm trying not to use my alcoholism as any kind of justification for how badly I've treated her, but the tension in our relationship got noticeable when i began drinking again (about 2 years ago). I attended my first aa meeting today, to begin to address the problem and start my sobriety so that when (or if) she forgives me, our friendship will be stronger and healthier (i'm also doing it for my benefit, obviously). Well, the problem is i am terrible with words. I am awkward, and i have problems expressing any emotions (I get uncomfortable, and have severe anxiety). I've already made the decision that i just need to get over it, and have asked her to lunch Thursday and plan to apologize then. I have no idea how to even go about this, I don't know what to do make her forgive all the things i did. I'm really trying to own up to my mistakes, and be a responsible adult but i'm honestly really afraid. I feel like she's the only person that has really genuinely cared for me; I can't believe how i messed up so hard and took that her for granted.
thanks to anyone who took the time to read all that. :)
08-25-2010, 06:45 AM
Congratulations to you for taking steps to deal with your drinking problem. Doing that will change your life, I'm sure.
As for your friend, I'd say keep it simple and short. "I'm sorry for all of the crappy things I did while I was drinking" would probably suffice. The catch is that an apology doesn't necessitate forgiveness from the other party and you will learn from AA (in time) that we can only control ourselves. She may be gracious and accept your apology, she may tell you off. One doesn't really know, but all you can do is apologize and hope for the best. She may need time to get to the forgiveness part. She may have anger to express first.
After lunch Thursday, unless she tells you directly that she wants to cut all friendship with you, continue to stay in touch with her and communicate to her that you want to nurture the friendship.
Good luck with your friend and with your recovery!
winning the war
08-25-2010, 08:30 AM
I think apologizing in person is very brave. If you're having a hard time getting out all you feel though, you could try writing a letter and giving to her at the lunch. Apologizing is an important step. It sounds like you're really trying to be accountable for the things you've done and that's very difficult, but also necessary. Keep up the AA meetings. Maybe she could even go with you to one when she's ready? Good luck to you!!
08-25-2010, 10:37 AM
Good for you. I would suggest writing out exactly what you want her to know (maybe write out most of what you said in the post, but direct it to her instead of us), and give her the option of either reading it at the beginning of lunch or alone afterwards (some people can't handle emotion well). Be proud of yourself for taking the steps to make amends. Once you apologize remember the ball is in her court, and it may take time for old wounds to heal.
08-25-2010, 11:59 AM
That's your best friend so she knows you. I've learned that when it comes to apologies, it's best to just spill it. There's no polished way of doing it, tell her exactly what's on your heart, what you've been dying to say, etc... It might even help to sit down and right a list, a list of all the things you're sorry about and go over them so that you'll remember them. And if you still can't get it out, give her the list to read.
And tell her what you told us. don't try to be polished, be honest.
08-25-2010, 12:00 PM
I agree with CC- write it all out. You're taking the first step by apologizing and that takes courage. Best of luck!
08-25-2010, 12:28 PM
The fact that you stopped drinking might help her to forgive, but if you continue on, be prepared to deal with your loss.
I had a friend (for 22 years) that I recently cut ties with. She is a heavy drinker and has OFTEN come to my house, unannounced, with her kids, gets loaded and then I'm caring for her AND her kids. We don't keep much alcohol in the house anymore so she would bring her own. As she got drunk she would begin to pick fights. She would start crying about just about anything that went wrong in her life. It was awful...But I always forgave her.
She had a birthday party for one of her small children last month. The party date just happened to be on MY son's 18th birthday (which she knew), we had made plans a month previously to take a little mini vacation then to celebrate... so naturally we couldn't go to her party. She got totally wasted a few nights after the party and called and left the most awful message on our machine. She went on and on how I was thoughtless and inconsiderate and mean and rude for not showing up to her daughters party. She screamed at me and told me that she told her 5 yr old that we didn't like her and that is why we didn't come to her party. You know...I'm done. With friends like that, who need enemies. If one day if she decides to quit drinking, (and apologises for her crappy behavior) I'll forgive her, but we'll never be close again. I really don't need that kind of stress in my life. You know what I mean? I guess what I'm saying is I'm on the same side of the fence as your bff. It really does suck.
Hope you get it all worked out.
08-25-2010, 12:54 PM
I'm going to agree with Lori that it may be beyond the point of no return and you may need to accept that. I would say make your apologies and even if they are accepted, it is possible that she has no interest in re-establishing a friendship. All you can do though is speak from your heart and see what happens.
I have a friend that I had for nearly 30 years (and I'm in my 30s!). My life started changing and she distanced herself from me. I was constantly making an effort to remain friends while she pulled away. It hurt me dearly. We had a couple fights/discussions and I decided that I would give up trying to be friends. Since that time, she has tried to reach out to me to re-establish some friendship but I'm done. There is nothing in the world she could say to me.
08-25-2010, 02:09 PM
I hope it goes ok. Can you write out what you want to say ahead of time? Even when you get nervous you will have a base for what you want to say.
Be prepared for her not to accept your apology right away, it's not a slam at you or your friendship, but she will need to process it on her own and on her own time line. I wish you the best of luck though.
08-25-2010, 08:44 PM
Thanks to everyone for replying, I think i'm going the route of writing a letter and giving it to her after dinner. I really appreciate people sharing their experiences too, it's helped me understand the situation from my friend's perspective a little better and prepared me for the possibility of not being forgiven.
I also want to thank everyone who wished me well with my sobriety. I haven't told anyone yet about my recovery yet- sharing this news has made very excited about this new, better chapter in my life.
08-25-2010, 08:56 PM
I hope you can take my honest feedback here. I've been where your friend is, and based on what you wrote, I would classify your behavior before as that of a "toxic friend". She probably needed to get away from you- odds are you were hurting her, stressing her, and generally doing all the things that we seek friends out to help us with, not cause.
Since you just started AA, she may be cautious about renewing your relationship. She may want to see some consistency from you before she can extend that trust again.
And- she may not do that. You might have to accept the fact that this friendship is done. Sometimes people reach their limit with other people and are never willing to go back.
One thing that concerned me about your post is that it's about you and not about her. You did acknowledge that you hurt her, but most of it was about how you need her, how it will hurt you if she's out of your life for good. I'm not saying that's bad, but I think if you want to be a good friend you need to think a lot more about what is best for your friend (will it be good for her to be friends with you again?) and how you will be different to be a better friend to her. What does she need from a friend? Can you be that, for her? There needs to be something in this for her too, otherwise it might be less toxic but it'll still be all about you.
Sorry to be so blunt. I'm not trying to bring you down. I commend you for the very positive steps you've taken, and hope that this works out like you want it to.
08-25-2010, 10:28 PM
well to me, the fact that she agreed to lunch is a good sign.
I think what you wrote to us was pretty good - writing a letter might be your best bet. I'm like you - I can express myself more clearly in writing than I can speaking. sometimes even writing things out for myself can help me in a future heavy emotional conversation because the very fact that I wrote it out helps me organize my thoughts.
A letter is also something for her to ponder. Sometimes people have initial reactions and then like to think about things for a while. She could have your letter and re-read it if she wants.
Let us know how it goes.
08-26-2010, 06:19 PM
One thing that concerned me about your post is that it's about you and not about her. You did acknowledge that you hurt her, but most of it was about how you need her, how it will hurt you if she's out of your life for good.
I never said i needed her, I am not dependent on any other human being to be in my life. Of course, all the friendships and bonds are nice, but I know they improve my life, not make it.
I'm not saying that's bad, but I think if you want to be a good friend you need to think a lot more about what is best for your friend (will it be good for her to be friends with you again?) and how you will be different to be a better friend to her. What does she need from a friend? Can you be that, for her?
I'm not going to decide whether I will be in her life or not. I am apologizing and whether she chooses to accept me or not, that is her decision. She is an adult, so she knows what is best for her.
I do appreciate your views and advice in this situation, and thank you for writing them.
08-26-2010, 06:39 PM
That should mean a lot to her- an apology given with nothing expected in return is the most genuine apology of all.
I hope she accepts it and that your friendship is renewed.
08-26-2010, 06:44 PM
you are taking a huge step even admitting these things to yourself! I hope it goes well but even if things do not go exactly as you hope don't panic...sometimes it just takes time for someone to hear what you are saying!
08-26-2010, 07:00 PM
You should talk to your sponsor about this , before you see your friend.
08-26-2010, 07:10 PM
You should talk to your sponsor about this , before you see your friend.
I agree, speak with your sponsor.
Do keep in mind that while she may choose to forgive you, that may also include cutting you out of her life for good <- and that has nothing to do with you as a person, but as a way that some of us protect ourselves.
I have "let go" of my own father for his alcoholism, although I have forgiven him. I do bring my son to meet with him for very short visits (ie 5-10 min), for the sake of my son who is innocent and knows nothing of his grandfather's alcoholism, but the relationship is gone and cannot be renewed. Forgiveness still comes with the price. Good luck with your recovery.
09-04-2010, 05:23 PM
congratulations on facing your disease head-on! that is truly commendable :hug: how did the lunch go??