Observations from an Alcoholic’s Sister ~ Their Friends

Apr 9, 2014

Richard & Me on his hobby horse

Their Friends ~ talk about a real­ly hard issue for alco­holics. I feel alco­holics need to sev­er the major­i­ty if not all of their friend­ships in order to remain sober. This is because most alco­holics have friends who are social drinkers, are alco­holics them­selves and they may even have some who are drug abusers; I know all of this was true for Richard. In order for a recov­er­ing alco­holic to find the strength to remain sober, they can­not keep the same group of friends. If the friends an alco­holic con­tin­ues to hang around drinks or uses drugs in their pres­ence I feel those new to sobri­ety are on a fast track to relapse.

If you real­ly think about it, how is a recov­er­ing alco­holic just com­ing out of rehab going to stay sober while watch­ing his friends drink or do drugs? I’m not say­ing all recov­er­ing alco­holics can’t pass on this temp­ta­tion but it is very dif­fi­cult and most don’t have the strength with only 30 days of sobri­ety under their belts. Richard went to sev­er­al rehab facil­i­ties and each time he came home he social­ized with the same group of friends and each time it was dis­as­trous.

When a group of friends that are alco­holics or drug abusers get togeth­er they aren’t spend­ing time with each oth­er knit­ting scarves, talk­ing about the weath­er or dis­cussing their 401K plans, they are togeth­er for one thing, to have a good time, to drink or do drugs. Now they will try to con­vince you that they don’t always drink or do drugs when they are togeth­er but that com­ment gets filed in the “Alco­holics need to under­stand they fool no one” file.

Alco­holics and drug abusers also need to real­ize their group of friends will get small­er and small­er not because they move on to a new group of friends but because one by one these friends will die from alco­hol poi­son­ing or a drug over­dose. There is only so much abuse the body can tol­er­ate. When you push your body past this point of tol­er­a­tion you will die. The amount of alco­hol Richard need­ed just to keep the dai­ly shakes away and remain func­tion­al would have giv­en me a com­plete black­out. His body came to tol­er­ate more and more alco­hol from all the years of drink­ing. But even­tu­al­ly, no mat­ter how alco­hol tol­er­ant an alco­holic becomes there is an amount that will push their body over the edge and they will die. Alco­hol is a depres­sant and depress­es the nerve that con­trols your breath­ing. Con­sum­ing too much alco­hol will depress this nerve which will slow down your breath­ing and even­tu­al­ly stop it all togeth­er just as it did to Richard.

I remem­ber vivid­ly the day after Richard passed away, I got to mom and dad’s house and Richard’s cell phone rang, dad answered it and said to one of Richard’s friends, “Don’t call again, Richard is dead” and hung up. Richard’s friend, think­ing this was a joke called back, dad again answered and replied, “No this is no joke, Richard is dead” and hung up. I assume the news of his death spread among his group of friends faster than a Texas grass fire because I nev­er heard Richard’s cell phone ring again.

Alco­holics and drug abusers play Russ­ian roulette with their lives. Alco­holics and drug abusers need to real­ize the “just one more drink”, or “just one more hit” can be the one to end their life. I don’t think Richard thought the “just one more drink” he took late in the evening of March 27, 2004 would be the one that would end his life, but it was.

On March 28, 2004, Richard’s group of friends got small­er and our hearts got heav­ier.

Alco­hol poi­son­ing will kill you.

Alco­hol Abuse Treat­ment Facil­i­ties and Pro­grams Near You.


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