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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