Friday, July 03, 2009

You Drink, You Stink And You Can't Think

I have a friend whom I care about a great deal. I haven’t seen him much these days because I’ve been busy with a few projects. However, I also have avoided him because my friend is an alcoholic. It pains to me to write this because I don’t want to admit that he has a problem, but he does and it’s a very serious one. Sometimes when he drinks, hygiene is abandoned. He doesn’t think much about his current situation because he is busy drinking at all points of the day, especially during the evening. Sadly, he doesn’t think about the future and what the alcohol is doing and will do to his body, particularly his liver.

There are times when I’ve been his enabler, as most of his friends have become. I’ve tried to help him along the way to gain control of his life. However, I’ve been unsuccessful. I had a friend who is psychologist with whom I talked about his condition. She happens to be his friend too, but she surprisingly was never ever able to offer me any constructive thoughts about how we could help him. Actually, she really didn’t see him having a problem, which concerned me.

Often I’m reminded of my friend because when I watch television, there is an ad co-sponsored by local police, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Ad Council. The theme of the ad is “Buzzed driving is drunk driving. We will find you and arrest you.” Oddly enough, my friend has been driving drunk for the past three years. This year his drinking has become even more intense. At least once each week, if not more, he has diminished capacity. (I know this because of the strange calls and text messages I receive from him on my cell phone.) So I ask the police department, “When are you going to do your job and find him?”

Not too long ago I was out with my friend and he was drinking pretty heavily. Many of us, his friends, tried to get his keys, but were unsuccessful. I didn’t have any keys on me, but was prepared to break keys off in his door so he could not get into his car to drive. However, I thought I was doing something better by contacting the police department.

I made a 911 call and attempted to report my friend. I gave the dispatcher information that would help a police officer locate him on the road. After giving a description of his car, including the license plate number and the route he was about to travel, the dispatcher said there was nothing she could do unless he was behind the wheel, driving and swerving or had an accident. This was completely absurd to me. I could not believe the police department would not send a car to follow him because he was in no state to drive. I learned the next day that my friend damaged the wheel of his car while driving, and abandoned the vehicle, but somehow made it home from the highway. This was no easy feat because he was in a bad neighborhood and several miles from his home.

To my friend, it’s time to get help. I’ve talked, written letters and posted blogs trying to help you see you have a problem. When we first met I was able to help you solve some problems. Many of these were simple and you just needed some guidance from someone who cared and you could rely on. I was happy to help, and I am happy to help you now, but it’s up to you to take that first step.

I miss our friendship, conversations and silly laughter, but most importantly I miss you. It really is time to take that first step to healing your mind, body, soul and spirit. I’ve given you the information you need to act and gain control of your life. Please, make that call.

To your friends, especially one in particular, you need to stop being enablers. Bars, restaurant and nightclub owners play a role by continuing to serve patrons once they exhibit a level of intoxication, especially when it happens repeatedly. I ask you, “Where is your moral responsibility?”

To the Baltimore City Police Department, I say, “Can’t we save lives together?”

For those who are looking to get help and for those looking for information on how to help someone who is an alcoholic, check out the following websites: NIAAA. You can find additional information at MADD.

I love you, friend. Time is running out. Get help soon before it’s too late. - paerki

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"I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do because I notice it always coincides with their own desires." - Susan B. Anthony

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