I’ve been struggling with something lately. Well, six months directly (it’s been tap-dancing around my brain for years & I kept waiting for it to get better).
This struggle is between my conscience and my consciousness, what I feel is right and what I know to be correct.
I’ve been watching a friend spin out, taking a long-time affinity for alcohol to dangerous and destructive levels. What was once college hijinx turned into a haphazard habit that has had scary and sad results.
I almost lost this friend. Rather than changing what caused that, they changed superficial and peripheral things. The driving part of drunk-driving isn’t the problem with drunk-driving, especially when you’ve gotten a DUI or almost killed yourself in a black-out crash.
This friend shows plenty of social media self-confidence, but demonstrates very little self-respect.
Long-term health effects. Employment issues. Deficits I already notice. What if, next time, someone else’s life is affected?
But I can’t say anything.
I’m too confrontational.
We tend to accept information that confirms our prior beliefs and ignore or discredit information that does not. This is called confirmation bias, and it settles over our eyes like personalized beer goggles.
The lens through which we view the world is distorted to reality. I didn’t see things as they were, at times even ignoring or justifying or laughing off some events.
When I removed myself from the situation a bit, I could see this friend more clearly. And I was sad to see the reality that wasn’t tainted by my love for them. The reality was a harsh one: this friend is an alcoholic.
But I can’t say anything. (Remember confirmation bias?)
I want this friend to get help breaking the destructive cycle, and I don’t want to ruin that possibility by saying something the wrong way, aka: in my typical too-direct manner.
I don’t want to come across as a threat to this friend’s ego, which will be the ultimate way to lose the larger message of I LOVE YOU & I WANT YOU TO BE SAFE, WELL, HAPPY, HEALTHY, NOT FRIGGIN DEAD.
So, I’ve withdrawn, passing on poolside parties and declining debauchery because… well, if I can’t fix it, I can’t condone it. I can’t co-sign on the self-destruction of someone I love a whole lot.
And that avoidance has become obvious. It makes me look like a crappy friend that I don’t come around or show up. But that’s all I can think of to do until I get some better perspective or figure out a way to say the hard things in a way that they’ll be received.
But I still feel like a crappy friend.