Hey All! I need some advice as I am going back and forth with myself in regards to possibly ending a friendship.
I have a friend I’ve known for about 15 years, she and I used to drink together. I got and stayed sober around 2.5 years ago, she quit drinking at the same time but has always had an end date for her sobriety (meaning it’s never for good but for like 6 months or a year). Each time, she starts drinking again and justifies it by saying “I can have a bottle of wine in my kitchen and not even finish it” shortly thereafter….she’s drinking heavily and daily.
Last year, she checked herself into rehab and I drove 500 miles from my home to hers and stayed with her for about 10 days to help her get herself back on track. We had long conversations about how she uses alcohol to get attention and as a weapon to get what she wants from people, she swore she was done drinking for good when I left. Less than 6 months later same old story - the infamous bottle of wine is back in her kitchen.
About two weeks ago she found herself stranded in Oregon too drunk to function, sleeping in her car and incoherent for the most part. I didn’t want anything to do with it. Her family, ex-boyfriend and her friend were reaching out to me for assistance.
I feel like I have just had enough of it. I have my own sobriety to uphold and I don’t want to be part of this drunken chaos that takes place regularly. I don’t want to discourage her from getting sober again but I also don’t have the patience, time or energy for her. I realized when talking with her friend that it’s been well over two years since she has even asked me how I’m doing or what’s happening in my life. Our conversations generally consist of her, her and her.
Am I a terrible person if I just stop reaching out or responding?
It doesn’t make you a terrible person, we must protect ourselves first, I would consider letting her know that you will be there for her if she makes it out of the other side of this but that may just be me.
Congrats on standing strong for your sobriety! You are not a terrible person, you are learning to set boundries. You cannot change her and she is not brining anything to your friendship, so you are not losing anything. You focus on you. Stay Strong and Sober
It seems to me you really cared for your friend and the relationship changed over the last years. That’s life, it turns sometimes in different directions.
I heartfelt understand that you are tired of your friend’s revolving hamsterwheel and annoying behaviour. And this is perfectly ok, you are allowed to feel your feelings and to draw boundaries. You and your sobriety come first. Fullstop. You are not obligated to come running and help cleaning the umpteenth mess.
Looking carefully into what YOU need and where to step back and draw firm boundaries to protect your physical & mental health, energy, emotional stability is responsible. It doesn’t mean you didn’t care or would possibly support a future attempt to sobriety of this person, it’s just now there’s a pause needed and you take it. To distance yourself from the drama, to remove yourself from the situation, to focus on your life. Maybe come back to re-think about this person later, maybe not.
You do not want to get involved in the mess? That’s fine, go ahead and say NO. NO is a full sentence.
I think this is an opportunity for growth for you, and maybe her too. I think the right thing to do is to tell her that you can no longer help her, that you have your own work you have to do, and that if she gets her shit together, maybe a friendship might be possible later, but not now.
Telling her allows you to set the boundary of what you will and will not tolerate. Telling her allows her to know that her behavior has consequences.
People-pleasing is a common trait among us addicts, we have a hard time saying no to people, especially those we consider friends, that’s what gets us into trouble a lot of times. Learning to draw those lines, learning to set boundaries and learning to say no helps us break the need to please everyone.
I think a lot of us had to break off friendships, I know I did. Through the years, some came back, some did not, and new ones blossomed.
It feels like it makes you a terrible person to honour your own feelings over what you feel “is expected of you”. This is a busy crossroads. I’m at this crossroads myself many a times over, I get stuck there regularly. You need to go through this conflict and the next ones of this sort and become more comfortable with making the kind of decision you are struggling with rn. I feel by voicing your feelings and your needs (here) you’re already nicely far along. Good luck with everything!
I’m really sorry you are in this situation
Friends are there to support us through difficult times and to celebrate our successes with us without envy or jealousy. It’s a mutual thing, it goes both ways. In a good friendship it just kind of balances itself out. I feel your friendship is off balance and has been for a while.
Could she be jealous? You are the one who got out of the claws of alcohol. She lost a drinking buddy. Keeping you close by needing your support. And making sure that she keeps on needing the same support by falling back into same old habits over and over again.
I think you already got some brilliant answers on here. I’m not saying end that friendship or don’t end that friendship. I say: take a step back. Look at it from a distance. Really figure out what you feel for your friend and what value the friendship has brought to your life and your sobriety.
And then decide on a course of action. Keep us updated. I wish you all the best
This sounds exhausting. So I applaud you for being a good person and a good friend! I often find myself in one sided friendships, or relationships in general. I care a lot, so I give, give, give until my tank is empty and I’m on the brink of a breakdown. My therapist said this to me years ago, and I still remind myself often. “Self preservation does not make you a bad person.” I had to learn boundaries and how to set them. The friends who would call me and go on for hours without so much as a how are you? got weeded out along the way. I had to ask myself what does this relationship bring to my life? Do I get joy from being around this person or talking to them?
None of us here can tell you whether or not you should end you friendship. Ultimately you have to make that decision. It sounds like deep down you know what’s best for you. But these are tough decisions, give yourself time to sit with it, you don’t have to make a decision immediately. I do think if you keep this friend in your life, you will need to set some very firm boundaries and be prepared to enforce the consequences if/when she violates that boundary.
Glad you are putting your own sobriety first!! You and your health are most important, she isn’t going to protect that, so you have to! hang in there!
You have to protect you and your sobriety…
Some friendships just run their course and come to an end…
Your friend will only get help and get sober when she wants to, you’re already sober and doing well, you’re at different stages, yes you understand where she is but that doesnt mean you can help her until shes willing to be helped.
Ultimately listen to your gut feelings, and protect your sobriety at all costs.
That is a hard position to be in, for you and for her. You got a lot of really good feedback. I really like what Qhob13 shared and taking time to think about the situation and what you need / get from it.
You aren’t a terrible person for taking care of your self and not jumping in to save someone (which you can’t anyway).
Maybe at some point you can have an honest conversation with your friend when you are both clear and she is not in crisis. Figure out if the relationship serves you both. Til then, honor your self and what you need.
I was in a similar situation once with a now ex partner…he was an alcoholic…i helped him, gave him many chances to get sober…each time we split he would beg me to go back and he would get sober…he would get sober for a while then start up again…in the end i didnt go back to him because i didnt want him to get sober for me, i wanted him to get sober for him and him only, it was really hard but i stepped out of the picture for good for him to get sober for him and for myself. Its entirely possible that by doing what i did it created his rock bottom. He got sober and has stayed that way thankfully, hes now in a new relationship. The point of this story is sometimes we have to walk away for the greater good and to protect ourselves, i hope both you and your friend find some peace, sending love
I know its hard to end a friendship but once the friendship becomes one sided (sometimes its always been one sided and we only notice it once sober) - that’s when you cut ties.
ANY and ALL relationships should be a give and take. Anything or anyone that triggers, sabotages or threatens your sobriety should also be cut off.
NOT AT ALL! You are finally taking care of yourself. She has people in her corner and they need to step up and take care of the mess she’s created if they should want to or maybe its time for her to hit the rock bottom and realize this cycle needs to stop – she needs to come to this conclusion on her own and take action to correct it on her own.
I’ve recently had to end a friendship that was one sided - i refuse to be somone’s someone and have a closed door when I need comfort.
I think you should celebrate your long term sobriety and now living a toxic free life. You deserve better friendships.
Thank you all for your amazing insight and support!! I know stepping away is the right decision for me, sometimes it just helps to hear from a community that knows what you are going through and how their decisions and situations are similar.
Crazy follow up on this. I came home to help my dad because he’s having surgery and this friend used the find my friend app to track me down and ambush me because she “knew I was mad”. She hasn’t in any way reached out since September, not a text or a phone call and literally just showed up at my dads house the other morning! I was honest with her and told her yes, indeed I was mad but just could not believe that this was her way of talking to me. I have now stopped sharing my location because I don’t want a repeat of this, it 100% blew my mind she thought this was appropriate.