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Old 02-21-2017, 02:33 PM   #1
Vowel Lady
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Default Advise needed again

I ask for your patience with these questions.

Had an opportunity to see our friend again who we are sure is an alcoholic.

He also has a health condition and I looked it up and it is worsened by excessive drinking.

They live in another state, so we only see them (the couple) once or twice a year. But, we have known them for a long time.

Each time we see them, esp. in the last few years, we notice subtle, worsening of this "condition."

We never say anything.

He is in his 60s and doing well in his career, but there are some subtle concerns of not being up to par.

This couple, this man, are extremely intelligent and kind.

Due to subtle things mentioned and not mentioned (so I don't know for sure...just a strong hunch) I have a feeling they may have lost a few friends due to his drinking. And, I have a hunch they appreciate it that we don't mention it.

We don't drink and drive...taking cabs or walking everywhere. We encourage this and they seem to appreciate it. It is actually something I greatly admire about them.

But, I can't help with each subsequent visit feel worried...more and more worried, that he will end up extremely sick and eventually could even die. I notice that the wife seemed tense at the last visit. Is this typical? Do spouses worry that their partner might embarrass them? Pass out? That guests might mention the drinking?

Bottom line...is there anything productive AT ALL we could do to help? Is just being their friends helpful? I subtly told them a story or two about myself and another person I know who when in a horribly tight spot had to turn to God for help. Very specifically...should I ask if there is anything I could do? Should I EVER mention it? Would you recommend I keep my mouth SHUT? Sometimes I wonder if they just simply would like a good friend (as would all of us!) I sure do appreciate their wonderful friendship.
I have moments that this greatly bothers me. Such a sad thing.
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Old 02-21-2017, 04:57 PM   #2
PamelaJune
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I'm sorry you are in this situation. As good friends who only see them sporadically there is little you can do other than take steps to ensure where you go for celebrations/catchups is a relatively safe venue. And yes, take taxis or if necessary public transport. More & more taxis these days refuse drunk obnoxious patrons, particularly older ones as they have developed a zero tolerance having had to clean up their cabs/cars after many an accident & im not only talking vomit.

Spouses inevitably display tension not so much fear of embarrassment for themselves but anxiety for the partner, knowing the next 2 days will be often filled with gloom as the drinker remonstrates excessively. Day 2 after a session is usually the worst. Day 1 deals with the the hangover, day 2 the blues set in with the recriminations of what did I do. However unless someone takes the time to enlighten them (the drinker) they will remain blissfully unaware & more often than not consider the person telling the story to be embellishing the facts. It's easier that way not to confront your own personal behaviours that are a tad abhorrent.

You can try to mention it at a time when no one is drinking but you may find your friends choose to enjoy your company less. It's a fine line you walk. You could try to talk to the wife on her own, but, she may be a highly functioning alcoholic only you haven't noticed as your focus has been on the husband. Her demonstrated tension behaviour can be due to her moderating her own drinking for fear of judgement & she is on edge wanting a drink herself.

I can appreciate your concerns, as a group of friends here, we have one dear friend who is a highly functioning alcoholic. Whenever we (the girls) arrange catch ups, we now do brunch or breakfast. We are long done with nights out, dinners, late lunches or afternoon sessions. We have deliberately created an environment where we and she are under less duress, alcohol more often than not is unavailable at the venues we choose. We have all had many conversations with her over the years, it matters not, my last one wth her in a safe environment was terribly upsetting as she launched into this viscious tirade spitting at me I had "outed her" in front of our friends. I hadn't, she had overheard me talking about my own alcoholic husband and wrongly assumed I was talking about her. I confess I haven't seen her since, over 18 months ago. Not because I've avoided her, she just hasn't been out at the same time I have been.

I should state it's not that we don't care, we do, we just know that she has to seek help for herself, we can't do it for her and we are no longer up to having to witness the sad events - far too many to mention - we don't have to care for her to the extent our own celebration time is ruined, wet clothes, vomit in the hair, on her clothes or ours, hospital sits etc. Now we know her husband can pick her up sober & take her home where she can choose to drink as much as she likes in a semi controlled environment - more often than not with him.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vowel Lady View Post
I ask for your patience with these questions.

Had an opportunity to see our friend again who we are sure is an alcoholic.

He also has a health condition and I looked it up and it is worsened by excessive drinking.

They live in another state, so we only see them (the couple) once or twice a year. But, we have known them for a long time.

Each time we see them, esp. in the last few years, we notice subtle, worsening of this "condition."

We never say anything.

He is in his 60s and doing well in his career, but there are some subtle concerns of not being up to par.

This couple, this man, are extremely intelligent and kind.

Due to subtle things mentioned and not mentioned (so I don't know for sure...just a strong hunch) I have a feeling they may have lost a few friends due to his drinking. And, I have a hunch they appreciate it that we don't mention it.

We don't drink and drive...taking cabs or walking everywhere. We encourage this and they seem to appreciate it. It is actually something I greatly admire about them.

But, I can't help with each subsequent visit feel worried...more and more worried, that he will end up extremely sick and eventually could even die. I notice that the wife seemed tense at the last visit. Is this typical? Do spouses worry that their partner might embarrass them? Pass out? That guests might mention the drinking?

Bottom line...is there anything productive AT ALL we could do to help? Is just being their friends helpful? I subtly told them a story or two about myself and another person I know who when in a horribly tight spot had to turn to God for help. Very specifically...should I ask if there is anything I could do? Should I EVER mention it? Would you recommend I keep my mouth SHUT? Sometimes I wonder if they just simply would like a good friend (as would all of us!) I sure do appreciate their wonderful friendship.
I have moments that this greatly bothers me. Such a sad thing.
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Old 08-17-2017, 12:55 PM   #3
Vowel Lady
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We have been in touch with these friends again and are discussing meeting up again.

They are always lovely, which of course is very much appreciated. They are kind and intelligent. We feel blessed to know them, but at the same time are concerned about them. I suppose we aren't the only ones (hard to say).
They are also "different."

More questions...relationship with someone with possible alcohol abuse issues....

1. Is it common to go through rather long periods of time when the people seem to disappear?
2. Related to #1...odd periods of quiet, even when it might not be appropriate to be so quiet? For example, if a major thing is going on in your (our) life, yet they stay quiet and kinda forget to say something?
3. Very very mum / quiet about almost anything and everything personal....particularly if it is on the negative side. They will comment on positive things in their lives...an award their child won, for example. BUT, absolutely will avoid commenting on any major difficulty of theirs...a sick child, a death in the family, an issue at work....If something like this happens, I might find out by accident. If they do on a rare occasion, share something like this, it will be told in a stoic fashion. We've known them for a LONG time it at this point it feels very weird to have what often seems like a one sided relationship. They will avoid speaking of anything taxing, stressful or negative on their end. However, they don't mind listening to US talk about such things. They avoid speaking about such things that might be occurring in their lives. Really would like to hear if this odd avoidance "thing" is a common trait of those suffering from alcoholism.

We still have not mentioned the drinking. We think she is doing well, but are very unsure if he is ok. We hope and pray.
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