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How to handle a friendship with a needy alcoholic?

16 years ago

Beth and I have been close friends since childhood. In a nutshell, she is a very sweet and eager-to-please woman who has a horrible relationship with her self-absorbed mother. She lost her father, whom she was very close to, as a teen. She has horrible taste in men as she only dates men with LOTS of money. She is a very loving and gentle woman, but she is a mess.

She had been hospitalized a few years ago for bulima (which she has had since age 16) and alcoholism. Since then she had gotten out of her unhealthy marriage and really seemed to be doing great - AA twice a week, gaining a little weight and getting healthy, bought a condo, supporting herself w/her own business.

She entered rehab yesterday for drinking again. She had gotten into an accident while drunk. We come to find out it is her third DUI. She is facing a minimum of thirty days in jail. This is tearing me up because she hasnÂt a malicious bone in her body, she really doesnÂt "deserve" jail. On the other hand I have no tolerance for anyone who would put the lives of everyone else on the road at risk, and I totally support tough DUI laws.

I promised her I would go visit her in rehab. She has already asked me questions like, "Will you still love me?" and, "Can I still see your kids?". I am expecting more of the same during our visit in a few days. Of course I will still love her, but I am fed up with her lies (not outlined here, but a lot have come to light these past few days). She adores my kids and they adore her, I donÂt know how to handle that one. They love sleep-overs at Auntie BethÂs house and will not understand when I will suddenly not leave them alone with her.

The last time she was in rehab I totally supported her and helped her get on with her life. She understood my apprehension about trusting her and in time her seemingly impressive progress rebuilt my trust. But that time I didnÂt know about her driving while drunk, and that seems to change a lot for me. I feel that all drunk drivers commit their crime against ME and my family personally.

I donÂt know how to handle this 30-year friendship moving forward. She has such a messed-up history and is such a truly loving and sweet woman that it is hard to be mad at her. She is very needy and I donÂt want to desert her, but I am fed up with her at the same time.

I apologize at the length of this post, IÂm sure I gave you a lot of info you didnÂt need.

How do you handle a friendship with an alcoholic?


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