There is something heavy on my mind and it’s been there far too long. It’s something I end up facing almost every day, yet I say little if anything directly to it, I mean him.
I am way out of my comfort zone.
I thought maybe writing might inspire some wisdom that will help me understand what I clearly don’t now. I’m disappointed in myself because I am reacting with judgment instead of concern, although a couple of years back there was plenty of concern to go around. Nowadays, concern is a worn out emotion that gets nobody anywhere; it’s wisdom that is sorely needed.
Let me explain, A friend of ours turned 21 last September and since then he’s not had a sober day. He defies gravity as he navigates down my hallway, much like a pinball bouncing off the bumpers. His friends have tried many ways to approach the subject with him. I’ve heard them say things like, “Hey Adam, you think maybe you want to slow down on the alcohol for a while? You’re pretty loaded?” His response is a slurred, “no I’m not.” After the beginning of the year, when he didn’t ease off, I asked him if he thought he needed help. I pointed out that he drinks more often than he eats or showers. He agreed and even said that yes, he might need help but he didn’t want any.
You would have had to know this guy before he started drinking to really appreciate the change. He was full of energy, he’d be the first one to his feet if you wanted someone to go do stuff with, he was always the cool ‘side kick’ everyone liked having around. He was sharp and quick on his feet, just a great guy. He was a year ahead of my sons in elementary school where they met and in 2006 he and his sister started hanging out at our house every day & night-time too. They are such bright, creative people and having them around has enriched our lives in ways I can’t begin to name. I love them both like they’re my own kids, they are family.
In 2010 Adam started hanging out at a friend of a friend’s house. It was there he started drinking. Now that he can buy his own, drinking every day is no longer a problem. He is in my house right this very minute; I’m watching him sway back and forth as he washes his hands. He stops here on his way home from the aforementioned friend’s house, where he does most of his drinking. He comes here to use our bathroom and sober up a little before he staggers home (4 mile walk). Come to think of it, he also stops here on his way to this guy’s house every day to drink a beer or two on my porch before he heads over there. We’re often not even awake when he shows up, so he just sits on the porch until he’s ready to go. It says something about this friend of his if Adam feels he needs a buzz before he goes there.
I have no business telling Adam, or anyone how they should live their life, but he’s in my face every day and I’m watching the process overcome yet another friend. Over the years I’ve lost friends to drugs, suicide and alcohol, Adam is the youngest of them. He is withdrawn and speaks in a voice so soft, I have trouble hearing him. He knocks on my door like I imagine a small animal, maybe a mouse would. It’s near impossible to hear, even the dog doesn’t hear it.
He has a new persona, that of the submissive, victim. He says he drinks to overcome the traumas in his life! These traumas he thinks he’s endured simply don’t exist. In all truthfulness his problems include: Not having a hot meal when he comes home (because the meal is in the refrigerator in a microwave safe container – at 3 a.m.) he’s lucky they didn’t give it to the dog. Also, not having his laundry done, including the dirty stuff picked up off his bedroom floor, cleaned and folded on his bed. Did I mention he lives with his parents, pays no bills and is given money for most things he asks for? Did I mention he does no chores. He works with his grandfather for an hour or two a couple of times a week and he and gets about 45 bucks an hour. *I’ve seen him work and even on a good day he is slower than my dead grandmother. Gosh that sounded terrible, sorry grandma!
These traumas are ruining his life. He’s not rich enough to hire people to do his work, yet he has no work ethic. The friend he drinks with has taught Adam to stay quiet and just follow along. It’s a terrible thing to see a grown man cower, he has no backbone, more like a jellyfish with no self-esteem. His path seems more in the hands of this friend than it does his own. He uses anger and guilt to get money from his parents, although they offer it quiet liberally. Trauma – okay…
These are the things that come of passive parenting. He was not made to do anything – everyone did it for him. His parents saw his was struggling in school so they took him out and home-schooled him. He was not encouraged to attend college or continue his education. There were no rules in his house that said you must have a job, either at home or employed somewhere else. No one said, you have bills now, be responsible and pay them. Nobody! His younger sister works full-time, owns a car and has a bank account. She seems to have gotten the message while living in the same house.
I don’t know what Adam would call a successful life but I doubt the path he is on now is going to bring him much happiness at all. I want to help him. I care so much for him, but I don’t know what to do. I guess I have to keep searching for answers, even if those answers only help me.
© Kathleen Ryan-McCullough, 2012