Ok so this post has nothing to do with adoption, or even to do with Rae at all, but it’s something very close to my heart, and with the permission of my friend, who I’ll call by my nickname for her, Shoe, she has asked that I share this in the hope it might somehow help just one other person before it’s too late.
Life’s funny isn’t it. When you’re growing up you have these ideas about what your life will be like when you’re older. At the age of 13 you might have imagined being married with kids by 25, because 25 seemed so old. Then you get to 25 and realise that it’s definitely not that old. But then all of a sudden you’re 35 and you still feel 25 and you wonder when you’ll actually feel like a grown up. What I didn’t imagine when I was growing up was that one of my friends would become dependent on alcohol. It’s only since I’ve seen the struggle and pain my friend goes through that my eyes have been opened to how socially acceptable it is to drink, yet smoking and drugs are so frowned upon, when all three are as addictive as each other. You only have to read through your Facebook feed and I guarantee you’ll see a post glamourising alcohol and it scares the life out of me that our children are being brought up to think that alcohol is the answer to different situations in life. Stressed? Have a drink and chill out. Celebrating? Go out and have champagne. Tired? Have a drink and unwind. You see ‘Wine Wednesday’ posts, exercise videos of women doing press ups and drinking wine at the same time, photos of cocktails and shots, thousands of memes quoting alcohol in a positive light. And if you’re sensible about it then it can be. I don’t mean to sound hypocritical, I’ve done it myself, but that was before. You don’t see posts of ‘can’t wait for a fag later’ or ‘looking forward to sniffing Coke this weekend’ yet alcohol is just as dangerous as drugs and cigarettes, which I have seen first hand. It’s heartbreaking watching someone you love destroy themselves so easily and there is nothing you can do about it, because it doesn’t matter what you do, if they aren’t ready to stop they won’t. So the following post is for my friend, my little Shoe, one of the most beautiful souls I’ve ever met.
I hope you know I would have stopped it if I’d known. You were always the one who got drunk the quickest, when we were 15 and stealing alcohol from our parents cupboards, you would have everyone laughing while you were falling about but I now wonder if the signs were always there. The nights out we’d go on as we got older where we’d have to practically carry you to a taxi most nights, should I have known then? Could I have done something sooner?
I hope you know you’re not alone. People are quick to judge but your real friends know the truth and we are here to support you. Things like ‘Sober October’ annoy me because people post statuses about how they only lasted a week, but if they seriously can’t go 4 weeks without a drink maybe they need to look closer at their own habits. You told me you remember the first time you drank alone in the day. You were ironing and had a glass of wine, then another. Your boyfriend came home and he didn’t notice and you knew you’d got away with it. That’s how easy it was. When people think of an alcoholic they probably imagine a homeless person, or a drunk on a park bench. You have proved that it can happen to the most normal of people. And so many people are more dependent on alcohol than they care to admit but their lives haven’t spiralled out of control yet. That’s where you differ. You said to me it’s not fair that other people can go out drinking and have a social life and why should you have to give that up, but the difference is those people know when to stop, and still get up and take their kids to school and go to work. You don’t have an off switch. You have a night of drinking and then have to carry on the next day, and the day after that. That’s the addiction taking hold of you and you don’t listen to me when I say you simply can’t drink again if you want to get your life back. And I don’t mean to say simple as in it’s easy. We both know the road ahead isn’t going to be easy, but by you saying this it confirms you can’t see how big of a problem you have and that’s how I know you haven’t hit rock bottom yet.
I hope you know if I could take away your pain I would. The times I have held you sobbing in my arms while you tell me the world would be better without you. It wouldn’t Shoe, it absolutely wouldn’t.
I hope you know I don’t mean to get angry. The hours we’ve spent on the phone with me pleading, begging, crying and shouting at you to just stop, stop the drinking and the lies. But I know it’s the addiction and it’s not really you. So many times I’ve thought ‘I’ve finally got through to her, this time she means it when she says she’s getting better’ and then you go silent for days, weeks, and I know. I know you’re spiralling again.
I hope you know I’ll never give up on you. You said to me last week that you know I’ll get to the stage where I just won’t bother anymore, but that will never happen. I just don’t know what else I can do, or if I even help you at all. I’ve physically taken you to AA meetings and you say they’re not for you. I’ve put money in your bank when you’ve told me you have no food or gas or electricity and you’ve promised me it’s not for alcohol but is that true? Am I making it worse? I’ve had you stay with me for a week and emptied my house of alcohol so there’s no temptation, and you get on the train to go home and buy a wine as soon as you leave. So am I actually helping at all?
I hope you know I’m sorry. Sorry that you’re going through this, that you’re living this life and you can’t see any light at the end of the tunnel. But I know until you reach rock bottom, you won’t be able to see how much love and laughter you bring to this world. And I pray you get back to the Shoe I know is in there somewhere. The beautiful, funny, kind, loving girl that I knew, because she’s still in there, and you can do it, you just have to want to enough.
I hope you know I love you Shoe, because I do.