He was my best friend and my worst enemy. Dr. Jekyll must have been a close relative of his. My friend didn’t want to hurt me and I certainly did not want to hurt him. It is hard to know where it began. Perhaps he had some sort of inferiority complex or a “Napoleon complex”–He’s only 5’4″ after all. It started with alcohol and then it led to weed. I was living with him to keep him out of trouble, but I would take him to these parties as a D.D. What kind of friend was I being?
“Yes, I will drive,” I would answer. It was just going to be a fun night many of those times, but instead it would end up with him running and me finding him later. It is hard to find a drunk friend in an area neither of you has been to before. We didn’t have any run-ins with police, but it wasn’t my goal to just keep him out of trouble with the law. I wanted to keep him out of trouble from his compromising path of destruction. I realized I was enabling him and I had to do something.
I knew it wouldn’t be easy. He wouldn’t get help. I felt like it was my obligation, and that feeling was a burden of its own.
“No more, you’ve had enough.” I would beg him to cease his intake.
“I paid for it, it’s mine!”
“You can’t keep doing this.”
“You sound like my mother!”
He threatened me and eventually I got between him and the bottle and we scuffled. I didn’t hurt him. I tried not to at least. Every punch I received from him was like a cry for help. Every blow to my body and the back of my head made me want to cry, made me want to take his place and take away his insatiable desire to always be intoxicated. I eventually restrained him until he wore himself out. His breathing was heavy, the rise and fall of someone who was desperate. He would have kept trying if he could.
He got the bottle again, but I didn’t know what else I could do. The next day I talked to him with great concern. “There is no way I hit you? Really? I did?!” He sounded surprised and laughed at the nonsense. I showed him the bruises and my straight face reinforced the severity of my concern. He didn’t know what to say. He would continue to get drunk for the next week as normal, but I refused to take him anywhere, to do anything for him. Finally, he came to me and asked me for help.
“How can I stop?” I suggested many things and he would make first steps but would always relapse. It was that inferiority complex. He never felt important or like he left an impact on anyone’s life. He felt he was a miniscule part of the universe and even God was too big to recognize him.
Later he learns that two friends he knew in high school were killed in a car accident because they’d been drinking. They were flattened beneath a semi because they had not slowed down when they were speeding down the highway. He lost someone. Maybe not someone close, but it could have been him. He realized he was lucky to have me as a driver, because God knew he would drive home if he had to. He could have been a passenger of another driver, a friend that was also drinking. He could have been in an accident.
He recognized the value of life and that he could adversely affect those around him. He saw the pain he caused his mother, his friends and himself. It took a tragedy to open his eyes, but I got back the friend I thought I had lost. I’m happy to say that he is engaged to his girlfriend that recently survived cancer (a brain tumor). He values human life and his own, and because he knows he can affect lives, he tries to do so positively.