28 April 2007

Under the influence

Good morning, readers.

Ever have those mornings that you lie in bed, your mind racing?

Consider this, if you will:

Let's say you're involved with someone who enjoys drinking. They have an encyclopedic knowledge of drinks, recipes, what drink goes with what, what glass to use with what sort of drink, etc. They spend hours researching the newest and most interesting drinks, trying out new recipes. Drinking is a social thing to them, they have a large group of people that they meet daily somewhere you enjoy too.

Now, you enjoy a good drink - after all, it was you who got this person to appreciate the nuances of of alcohol in the first place. Your loved one knew about alcohol but really didn't show that much interest before - so you got them to join you as you thought it would be yet another thing that you could share with them. But you weren't expecting your loved one to get so involved so quickly.

Your loved one and her friends enjoy drinking so much they form a private club within the place you hang out at.

This starts to put a strain on your relationship, which was having problems before. Now, you've known and been in a relationship with your loved one for years. You've had your ups and downs, gone through various crises but always emerged together. Lately, things had gotten distant. You two were comfortable but the passion had cooled a bit.

Now, you found that your loved one is far more into drinking than you ever were, spending vast amounts of time with her friends in her private club and less time with you, ending up in fights and long uncomfortable quiet moments on the telephone.
All the while, you become worried - where is this going? Am I losing my loved one to drinking and their private club? You rarely get to spend much time with your loved one, having always to wait until they're done with their "responsibilities" and they have a bit of time with you.

Things come to a head when planned outings are delayed or forgotten altogether because of commitments your loved one made to her drinking buddies in the private club. Mind you, your loved one has now become treasurer, chief organizer, and helps run the club with someone else, whom they always speak highly of.

So you tell them you need time to yourself. That you're tired of being lowest priority. The two of you split up.

4 months pass.

You still go to the same hangout, spend time with a couple of people you know there and leave. Your loved one, however is always there with her friends in their private club. They are there when you walk in, they're still there when you leave.

You have a few awkward conversations with your loved one in those months, mostly about their private club. They tell you how much responsibility they have, how so many people rely on them, how important they are to the club, and how your loved one is now becoming far more interested in concentrating on the competitive drinkers within her club. They now consider themselves among the elite of the competitive drinkers, often complaining that the others in her club aren't as good as they are.

On the wall of the place you and your loved one enjoy hanging out, there are dozens of pictures of your loved one, surrounded by her friends, showing that they've won yet another round of competitive drinking.

You have a life-changing event that makes you stop and take stock in what's important to you. You realize that although you and your loved one drifted apart, that they are someone you see yourself building a life with. Growing old with. Sharing everything you have with them.

You make the effort and contact your loved one. Long distraught conversations ensue. You laugh together, you cry together, you realize that you two had so much shared that it was painful to be apart. And so you two promise to make things work.

And then you learn that your loved one was involved with the co-founder of her private club in during those months you two weren't together.

(Yes, dear readers - typing this out suddenly makes it astoundingly obvious that I should have seen THAT one coming...the signs were all there but I wasn't even looking for them...)

Despite that, your loved one tells you they were uncomfortable with how the club's co-founder was pushing for marriage, moving in, frequent and vocal outpourings of affection...in short, the things you weren't doing in those years past. Your loved one takes time ending things with the co-founder, saying that they didn't want to hurt the co-founder, that this individual was there for them when you two split up. And that they would never want to hurt them.

While you wait, in limbo, for your loved one to decide where they want to go in their life.

Your loved one says that they can't wait to build a life with you. So you begin months of intense courting again, taking care to make sure you do all the things they said you didn't do in the past, making sure to call, text, send emails, do all the silly things you always wanted to.

Ah, but there's still that private club and all those friends at the hangout you two share, remember?

When your loved one spends time with you and you two share a drink or two, you're in heaven. But we get back to the fact that they still hold their private club and their friends in high regard. And of course, let's not forget that they spend a large amount of time with the club's co-founder, who still carries a torch for your loved one.

Isn't this fun, Gentle Readers? Who said blogs can't have all the ingredients of a bad afternoon soap?

So you keep coming back to your mutual hangout to spend time with your loved one when she's not doing things with her private club. And woe onto you if you should ask your loved one to cut back. Cold, stony silences interspersed with angry words reward you if you should dare suggest such a thing.

So I suppose my question is this: Does this make me an enabler? Someone who always meets at the hangout you two share and encourages the use of alcohol?

Does this make me an optimist, hoping that my loved one with wean themselves from this lifestyle on their own?

Or am I simply not seeing the bigger picture again; that my loved one is addicted and has no interest in changing how they are?

More to think about, I suppose.

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