Last week I received a phone call from someone who is still an active alcoholic. There is nothing quite like the feeling that overcomes me when I hear a sober friend on the other end of the phone who is obviously no longer sober. My heart dropped as I strained to understand her, something within me began building a wall of protection around my heart so it wouldn’t fall into pieces for her.
This woman is an acquaintance from my 12 step program, someone who I’ve spent time helping in the past and have prayed for often. She is in my heart and last week it was my time to step up and be a conduit for God/the program to try and get her to become willing once again.
There is a learning curve when it comes to helping an alcoholic, a process I’ve been through enough to realize that there’s no chance of affecting someone when they’re drunk.
I Can’t Save Someone Who Doesn’t Want To Change
Each time I’m faced with someone contacting me who asks for help my little soldier side pops into action. I have a natural need to save people, this is one of my glaring character defects….it fits right beside my “people pleaser” side. Thankfully I’ve learned that it’s not my job to save the world and in the case of alcoholism no matter how badly I want it, I cannot make a person’s desire to be sober strong enough to succeed.
Normally if I receive a call I head out to meet with the person, to find similarities within us and seek to earn the person’s trust by sharing of myself and my 12 Step Program. The goal is to educate the person about the program and encourage them to seek meetings or outside help.
In the case of last week’s phone call the woman was drunk. For days she was drunk. She knows of the program, has attended in the past and there was literally nothing I could do for her. Listening to this usually lovely woman lamenting on how life had dumped on her (which it really had) was horrible, I wanted to wrap her in my arms and make it all go away…..but instead I did what had to be done.
I pulled up my big girl panties and told her to get off her pity pot.
How nice is that? If you know me at all you’ll realize this isn’t usually my apprach to things but when it comes to alcoholism I don’t have time to sit in misery with anyone!
Seeing this girl deep in a valley where her demons were overcoming her broke my heart but I know that everyone around her had already spent wasted time consoling her. She was lost in a bottle and I wasn’t about to jump in with her.
If you have a loved one who is begging for help when they’re drunk….well the only thing to do is get them sober and then open the conversation. This is the advice which I kindly relayed to her family, it goes against the grain of what I’d like to happen but again it’s the only way change can begin.Trying to have a serious conversation with someone who is drunk is like speaking into the bottle itself, there’s no chance of a lucid response.
There is hope, I’m living proof of it along with countless others in the World. God can change us…..we simply need to be truly willing to step into the unknown where He will catch us.
I will continue to learn and grow, seeking to be available to the still suffering alcoholic. I will try to help folks sober up long enough to begin to change their lives but when someone doesn’t want to do it…..well that is when I have to draw the proverbial line, be honest with them and pray they will have a change of heart.