Better And Better

If you don't draw yours, I won't draw mine. A police officer, working in the small town that he lives in, focusing on family and shooting and coffee, and occasionally putting some people in jail.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Not there in time...

It's a theme in my life, as with pretty much everyone else's, that I Never Seem To Find The Time.

This is especially true with friends, even True Friends.

We're always told that if we don't watch out, we'll let time slip away, and one day we'll wake up, and our loved ones will be gone. Sometimes, I worry, if we don't watch out, our friends will have slipped away even as they live. Even from themselves.

_ _ _

I hadn't called Jamie in a long time. When I was doing my stint at the jail, he was a young, skinny, redneck jailer kid that cursed like a sailor and had a bit of a drinking problem. I liked him right away. He wrestled with sobriety, but seemed to beat the drinking thing, and got his marriage about halfway back on track, though not before losing the house. He and I talked long sessions-- this boy was bright, and I just flat-out liked the kid. I did my best to encourage him, and told him how proud I was of him when he quit drinking, started working out, and put on some weight-- all muscle.

He quit that job, and got a good job working close to home. He was thinking about going to academy, or maybe even law school. He started taking classes, and doing pretty well. We talked a time or two, and I told him again how proud I was of him. Planned to go shooting, or some such. Maybe let our kids play together.

Kept putting that off.

We planned an outing one day, and he had to cancel because of his kid's ear infection. Understandable. The kids come first.

Another year went by.

So a couple of days ago, I called my friend. He sounded down. He sounded drained. He wasn't working. He had left "that crap." Two sentences more, and he told me that he had been fired, and his wife was divorcing him. Yes, the drinking appeared again. But there was more this time: "I'm just trying to stay away from those damned drugs," he confessed.

Drugs? "Meth and cocaine," he said. Oh, damn.

He's back on the wagon, now. Getting his stuff together, filing applications, he says. 10 days sober. AA every day.

Oh, damn.

No, he hasn't been caught. Well, that's something.

The whole time he and I were talking, all I could think was, "I shoulda been there. I can't believe I let him go like this. I could have called him, checked up on him, told him when I saw him screwing up..."

Rational or irrational, it's how I feel. If only...

I know lots of people who are functioning, respected members of society who've done a line or two in their time. I know more than a few who've smoked a little meth in their time. The tricky part was getting past it, and then convincing the world that they really had.

It makes it harder when they're an addict-type personality.

I'm going to have lunch with him.
_ _ _

A friend told me about her devotion to a fuzzy pet who saved her life once. Thinking more "Bobby's caught in the old mine shaft-- get help quick!" I asked how. She said that the pet had helped her through a bad, bad period when she was being swallowed in the misery of depression's maw. This was no pet-- this was an old friend that had been there for her.

I've got some calls to make. People to check on.

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At Thursday, August 16, 2007 1:42:00 PM, Blogger knitalot3 said...

You can be his friend and spend time with him, but remember his choices are his own. You can't make him make good ones. I'm sure you know that.

Don't give up on him, keep trying. And thanks for the reminder that I need to go phone a friend.

At Thursday, August 16, 2007 1:48:00 PM, Blogger Old NFO said...

All good points Matt, too often we "forget" our friends until it is too late...
After losing a close friend that I had drifted apart from (he died two weeks after diagnosis, and told NO ONE!) I have made it a habit to email/call at least once a month, and go by when I can to see people. FWIW, I've found giving up that time is not onerous, because we get to catch up/BS and keep up with others.
Thanks for the post!

At Thursday, August 16, 2007 1:56:00 PM, Blogger muse said...

We all get busy living our lives, you assumed that he was living his successfully. You can't play the 'if only' game. You can only continue to be supportive and a friend that listens... and now you will be.

At Thursday, August 16, 2007 2:52:00 PM, Blogger Todd said...

You need to change the title of the post to "Made it in the nick of time". Yeah, it's his choice, but life is a hell of a lot better and easier to live with friends. Good for you, Matt.

At Thursday, August 16, 2007 8:13:00 PM, Blogger Ed said...

I agree with Todd - "Not There In Time...." doesn't apply here, because the man is still alive, right?

Like Todd said:"Made It In The Nick Of Time...." Is much more fitting.

All too often, the people that pay the biggest price for addiction are the loved ones & friends that are on the outside looking in - they are the ones that are still around to deal with the carnage when the wind stops blowing....

At Friday, August 17, 2007 7:42:00 AM, Blogger CrankyProf said...

Sometimes, just loving and being there is its own form of sacrifice.

You made it in time. You might not be able so "save" him -- a lot of this is up to him.

He walks the path, but you can hold the candle for him for a bit.

At Friday, August 17, 2007 7:46:00 AM, Blogger Jay G said...

Thanks for reminding me. I need to send out some e-mails, too...

At Friday, August 17, 2007 9:09:00 AM, Blogger Matt G said...


Maybe not.

He postponed. Then cancelled.

At Friday, August 17, 2007 2:00:00 PM, Blogger Ereshkigal said...

I understand the title of the post entirely and it may well fit. I pray it doesn't, though. When my baby brother (yeah, only two years younger than me) ODed on heroin at 25, it wasn't because he didn't have family and friends' support for quitting or any such thing. It was about the choices he made and the lack of adequate health care/belief from professionals in a young man. (Schizophrenic, but couldn't get THOSE medications because of his history of drug abuse! WTF!)

Anyway, I hope you can help your friend. I know that when my brother died, I felt like all the people around me abandoned me. The only reason I kept going was to make sure my ferrets had the proper care. It helped that they did something(s) every day that made me laugh. It is sometimes easier to let an animal be there for you, but it's not fair to the animal if he's too depressed to care for it. Good luck.

At Friday, August 17, 2007 2:32:00 PM, Blogger Jay G said...


Not only did I send off the e-mail (to the friend who was my best man 11 years ago this day), I took another friend (my head usher) to lunch.

Thank you for reminding me about staying in touch.

At Friday, August 17, 2007 8:22:00 PM, Anonymous JPG said...

Matt G wrote:
He postponed. Then cancelled.

"They" say that frequently it is the person with low self-esteem who gets into the downward drug/alcohol spiral in the first place. "They" also say that the abuser very often hit rock bottom before he can start back up.

Matt, could it be that this guy just doesn't feel he's worthy of your friendship and attention? That, he's lost his job, his family, probably his home, and he sees you, his old co-worker - -with a fine wife and adorable daughters, working a job you really like, with a degree, in grad school - - Maybe he can't help comparing himself to you. Or, maybe, having lost so much else, he consciously or subsonsciously feels it's only right to toss away your friendship, too.

This guy sounds as if he's a candidate for a full scale intervention. But that is NOT a one-person job. From what I read,--and see on TV-- it takes a team to do it properly. The best examples appear to need one member who's suffered similar problems, and worked his way out of them.

Do you know any other individuals that the guy respects or likes, who care enough to help out? I greatly fear you can't do it alone.

Good luck to both of you.

At Sunday, August 19, 2007 9:20:00 AM, Blogger phlegmfatale said...

Good luck helping Jamie. I hope he works it out, and I have no doubt your support can be invaluable to him, but you also can't do it for him. Only he can change the way he lives. I hope for the best, for him. It's painful to see a loved one make the worst possible choice at every juncture.

At Sunday, August 19, 2007 8:57:00 PM, Blogger Loving Annie said...

Yeah, it took one of mine getting dying at age 38 for me to pay attention to my friends NOW and not put it off.
It's been 20 years, and I still remember that I thought we had plenty of time -- and we didn't.

You can't make your friend's choices for him.
But you can be there as an ear.

Maybe, just maybe, he'll save himself... I hope so.

At Monday, August 20, 2007 4:44:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Most likely an intervention won't help.... He most likely knows there is a problem. Drugs give you a few hours of happiness, followed by more problems, and deeper depression. Then you use more drugs to gain the few precious hours of happiness, as empty as it is.

Yes, he probably is withdrawing because it is hard for him to see and be around people who aren't failing. It depresses him more. There are other reasons too....

The struggle can be overwhelming. I know. I've been there. Not completely out yet, but much better. Looking back, it scares me how deep in I was. And yes, it started when I was layed off. I'm an engineer, and I couldn't find work for over a year. Talk about feeling worthless. Suicidal, you name it. Being depressed, really depressed is the most horrible thing I would never wish on anyone. It means there is no more hope. And you feel to worthless to believe you can ever change it. Thank God I got out of it.

I wish your friend luck and strenght. He is not making bad choices because he doesn't know better. He makes them because he lacks strenght.

I hope he finds it.


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