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I Cherish Every Atom of Her Being

man turning back rejection

 michael111 is terribly frightened, as his Loved One seems to be in a downward spiral. He is trying hard to practice CRAFT, to take care of himself, and to be patient. But he is scared and sad at how hard she has cut ties.

© andrew neil via unsplash

"My Loved One is back on cocaine.

I'm terrified and lonely and scared about what this could mean.

Previously I'd mentioned that a handful of years ago — long before I knew her — she'd had a cocaine problem, and had even dealt it when she was living homeless with a steeped-in-drug-culture boyfriend. She was only 23 or 24 years old at the time.

Her current boyfriend was always against most drugs (and drinking), and had gotten her off the coke when they began dating a year and a half ago. Now that he's drinking heavily, he seems to've completely lost that concern.

I'd also mentioned this other bartender girl whom my Loved One has gotten close to lately. This bartender is really bad news. She's been suspected — several times — when money was missing from the register. She's the one who said she was so obsessed with incest — and her favorite family member is her ten-year-old niece, whom she's always talking about spending time with. She's a lesbian and has bragged to people about how she uses and abuses older lesbians that she doesn't care about, getting them to completely finance her party trips to Las Vegas and Fort Lauderdale. She's shown people photos of her snorting coke with these women at these vacation parties.

Now she has her tendrils in my Loved One….."(read full comment here)

It’s heartbreaking to watch a Loved One sink into more drugs. Your friend had problems years before with cocaine. She just recently started using again and now drinks and snorts cocaine while working, and during after-work parties at the bar. You fear for her health, her ability to drive safely, and especially the loss of her friendship as she turns ever more towards people who use drugs and who drink like she does.

You write about the pain this is causing and the difficulty you are having concentrating on work or enjoying things, like gardening.

Your love is unrequited. She is choosing drugs over your friendship. She is surrounding herself with a tight knit group that encourages her use. It is understandable that you are having trouble concentrating or enjoying things.

It’s hard to find hope in this. But here it is: cocaine makes you drink much more than you normally would. A line of cocaine straightens you up from the alcohol and allows you to go on doing both for a very long time, far longer than if you'd had only been drinking.

The increase in the alcohol, with the added cocaine, make for some terrible, terrible hangovers. Where before you might pass out at 1AM from the alcohol, now you’re up until 5AM, and you’re only going to bed because the drugs have run out. 

It’s likely your Loved One will suffer more consequences from the cocaine use. She will have more difficulty meeting her obligations. Her life is going to become more dysfunctional.

This combination of drugs will create more pain and mess. It will feel like she boarded an express train to hell.

Cocaine speeds up trouble, so you may be needed sooner for your patience, the treatment list, your friendship and the loving hand up you offer.

In the meantime, you need to decide how much of yourself to invest in your Loved One. You are feeling pushed away by her. She is pushing you away. She is choosing drugs over your friendship. She is not responding to your texts. This is hurtful.

Can you take a small step back and accept that she is going to be hurtful. As family and friends, we have all seen our Loved Ones do very upsetting things, some of it aimed directly at us. Can you blame the drugs and not her, can you forgive the bad behavior? Can you focus back on your own life and be gentle on yourself? Don’t get lost.

Use your private journal today to take some time and write a list (even a short one) of what pulling back looks like for you, today, and during this bout of her using.

  • Are you still going to the tavern and rewarding her with your presence?

  • What are you putting in place to take gentle care of your own emotional state?

  • What activities will bring you true enjoyment and perhaps help you recenter on you?

  • Which Learning Module or Allies' member site feature can you commit to returning to?

  • Is there an Allies member whose situation has moved you in what you've read on this blog? Could you reach out via comment (alas, our private message feature seems to be somewhat malfunctioning right now)…?

Remember, CRAFT teaches you to see your Loved One’s pattern of use. From my vantage point, the addition of the cocaine is both trouble and a possible shift towards engaging her in treatment.



In your comments, please show respect for each other and do not give advice. Please consider that your choice of words has the power to reduce stigma and change opinions (ie, "person struggling with substance use" vs. "addict", "use" vs. "abuse"...)

  1. Dominique,

    Your words always come as the best counsel and advice when I need it most.

    I took your words to heart when you posted this, began working on all of your bullet points (more below) and yes, I’d even found hope in the situation — real hope. My Loved One’s cocaine use has been increasing in these past two weeks, possibly because of an increased tolerance, and I expected her to suffer more consequences and dysfunction in her life.

    She did.

    I talked to her on the phone last Sunday evening, and she was upset — she told me that she thought she lost her job, but wouldn’t say why. She also said that she’d spent the entire day working on her art. I sensed a lot of change talk. I told her that I was proud of her for that, and I reminded her again that my care and love for her was unconditional and that I had nothing but empathy and compassion for what she was going through. She thanked me and told me that she’d text a photo of the art she’d been working on. She called me “brother,” just like a month before she’d said we were “family,” and it seemed like our communication was opening up again.

    When the image came in a text later that evening, I was surprised — something seemed off about the art. The technique was too good for someone who’d been so many years out of practice, and the subject almost seemed too dated. I wondered if the art was an old picture of something she’d done in high school, over a decade ago.

    She didn’t reply when I happily asked if she’d drawn it that day. She stopped showing up at the tavern, and for a few days she didn’t reply to my texts or calls asking if she was ok.

    Then I found out what had happened from another close friend who works at the tavern: this past Saturday, my Loved One and her bartender “friend” did coke all night at work, and they stayed at the tavern until 4am, with her boyfriend and with another coke user, all of them drinking and probably snorting coke. The owner saw it all on camera. The cash register had also come up short that night.

    As a consequence, my Loved One had been suspended from work for the next week. I haven’t talked to the owner about it, but I know that he’s unhappy with the growing trend of people drinking on the job, and with my Loved One using the tavern as an after-hours party hangout.

    I called and called her all week long, adamant in trying to get ahold of her to talk. I knew she was avoiding me, but I kept calling — she’s at her mother’s, little more than a mile away, and I felt that we should talk. She finally texted me this afternoon, and her response was as firm as it was negative — she told me to please leave her alone, and to stop harassing her, and she even said that she was about to call the police about my constantly calling her.

    So, things do change on a dime with addiction. This is pretty obviously my cue to completely back off, drop everything, and let her be.

    At this point, with her telling me this in text, I don’t even think that saying a hello to her would be appropriate. I’m crushed that she doesn’t want help, and that she’s choosing to slide further into harder drugs and more abuse, but I absolutely don’t want to endanger myself or put myself in a harmful position over her addictions.

    Oddly, though, and I feel like I need to mention this, but I feel a kind of relief — it’s horrible and shocking that she’s falling down this path, and that she doesn’t want me in her life at all, but at least I have something concrete from her to go on.

    Right after your post, which happened just before last weekend, I was able to step back and understand that she was, and would continue to be, hurtful. (You were right — today’s texts from her have shown just how hurtful she would be.)

    Last weekend I made a determination to focus back on my own life, and that day of your post I wrote a paragraph in my journal about what pulling back looked like for me — it was all about focusing on my own creative work, and enjoying my yard and garden, and getting things done on the exciting projects that were now in my life.

    I also started doing that, and over this past week my mood has been much better, more positive.

    Looking back now, I do see that calling and calling her on several days this week was an absolute mistake — it wasn’t part of pulling back at all.

    * “Are you still going to the tavern and rewarding her with your presence?” — I hadn’t thought of it this way before, but when I read this, I realized that my presence there when she was using was a reward. The tavern opened up to the public last Thursday, and after reading this in your blog post I’d stopped going there on evenings when she was working.

    * “What are you putting in place to take gentle care of your own emotional state?” — As simple as it sounds, a Zen breathing technique has been so helpful in keeping me calm and balanced, and I’ve been putting it in place every day. I’ve also used affirmations, and have been trying to give myself self-compassion. It feels like it’s been working.

    * “What activities will bring you true enjoyment and perhaps help you recenter on you?” — I’ve been taking time this week, every single day, to both work on my writing and to work in the garden. The combination of mental and physical work has felt good, and in the hours when I’m doing this work I’m feeling “me” again. I deeply enjoyed this work. I also finished a novel that was on my nightstand forever, and then I dove deep right into the next one — I’ll probably finish it tonight. It feels great to be back with the “friends” of literature. I’ve also gotten together with good friends in real life, wrote to a few others, and made plans to get together with more.

    I understand that self-recenterment builds strength, and strength is what you need to help a Loved One when the time eventually comes. But what makes it difficult is that when you do it, you feel like you’re abandoning your Loved One. I resisted helping myself for a long time for the same reason I resisted backing away when my Loved One was using — I didn’t want to feel like I was abandoning her.

    * “Which Learning Module or Allies’ member site feature can you commit to returning to?” — Since self-care has been high on my task list lately, I’ve committed to returning to Module 7.

    * “Is there an Allies member whose situation has moved you in what you’ve read on this blog? Could you reach out via comment (alas, our private message feature seems to be somewhat malfunctioning right now)…?” — There’s a lot of great content on this site, and I’ve read a few situations here that have resonated with me, and I plan to reach out to these Allies members this weekend.

    (I also have a knack for web software — I wrote a book on it once — and if the private message feature is still giving trouble I’d be happy to see if I could help.)

    1. Hello Michael: Don’t tempt us to call upon you for tech help! I know the Allies team would agree, it is THE black hole of time and irritation.

      So, yes, true to form your Loved One quickly ran into more problems with the cocaine. She is scared. Her job may be on the line.

      She reached out and then slammed the door shut. You need to be strong to accept this behavior. I suspect you will hear from her soon as things get more unmoored.

      What kindness you show her despite everything.

      I love that you know yourself and have a life you can turn back towards: books, friends, a breathing technique, your gardens.

      Please continue to treat yourself gently. Thank you ever so much for these updates. They are important for all of us to read. You are a good friend to her. Forgive her the insults. You can imagine the tornado that surrounds her. She is lashing out at you. Be well.

      1. Dominique, thank you so much for being so attentive and caring and getting back to me right away — I didn’t expect that, but I appreciate it very much.

        Something funny happened this morning. Obviously I care about this girl a lot, so her texts about calling the police on me and leaving her alone were very shocking yesterday — the last thing I need is an online mug shot for “obsessive harassment,” as she put it — but when I woke up this morning I felt very good about myself and my own life. I thought, “Hey, it’s good to feel that Michael is back again!”

        I’m not so sure that my Loved One is ever going to want to talk to me again, but your suspicion that it might happen (even soon) just made the good mood of my day that much better. And I’m not obsessing over it or needing to see her — today is going to be a “work on the yard” day until sunset!

        For anyone reading this and looking for help with their own problems, I want to mention a great article that’s been very helpful. It’s by Beverly Engel, “How Compassion Can Help You Support an Addicted Loved One”:

        I must have read it 40 times. It makes so much sense and it’s so comforting and only recently I’ve taken heed of the last third of the article, which is all about self-compassion. I discovered that you need it, and you’re not going to be helpful or whole without it. This is what I’ve been working on lately.

        I think the most important thing I’ve learned from CRAFT so far is that kindness kills everything bad.

        One annoying thing I know about web sites, is that it’s never done. No matter how careful you are and how good you do it, as soon as everything’s up and working just right, it’s time for an upgrade — and then probably a bug fix!

      2. Here is June so far: I’m feeling good about myself, but I’m feeling very down about the situation. I need to brainstorm a new approach.

        I’m focusing on myself every day, and since my Loved One has remained completely out of my life, it’s been easy to do. There’s sadness, though — a sharp, heart-gripping sadness — when it hits me at how hard and fast she’s dropped me. I’d wished that the cocaine would lead to an out-of-control spiral that would force her to get help. It hasn’t. She seems to be expertly managing the coke just as she’s managed the Adderall all these years. I heard her mention mushrooms to someone the other night, so who knows what and how many drugs she’s currently doing.

        She didn’t lose her job. After a week’s suspension, she was put right back on the schedule. She didn’t even have to pay back the $200 that the register was short. She still sits at the bar when she’s done with her shift, and the regulars still buy her plenty of shots.

        She seems happy and content, as she always did, and doesn’t show any further signs of negative consequences, or of her life spinning out of control. I’m not sure how this works, but she may be handling the cocaine recreationally.

        I’m still unsettled and dismayed by her “obsessive harassment” claim and threat of police action — her last text to me was “Please leave me alone,” and it wreaks of a cold finality, a chasm that I can’t cross. I’ve felt her pushing away from me to various degrees for months now, but in the past it was always a pushing away followed by a pulling back. Since the shutdown there’s been much more push, and since the cocaine it’s been aggravated, and now this last incident seems to have hermetically sealed it shut.

        I did see her a couple nights ago when she was working. She greeted me in a surprisingly friendly way, but I didn’t attempt to talk — I was so nervous that I don’t even know if I’d returned her hello. Maybe I should have given her a reward for her friendliness.

        When she finished her shift, she sat at the opposite end of the bar and drank and did not look over once — even when myself and the small group I was with were laughing pretty loudly. It was as if I were invisible. I did notice that even when she talked to other co-workers who were off the clock, she was ambivalent; when one worker who regularly smokes pot with her got up from the bar and left, she didn’t even bother to turn her head when she said goodbye. The only one she paid much attention to was her boyfriend when he came. He’d looked over at me for a second, but he didn’t come over or even say hello.

        She didn’t appear to be using coke, either. I think she did this past Saturday night — her coke-using bartender “friend” was off that night, but drove up to the tavern to visit her, and according to a friend they were both together until closing. I almost feel like she knows just how much to take so that she doesn’t spin out of control.

        There’s a girl at the tavern who IS a real friend of mine. She’d started there four years ago, on the same day my Loved One did. She’s a very goodhearted person and I trust her and we’ve become close, true friends. We’ve spent a lot of time together outside of the tavern and she’s been looking out for me. She’s disappointed in the way my Loved One has treated me, especially after everything I’ve done. She’d also been hurt by my Loved One — for years the two of them were ‘best’ work friends, but this girl has come to see how my Loved One only uses people and isn’t genuinely nice to anyone. She told me that my Loved One hates herself, so she can’t love anyone else — the only thing she truly loves is alcohol, drugs, and her other addictions.

        My friend thinks it’s hopeless — she thinks my Loved One is hopeless, that she’ll never change, that from homelessness to unconscious on the pavement to an apartment fire she’s had enough hard tragedy hit from her alcohol and drug use, and nothing has phased her. She said that my Loved One looks at everyone in the world — including her boyfriend — as a sucker, as someone to get something out of to further her addictions, and a point probably came when she realized I was too much trouble to be a good sucker.

        My Loved One did admit to me, in a revealing text some months back, that she doesn’t like being around other people at all and she only does so when she absolutely has to — and can use them to get what she wants. Those were pretty much her exact words.

        Interestingly enough, the background image on my Loved One’s phone is still a photo of her old drug-dealer boyfriend that she broke up with almost two years ago — I think she does this to keep her current boyfriend in line. She’s an expert at pressing his buttons — I’ve seen it. And I’ve watched her boyfriend go from an enabler who occasionally nagged her about drinking to an encourager who drinks excessively himself. She used to complain about him to me all the time back in the days when he didn’t really drink; now, the two of them are constantly affectionate.

        I remind myself that my Loved One’s mother got her started drinking at the age of twelve. Her stepfather got her into marijuana not long after. The family seems to have some very troublesome sexual issues. She’s been drinking and drugging and exposed to this for nearly 20 years of her short life. At 29 with a boyfriend who is turning 40 soon, living at their parents’ homes, I feel like she has the perfect setup for someone who wants to drink and drug and avoid all responsibility and expectations. Both of them do seem enormously content.

        I don’t know what the prospects of her recovery are, and I’m not sure how I can influence her since I’m not living with her or spending much time around her now, and she isn’t even talking to me. Looking on AiR, I see people who are dealing with their own children, spouses, parents, and I feel very fortunate — this is just someone that I met in a bar. I wanted her as a friend, I felt like we had found something as close and powerful as the tightest kind of human bond, but it’s all potential and possibility: she really wasn’t ever even a real friend.

        If I had any doubt of that, her threat of contacting the police let me know just how she really feels. A friend would never do that. I also know — and this has been reiterated to me many times now by friends who care — that it doesn’t matter who is in the wrong, or whether I really was “stalking” her or not, but when a girl makes a complaint about a guy and there’s a telephone record of calls, he’s going to be the one who gets into trouble, no matter how high she is on coke and no matter what the situation really was. I remain unsettled by her use of the term “obsessive harassment.” That’s a legal term and I don’t know how she got it — she seems too lazy and apathetic to even conduct a Google search.

        The one thing I am doing consistently right now is self-care and self-compassion, and focusing on my own life.

        That, admittedly, has been going great. I’ve read five novels in the past few weeks, wrote an essay that will probably be published soon, and completed several art projects. The backyard gardens, a work in long progress, are in bloom and impressive enough right now and everyone who sees them loves them — I have to admit, going out there feels like being adrift on vacation at some distant equatorial island. Of course I get sad out there every day, too, thinking that my Loved One won’t be experiencing it even though she’s just a mile up the road. But I’m definitely finding my happiness and achieving things — previously, in the throes of chasing after my Loved One and worrying about her every single waking hour of the day, I’d struggled for six months trying to read a few pages in one book on my nightstand while my career was frozen in arctic ice.

        I also tell myself that all the things I’m surrounding myself with, from books to art to gardening to long walks and good cooking and interesting music, are things that she doesn’t have and can’t take in, and that has nothing to do with me. She just doesn’t have the interest or the eye right now.

        We used to share a lot of obscure and interesting music in common, and I’ve noticed that she no longer seems to care about any of that, either — lately she’s been playing the same Hank Williams Jr. song every single night, “Family Tradition.” The lyrics are about being an alcoholic and chronic weed smoker, and not being able to help it because he’s carrying on a long tradition.

        So I’ve got feelings of sadness that are haunting me. Not defeat — but I feel pretty boxed in at the moment. I’ve tried to help her, I’ve tried to inspire her, I’ve constantly let her know how much I care, she knows my hand will be extended to her no matter what — and it’s all come to nought. Besides the self-care, I’m not sure what else to do.

        Do I avoid the tavern when she’s working? What about when she’s off work and drinking at the bar? If I see her and she’s friendly, do I reward the friendliness? Should I attempt to be around her and initiate talk, or is this the time for me to back off and just be patient and live my own life, and wait for her to contact me — knowing that a desire for change could take years, if ever?

        Thanks for everything, and thanks for giving me a space to voice what I’m going through. The act of turning my emotions into words is cathartic in itself.

        1. Michael111: You write beautifully about the hard feelings caused by a Loved One. Your Loved One has turned away from you. She is now occasionally using cocaine, and nearly lost her job when she stole from the cash register of the tavern to buy the drug. Losing her job could have been a sizable consequence. If you wait, more negative consequences will happen.

          Your Loved One has distanced herself from you. Yes, you are not helpful with your wish to see her thrive. She is not thriving, now, with the addition of the cocaine.

          Your Loved One is old enough and experienced enough with drugs, especially cocaine, to know that starting to use again is hugely problematic.

          So she needs to avoid you lest you see her using with even more abandon. You are the treatment and health person, antithetical to her new found drive for cocaine.

          So, she says “bug off.” And she threatens to contact the police. How awful for you.

          People with addiction can be so hurtful. Perhaps it is your Loved One’s personality, but it’s also very possible that you are simply not needed right now. I’m sorry for this. When addiction has taken over, friends and family become pawns, provider of resources. Your presence signals guilt over her desire to use. Your Loved One is not contemplating recovery.

          Can you continue to be patient with her? Can you continue to focus on your own interests and friends? Everything can change on a dime, right? You’ve seen that. Hold tight if you can. The cocaine will lead to more problems, especially because she drinks while using the drug.

          Thank you for writing in. Your experience is important for the rest of us. May you enjoy your garden on this early spring day.

        2. Dominique,

          I feel like it’s time for an update as I try to figure out what I should be doing. I apologize in advance for the lengthiness. Consider this my letter from summer camp!

          I love this site and I’ve learned so much from it and I believe in everything it stands for. So when you tell me to do something I sincerely listen, and then I try to do it to the best of my ability. I never give up. I still believe this will be a beautiful success story.

          The two key things I’ve done is focus on self-care, and remain patient with my Loved One. But I’m not around her much at all, because I’m spending almost no time at the tavern. As a result, I’m unsure how I can be a good influence on her, or how I can influence her to contemplate treatment. This is my big question right now.

          I continue to revisit the modules and to read about other members’ experiences. This post on limited opportunities was very useful:


          Rosslyn Kemerer’s video about lower back yoga exercises in the Sanctuary blog was also a good help. The gym finally reopened and I’m going back on a regular basis, and because I’m not ghosting in the bar all night I rise early with the sun — life is more orderly and productive. I have so much going on right now and so much to do in life, and in an odd way I feel that tending to these things might be the best and most important way to help my Loved One. But keeping away is a scary step to make.

          Meanwhile, it looks like my Loved One is eagerly skipping down a dark, sinister path. She’s always around that pornography-obsessed bartender “friend” of hers, and there’s no secret that the two of them drink heavily and use cocaine all the time now. Sometimes when they have a day off, they go to a bar together at 11 in the morning, and they sit there drinking and smoking all afternoon. My Loved One is starting to look different, she isn’t putting much care in her appearance, and even the way she interacts with her regulars has changed — she doesn’t seem interested or enthusiastic about anyone now. Everybody knows that something is wrong.

          I figure that consequences are going to happen. Around the time when she first got back on coke, I’d noticed that the front of her car had gotten all scraped up. Her and her boyfriend finally moved out of their parents’ homes — they’re renting a house one street over from her mother’s. I haven’t seen it, but this is a nice town, and I can’t imagine they’re going to be able to keep the place up.

          She’s also getting so skinny — if she loses any more weight, her arms are going to be like broomsticks. But then, one night in July, she was eating behind the bar like it was a county-fair marathon — even the other bartender on shift commented that she’d never seen my Loved One shovel down so much food at once.

          Her boyfriend won’t acknowledge me at all. When they’d started dating two years ago, he’d apparently bragged to everyone about how he’d gotten her completely off hard drugs. Now, I wonder if he’s doing them with her. He still drives her home when she’s too drunk, which is most nights. Back when he talked to me and even confided in me, he’d told me how my Loved One would sometimes sneak out of bed in the middle of the night to go to the bar. He’d also said how she even neglected her dog, and that he was the one who had to take care of it. That continues to be the case — twice this month my Loved One came into the tavern with her “friend” to drink at the bar, and they left the dog in the hot car. Both times someone eventually called the boyfriend to get the dog. The “friend” isn’t as much of a pro at this as my Loved One — she’s been calling off work, and on at least one occasion she started her shift by getting sick in the bathroom. Her eyes are always glassy, like those of fish on ice at the seafood counter.

          Back in June, my Loved One wouldn’t even look at me. When she had to talk to me for work, I sensed unhappiness and resentment. We made eye contact one night as she passed to leave, and she made a face that I couldn’t figure out — I couldn’t tell if it were embarrassment or if she was gloating.
          Then things opened up, slightly and slowly: she once rubbed my upper arm as she left and voiced a drunken goodbye before she stumbled out, swaying left and right as if she were a sailor walking the deck of a small boat on a vicious sea. Now, the few times I’ve been in the tavern this month, she’s called me “friend” and spent a little time in shallow smalltalk. But I know not to trust anything she says, and we still don’t really communicate. I’m sad that she’s drifted so far out of my life.

          But it’s also me: I’m spending almost no time at the tavern at all. I’ve only seen her one day a week, at most, all summer. My good tavern bartender friend says that I’m smart for staying away — she’s been strongly encouraging me to do so. We went out to dinner last night, and she said that the shenanigans of my Loved One and her cocaine-abusing “friend” are getting way out of hand, and are about to “explode.” She also said that if I were around, they’d undoubtedly try to set me up, or put the blame on me for something. She told me that my Loved One talks trash about me plenty.

          The best thing that’s happened this summer is that I’ve managed — for the most part — to get my attention off of my Loved One and on to my own self care. It’s been an enormous personal victory. I recognize this as one of the key tools of CRAFT, and I made it a goal to master it.

          As a result, so many wonderful things have fallen in place in my life. I’m finding new opportunities and my life has been happily changing for the better.

          I’ve really lost my desire to go to the tavern, even when I know that my Loved One is there — it’s summer, and I can’t spend the meager hours of this season in the dim and torpid darkness of a bar. And of course there’s also the fact that I’m really not much of a drinker. I’m so glad that the bad habits she got me into last summer — like drinking cheap vodka — have been broken. I realize that the “ambient drinking” I’d done over the past year, while wasting precious time on a barstool in the tavern, had a negative effect on my life — I don’t like it, I don’t need it, and I’m functioning much better without it. I haven’t been there in over a week, and I have no immediate plans to stop in. So she hasn’t been seeing me, and I’m assuming that I’m not much on her mind.

          When I’m purely focused on myself, I’m good. But it’s a hard, hard thing to do. When I think of her, sadness is a shadow that haunts me. I’ve put off posting on here for so long because I haven’t wanted to sit down and think about this situation for a prolonged period of time.

          Stepping away is like standing on a gigantic highboard to take a dive, knowing that you’re going to be alone in the freefall — and you also know that when you break the water you do it alone. The water might be all sparkly and beautiful, but you dive into the deep alone. That’s how it feels. I dove. The water’s great and refreshing, I love it, but she’s nowhere near the pool. I also know that the place she’s at isn’t very nice — there’s no pool, no sunshine, nothing beautiful at all. Her life is darkness.

          So here is how I’m coping: when I think of her or worry about her or have the urge to talk to her — which is often — I put that energy into art. This is the secret to my new productivity. I feel like I am channeling a rare bolted thunder, something from high on Mount Olympus, and the work I am doing is the best and the truest I have ever done in my entire life. I’m simply too busy to spend time in the tavern on a regular basis.

          I’m even opening a record store, an amazing opportunity that basically jumped in my lap around the time my Loved One backed off. It’s not open yet, but nearly half the girls from the tavern have come to see it — and I see the irony that it’s my Loved One, the one who was supposedly so into my kind of music, is the one who hasn’t been around and who probably will never know it.

          It feels like my only option is to live my life without her in it, take care of myself, and patiently wait. Is there anything else I can do? Do I make any attempt to talk to her at all? Is the fact that she’s avoided me for almost three months pretty bad, does it mean she’s probably not going to seek out treatment any time soon, and even if she did, would she not call me for help?

          She’d stopped talking to me once before, last November, after I’d made an intervention at the little one-room hovel they were living in at the time — she’d been alarmingly drunk, blacking out at the bar and falling over everyone, and the next afternoon I went over to her place and told her I would do anything to help her, if she wanted it. This was twelve hours later, and she was still drunk and high, still wearing her knee-high Doc Martens, she had to be back at the tavern in two hours, and she couldn’t even stand up straight. The room reeked of pot and everything was all over the floor in heaps, like those scenes in police dramas where someone’s apartment gets sacked by the bad guy. She thanked me but was then avoidant for weeks.

          I still have faith. I can’t shake the feeling that we met for a reason and that she might get the desire to turn her life around. But I don’t know how to be a good influence on her if I’m not around her. I keep rereading modules and blog posts here and thinking about what to do and how I can apply CRAFT, considering my very limited interactions with her. Every day is an experiment. If my behavior in her presence creates opportunities, I am thinking that my behavior in her non-presence will have to somehow create opportunities.

        3. We are all truly moved by your latest account, michael111. We continue to be moved, as well, by the faith that guides you in this quest to be of service to a friend who is as resistant as they get. Something many of our families might forget during the trials and tribulations of recovery alongside their Loved Ones is the leg-up we have when “unconditional love” is a given in our equation. Unconditional Love (despite all the weirdness that can also be present in families) is certainly one of the things that helps CRAFT to be effective within a family. It is of course such an effective glue because it is usually felt by both parties.

          Your situation is different, in that your Loved One benefits from your unconditional love, but you haven’t really had that privilege yet from her. It means you can’t count on her to come mysteriously back to you, as we so often do with those that are part of our family, even when we’re hurt, mad or angry.

          CRAFT can still be effective of course, in such circumstances as yours, but as you so well point out, it is extra painful for you to feel the absence of her presence in your life, and find ways to accept it as such, for now.

          You write beautifully and thoughtfully about what you are experiencing. I reflect back to you a few of the sentences that stood out to me:

          — I have so much going on right now and so much to do in life, and in an odd way I feel that tending to these things might be the best and most important way to help my Loved One. But keeping away is a scary step to make.

          — Everybody knows that something is wrong.

          — I figure that consequences are going to happen

          — The best thing that’s happened this summer is that I’ve managed — for the most part — to get my attention off of my Loved One and on to my own self care. It’s been an enormous personal victory. I recognize this as one of the key tools of CRAFT, and I made it a goal to master it.

          — I’ve put off posting on here for so long because I haven’t wanted to sit down and think about this situation for a prolonged period of time.

          — The work I am doing is the best and the truest I have ever done in my entire life.

          — I don’t know how to be a good influence on her if I’m not around her.

          — If my behavior in her presence creates opportunities, I am thinking that my behavior in her non-presence will have to somehow create opportunities.

          It is fabulous that you have been channeling some of these terribly hard feelings into something beautiful. The truest art you’ve ever made. Though I’m sure you’d love to be able to share that art, or even the source of its inspiration, with your Loved One, I hope that “just” being in this mode of creation and transformation is highly beneficial to your physical and mental health. I can only imagine it is.

          And yes, as to the question of how you can truly be helping your Loved One without having any real interaction…I really like how you are framing it: “If my behavior in her presence creates opportunities, I am thinking that my behavior in her non-presence will have to somehow create opportunities.”

          I think this is a beautiful and smart way of proceeding. Don’t forget that stepping back (away from the use), is both CRAFTy, and in a way it’s you respecting what she expressed, whether verbally or not. She was giving you signs to back off, and didn’t respond well the last time you offered your help.

          So, while the waiting is excruciating, you are also granting her the space to fall (which seems imminent) without being there to catch her. So, so, so hard. But perhaps necessary.

          She’s still not giving you the time of day but something in her recognized a “friend” as she drunkenly walked by you. Continuing to find your own balance, your own truth (love that you realized you had adopted some habits that simply weren’t “you” as part of your former campaign to watch over her, and have since dropped them!) and your own joy … so many spiritual traditions assert that in doing so, you are indeed helping others, both within your sphere and without. You are raising the vibratory levels you emit, to speak esoterically for a second. This can only produce good effects!

          To me, it sounds clear that you are on the right path for yourself. As you continue to honor yourself, your needs, and yes, your pain as you contemplate your Loved One’s blind, worrying stumbling, I think things will continue to be clarified.

          I also think, from what you’ve shared with us over these months, that your friend knows deep down that when she’s ready, you will be standing there, like a beacon, with your hand extended, ready to provide that help. Thank you again michael111, for writing in, and for being the supportive, faith-full friend you are!!!