The journey continues but this time with a friend turned addict. She was the most beautiful person I’d ever known and some how, she got lost along the way. Her story is my story because she was my best friend for many years. There’s still hope for her but I’m not sure how much longer I can hang on.
I always admired her strength. I’d watch her fake a smile and crack a joke when deep down inside she was hurting. Her eyes always told a different story; her body language was the same. I knew her better than I knew myself. She was my best friend. She didn’t have to speak her pain for me to know it existed and most of the time, I knew where it came from.
A beautiful disaster is what she’d labeled herself time and time again. I guess I never really understood the disastrous side of her, or maybe I found beauty in all her darkest corners. I’d giggle when she’d blurt out something so inappropriate that my cheeks burned. There was something about her reckless abandon that spoke to my soul. So careless with her words and heart, yet so put together in every other area of her life.
She was loyal, honest, and empathetic. She held down a good job and was always the friend you could spill your soul to. She was the first to jump in the driver’s seat for any adventure and the only to give her very last dime when her family needed her. And boy, when she loved, it was intense! But, when she broke, it shook the Earth.
Over half of my life was spent admiring her. I’d stare in envy as she lit up any room she entered. She had a softness and warmth to her that attracted even the mean girls. I’d always wished I was that brave, sociable, and approachable. It came so natural that everyone loved her.
All of this isn’t to say that she had an easy life. Her life was filled with trials and tribulations that most couldn’t understand, but I did. She and I had a soul connection. Sometimes I wondered if we were picked from the same flower bed. There was an unexplainable bond between us. One that I never thought could be broken. Until it was.
The saying goes that ‘opposites attract’ but that was not the case with us. We shared the same sarcastic wit, views on politics and people. We hated and loved the same things. But, we are individuals and when two codependent individuals are separated, they begin to build lives of their own.
The person you become is heavily influenced by your environment: your friends, your city, your family, your home life, your job, and your significant other. But I’m one to believe that we all make conscious decisions that can and will dramatically change the course of our lives. Basically, your environment can only excuse & explain so much of your habits or characteristics. Eventually, your decisions catch up to you and that’s why I’m writing this today: her decisions caught up to her and broke my heart along the way.
Part 2: My Friend Turned Addict
Cancelled plans. Missed calls. Unanswered texts. Absent mindedness. Vague responses. Disappearing acts. Conflicting stories. A change in attitude. A change in appearance. Abandoning happy triggers. Lies. Excuses. Avoidance.
All signs of drug addiction. I’ve seen it all before. Many, many times before. And she knew that. She was there to witness the years of pain I endured because of my drug addicted mother.
Am I selfish for being so personally offended by her addiction? Is it wrong of me to take a step back because I am worried about my own mental health? Why do I feel so betrayed, so lost, like a stranger with my longest friend?
I didn’t have enough time to speculate drugs were involved before she confessed it all to me that summer day. The signs were there but I completely missed them because it was her, the beautiful soul that talked with me hundreds of times about our no-drug tolerance. For years, we vented in disgust & disappointment about the people we’d watched go down that dark and lonely path. We’d left people in our dust that picked up a pipe or held onto a needle. Her and I both knew that our lives were meant for much more!
And so, I watched her as she told me every dirty little detail of her substance filled month. I stared at her, as if I were outside of my body, in disbelief. I’d imagine that my face was contorted because of the wave of emotions I was experiencing. I let her tell me everything before I said a word. With tears flowing down her cheeks, I could see the fear and disappointment in her. She didn’t want to tell me but she had to. I was her best friend and I’d already commented on how “off” she was a time or two.
I asked her the questions I’d always wanted to ask an addict:
- Why did you do it?
- With who?
- How did it make you feel?
- How did you feel after?
- How do you feel now?
- When did you last get high?
Like an open book, she shared everything. She answered me without holding back. But, when I asked her what she was going to do to get help, she didn’t have a response. I knew the answer wouldn’t come easy but I had full faith in her recovery. Because the first step is to admit you have a problem.
Rather than grilling her further, I spilled all of my emotions right there on the floor of that little shop. I cried for her mom. I cried for the friend that I’d lost. I cried for the unborn child I was carrying that would never know the woman that I once knew. I cried for her future.
Then, I told her all the things I thought she needed to hear… or maybe just the things I needed to say:
- You’ll never ever be the same again, but you can beat this.
- You need to make some drastic changes in your life because whatever you were doing before led you here.
- You have to get help!
- Start doing the things you loved before the drug took over.
- Stop talking to bad influences.
- Call me. Anytime. About anything.
- You have family to think about.
- Your body can’t handle this.
- There are children who look up to you and a niece/nephew on the way.
- You have so much to lose.
- This isn’t you.
Maybe I said all the wrong things. Maybe it was just what she needed to hear at the time. I’ll never know and it doesn’t matter because she still isn’t clean.
The last time I saw her, I wanted to cry. Her eyes were on another planet. It was as if she looked right through you. Her skin reflected the chemicals in her body. The most outgoing person I knew was quiet and awkward. Our soul connection wasn’t there at all. It was a happy occasion but the light-hearted conversations were forced. I didn’t get to talk to her about her addiction, but I didn’t need to. It was written all over her.
She was no longer the strong, brave, life of the party. My best friend was now an addict. All the intricate details of her quirky personality were washed away by the drug that I like to call The Monster. She’s just a robot to the substance until she has a single moment of clarity, and then she’s right back on it, smoking all the pain away.
It’s been over months since I’ve seen her and seasons since I’ve had a real, full conversation with her. Just like before, my texts go without response. This time, no plans have been made. My heart can’t take another cancelled date or broken promise. I still respond to her texts and try to be her person to vent too. But, I can’t be a friend to a shell of a person. I’m already a daughter to one.
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