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Keeping the Connection

connectionBreaking often is easier than building, and destroying relationships most of the time takes much less effort than putting one together. There is a certain excitement in getting rid of something we believe doesn’t work. There is a satisfaction in the burning righteousness of yelling “I had it with you!” or “This has to end and it ends here and now!” And yet with all the joy in anticipation of the new and frustration with the old, while basking in the light of the correct and exemplary, there is also a feeling that the suffering from breaking away is on the horizon. Perhaps it won’t hit right away, but it will surely come. Maybe on your front things will be OK, but for another person it might mean the end of everything. And no matter how much we’d think that “it will do them better” and that “they need to sort their shit out”, we might destroy a life and hope when what we need to do is take a break, let the steam out, and then try to connect again.

I am writing this out of sadness of being on the verge of losing a friend. Substance abuse is not doing him any good and isolation seems to be insanely difficult for him to overcome. No matter how much I try to reach out – inviting him to a meeting, to watch a movie, for a coffee, for my birthday, – it all comes to no fruition. With each attempt it seems the natural thing to do is let him go and hide in his corner and conduct his self-will run riot. But it’s bugging me because with an experience of working in the substance addiction recovery field I’d be a decent help for him. I also realize that one of the main rules of recovery is we can’t help those who don’t want (or can’t) help themselves.

It used to start with smaller gaps when I wondered what the hell he was doing. I knew he was a busy hard working guy, but I also knew he didn’t have a lot going on. That’s the worst, when you have a lot of time and you spend it on watching TV series and munch on snack food every day after work. And that is a life of so many of us who works hard for their money. And we hold on to this deserved rest as to something sacred, and letting it go and answering a phone or making a call is blasphemy, even when life hurts.

I recall that when I moved to the U.S., the folks that I went to the university with back in Russia gave me their email addresses and asked “not to forget them.” And out of ten of them only two stayed in touch. I felt such hunger for communication in the new country and new traditions that I kept writing regardless of the replies. Then I concentrated on those two who were interested. I had quite a resentment towards those who never wrote back. I sure knew they were busy. I sure knew they had lots happening in their lives. And yet, I kept wondering “how much time it will take you to read an email of half a page and write a reply of quarter of a page? What is it that you have on your plate that keeps you from spending ten minutes of your precious time to let me know you still care about me?” I had to come to an understanding that people who don’t reply deserve being let go just as much as the trolls and those who you know to get on your nerves constantly. So 99% of Facebook “friends” are doomed. Some connections deserve (and require) to be severed. But for those who we know well and wish well…

I am hoping that one day my friend will witness the reality; that what he tries to do on his own just doesn’t last and he needs to find something different to keep him happy, healthy, and sane. Shutting the door on eight year long relationship will hurt much more than I could think right now, but it might damage him more than me, while I am trying to be all reasonable about it. Severing the connection and staying out of touch, dwelling in moralistic goodness, I will be doing him much more harm than by an occasional phone call or text, even if I have to force myself to do it. Even though I know that most of the texts go nowhere, and the replies are more of “leave me alone” nature, still, this way I can let him know he is not alone. I let him know that he has someone to talk to about embarrassing and confusing things when it seems like no one listens or everyone will laugh. If I call him twice a week, it will only take two hours at max out of my week time. Can I do that? Yes, I can. I just have to overcome my ego and be present for when it’s the right time for him to start the transformation towards healthy life.

[the picture was copied from ‘ere. thank you!]

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