Dear Dr. Brilliant cliché,
A friend of mine (best friend at the time) fell off the wagon. He got into heroin and would say and do awful things then not remember he did them. The last straw was when he asked his girlfriend for buss money to make her grandma’s funeral then spent the money on drugs and didn’t show for her. He never did anything bad to me directly but I saw this as despicable despite the fact that she eventually forgave him and took him back. I just couldn’t stomach his treatment of her anymore nor her always rescuing him and taking him back. Anyway a few years passed and I got a check from him. It was in the amount of the buss money. I figured her denial and his memory changed events to where he screwed me out of the money, not that he screwed her, and that’s why I stopped talking to them. I figured he was doing the make amends step.
So now I am at a dilemma. I did once love this guy. Should I assist with his step? Should I correct their memory that it was she he screwed over not me and that I stopped talking to them because the whole game was just awful not because of any money issue? Do I even want to get involved again as statistically he will relapse again anyway and it will just be more heart ache? She is codependent not me and it is a game that I do not ever want to play.
AA or not
What I remember of the steps is to write the letters of amends but don’t actually send them. It is presumptuous to think anyone wants to go back down memory lane with you and do corrective interventions. One has to forgive oneself not be forgiven by others. That’s just more codependent BS that works for the movies but real life is messy. It is not your job to forgive him or forget anything. He isn’t about you. But if you feel it will add to your life feel free to contact him. Know your intent in reconnecting with him. He will not be the same person who you knew before his relapse. You will have to establish a new relationship as if he is someone new you are meeting and you will have evaluate him on his current behaviors as to whether you wish to be friends. Change doesn’t happen by focusing on the past. Forgiveness and forgetting is often a past focus. Change happens by focusing on intent, the future, and what behaviors and skills are necessary to bring that future about. If all they want is your forgiveness, move on they don’t get the point of the whole exercise and they are still playing the same old game which only can have one ending. Redemption unlike in the movies cannot come from another person. It is something internal. Love isn’t redemptive it is more often enabling.
Today’s Cliché: “Life is the quality of the skill sets of the friends you choose to surround yourself with.”
Not good luck but Good Intent,
Dr. Brilliant Cliché
Granny Dr. adds:
What I would tell this guy is that he should send the check back, explaining why and stay away from the guy. Every person you spend time on in your life takes up time you could spend on something else. Fact: junkies never change, and if they do, they need to build a new life. You are part of the old one. Stay away.
AA owes nobody nothing. Ya don’t have to answer every knock at your door…unless you really want to hear about God from the Jehovah’s Witnesses.