This is not a blog that is written in any kind of Christmas spirit, pardon the pun.
Someone I know has a friend who is going through a tough time in their relationship with their partner.
Jane, (my friend) spent an evening with this person and has found it very difficult to cope with the fallout afterwards. Jane came to me one afternoon and I could see that she was stressed. Over a cup of coffee she found herself disclosing the problem to me, without mentioning her friend’s name. Jane didn’t want to be a gossip-monger and she was reluctant to tell me too much, but I think she trusts me to know that I am a good listener without judgement. So, what could she do? How can she help?
It’s a tricky one, this. There is only so much that we can do to help our friends when they confide in us. The lady who is going through issues with her partner might be drinking too much. Jane said that two bottles of wine were consumed that evening and as she said to me, ‘I only had one and a half glasses, I don’t know how else she would have got home that night, the taxi dropped her as close to her house as it could’. Jane found her friend clearly affected by the drink and she became very emotional during the ride home. Jane felt very embarrassed and as she said to me, ‘She’s just a friend and all the tears were too much for me. I knew this was the drink talking, but it was so embarrassing.’ Jane found the evening quite uncomfortable as her friend was using language that should only be heard in a barroom, Public of course and the whole thing was totally inappropriate because the partner that was being insulted is a good friend of Jane’s husband, that’s how they met initially.
I didn’t know how to help Jane out of this one. I haven’t got any experience with alcohol related abuse and my counselling background didn’t cover this. Anyway, Jane is a friend and it wouldn’t be right to try and practise on her.
No matter what Jane might suggest to help her friend she will not be able to unless she wants to be helped to figure a way out. Alcohol can take control of someone’s life even when they don’t realise it’s happening. I don’t want to be holier than thou about it, I enjoy a drink just as much as the next person. It’s easy to fall into a trap with drink. The instinct to have a glass of wine and then another one is often easier than facing up to issues in one’s own life. It seems to me that it’s a ‘chicken and egg’ dilemma. What came first in Jane’s friends’ relationship? Is her drinking the cause or the symptom?
Oh how I miss practising counselling!