Last night quite late the phone rang. When I picked it up and said hello, I heard a slurred female voice respond. It took me a minute to place the voice, and then I knew who it was. A girl (woman) actually, who I have never met in real life but when she was in a better place, we knew each other over the Internet.
When I first started to get to know her, she was a vibrant, funny talented woman. Married with one son, she also had cats and had built a cat enclosure for them. That is why we connected so quickly. Not a rescuer, just a person who loved cats and loved life.
I have known her now for almost 6 years, although know is figurative. I could trip over her on the street and not “know” it was her. Even though, way back when-she sent me photos of her, her husband and her little boy, I still would not recognize her.
Since our cyber-friendship began she has been on a collision course with her own personal demons. Alcohol addiction led to several confrontations with her family. She thought she was overweight and getting rid of the excess fat would help her out. She had gastric bypass surgery. But cutting away at her stomach was not the answer for what ailed her. Even though she was warned she had to stop drinking, she didn’t. She landed in the hospital several times with blood poisoning and other issues. She was on a downward spiral, and as much as I tried to save her, she couldn’t even save herself.
A few years ago, it all went black for her. Unable to deal with childhood trauma, a dysfunctional family and a spouse who was unsupportive, who drank even when she was trying to stop, and a child she couldn’t reach, she found herself split from her husband.
She has tried to kill herself several times or so she attests. My heart weeps every time she calls me to “talk.” She has drifted far into drug addiction, has been in programs but doesn’t stick it out. She is divorced…she is separated..she is reconciling…she is divorced again…What a mess.
So last night she called me begging me to save her. I can’t save her, I don’t even know where she actually lives! I have a phone number and a state, but other than that. She was so wasted she couldn’t put two words together to make a sentence. Yet, in the same breath that she was asking me for salvation, she was insisting that she was “fine.” She was “sober” she was “great.”
When I confronted her on the fact that she didn’t sound “great.” That I could tell she was messed up, she broke down crying and asked me to save her. I just told her the truth. I told her that I couldn’t save her when she couldn’t save herself. That she needs professional help and I am by far not that professional. I told her you need to get into a good program and stay there. Not be dragged into a Scientology type of place where they pour unnatural liquids into your veins and tell you it will help with your addiction. I gave her the national number for AA and a hotline number and suggested she call them. That they were qualified to lead her out of this darkness.
My mother used to say when I was growing up that I was always bringing home strays. She wasn’t talking about stray animals, she was talking about the friends I brought home. The ones who weren’t popular in school, or who were dealing with abuse or domestic violence at home. I find that even today, this stays true. The ones who are hurting gravitate towards me as if I have some sort of beacon shining out to them. It is very puzzling sometimes. I know what I have endured, how I have survived. But the reality is, you have to save yourself from whatever is haunting you. You have to face the demons and not turn away no matter how painful.
When I was in therapy so many years ago, my therapist Patt told me we would start unlocking doors of pain that had been closed off for so long. But, we wouldn’t open them all the way until I was ready to face what lay behind those doors. With this friend, she is not ready to face what lies behind her doors. She wants me to yank them open and drag her instantly out of her addiction. It simply can’t be done- because, sadly, it isn’t that simple.