For what it's worth...
In 2001, I got a call from my ex-wife. The mother of one of my sons. And, at one time... the real love of my life. She was living on one side of the Country, and I was living in the middle. We had been divorced for way many years... but we always remained close friends.
After she had divorced me, she acquired a nasty habit of picking guys for relationships who would knock her around pretty badly.
It used to really upset me to see what was going on... but, I would always end up as "the bad guy"... any time that I would try to step up to the plate for her. Guys beating on women has always been something that would send me into a rage. And, guys beating on my ex-wife... the mother of my son, a dear friend, and someone I still cared about... well... I don't know how to tell you how it made me feel.... but, it was more than rage.
I didn't understand it then... and I still don't understand it. The more I would try to help... the more she would push the help away.
So... when she called me, in 2001... I tried some of the "tough love" approach. She also had an alcohol and drug problem. Years ago, she had told me that she was going to A.A. When I said "You know what to do, if you need help, maybe you should start by getting sober... and going back to A.A."
Then... she told me... that she had never been to A.A.
The bottomline to this now long message? That was the last time I ever got to talk to her alive. We still don't know for a fact if it was a suicide overdose, or an overdose and beating at the hands of someone else.
I guess what I'm trying to say (and not doing a very good job at it)... is that almost daily I end up thinking about it. Thinking about her. Wondering... what would have happened, if I had been more sensitive to her, more kind, and considerate, and caring, and showed her more soft-love and understanding?
I'll never know the answer to that question.
But, I do know that it changed me big time inside. I've always been an overly sensitive kind of guy... but, when I see another man or a woman suffering... especially from alcoholism... I try to keep it at the forefront of my mind, and remember what our book says... "many do not comprehend that the alcoholic is a very sick person."
Up until that experience... I used to be one of the "tough-love A.A. kind of guys." And, our book even tells us in Chapter 7, that often... that straight forward, non-enabling way is best.
Now, I really do try to practice "God, please show me, and help me, and guide me in making the best decisions I can make to help this person. Please help me to show them the kind of undeserved love, and care, and patience and tolerance, that you have showed to me. Thy will not mine be done."
I think many of us alcoholics really know, and understand, and have experienced depths of pain that would have killed most normal non-alcoholic folks. And, sometimes... I have done some really incredibly stupid things.
I used to use my "tough-guy crap" both, before and after sobriety, as a shield, or a wall to hide behind... so that my sensitive little self that was so terrified and afraid that I would experience emotional pain... would be disguised. And, other times... my ego... my head would rule my actions.
Heck. To tell you the truth? I know very little. And, today... I really do try the prayerful approach in seeking and asking for God's guidance in how to help someone. It sometimes hurts like hell to think about those that are no longer with me... that I could have said something as simple, as ... "Do you know that I really do care about you? In what way do you think that I might be most able to help you?" And, then... to take the time to really listen to them.
Thanks for allowing me to occupy the space.