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Providing non-judgmental and non-criticizing support for family and friends of end-stage alcoholics through one-on-one coaching, support groups, blog posts, workshops and public speaking.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Georgia and the Captain...

I have a friend who fell in love with a Captain. I imagined him to be a swashbuckler kinda guy from a romance novel. He was always with my friend accompanying her on shopping trips, wine tours, to the beach, and sometimes he even went with her to work. What a guy!!

When I first met Georgia I was a little intimidated. She’s almost 6 feet tall and when standing next to her, she loomed over my 5 foot frame. She spoke in a quiet voice which meant that I had to listen closely or I wouldn’t understand what she was saying. All of our mutual friends loved her and everyone knew that she loved this guy named Captain Morgan.

As I got to know her, I started to like her. I found her to be funny, considerate and caring. She could not, would not, allow herself to be pushed around and I admired that. She was more loyal than an old dog to its master. She would take your secrets to the grave. I found her to be a safe harbor which, for me, is the cornerstone of a solid friendship. Eventually, she became one of my best friends.

In spite of the friendship, I knew in my heart that Georgia’s relationship with the Captain was unhealthy. He was her favorite person to have over for the evening and he was there nearly every night. Sometimes I could smell remnants of the Captain’s visit as it came from the pores on her skin. I knew there was a problem and I wasn’t secure enough to talk to her about it. This was before I found my anti-alcoholism voice, before Riley came to stay with me, before my son died. I crossed my fingers and tried to mind my own business.

One day, soon after Riley had returned to my home, I was having a particularly bad episode and I was extremely distraught. There was very little privacy in my smallish cottage, so when I was upset I would pace up and down the driveway until I had regained my composure. On this day of pain, I paced and paced and then paced some more. I didn’t seem to be able to get a grasp on my calmness and the tears just did not stop.

Just as I was about to try a longer walk, Georgia called. “Hi Slick!” When I heard her voice I started reiterating Riley’s conversation and all my feeling became the ranting of a lunatic. She listened. She did not interrupt. She just let me go on and on. When I slowed down and she saw a window of opportunity, she simply asked, in that soft, calm voice of hers, “Are you better now? Is there anything I can do?” The minute I heard her say that – I knew I was better. There was nothing more she could do because she’d already done what I needed her to do. I was grateful for her patience and friendship. And now, she was no longer just my friend – she was a sister.

A few months later, Riley and I moved to North Carolina and my relationship with Georgia became one of phone calls and e-mails. I heard from her almost everyday. I could always count on her to send me things that would make me laugh and make me cry. She was a vital part of my daily routine.

I hadn’t heard from her in almost a month. I knew she had been planning a vacation so I wasn’t concerned when two weeks had gone by and I had not heard from her. But as we edged on into the third and forth week – I started to worry. I called a mutual friend and she told me Georgia was having some medical issues. She had no other information.

I called Georgia’s house and her daughter answered the phone. In my mind I was thinking that this must be serious if Georgia wasn’t even at her home – images of her lying in a hospital bed shot through my brain. But what I heard next was actually good news. Georgia had ended her relationship with the Captain and entered rehab. There was an intervention and she agreed to get help.

Just about that time, Georgia came into the house and picked up the phone. I was so very happy to talk to her. I asked how she was doing and told her how proud I was that she had taken this step. She told me she loves the support of AA and had found a “home” with the people in her groups. At this time she was not missing Captain and could now see how unfaithful he was. If she started to miss him, she had her new AA friends to help her keep him at bay.

It was interesting that when I was talking to her, she was not speaking softly. She was talking right out loud and clear. I didn’t have to strain to listen to her. She was still the same confident Georgia, but there was a little more bounce to her voice. I liked that.

My fears of the worst have been set aside. Sometimes living so far away is a disadvantage when you can’t be there for the friends you love. I’m sorry I could not have been there to support her. But she has a wonderful group of people behind her – her son and daughter, uncles and aunts, loyal friends both in and out of AA – and there’s a restraining order out on the Captain. He’s been beat down and I hope he will not show his face ever again. Ding dong the Captain's gone.

2 comments:

Syd said...

Good for Georgia. I am glad that she is in recovery. One day at a time because the Captain is still lurking. I hope that he takes a long voyage and gets lost at sea.

UK said...

Thanks for posting this article. I'm unquestionably frustrated with struggling to search out germane and intelligent commentary on this matter. Everybody now goes to the very far extremes to either drive home their viewpoint that either: everyone else in the planet is wrong, or two that everyone but them does not really understand the situation. Many thanks for your concise, pertinent insight.