*This is a work of nonfiction based on actual events as told to me by a friend who experienced them firsthand; used with permission.*
I am fortunate enough to have never struggled with addiction, but I know many people who have, and it’s a terrible thing.
There are many people who believe that addiction is a moral failing, a character flaw. Some people think that addicts choose to drink and take drugs regularly because they don’t have the self-control to stop and that is the extent of their problem.
Alcoholism, otherwise known as Alcohol Use Disorder, is a recognized medical condition and addiction than can be treated but not cured. When more people in this country and in its medical field treat alcoholism as such, perhaps people can be better helped, but for now, there are programs like Alcoholics Anonymous.
My friend Patty struggled with drug addiction and alcoholism for much of her youth and swears to me that she wouldn’t be alive today if it weren’t for the people who supported her in her Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meetings. She went to the same AA meeting in her city twice a week for twenty years and had gotten to the point where she herself became a sponsor for many women in the program. It was frowned upon to sponsor a person of the opposite gender, but she still became good friends with many men there over the years.
There was a time when Patty’s marriage to her husband Ron was on the rocks, as it often was. This was after their son Matt had moved out of the house and went to college, leaving Patty to fend off Ron herself. Patty knew that Ron often cheated on her, and often used the time when Patty was at an AA meeting to do it. This is why Patty didn’t feel bad at all when her friend from AA, Mitchell, needed some help.
One night Patty went to an AA meeting that Mitchell always attended and he was missing from the group. Knowing that Mitchell had just had a bad fight with his long-time girlfriend and fearing the worst, Patty went bar to bar in the city until she found Mitchell completely intoxicated and sitting on the sidewalk.
“Mitchell, what are you doing?” Patty asked him.
“I can’t drive, I can’t go home like this. Please help me,” he begged Patty, and of course, being the woman she was, she helped him.
Patty brought Mitchell home in the middle of the night and set him up on her living room couch with a pillow and blanket to sleep off his liquor. The next morning, Ron woke before Patty and was livid to find a strange man sleeping on his couch, and he screamed for Patty to call 911 the minute he saw Mitchell there. Patty scrambled into the living room and explained to Ron what had happened the night before while Mitchell held up his hands in defense of a very angry Ron.
With his rage focused on Patty, Mitchell was eventually able to slip out of the house without Ron accosting him, but Patty got the worst of it. She was berated for bringing another man into the house, even when it was for a completely good and innocent reason, and her criticism was coming from a husband with a history of cheating.
Ron forbade Patty from ever bringing home someone from AA again, but she wouldn’t agree to make that promise, because it was her house too, she argued, and she’d help her friends if she felt like it.
What would you have done if you were Patty? Or how would you have reacted if you were in Ron’s position?
Hi, I hope you enjoyed this story! I am a freelance writing single mom trying to create a better life for me and my daughter through words. If you enjoyed this, please consider leaving a small donation: https://ko-fi.com/maryduncan
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