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Tough one...could use some help with this...


friscodj
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Hard times (that's an understatement) have befallen one of my very best friends. This guy is the older brother I never had.

 

Last year, in the space of 8 weeks, he and his wife got divorced, he lost his job, and Katrina (literally) blew away half of his house. The stories he told me about being close to starvation and dealing with looters was amazing. Some of his family wasn't really there for him through this either.

 

Needless to say, he was devastated on levels I can't even imagine. He tried very hard to save his marriage and didn't want to get divorced. He really sacrificed his career for his wife too. He's nowhere near back on track...

 

He has since started drinking more and whoring himself to ladies. The stories have been tough to listen to. He's been working a lot making ends meet. To top things off, his dad's (his closest friend and family member) health has been deteriorating. His dad's diet sucks, is overweight, smokes 3 packs a day, doesn't exercise, has had several heart operations, and is stubborn about this lifestyle. This situation is bringing him down further.

 

He lives 2,000 miles away and we talk on the phone pretty regularly. I mostly listen to him and offer bits and pieces of advice when I can but I feel I should do more. This situation is so epic and getting moreso with his father's deteriorating health that I just am at a loss here.

 

Any suggestions how I can be there for him and help him get back on track with his life? What do you say or do for someone in a situation like this?

 

Thanks...

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Well I think to be honest you are pretty much doing the right thing already since there isnt an awful lot else you can do. I wouldn't underestimate the value of being a listerner - most people are pro-active and feel like listerning isnt 'doing anything' at all but that isn't the case, sometimes its the only thing required.

 

It sounds like your friend isn't going off the rails too badly although you seem to be concerned he is. Keep an eye on it and try as you can to keep him on the 'straight and narrow' so he doesnt end up createing more problems. Its gonna take time for him to get back on track but if he has a job thats a positive step too.

 

This is probably a useless answer but I think the only thing you can really do is carry on as you have been - listerning, supporting and encouraging.

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I say keep doing what you're doing. Sometimes the best thing to do is to listen and be there for the person. No matter what understand that he's going through a great ordeal and you be the person that is one of the reasons he's still able to go on. Offer him help in anyway possible no matter how minscule. Convey to him that he can turn to you if he needs anything at all. I have a similar situation although not so extreme. One of my close firends moved half way around the country to start a new job and rented an apartment and was really excited. I found out yesterday that after a month he could not handle his job and had to quit on the spot. I really worried for him and offered any help I can give him. So just being there might the only and best thing you can do for now but see if you can be of more help.

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If this guy is truly one of your best friends, I suggest that you either get on a plane to visit him A.S.A.P., or buy him a plane ticket to come visit you so that you can tangibly remind him that he is not alone in his suffering and that you truly care about, and love him as a friend. You should also bring to his attention the fact that in regards to his recent and current misfortunes, the past is past and that his drinking will do nothing more than temporarily make him forget and numb his pain for the high price of potentially destroying his future. Long story short, as a friend you should confront him about his drinking problem. He may or may not respond well to this, but if you don't tell him, who will. Most importantly you should express that you still have faith in him, and that you always will, no matter what. You should reassure him that despite the weight of his recent tragedies, he can and will (with support from people like you) rise above it and become a stronger and better person because of it.

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Keep in touch with him and show him you really care about his well being. I think there is nothing more you can do but being the best friend that you can, and be the support when he needs it. If possible, you can visit him. Let him have a day off from his worries and problems. The most important thing is whatever you say, be worried but not judgemental. I know you are a good friend to people, so that will be no problem. But from my experience, if I went through very hard time, I think the WORST that happened in friendships was that although well intended, some of my friends would comment on smoking habits, how thin I looked, etc. Those seriously were the LAST of my concerns at that time, and I felt as if they said 'sure you're having a bad time, but you're coping strategy sucks'.

 

If he's having sex with a lot of women, just listen to his stories, and tell him that you know he's smart enough to use protection. I think this will pass too, it's part of his way of dealing with the crap (not the best way, but I don't think he will make a permanent habit out of it).

 

Ilse

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I think you are doing all you can by just being there for him. Have you pointed out his self-destructive behaviors to him? If a lot of drinking and sleeping around is out of character for him, let him know that.

 

My husband and I are friends with someone that sounds a lot like your friend. The same kinds of things were going on: divorce, family troubles, etc. Once these types get alcohol involved it's like a complete downward spiral. The next step for your friend could be major debt because if he's anything like our friend, he'll waste all his money in bars and clubs. That will just add to his misery.

 

I truly think that if there's one thing to really focus on- it would be his increased use of alcohol. This is what he needs to be made aware of, and you can encourage him as a friend to kick this habit. Hopefully, he'll at least consider what you say.

 

In this case of our friend, alcohol caused him to

 

*waste all his money on drinks

* have his license suspended

*get into a car accident without having insurance because he could not afford insurance- and now he's being sued on top of that....

*fail to pay his taxes and now its only a matter of time before the IRS gets to him

 

Your friends behavior will only cause him to self-destruct and go broke.

 

It seems like you're being a good friend to him. Just remember , you can try your best, but you ultimately can't help someone who does not want to help themselves. The most you can do is point these things out to your friend in a caring way, and hope he'll have the capacity to make a change in his own life.

 

BellaDonna

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Why don't you invite him for a male bonding session weekend out in your place? Just saying you'd love to hook up and go camping or fishing together or go to a game together or whatever you guys used to do in the old days? Maybe he needs a break.. When you break your routine and sit back, you gain perspective - also as he's working so hard, he probably needs a little R & R. That would be a good time to have a really good chat with each other and for you to express your advice. Maybe thats all he needs. His messing around with a lot of women is just his way of dealing with the pain of losing his wife.

 

You already are a good friend as everyone said by listening and being there for him. God knows, I probably drove my friend Orna mad, when I'd call her 10 times a day looking for advice. I know I didn't always take it, but it was nice to know someone cared.

 

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Hey frisco,

 

This is a tough one. I liked the idea of you going to see him for a weekend if you can and sort of having an 'intervention' with him....talk with him about what's happened and tell him how concerned you are about this downward spiral he's been on. Offer your support, help suggest ways he could manage his feelings that don't involve getting drunk and putting himself at risk with women he doesn't even know all that well. It's obvious he's hurting, and it sounds as though he's using alcohol and other women to try and fill the void. Ask him if he thinks that is really working, and what he could do differently. Maybe he just needs a good friend to say to him, "Hey, wake up! What are you doing?"

 

After that, if he continues to choose to be self destructive, I don't know what else you can do but be there for him and hope that eventually he gets himself out of it. It's hard because you can talk to him, but unless he recognizes it himself, he won't be ready to face what's happened to try to make some changes.

 

Best of luck with this Frisco, is visiting him for a weekend something you can afford to do? I think you going to him is better, so you can see how he's living, what his place looks like, the fridge, etc. Really get a chance to assess the situation. Plus it shows how much you care for him that you went all the way accross the US to see him and to talk about this.

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Hey Frisco,

 

You are an amazing person and friend to this man,

 

And I agree with the others about going to visiting him,

 

link removed has really cheap flights anywhere in the US, you can fly cross country for under $300,

 

He needs some bonding time right now, to know someone is there that really cares,

 

Beyond talking to a mouthpiece on the phone,

 

Wow, he lost his wife, part of his home, his father is ill, I can only imagine how tough times are for him,

 

When I went through my break-up and my dad fell very ill this year,

 

I had friends travel out of state to be by my side,

 

And you know what it, it made a world of difference how much they cared,

 

I think that he would really really appreciate it,

 

How about taking him on a trip somewhere, like to Alaska or something,

 

I am not exactly sure what your budget is, but any gesture would be greatly appreciated by him,

 

Thank you for being such a good-hearted man frisco,

 

You helped me immensely on here, and you continue to help others,

 

Hugs,

 

Rose

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Frisco,

 

The best thing you can do as a friend is listen, especially considering the distance. Perhaps paying him a visit and having a listening session with him would be even more powerful though. As far as influencing his behavior - it's a difficult thing to do in this case, especially since he seems to be acting out as a result of the recent events in his life.

 

Overall though, listening to him is the best advice I can give you. One of best qualities about a good friend of mine is that he listens without offering any advice. Good luck.

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Frisco, I don't know your financial situation, but I'm leaning towards the posters' advice that suggests either you go out there, or invite him here. It sounds like a friend-to-friend intervention is needed here. I know you have a way with words that won't make him feel defensive when you talk to him. More like, hey man...you've been through hell...but you don't have to stay there. Tighten up!

 

I think a face-to-face would definitely help here.

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You can't help someone that doesn't want to be helped. From past experiences in helping my friends...you have to let them do what they feel they need to do and hope one day they snap out of it and see the light. You can be there all you want but if he doesn't want the help then it doesn't matter what you do.

 

DBL

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But there's no way of knowing yet if he doesn't want the help. We've all - well, many of us - have spiraled down at points in our lives. I know that at times when I have, it's been kind, but straightforward conversation from concerned friends and families that really helped me. For one, they gave me encouragement and hope that I could pull myself out of my funk, and second, it really meant something that someone cared. At the end of the day, when we're depressed and life feels hopeless, that feeling of utter aloneness can really get turned around by the presense of another, concerned person.

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Your probably right Scout. I am probably the last person who should be giving out friendship adivce. The friends I have are a lot like me. Which is not having much sensitivity. We do for each other what needs to be done and say to each other what needs to be said. I guess we have to assume he knows his friendship better then we do and will have to make his own decision in what he thinks is best to help his friend.

 

DBL

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Your probably right Scout. I am probably the last person who should be giving out friendship adivce.

 

DBL, I've got some scary news for you: if you weren't a caring person, you wouldn't be on eNotalone.

 

Like you said in your post (I didn't quote that part) you and your friends do for each other what needs to be done. Sounds to me like good friends to have!

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There is a difference between caring and being sensitive. If I can help someone then I will, but if they end up killing themselves, I won't lose sleep over it.

 

My friendships are different then what you probably are thinking. When my friends "common law" wife and mother of his 7 year old son died. I talked to him for a couple of hours the night after. That was about it. None of us even went to her funeral. When my divorce was finalized we never discussed it. We talk about football, work, and the girls we date.

 

Years ago friendship meant more to me and there wasn't much I wouldn't do for a friend, but there is too much hype on friendship. The friends I have now, if you put yourself in a hole, you get yourself out of the hole. It is kind of like when you have nobody to take care of you when your sick, you just don't get sick because there is nobody that is going to do anything for you, you have to do for yourself. I guess a common term that you may be familiar with is that we are not "enablers".

 

DBL

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Thanks for the input folks, it is much well received and appreciated...

 

It's dire straits down there for sure. I was looking back through some of the pictures of his wedding a few years ago. Everyone looks so happy, his wife radiantly beautiful, friends, family, excitement, hope for the future...good times...good times... If I thought any couple would be together forever it was them...

 

Then yesterday he sends me a picture of himself with each arm draped over a woman with teeth missing looking like 100 miles of rough logging road in the middle of winter. It's a sad state of affairs folks...a sad state of affairs... I'd attach the picture here but I don't want to ruin your Friday...

 

I like the idea of paying him a visit...I really like that idea. And who knows, maybe I'll get lucky and break me off a little piece of that sumpn sumpn for myself...

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I like the idea of paying him a visit...I really like that idea. And who knows, maybe I'll get lucky and break me off a little piece of that sumpn sumpn for myself...

 

Knowing this guy is missing his teeth, I'm thinking these girls can't be all that. If they are...probably strippers or crackheads.

 

So basically you are going to indulge with him? Or you trying to help him? Kind of confused on how the thread took a twist on helping him, now it's more like "wonder what I can get out of it".

 

Everyone said my marriage would work. They felt the vibes. Must of been the music.

 

DBL

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Knowing this guy is missing his teeth, I'm thinking these girls can't be all that. If they are...probably strippers or crackheads.

 

So basically you are going to indulge with him? Or you trying to help him? Kind of confused on how the thread took a twist on helping him, now it's more like "wonder what I can get out of it".

 

Everyone said my marriage would work. They felt the vibes. Must of been the music.

 

DBL

 

No, no, no, the women were the ones with the missing teeth...and I was entirely just kidding about joining him down this path...

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instead of you going there, wouldnt it be nice if you send him the ticket details and he comes over to your place and may be you can help him find a job... he works for a month or two and get a fresh lease of life......

if you go there, you have to take the logistics into account...where would you stay and what could you do in the new territory....if he comes over, he comes to your territory and you can, may be, pull strings and help him more.....

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Your friend is lucky to have you as a friend, Frisco. I know it's hard to see someone we care about going down a really, really wrong path. When you think of all that's happened to this poor guy in a relatively short space of time, one almost wonders if he's suffering some kind of post-traumatic stress. He's really been put through the ringer. Well, I'm sending positive thoughts your - and his - way!

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instead of you going there, wouldnt it be nice if you send him the ticket details and he comes over to your place and may be you can help him find a job... he works for a month or two and get a fresh lease of life......

if you go there, you have to take the logistics into account...where would you stay and what could you do in the new territory....if he comes over, he comes to your territory and you can, may be, pull strings and help him more.....

 

Exactly! I send him offers to come out here all the time for a weekend, week, month, whatever.

 

He's in a different field than I am in. He does pharmaceutical sales. He's working 12-14 hour days for FEMA right now and a trip would be tough. We wouldn't have much time together here or there.

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Logistics? Schedules? Different fields? This is a matter of being there for someone you love, this is real, this is what matters. I say screw all the excuses and infinite buts. How much do you care about this friend, you'll know the answer to this by assessing how much you'd be willing to sacrifice for him. I've been dealing with a similar situation for almost two years now and I'm deeply sorry for both of you, cause it's definitely rough.

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