There's a drunk-loser in my home - at least that's what everyone besides me thinks he is, including himself. You see, his wife left him after 22 years and 4 children together; 3 of those 4 children have sided with the mother; he just lost his job; he's broke; the holidays are upon him, he has no vehicle except for a bicycle; he has diabetes plus heart disease and he can't seem to make it through a single day without whiskey.
Of course, the thing for him to do is to man up and control himself. He needs to be strong, or at least work on developing strength, and grow past his current imagined limitations. This is what I tell him when we discuss the situation that he's in. I tell him to move forward and become the man that he wishes he was. I prepare healthy meals for him. I try to encourage him to exercise his body and his mind every day so that he will be able to represent himself in a more holistic manner. But he just doesn't seem to be able to.
He tells me that he agrees with all I say. He always says at night, when he is most drunk, that tomorrow will be his day. He says that tomorrow, he will "kick ass" and be a man. He wants to succeed. I believe that. Still, he crumbles to the demons in his mind during each night and wakes to perceived misery - and, when my back is turned or so he thinks, slips some whiskey in his morning coffee. The liquid courage seems to allow him to face whatever it is that is slowly killing him, and he then moves into his day.
When his wife left, and his 18 year old son challenged him to physical confrontation, I told him to come and stay here for a while so that there would be distance between them. I thought that the time here in the Georgian countryside would help to focus his thoughts and help to center himself. That was almost four months ago. He seems to get worse each passing day. He calls and cries to all members of his ex-family every night, again thinking that I don't know it. He doesn't want me to know it because he knows that I will chastise him - like any good male friend would.
I understand the concept of enabling. I know that he needs to toughen up and face life. Somewhere in him is a good man that is strong - that does have courage and fortitude. My belief is that sometimes people need time - sometimes seemingly too much time - in order to help themselves. I am trying to give him this time. The truth is that I want him to leave. I enjoy my solitude - that's why I moved to the country in the first place. But how can I feel good knowing that I too told him to go away, at the same time that everyone else in his life did.
So I wait for him to develop - pissed because I am apparently all he has.
He has no driver's license. He got himself a DUI about 6 months ago. Now, he rides a bicycle to the nearest town to search for work during the days - or maybe he just goes to hang out at the library. I don't know, but the rule that I have set is to not be here during the work days. To allow him to just sit here every day would certainly not benefit him whatsoever. The area of northeast Georgia that I live in is not exactly bustling with economic opportunity if you know what I mean. People here still chew tobacco and make moonshine - for real.
Being a writer, I am able to stay to myself and enjoy the nature that envelops me. I have no nearby neighbors. I do not need to live in town. My friend however, does. I used to "coach" him with the lessons of the Buddha as best I could. Then, I entered into a phase where I was yelling at him because he just seems so weak. It makes me angry when people do not believe in themselves. It makes me feel that they are taking advantage of my generosity. And then I remember that it really probably has nothing to do with me. Most probably, he is just a man weakened by emotion, and although he agrees with the concept of intentional strength, he is unable to implement it within his own life.
So I wait for him to develop - pissed because I am not smart enough to help him.
I attempt to discern what there is for me to learn from it all - this situation with my friend. While I want to be helpful and ensure that he is not homeless, I also know that everyone has to make their own ways, and that he simply must make progress. Otherwise, I would have to call him mentally incapacitated. As far as I know, he just rides his bicycle up the road a ways and then lays down and cries in the woods all day. I do not know if I am helping him anymore - after four months - or not.
I desire no glory for sharing with him. For him to establish himself and move forward positively is the total of my desires for him. So, I continue to allow him the opportunity to grow as an individual. Maybe later today, he will return and say that he got a job. Maybe later today he will return and say that he has committed himself to personal growth. Maybe later today, he will man up and become determined. If so, then I can feel good to have helped. If not, then I will be forced to contemplate the situation further - and most probably continue to wait for him to develop - pissed because maybe he is just a drunk loser.
M Alan Roberts is a radical thinker. He has a gimlet eye for injustice, much as did Frederich Engels, a century and a half before. Still, Roberts finds a way to write effective SEO copy. This suggests both sides of his brain, his mind, work equally well.
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