Sunday, June 26, 2011

Poker Face by Lady Gigi

I have a friend who is an alcoholic, and I'm afraid, no, I'm quite certain, I've been enabling her. Gigi and I meet in a bar almost every week, and I have lost count of the times I have given her a ride home, held her hair while she puked in the bathroom, and assured her the day after that I didn't hate her. One time I spent the night at her house watching over her because she fell in the parking lot and cut open her head. She refused to go to the hospital, and would have been livid had anyone called for medical assistance. I was afraid she had a concussion and would pass out and drown in her own vomit.

The very simple answer is stop meeting her in the bar for Christ's sake! And it may come to that, but I'll explain why I haven't made that decision yet.

For a few years I've been meeting the same group of friends at the same bar once a week to play poker. It's not about the game, it's about getting together. It's also my place to be a real person as opposed to a mom, but we have grown to love the game too, and our weekly meetings wouldn't be the same without it. Besides, new people come and go and we enjoy being regulars at this particular bar. We are practically royalty there, and that's kinda awesome.

An even smaller group of us, the circle,  meet a couple of hours before the game starts to have dinner and talk. It's our girl time, and it's become sacred. We have seen each other through divorces, new marriages, countless breakups and several sex scandals, as well as surgeries, cancer scares, and one very scary dental appointment. (I hate going to the dentist!)

Gigi hasn't always been a part of our group. She's single, practically an orphan, and literally has no one in her life that she can rely on, so I thought I was doing something good for her by drawing her into my close group of friends. I didn't realize she had a problem with alcohol at the time. I thought I was introducing her to wonderful people who could become a family to her, and they have.

In fact, just last night Gigi was thanking me, for the thousandth time, as she tends to do when she drinks too much, for bringing her into our circle. Then she put her head down on the table and went to sleep, as she sometimes does.

It was agreed by all, except Gigi, that I would take her home. It's always me. I'm the one who knew her first, so apparently that makes me responsible for her for life. No. Actually, the thing that makes me responsible is that I care, and I won't let her kill herself or someone else.

So, we woke her up, and helped her out to my car. She tried to talk me into letting her drive. I refused. When we were halfway to her house she was still begging me to turn around and return her to her vehicle. When I dropped her off she was pissed off at me and wouldn't even hug me goodbye. I hugged her anyway and waited until she got herself inside. It took her five minutes to find the key and open the door.

This morning she apologized profusely and thanked me for getting her home. She also vowed that she would never set foot in the bar again and told me she poured the box of wine in her fridge down the drain.

I know she'll be back at the bar, if not next week, the week after that. She'll do better for a few weeks and then she'll have another bad night.  Lather, rinse, repeat. 

So it seems I have two choices: either give up my cherished weekly poker game and girl time or continue to enable Gigi. Who knows? Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe she really will get her act together like she promised.

I know. Denial is part of the disease.


  1. Your poker night sounds fabulous.I think most of us could use a regular night out to decompress and remember who we we before becoming a wife and mother.

    Keep going kiddo. I wish I could.

  2. Yeah, that's what I'm thinking. But what to do with Gigi? The answer isn't for me to stop going. Maybe the answer is that I need to realize this is Gigi's to fix, not mine.

  3. That is a really really hard thing. And I know you don't know me, BUT. Here is some nice random advice from a stranger:

    You could tell Gigi that you don't want to be around her when she's drinking. Which means she might not like you for a while, or ever, and might make the meetings awkward if/when she shows up. But the fact is she's using you, and you have to say something if you want it to stop.

  4. Yeah, you might be right. Confrontation is not one of my favorite things. :-P