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too much responsibility
April 22, 2004
10:46 am
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nancee
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I have a situation I'm trying to deal with at work. I have a co-worker who I care a lot about as a friend. When I first met her, she was going to nursing school and I thought of her as intelligent and responsible. After a few months, she dropped out of school saying it was too much pressure.

She then started losing weight, that was the first thing I noticed. She always said she was nauseated and was taking medicine for that. Then it became apparent on some days that she was totally messed up...slurred speech, couldn't walk down the hall without running into the wall. I tried to talk to her about it and she admitted she was taking a variety of prescription narcotics at more than the prescribed dosage. She always had an excuse...'I got in a fight with my sister, my son got in trouble at school', etc. She had more than one little fender bender but wouldn't admit it had anything to do with her being overmedicated.

It got to where another girl and I were constantly watching her to see if she was taking more medicine. I knew this was not my responsibility but didn't want her to lose her job. I tried to tell her that we all have problems and that talking to someone is better than getting drugged up. I don't think anything I said ever sunk in with her. I eventually got a promotion and was moved down the hall from her so I didn't have as much interaction with her. I didn't feel like I had to keep an eye on her all the time and the relief was unbelievable. It's a pretty small office though, and everyone was just watching her life go down the drain.

She recently went to rehab down in Houston for a month. She told me that one reason was that she was spending so much money on medication that she couldn't afford it anymore and needed to get off the stuff. I was so proud of her. We all missed her while she was gone.

She returned to work last Thursday, bright eyed and looking rested and better than I could have imagined. The next day, Friday, she was messed up again. She tried to blame it on withdrawals and side effects of her new medication, but I know that look in her eyes. When she's messed up and she talks to you, she looks down and won't meet your eyes.
I decided it was none of my business and let it go. She has seemed sort of okay this week, just acts drowsy.

This morning she told me she was upset because she had gotten into an argument last night with her mother because her mother had thrown all her narcotic rx's away. I told her that shouldn't matter because she is off the narcotics now anyway. She said she was having a problem and she 'needed' the meds and that they were hers, she paid for them. I asked her if they didn't help her learn how to deal with this when she was at rehab. She told me she is supposed to be going to NA meetings every day but hasn't been yet because she doesn't know where to go. I got on the internet and printed out all the meeting schedules for this area. She says she will try to go to a meeting.

I guess what I'm wondering is why do I feel so responsible for this girl? It breaks my heart watching her throw her life away. It's just like watching a car that's speeding out of control and you know it's going to crash and you're constantly on guard wondering when it's gonna happen. Wondering when they're gonna call us into the conference room to tell us she didn't make it. I feel sometimes bad when I try to tune her out but hell, I have problems too. I've been doing really well with the not drinking thing but after dealing with her all morning, a drink is what I want....but then I'm just being like I want her not to be.

Does any of this make sense? How can I draw the line between being her friend and worrying so much that it affects my life? I don't know what to do anymore.

April 22, 2004
11:28 am
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CAMER
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NANCEE: you did all you could for help with this girl..it is up to her now to get control of her own life.
She is just like any person in the world who has choices, she is choosing what she wants to do, maybe she needs more time in rehab. You
can let her know that you are concerned but in the long run it will be up to her to "sober" up on her own.

April 22, 2004
11:36 am
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dmuller82
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I comend you for taking the time out to help one of your friends...most are just too busy or just don't care enough but I do have one question.....do you maybe think you clung on to helping her out so intesly because maybe you are feeling some sort of rejection from some other point in your life and maybe if you put your heart and soul into someone else someone willin turn release your pain....the only reasonI am asking is because I have a tendency to do the same thing. I love to help people so much that some times I forget about myself and my own needs...it's not healthy...I may be reading way to deeply into this but just think about it....I hop it helps and good luck-D

April 22, 2004
11:41 am
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Zinnie
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Hi Nancee,

I wish I had the magic words to tell you to help you let go, but I don't.

My first husband as you know was a professional musician. Sadly, over the years we watched many of his co-workers and friends waste their talents and their lives on booze and drugs. Some of them, you are right, it was like watching a speeding freight train getting ready to crash. One of his cousins that he grew up with, was also a musician - they were very close, there were four of them and of the four he was the one that really stuggled. He struggled with heroin addiction over the years. Being in the music industry was really tough, because people will provide what the talent wants no questions asked. He died a few years ago, far too early in his life, he was in his early 50's. We tried to help him many times, as did many other people; but the addiction had such a strong hold on him.

You have done all you can do for this girl, actually more than a lot of employers would do. You might offer to go with her to a meeting or two, but ultimately, it has to be her that is willing to do the work.

Z.

April 22, 2004
6:37 pm
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zack
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nancee good job trying to help this person out you should feel good but be a realist to . i know this sounds cold- i work with this all day every day- i know not a thing- but one small phrase. no man can save another. sad but true. her chances of full recovery are non existent until she gets vested in her self. it is a long road back that takes time and effort and strength most people do not have - that is why they use to begin with. and unfortunately it is all to easy to just keep using. i hope this does not sound like a lecture or cold but being blunt is best a t times. do not lose yourself in this issue and i admire that you care so much- hats off to you. sincerely zack

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