We have a close friend who is a recovering alcoholic. The term ‘recovering alcoholic’ rolls off the tongue easily but I, as well as anyone who has witnessed alcoholism firsthand, can assure you, it is anything but an easy life. Hugo and I have known our friend Andrew for about twelve years, ever since we moved cross-country and I enrolled in restaurant management school. Andrew and I were classmates and fast friends. Since Hugo and I has only been dating for about six months or so, Andrew actually bet me $100 that Hugo and I wouldn’t stay together past a year. Needless to say, Andrew lost the bet. He paid his debt by buying my husband and I a pair of titanium folding knives a few years later. Better late than never and I am so thankful that I won the bet because I do in fact have Hugo in my life ♥
Andrew, Hugo and I used to hang out on the weekend or after school, at times enjoying a few beers together. Sometimes our time together would be result in a late night party, with all of us drinking to excess and Andrew passing out. None of the behavior was very alarming to neither Hugo nor I because we were joining Andrew in this reckless behavior. The difference was, my husband and I only partied to that extent on rare occasions, whereas Andrew began down the dark path of drinking heavily after work, on weekdays, and all weekend. And that slowly morphed into drinking all day, every day. And then he began drinking straight vodka rather than water around the clock, not eating, barricading himself in his rented bedroom, and dis-communicating those closest to him.
We tried to help Andrew as much as we could during his darkest times but it ultimately came down to him being hospitalized over and over again, hitting rock bottom on his own and, quite frankly, cheating death on a few occasions. Andrew ebbed and flowed in and out of sobriety over the past ten years but I am happy to report that he will be celebrating one year of being alcohol-free next week. He has been employed by a major communications company since 2015 and they impressively stood by him during the many occasions of him failing to show up to work and subsequently going to rehab on their dime. As a large company with a negligent, yet truly sick, employee, they impressed all of us with their compassion for him as a human being with a problem.
Since Andrew is single and bored living in SoCal, he applied for a transfer to Northern California with the same company and he got it. Set to leave in a few weeks, we had him over for dinner last night to enjoy his company before his upcoming departure. I made fresh pesto and Hugo bought almond milk gelato – the meal was simple but thoughtful and delicious.
Now this leads me to the point of this lengthy intro and back story regarding Andrew. Our dear friend Andrew, despite his troubled past, has always been outwardly ungrateful and borderline rude. Raised by a wealthy family who possesses manners themselves, Andrew has always been lacking in that department. He is curt and brash, which we understand as his friends, however, recently I have been noticing his unappreciative nature and it hurts me. Case in point – I am still recovering from my recent knee surgery. Knowing my friend Andrew was coming over for dinner, I cleaned the house, made dinner and welcomed him into our home with open arms. How does he repay me? He barely says thank you or that he enjoyed the meal. He makes fun of some of the food I am serving (raw goat cheese), as if he would never eat something like that. As small as that may sound, it still bothers you when it happens.
And it got me thinking – why do we tolerate certain behavior or make excuses for people in our lives? If a stranger acted as grossly rude or unappreciative as my friend had acted, I would be completely turned off and reject them from my inner circle. Yet, since we know the person, and empathize with their personal situation, we excuse things that we normally find intolerable.