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ti-89
 
Worried bout my friend and his downward spiral/recklessness

This is my old best friend from college. I now live 2000 mile away for my job. On resume, he's smart and going places in life - Master's in engineering degree from top 5 school, research work, internship experience in his field, honor roll, a nerd at heart. Except...

He got his SECOND DUI. The first one was two summers ago after undergrad. He only drinks on weekends, but he's the most reckless, stupid, drunk ever. What kind of shit does he pull?

- Drive drunk and not remember it (one time he thought it'd be funny to drive 60 mph thru a stop sign at 3 AM post-bar on the main campus street).
- Say something stupid to a guy at a bar, come back home with a black eye.
- Grab a girl's ass and nearly get beat by the BF.
- Run off drunk by himself, get lost, and not remember the night.
- Taunting, joking at, cussing at, store owners, bouncers, bartenders, people on the street. He's only 5'8", and a walking target for angry belligerent drunks.
- Five finger discounted from stores while really drunk
- Doing Skoal dip in public, and spitting it in public - as in the floor of a retsaurant, bar, hotel, not discreetly in a solid cup (fucking embarrassing to be around)
- Spent 6+ hours at a high-end strip club on a student's income, wipe his bank account clean, go to a brothel, only to realize he's broke.
- OBSESSED with this girl senior year, started dating her post-graduation while in grad school, ends up treating her like shit, and they break up 6 months later. She still lives in same campus city as him. Not good, as much as he claims he's over her.

I visit him couple months ago, and it was my bright idea to do shrooms(his first time). We each do an 1/8th. My buddy tries to kill himself. He claims he thought he was in hell, but he said some depressing, life-related shit that freaked me out - and I was nowhere near hallucinating that bad. He lives like a loner in grad school - all old friends have moved away, jobs in other cities or states, etc.. doesn't have real friends, roommate he doesn't talk much to. I figured he was just depressed about that, his first DUI, breakup with ex-GF, whatnot.

What made me post this thread? I invite him along to Vegas with a bunch of my friends and other people. What'd he do?:

- Tells me he about second DUI, while tipsy and beer in hand.

- Pre-gaming in one of my friend's suites. Friend is awkward and quiet(understandable, he didn't really know anyone). A few of us leave when some kids start doing blow - didn't want to be around that. My friend runs back to the room TWO times, bangs on the door, because he's convinced he left his Five Hour Energy in the room. wtf is he thinking? for a $2 five hour energy? Don't do this at anytime to people you don't know, it's just embarassing to me to explain my idiotic friend. Especially when they're doing lines of coke inside

- Kicked out of a club for throwing his empty beer bottle onto a table several feet away, rather than gently setting it down

- Get's his face BEAT down outside while walking the strip. I turn around, next thing I see some Mexi-thug is pummeling his face, my friend is on the ground bloody, and the guy and his posse just start taunting and keep walking away. Bloody, swollen lip, cut up tongue, loose tooth. And what does my friend do? His drunk ass laughs it off, and claims he didn'tdo anything. He is convinced it was a "gang initiation". wtf? In public right in the middle of the Vegas strip, a random beating like this? Given his track record, I'm sure he gave them a weird look or muttered something.

- Doesn't care about being locked up for 3 weeks in jail, and that he's thinking of driving while suspended but safely and only when needed. He's also a terrible driver even sober. 2 DUIS, still going out and drinking, and thinking of driving while suspended?


So, what am I to do? I live 2000 miles away. I love the kid to death, but he's fucking his life up for good. One more arrest, even a drunk in public or something smaller than a DUI, he's pretttty much screwed for a job. All those years of schooling for nothing? What should he do? What should I do? Any way to rebound from 2 DUIs? What kind of things can he do to show he's not an alcoholic? Programs? counseling? Weekly sobriety tests? I told him to quit drinking for next 6 months, work his ass off to get a job (he's applying right now) and show he's clean.

There is also his suicide attempt. Given how he lives like a loner with no real friends in grad school, his bad breakup with ex-GF, two DUIs and financial debt, it wouldn't shock me if he is depressed and suicidal, and the shrooms just made him nearly do it. I believe him for now that he was just tripping balls and thought he was in hell, but I have doubt in the back of my mind.

tldr:
- friend is a hot, sloppy mess when binge drinking
- He is going to end up hurt, killed, or locked up in jail one of these days
- 2 DUIs
- smart engineer with master's degree, on PHD track, but applying for jobs (good luck w/ 2 duis)
- may or may not be suicidal.
- Either stupid and naive still thinking he's invincible, or bottling up issues inside, gunna reach breaking point soon

Last edited by ti-89; 10-11-2010 at 04:57 PM..
Old 10-11-2010, 04:23 PM ti-89 is offline  
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Gibonius
 
Well he is clearly an alcoholic, so he would do better trying to treat him alcohol problems than proving they don't exist. Everything else revolves around his serious dependence on and abuse of alcohol, getting him to admit that this shit is not normal or acceptable is the first step, treatment is the second. About all you can do is confront him, lay out the facts, get him to see reality and help him find treatment. He's going to have to deal with it himself.
Old 10-11-2010, 04:34 PM Gibonius is offline  
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CommiePunk
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i'd write him off as a loss. obviously he has problems, but i will add that you giving him shrooms and bringing a drunk to vegas to party is a stupid idea. there are losers in life, he's one of them. you'll never change him.
Old 10-11-2010, 05:49 PM CommiePunk is offline  
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thegrandpenguin
 
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There's only so much you can do for a friend in this kind of situation, especially when you're 2000 miles away and not there every time he fucks up to slap his hand. He obviously has some deep-set issues that's enabling him to do these things that won't be cured by anything you can provide. The kid needs counseling or some kind of extreme intervention.
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Old 10-11-2010, 07:21 PM thegrandpenguin is offline  
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Big C
 
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if he is in grad school, every university has psychiatrists and therapists as well as programs for people like him, he has to take the initiative to go to one of those.

You can try only so much form so far away even if you were by him not much more you could do except get dragged down by his self destruction
Old 10-11-2010, 08:49 PM Big C is offline  
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Cannondale
 
He's not an alcoholic. He just binge drinks at weekends and he needs to learn to control himself or stop. Getting him to see/admit he behaves like an idiot when drunk will be the hard part. Getiing him to do something about it may be even harder.
Old 10-12-2010, 08:09 AM Cannondale is offline  
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Gibonius
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cannondale View Post
He's not an alcoholic. He just binge drinks at weekends and he needs to learn to control himself or stop. Getting him to see/admit he behaves like an idiot when drunk will be the hard part. Getiing him to do something about it may be even harder.


Relevant questions from an alcoholism screening test, and this is just from stuff the OP noted:
Quote:
2. Have you ever awakened the morning after some drinking the night before and found that you could not remember a part of the evening?
YES or NO

3. Does any near relative or close friend ever worry or complain about your drinking?
YES or NO

4. Can you stop drinking without difficulty after one or two drinks?
YES or NO

7. Have you ever gotten into physical fights when drinking?
YES or NO

8. Has drinking ever created problems between you and a near relative or close friend?
YES or NO

9. Has any family member or close friend gone to anyone for help about your drinking?
YES or NO

10. Have you ever lost friends because of your drinking?
YES or NO
He's coming close on this one with the OP.

21. Have you been arrested more than once for driving under the influence of alcohol?
YES or NO.
Anything over 6 qualifies you as a likely alcoholic. That's seven right there, just that we know of from this thread.

It doesn't matter, really. He has severe problems with drinking, that are affecting his daily life. That's bad whether you label him an alcoholic or not. Dancing around the terminology isn't really all that productive. If we can boil things down to "Problems with alcohol that need to be dealt with", then that's the important part.
Old 10-12-2010, 09:07 AM Gibonius is offline  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cannondale View Post
He's not an alcoholic. He just binge drinks at weekends and he needs to learn to control himself or stop. Getting him to see/admit he behaves like an idiot when drunk will be the hard part. Getiing him to do something about it may be even harder.

He is continuing drinking despite serious consequences. That is the basest definition of addiction. He's an alcoholic.

As far as what you can do is tell him that you think what he's doing is stupid, that it's going to land him some jailtime for a third DUI (if he's lucky and doesn't kill someone or himself by then), and that if he doesn't stop, you can't be friends anymore. And then stick to it.
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Old 10-12-2010, 09:31 AM RiderOnTheStorm is offline  
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isugoat
 
encouragement from you is admirable (though you shouldn't be partying with the guy). he has to want to change. unfortunately, many people have to hit the bottom before they want that.
Old 10-12-2010, 11:30 AM isugoat is offline  
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RiderOnTheStorm
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Originally Posted by isugoat View Post
encouragement from you is admirable (though you shouldn't be partying with the guy). he has to want to change. unfortunately, many people have to hit the bottom before they want that.

This too. Which is why I said earlier that you have to stick by leaving him as a friend. It sucks and it sounds callous, but most of the time the only thing addicts understand is consequences and loss.

Also I wanted to say that, given the suicide attempt and other factors, this may be a manic attempt at regulating his own feelings and might not have the addiction in it. But if THAT'S true, he needs some serious therapy.

As for you, all you can do is tell him what you told us, that you're worried about him and he needs to stop. And if he doesn't take steps toward getting help, either through an addiction program or a therapist, then you walk.
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Old 10-12-2010, 11:39 AM RiderOnTheStorm is offline  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cannondale View Post
He's not an alcoholic.

Yes he is, binge drinking is actually consided alcoholism by definition.
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Old 10-12-2010, 11:57 AM theNoid is offline  
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ti-89
 
I told him this last time I hung out with him, (in Vegas). Recommended to get counseling, check into an AA program, and to seriously give up drinking for at least a few months, until he learns to be a fun and responsible "drunk", not a reckless animal. He brushed off the matter, told me he has it under control. I DID have an 8 hour drive back home with him, so didn't want to make things awkward, so I didn't push it much after that...

This kid was my best friend in college. I just don't want to see him fuck up any job prospects, end up a depressed unemployable scumbag. He claims his court date isn't until November, and some shit about how his first DUI two years ago got pled down to a "driving while impaired", so he's trying to get his lawyer to make this appear as his first DUI, and that's why he's applying and interviewing for jobs now, before his second DUI court date... I'm like WTF, are you that naive and stupid? For his career(he's aerospace engineer, so it's pretty much all defense or high-security stuff) he has to get a full background check, by the government. They'll know about everything, from your arrest records, to police reports, plea agreements. And he doesn't think they'll eventually find out about his 2nd conviction?

I really don't party with him anymore, since graduation it's only been 5-6 times in the past 2 years. But after this last straw, I don't think I plan on ever doing this either. But what about chatting with him online? hanging out with him sober if I go back to visit college friends? Cut off ALL contact? Should I tell our other friends and try to get them involved? At least they live scattered around his state and see/drink with him at least every couple of weeks or so.

honestly, I just don't trust him to not get another DUI, get beat up again, get some other mark on his record, and that's what freaks me out. He doesn't understand the gravity of two DUIs (ok, one DWI, and one DUI) on your record, and his behavior. Would I be a dick to tell his friends there? Get his parents involved? He hasn't told them - they only know of his first DUI...

Last edited by ti-89; 10-12-2010 at 01:12 PM..
Old 10-12-2010, 01:01 PM ti-89 is offline  
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hider
 
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if he is as great as he is and he was really your best friend, you should help him. think of how your friends would do to help you if you were in his position?

let your mutual friends (the ones in his school) and his parents know... there's not much you can do 2000 miles away.

by the way which top 5 engineering school is this? could possibly be my school? UIUC
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Old 10-12-2010, 06:51 PM hider is offline  
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RiderOnTheStorm
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Quote:
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Yes he is, binge drinking is actually consided alcoholism by definition.

No it isn't. But this guy is definitely an alcoholic.
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Old 10-12-2010, 11:55 PM RiderOnTheStorm is offline  
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RedEyes
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Originally Posted by RiderOnTheStorm View Post
No it isn't. But this guy is definitely an alcoholic.

++

The behavior of binge drinking in and of itself is not a positive marker for alcoholism. It can be, however a symptom of problematic use of alcohol. It's a fine distinction.

The clinical, the only useful, definition of alcohol is; continued use in spite of consequences. You've listed plenty of those. Not being able to quit even if he wants to is another. Another warning sign is having parents who were documented or identified alcoholics. Cases as severe as this really require professional intervention. Like in treatment in a residential setting. And his withdrawal even should be medically managed. Heavy drinking can cause biological trauma to the brain as it is, but the synapses drop out at a higher rate in an uncontrolled withdrawal.

The only thing that will convince your friend that he needs treatment is to start being honest with himself about how the consequences of his drinking are causing real losses in his life, and in fact may kill him. Until he sees this, you won't be able to reach him.

You may consider an intervention, with an intervention specialist, and I would encourage that, but I am dubious about most people's commitment to follow through on their ultimatums to a loved one with a problem. People get so enmeshed that they can't do the hard things that are ultimately healthier for the sick person.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ti-89 View Post
that's why he's applying and interviewing for jobs now, before his second DUI court date... I'm like WTF, are you that naive and stupid? For his career(he's aerospace engineer, so it's pretty much all defense or high-security stuff) he has to get a full background check, by the government. They'll know about everything, from your arrest records, to police reports, plea agreements. And he doesn't think they'll eventually find out about his 2nd conviction?

I don't want to shit in anyone's cheerios, but he's pretty hosed for anything requiring a sec clearance. I've worked in the criminal justice/law enforcement education/human resource field.... people get black listed for so much less than what he's got on his jacket. I've seen it first hand. It's a shame, it sucks, it's , and for the identified alcoholic, it is handicapped discrimination. Unfortunately our system is pretty screwed up and hypocritical.

What it boils down to for him, is that there are a million qualified applicants for each slot. Doesn't matter how qualified and exceptional he is, there's at least one other person just as qualified, who has a clean record. He is a liability. Nobody will hire him, because they know if he screws up, they will get sued by someone who will now own their organization or agency. The basis? They knew he had a history of this kind of behavior. However he screws up, they will argue, was something that could have been anticipated and avoided.

And if he's thinking federal, for example, even with a clean record, getting hired is astronomically difficult. System works like this; if you're lucky, 100 qualified applicants put in for one position. They are put in a randomized sort. Veterans are given preference points and sifted to the top. Add in any other preference options like previous experience or bonuses to the organization for hiring someone with a disability or low income, and they get sifted up next. This list is passed back to the person making the hiring decision, who takes 3 applicants from the top. Of those three he has to offer the position to at least one person. He cannot offer that position to anyone in the next three until that applicant declines the position.

And that's with a laughably unlikely microscopic hypothetical pool of 100 applicants to 1 position. More likely to be 500 to 1 position, particularly depending on his field.

Trying to get hired on now, is even more absurd than the old saying about rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic. Any concurrent mental/emotional/behavioral disorders are categorically undiagnosable and untreatable while he's active in his disease. Any depression or *anything* else is only confounding and magnifying his problems with chemicals. For that matter, any medical problems he may develop as he ages must necessarily take a back seat to this condition.

If he is to get past this and live a successful life, he needs to get active in a program of recovery before he can accomplish anything lasting, real, secure, or stable in life. It's not going to be easy.
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Last edited by RedEyes; 10-18-2010 at 11:40 AM..
Old 10-18-2010, 11:26 AM RedEyes is offline  
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