The Vine: January 11, 2012
My best friend is just that because she's fun, honest, caring, and a truly good person. I know I can count on her for…well, almost everything.
Here's the thing — BF believes she can't have a good time unless there's alcohol involved. Two DUIs on her record now. She just got her license back on a restricted basis (for the second time) and absolutely cannot ever have even one drink and get behind the wheel, ever again in this state. I've been the DD for the last few years whenever we go out.
She's my concert and sushi buddy, we go several times a month to shows or local events and maybe once a week for dinner. I'm ready for someone else to drive now. I like to enjoy a couple of beverages, but when I'm DD I don't drink at all, or just limit to one. And it's not just my wanting to drink too, it's also my having to be physically alert and ready to drive late at night, every time. Public transportation is terrible in this area, especially at night, so that's not an option. Most of the shows and events are at least an hour away.
I've talked to BF about this, telling her it's time to go sober for an evening, it's her turn to drive. She's not happy about this at all, saying it won't be fair to her if I have alcohol and she can't. She is insisting that we can stay at a hotel whenever we go out, so she can still drink. I don't want to do this, because I have an older dog and won't leave her alone and locked up in the house for that long. Also, hotels = expensive.
I'm a little old to whine, "It's not fair!" But — it's not. I'm tired of being the responsible one. I want my turn to lean the seat back in the car and snooze on the way home for once. Am I being whiny, or do you think I have a valid point?
Starting To Become Resentful And I Don't Like Me This Way
No, it's not whiny; yes, you have a valid point. Of course, the real point here is that BF is incapable of socializing without lubrication. I mean, the obvious solution, in a vacuum, is for the two of you to alternate occasions as designated driver — but outside the vacuum, you had to ferry her from pillar to post for years thanks to her DUI issues. Really, your friend should drive you both everywhere, without complaining or even giving you a chance to ask her to, and she should drink green tea on these outings and shut up about it.
But she's dependent enough on booze that that doesn't occur to her. You take your turn — and hers — without thinking much about it, because you don't need to drink, or to drink more than an Amstel, to enjoy yourself. She can't envision taking her turn as DD, because if she doesn't have the option of getting fucked up, she can't deal.
This is how it goes sometimes with alcoholics, or with people who are, for lack of a better term, situational alcoholics — there's some toxicity or anxiety or sadness in their lives that booze dulls or lets them forget — and it's heartbreaking, and frustrating, not least because the only thing you can do is drop a boundary around it. It won't change BF's behavior or make her do anything about these signs of alcoholism, but it will keep you from resenting her, and it will let you relinquish control of her actions back to her, where it belongs.
The next time she's all, "But then I can't drink, wah wah," tell her what you just told me. "BF, it's your turn. It's been your turn. I don't like driving every time, I can't afford a hotel, and if you won't drive, we won't go. Decide what you want to do; I'm changing the subject now." "But –" "No. I've done enough driving. Take your turn, or I stay home. Next topic."
She'll probably get pissed, because she's not getting her way or because she's forced to examine the cost of the behavior. The first thing she can just get over, and the second thing she should have done after the first drunk-driving charge anyway. It's up to you if you want to expand the conversation into a come-to-Jesus about her relationship with alcohol, telling her that you don't judge her, but it concerns you that she's still this unwilling to consider going sober for the evening now and then. She's your best friend, after all, and people don't do this dance with Messrs. Beam and Jameson because they love the taste. She's unhappy and she's in denial, and you may want to say, hey, I noticed that this is pretty messed up, and I'm mentioning it because I love you.
You don't have to; you don't have to do it now; you don't have to enjoy the fact that drawing this line means you may have to miss a few shows, or get into A Thing with your best friend. But if you don't want to keep driving? Stop. Refuse to give in; tell her why; stick to it.