My younger son, the king forever of good decision making, brought home a drunken friend last night, with the predictable results.
My favorite part was when she raised her head from the toilet and said, "Wow. I did not expect on this." I didn't say more than aiming instructions, but I had other things crowding behind my teeth.
Why wouldn't she expect this? She did the same thing just about every Friday night for years, starting when she was 15 as far as I know of, and probably well before I knew. At least she's old enough now she's not breaking the law on top of everything else. It's not like she didn't know the consequences of that much Jack, especially on a body that had been dry for over 6-months.
She'd already told me why she wasn't thinking, so I didn't need to ask that. Why did she think that this was the proper response did come out, but her answer was mostly lost in retching and sobbing.
Why do I do it? I get asked that. I don't know. What do you suggest I do? Throw her her out? I've known this kid since she was in the girls' 3rd grade class. She's been wandering in and out of my house since then. I've told her she was making bad choices, and even helped her get into rehab before. I can't do it for her; she has to want to do it and keep it going by herself.
Mostly, I do it because over the years with all of them I've realized something. When you're presented with a situation like this, you have three choices -- to help, do nothing, or make things worse. I could have shouted at her, thrown her out when they presented myself at my front door at that ridiculous hour of the morning. I could have just pretended I didn't hear them "sneaking in" and carefully not heard or seen anything was amiss until she was gone. Or let her sleep on my couch, clean her up, and try to make sure she goes off into a better situation then the one she came here from.
The trick is figuring out what is actually helping, or what is making things worse. There have been times when throwing them out was the helping choice. And while I'm not constitutionally suited to the do nothing choice, I have done it before so I could choose a better time for a word about what they're doing.
She's on her way home, wrapped up in an old work-shirt of my son's that has seen better days and I actually hope she doesn't bring back. She's had a cup of tea that stayed put, washed off the blurred and streaked makeup, and combed her hair. Her AA partner picked her up, and I imagine that's going to be a pointed conversation. Hopefully they can help her realize that failing once doesn't mean you give up, and help her get back on track. Just on general principles, I'm not going back into that bathroom until my younger son has scrubbed it until it shines like the top of the Chrysler Building.
Now that I'm writing this, I realize maybe she meant the part about me helping her clean up the mess she made of my bathroom. I guess that's different. I'm not screaming foul language at her loud enough to melt the walls like her mom used to when they lived upstairs from us. Her mother is a self-righteous hypocrite who has modeled this behavior herself all the girl's life, from the drinking through the night and it's accompanying stupid decisions right on through to the next day's penitent crawl a hundred times. But instead of helping or getting help herself, she would pray and shout and wail her way from binge to binge, and then punish her daughter for doing the same even when she was the one who gave her the alcohol. I haven't seen her in years. I haven't heard anything awful has happened to her, but I don't know how she's doing.
I don't know. If someone has another suggestion as to what to do in this situation I'd be interested in hearing it.