Is it ok to get angry with a friend when they are doing something that is potentially quite unhealthy for themselves? Or is it better to say nothing and just ignore their behavior? I ask this question rhetorically because I don’t ultimately know the right answer.
Who this deals with is my friend “J”, who’s someone I’ve known for over six years now. Throughout that time, I’ve watched him become sober from alcohol and drugs, only to see him relapse again and again after short periods of time, all of which usually being connected to someone he had feelings for that drew him back into the insanity of his addiction.
That being said, I had the privilege of finally seeing “J” get his longest stretch of sobriety and recovery yet, with about two years now. Our friendship has grown deeper because of it. Unfortunately, there’s still a love interest in “J”’s life though that I judge isn’t healthy for him. Why I say that is because their love interest is with someone who’s still heavily drinking and drugging, someone who’s always been against doing the 12 Steps, who’s never wanted to get a sponsor, has no desire to find a Higher Power, or even go to any type of recovery meeting.
When “J” split up with this love interest not too long ago, I was actually grateful, as I had been witnessing the same potential for relapse in his continuing engagement with this person, like it had been in his previous relapses. But then, two weeks ago, when he randomly started having casual sex with this person again and further told me that in his latest rendezvous his ex-flame had been heavily drunk and dealing with walking pneumonia, I totally lost it. I ended up getting very angry and let “J” know how bad his actions were for his sobriety and recovery. I told him that he was going to relapse again if he stayed on this path and that it would be in his best interest to cut ties with this person. In the process, “J” became pretty angry with me as well. Thankfully, we both apologized about losing our tempers before the call ended, but I was still left questioning myself, did I really have the right to express my anger to “J”?
The fact is, I see myself so clearly in “J”’s behavior. You see, I spent years of my life with people I had feelings for, that I loved, caring more about them, then about myself and my recovery. Each of those “love interests” were toxic, some being heavy drinkers, others being serious drug users, but all being users of some kind. And the more I spent time around any of them, having sex with them or engaging my life with them, I became like them, and eventually relapsed into some addiction because of it.
So, I obviously clearly identified with “J”’s behavior. And yes, I know I can’t save “J”. But did I have the right to express my truth through my anger and frustration about what he’s doing? Or am just supposed to contain my anger, remain silent, and simply love my friend, as he heads down an all-too-familiar dark path?
I honestly don’t know the answer.
So, as I continue to pray for “J” like I have been for a very long time, my only hope is that he doesn’t relapse and throw it all away all over again. And I hope as well, that God will at least provide me more guidance and a much calmer voice if I should see “J” engaging in any further unhealthy behaviors…
Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson