We make choices every day. Some we are conscious of, others we are not. Some of these choices can affect others, not just ourselves, and not always in good ways.
I recently found out that Ellie had been in a car accident. From what I have heard, it wasn’t a serious car accident. And as far as I know, no one was injured because of it. I do have to wonder at what led to the accident.
Did it occur because she was high or drunk when she was driving?
The chances are pretty good that she may have been, since I believe she has been driving drunk or high quite a bit over the last seven months. What I do not believe she realizes is what kind of consequences her choice of driving while drunk or high can have.
It was such a choice that lead to the death of my twin brother almost 25 years ago. A young man decided to get behind the wheel of his car and drive, even though he was clearly drunk. His choice led to the car accident that killed my twin brother. The years of grief and sorrow—the years I lost while recovering from my twin brother’s death are something that I can never get back. My twin brother is gone forever because of one person’s choice.
I live with the loss of my identical twin at the hands of an under-aged drunk driver every day. I see the consequences of his decision to drive drunk every day. I don’t know if the man who killed my twin lives with the consequences of his actions every day, but I have to.
I am writing this post because I hope to warn Ellie of the possible consequences of her driving while drunk or high. She may injure or kill someone, because she chose to drive while she was drunk or high. This will be the result of one of the choices Ellie has made. The person she injures or kills may be herself, or it may be one of her friends, or it may be a total stranger. We won’t know until it happens. I do not know if she will be able to live with the guilt of this, should it happen.
I hope that she will take a hard, long look at what has transpired over the last seven months—since I first confronted her about her drinking on June 29th, 2011. I hope she will see that the people she has surrounded herself with since that time are not people who truly care about her or love her. I hope that she will see that they will not be there for her if she should get seriously injured or ill because of her drinking and drug use. I hope she will finally understand that they will not stand by her if anything bad should happen to her.
I hope she will realize there are people who truly do care about her—people who have a solid and long-term commitment to her and her well-being. These are also some of the people that truly love her and will stand by her no matter what. I am one of them. That is what I have promised her. In many ways, I am the only one that has loved her enough to see what she had been doing to herself the past seven months. I was the only one who paid close enough attention to see what she was doing, and the only one that cared enough to try and do something about it.
I hope she will take a look at what happened to her academically last semester. I hope she will ask herself why did she do so poorly, when she was taking only four classes, instead of the five she had each semester of the previous year. I hope she will see the drop in her grades as a warning sign—one I predicted and warned her and her mother of last August.
From what I see, her choice of courses is far more difficult this semester and I doubt that she will succeed if she is still drinking and using drugs the way she was last semester. She also has someone that will tutor her in three of the four courses she is going to be taking, if she would ask him to. I tutored many people in both macro-economics and micro-economics as well as statistics when I was in college. While it has been some time since then, I am sure I could help her.
I hope she will finally realize that her addictions—her choice to use drugs and drink alcohol—affects people other than her. Her illness has affected me—it has robbed me of the company of the woman I love. It has caused me grief, sorrow, pain, anger and frustration, because I am helpless to help the woman I love and must stand by and watch her slowly destroy everything I love about her. It has cost her my friendship, my company, my advice and guidance, and my help in many areas of her life. It has cost her family my friendship and help. It has probably cost her some of her friendships in many ways as well—at least among those that aren’t using drugs or drinking as she has been.
It seems to me that her parents have abdicated all responsibility for her as parents. Of course, this has been the case in many ways since she was 13 or 14. I know, because I was the person they often asked to speak with their two older children—because they would not. I think it is highly irresponsible of them to think that their duties, their responsibilities to their children end just because they turned 18. I have spoken with many of my friends that have children, and almost all of them are horrified of the idea that they would stop being parents to their children just because they had legally become adults—but that seems to be what Ellie’s parents have done.
Her father has a pretty good excuse. He is a coward, a bully and an alcoholic in denial. Any one of those would be a pretty good excuse to be a lousy parent, but he has all three. He is also one of the most emotionally abusive people I have ever seen. A mutual friend has argued the point about his treatment of his wife dozens of times over the quarter century they have been friends. I doubt he is much better to either of his daughters, given how he treats his wife.
Her mother’s main excuses are fear and shame. She is terrified of her husband, and understandably so. He is a bully and a coward and desperately terrified of facing his own alcoholism. She is also ashamed of having to admit her daughter is an alcoholic and a drug addict—thinking that somehow it reflects poorly upon her skills as a parent. This is not the case. Ellie grew up the child of an alcoholic and has a strong genetic predisposition to the illness. It is why both she and her brother, as well as much of her extended paternal family suffer from the same illness. Ellie’s mother is also Ellie’s only hope of help within the family. She was strong enough to ask me to help Ellie’s brother two years ago. I hope she can find the strength to ask me to help Ellie now.
Ellie has to make her own choices.
She can choose to be the drug-addicted alcoholic she has been the past seven months. The toll that her choice to be such for the past seven months is starting to show in the photos of her pretty clearly. If she continues on that path, I fear where she will end up. It may be that she doesn’t realize that she has a problem with drugs and alcohol and must hit rock bottom like most junkies and winos do before they can ask for help. But, this is her decision to make, and she is the one that has to live with the consequences.
It is likely that she will fail or do so poorly in her classes this semester that she will lose the scholarship that allows her to attend the school she is currently at. Then, like her brother, she will have to decide whether she wants to go to a state university or college, or drop out entirely. Her current school will be beyond her reach at that point as far as I know.
She can choose to be the successful, smart, ambitious woman that managed to get the merit-based scholarship that allows her to attend the elite private college that she currently is at. She will have to work very hard to overcome her addictions if she chooses to go this route, but I know she has the strength, stubbornness, and will to do so if she wants to. She is one of the smartest, strongest, stubbornest, fiery tempered, feisty spirited women I have ever known. These are some of the many multitude of reasons I love her and want to spend the rest of my life with her, even now.
But, she has to decide now—before classes start. I do not think that she will be able to decide during the semester, as that will be too late. She needs to get a treatment plan in place and more importantly setup a support system that will help her avoid relapsing to drugs and alcohol abuse like she was doing last semester.
Alcoholism and drug addiction are both progressive diseases. The longer they are allowed to run rampant, the harder they become to treat. The damage they do to the body—to the brain’s pathways, the brain’s structure, the liver, the kidneys, the heart and the digestive tract are all cumulative. The longer she is an addict and an alcoholic, the more likely she is to have complications from the marijuana and alcohol use.
Unlike Gee and her cancer, Ellie has a choice. She can choose to get better. She can choose to remain an alcoholic and a drug addict. Gee never had the choice to get better or not. Ellie can choose to live her life to the fullest of her potential or to live it as a shadow of what she could have been. Ellie has all the support, the love, the strength and the courage that it will take to get better if she wants to. All she has to do is decide she wants to beat her addictions, and someone as smart, stubborn, brave and strong-willed as she is can do it. This is really her choice, and a choice that will affect how the rest of her life turns out. I hope she chooses to live, rather than to stay the drug-addicted alcoholic she is now.
She says she is:
Hyped for school in one weeeek
But, how does she want this semester of school to turn out? Does she want a repeat of the last semester or worse? Or does she want to succeed academically as she typically has before. That is what her choice will determine. And the time to choose is now.
I love Ellie. I have loved her in some form for all of her life, and it is likely that I will always love her. If she should decide that she wants help in getting better, I am here for her—as I have promised I would be. But she has to decide she wants my help and ask for it. She has to make her amends for the lies she has told. She has to show me that she is as committed to having me in her life as I have been at being in hers. She must make a place for me in her life and ask me to be there—to show me she wants me there.
Her recent accident has terrified me for several reasons. First, I know that she could have easily been seriously injured or killed. Second, I know that she was very lucky she didn’t seriously injure or kill someone else. Third, I don’t want to lose her. And finally, I know that such an accident could easily destroy much of the bright future she still could have for herself.
When you are 19, you think that you are invincible—that you will live forever. But, Ellie is almost exactly the same age my twin brother was when he was killed. She is not invincible. She is destroying her health, in tiny steps that she won’t even realize until it is far too late. Unless she chooses to be other than the drug-addicted alcoholic she currently is, she will never realize any of her dreams. I doubt she dreamed of being a junkie or a wino when she was younger, but unless she chooses otherwise, that is where she is heading. Once her health is gone, so is everything else.
But we must all follow our own path, no matter where it leads. These choices are up to her now. The time for her to decide is now. I honestly fear what will happen if she doesn’t decide to seek help and get treatment before she starts back into the spring semester. If she asks me to, I will be part of her support system and walk her long road to recovery beside her. In many ways, I am quite well suited to help her resist the temptations of alcohol and drugs, since I don’t use either myself. It can be hard for a person to resist the temptation of drinking or smoking marijuana if they are the lone hold out in a crowd. It becomes much easier to do so if they have one person with them that will do so with them. I would be that for her if she asks me to.
Note: Yes, I know I promised that I would not be posting about Ellie… but my fear at the news of her accident and the hope that it may be part of what allows her to see she is ill made me write this post. I wanted to warn her of the consequences of driving drunk and how much making a choice to do it can affect her and others. I would do anything for the woman I love, to help her get better.
Ellie- if you are reading this, please read the comments on the other posts as well. I love you and want you back in my life…but only you can decide what you want for yourself. If you want my help and me in your life—show me you do—ask me to be there.