This is a freeform post. I have no real idea where it's going, so bear with me.
In fact, I just deleted four paragraphs and started over.
I have a friend who's in some deep trouble. Because of substance abuse - a continuing, life-long pattern of substance abuse, this person is about to lose their job. The only real job they've had over the last 10-15 years with any longevity or substance.
I've actually written about this person before, and if you're of a dogged persistence you can dig through my archives and find the post - it's not relevant that you do, however. Suffice to say that I am sufficiently involved in the activities this person does that their abuse affects me in several direct ways.
And things are finally coming to a head. This person's continuing pattern of abuse has affected their job performance, their ability to interact with people and our confidence in them. Thank goodness I don't have to be the one to make a final decision or action on their status, but in a couple of areas I'm directly involved.
Myself, my wife, and another person have been involved in a continuing project/activity with this person, and now - regardless of their work status - their involvement in the activity has to be terminated. And we're uncertain of what affect this will have on the person, as well as how it will affect our future.
I've spent many years building both a professional and personal friendship with this person, and what they do professionally has earned the deepest respect from me. This person has bailed me out on certain occasions when I was desperately in need of help. If and when this person finally loses what little they have left to hold onto, the world will have lost an amazing talent.
But it's impossible to separate what has to be done professionally, for the good of the organization and all involved, and what's best for this person. The two are intertwined, and I greatly fear that when it is taken away from this person, the rest of their life may crumble. In fact, without proper support from others around them, there may not be much of an after at all....
But as far as I'm concerned, the point is moot. Whatever decisions will be made will be made, and everyone will have to deal with them. It will likely mean more responsibility will be placed on me to take up the slack, but that's a tertiary concern right now. I want this friend to live to see tomorrow, and the next day, and the next day, and to finally agree that they need help...they have a huge problem...and that they cannot deal with it they way they have. It simply can't continue, for that way leads to madness and worse.
Please, just consider this person in your thoughts and prayers. Tonight is the confrontation that we believe is coming, and my family, their family and several other families are all involved.
And please...please...if you or someone you love is involved with substance abuse - please get help. Admit there is a problem, admit you can't solve it yourself, turn to God or to your friends or family and turn your life back around before it's too late.
It's not just you that you're affecting, it's everyone you come in contact with. Or could come in contact with in the future. It's all of us.
UPDATE (05/05/05): As it turned out, there was no confrontation last night, nor any discussion at all. Angstful teeth-gnashing and hair-pulling postponed a few days...