It was about 5 months ago now that my closest male friend, someone I deeply care about and love, had a life changing event occur that in turn also brought about some life changes of my own, even in the process of my life changes and soul-searching that were already in progress.  While these events occurred and made me re-evaluate some things in my life, admit to others, and possibly even deny yet some other things, I accepted how my life was progressing and moving and actively going along with the changing tide with an open mind and heart.

As my friend, whom I will call “Wolf” for the purpose of this entry, was facing a realization of events that lead to him considering himself an alcoholic, I was putting myself into a position of being a support system that thrust me into some serious introspection.  As this event began to unfold, I had emotions rise to the surface that I could not explain, and I cannot seem to explain things even now.  I do not think I can forget the night when the first introspective moment hit me like a ton of bricks and a wave of emotions flooded over me that felt like I was seriously in trouble of drowning and I was disoriented.

The night started out with friends playing a few rounds of poker, and while it caught me as a bit “odd” in retrospect that I took notice of something that night that I had not taken real notice of before, I cannot deny that I did actually notice it.  I had a bit of a protective feeling towards Wolf that night that I had not felt before.  It wasn’t a possessive feeling, or one of judgement, or even one of criticism.  It was just a strange feeling of taking notice of the drinks he was consuming and then having an overwhelming feeling of “this isn’t like him” and a general feeling of wanting to reach out but not really knowing in what way.  I can almost guarantee that it was because of this feeling that I asked to try one of the drinks he had, which I rarely do, almost as if I needed to take one to keep him from drinking it.

Wolf can take care of himself, don’t get me wrong, which is why the feelings of anxiety and protective instincts felt so out-of-place for me.  I did not dwell on it, though, nor did I try to analyze those feelings right then and simply continued on with the fun night.  When Wolf lost his chips and was taken out of the game, he left, and I was left with a feeling in the pit of my stomach that, yet again, “this isn’t like him” by his reactions and I just couldn’t seem to figure out why I felt that way.  I had a sense of concern that seemed to come from no where in particular, and while I was nervous about showing my concern, out of a fear that my actions or statements would somehow belie that it was a genuine concern that I could not explain, even though I trusted Wolf with every fiber of my being, I tried as hard as I could to figure out a way to express my concern without seeming overwhelming, clingy or controlling.  Looking back, all I can do is admit to my very apparent “codependent” way of seeking to handle it, though I despise actually admitting to that, as the term codependent has such a negative connotation and almost every single compassionate action or statement of concern can be twisted into this sickness of codependency.  I did try to contact him later and ensure that things were okay, and after a reassurance that he was okay and decided to go out somewhere else, I resumed the night, which ended when I finally got home and went to bed about 3:00 in the morning.

I had just fallen into a deep sleep after still not being able to shake a strange feeling deep in my soul, that I continually tried to ignore and not analyze, when my phone rang somewhere around 5:00 am.  I looked at my phone to see that it was Wolf calling, so I answered it, not knowing why he would be calling me at such an hour.  Why I actually answered at that time, I have no idea, as I had not taken calls from him from time to time due to what else was going on in my life at those moments, but I did answer for some reason.  When I answered, the phone call broke up before I could hear much from him, so when the call got disconnected, I sent him a text message to make sure everything was okay.  I had not quite finished the text message yet, and he called again, so I answered, and this time, my heart fell to the pit of my stomach.  Though the reception was poor, I heard Wolf state quickly that he was in jail as he had been picked up for a DUI, had nobody else to call, and asked if I could come and bail him out.

My mind could barely focus and I was overwhelmed with conflicting emotions.  I was trying to stay calm and logical, trying to figure out where I could come up with the money needed to get him out of jail, all while fending off tears, hearing that nagging lump in my stomach telling me that maybe, just maybe, my earlier intuition had been right to listen to, and listening to him trying to tell me where he was at before the conversation was disconnected yet again.  I was exhausted and had only had a couple of hours of sleep, but Wolf called me because he needed help…he was asking for my help…and I could not bear to turn him away when he had not asked for my help in this way before.  There was something in his voice that kept me from denying him, even though the cost of helping him was great, in more ways than strictly monetary.

I told him that I would be there as soon as I could, pulled on some clothes, grabbed what I needed and jumped in my car and headed in the general direction of where he was.  I didn’t even know where the jail was, but from what Wolf told me, I knew it had to be somewhere close to where he lived, which was at least a 45 minute drive from my house.  I stopped at the first open gas station that had an ATM and tried to use my brand new credit card to take a cash advance of the money needed to bail him out.  After 3 attempts, I got back into my car and cried, as the transactions kept being denied for whatever reason that I was not fully aware of (I found out later that since it was the first time I tried to use my card and it was for a cash advance, they denied the request until it could be verified as not fraudulent).

My mind would not seem to slow down at that point, and I knew that while the drive would be a minimum of 45 minutes, that was 45 minutes too long for my brain to have competing thoughts racing at what seemed like a million miles an hour.  I grabbed my GPS and did a search for where the jail would most likely be and then let the voice guide me as I tried to pay attention to the road that was covered in a dense fog that barely had visibility of more than 2 feet.  My thoughts made it very difficult to concentrate, but I could not stop.

Was he in an accident and hurt someone because he had been drinking and driving?  How could he be so foolish?  Why didn’t he allow me to be there for him before this happened with his almost severe independence?  How was I going to come up with the money to bail him out of jail?  Was this a time when I should use “tough love” and let him suffer the consequences for his actions?  Why was I going to bail him out of jail when I wouldn’t have answered the phone for others in my life at that time of day, let alone left my home to travel almost an hour to rescue them from an inconvenient consequence of their own actions?  What in the Hell was I doing?  What did this say about how much I cared about him?

These were just some of the thousands of thoughts running through my mind, including guilt about times when I should not have been driving because of having too much to drink.  I also remembered feeling resentment that stemmed from an instance of being pulled over for not making a complete stop at a stop sign a few years earlier that left me feeling like the officer talking to me and giving me sobriety tests was trying to trick me in some way and how emotionally upset I was that he continually tried to coerce me into accepting that I needed a ride home instead of driving myself (which sure felt like entrapment, and I stood my ground when I knew from the sobriety tests, including breathalyzer, that I was well within limits and driving just fine, other than making the mistake of not stopping long enough at a stop sign on a back road).  I continued to drive, almost white knuckling the steering wheel, sobbing in bursts, but thanking a higher power that he was, in fact, okay and alive, while having a sensation of not knowing whether this was all just a horrible dream or reality.

Once I found the jail, I decided to try to find an ATM that was owned by my bank, knowing that I needed to pull out the maximum allowable cash withdrawal and it was going to be short-changing my mortgage payment and all my available cash in my wallet to get him out of jail.  I put the cash that spit out from the machine in my wallet and made my way to the entrance of the jail that was open 24 hours a day.  I opened the door to find a small hallway with no windows and an intercom system, so I pressed the button with knots in my stomach and my hands literally shaking to call someone and figure out what the heck I needed to do to try and end this nightmare.  A man answered and asked what I needed in a short but not completely rude tone, and I was frozen for a moment, as I had never in my 33 years ever bailed anyone out of jail and had no clue what the proper procedure really was.  I told him my name and proceeded to tell him that I was there to bail out an inmate, Wolf.  He responded in a way that left me feeling quite cold and questioning my own strength as he proclaimed that the computers were down so I could not bail Wolf out of jail at that time, so I needed to leave.  I remember asking how long it would take for the computers to be back up, thinking that maybe this was a scheduled outage for updates like most large companies do, and all he responded is that he didn’t know, so I would have to call in about an hour and check the status of whether or not Wolf could be released.

I turned around, walked out the door, and tears flooded my eyes while yet another set of conflicting emotions took over.  I was angry and hurt at the dismissal, let alone the apparent lack of empathy or courtesy the attendant had given to me through the cold and calculating intercom, and I began to think about how much of my time I was wasting to help Wolf.  I wanted to be back in my comfortable bed sleeping, not wasting at least yet another hour out of my day when there was no businesses open for me simply wander though and get lost in to bide my time.  I was left to simply wander in my own mind, which can be a scary thing for me, and if too much time is left aimlessly sifting through thoughts without any outlet, I feared I would become the emotional basket case psychotic woman who was weak and not able to handle difficult situations.  I would be a failure if I wasn’t able to hold it together and get this taken care of, yet there was honestly nothing around to help with finding that peace and strength for my soul, except to look within myself, acknowledge the feelings and move past them as best as I could.  I realized that this was going to be a test of my strength, though I wasn’t ready for it at this moment, even though I knew in my soul that I had no control of when and how this test was happening, and all I could do was to control my reactions to the best of my abilities.

I decided to go through a drive through and grab a few bites to eat, questioning why I was choosing to do that, as I certainly didn’t feel hungry at that exact moment, and then chastising myself for falling into the action of this, because if analyzed, it could be seen as an avoidance tactic of dealing with reality – an eating disorder where food is used as comfort and avoidance of dealing with troublesome emotions – but I realized after I took a bite of the food I ordered, I really wasn’t hungry and I wasn’t in the mood to eat.  In fact, this reaffirmed my sentiment that I had overcome using food to mask and soothe difficult emotions, at least at the moment of trying to deal with them, and I had moved to a place of being actually repulsed by food during my most emotional moments.  I saved what I did not eat, thinking that maybe Wolf would want it when he was finally able to be released.

I kept looking at the clock in my car, trying to wish the time to move faster, but it wouldn’t, and finally I called the jail after about 45 minutes, deciding I could not wait any longer to try to figure out what was going on with Wolf and when I would be able to get myself to a place where I could actually sleep.  The woman that answered the phone was much more helpful and courteous than than the man I dealt with inside the building, though I was told they still were not sure when the computer’s would be up and running to be available to release Wolf.  This was now becoming extremely annoying and I wanted to scream at the woman on the other end of the line, but I kept my cool, and was told that she would call me as soon as she knew anything more and asked me for my phone number so she could keep her promise.  Granted, I was a bit jaded and frustrated, but I politely gave her my phone number thinking that I was going to have to wait yet another eternity, and just felt exhausted by that point.  It was about 10 minutes later that I got a phone call, though I didn’t recognize the phone number, and answered the call.  I honestly can’t remember exactly what was said other than one poignant thing about Wolf that made me chuckle a bit and think to myself, “now this is how he really is”.  The woman that called me said that it was fine for me to come back to the jail, gain entrance, pay the bail fee, and let Wolf out, which is what he had made painfully obvious as what he wanted once he realized I would be able to get him released.  That was the Wolf I knew…

I entered the jail, yet again, and finally gained entrance where I met a woman who was behind glass that either seemed very genuine in wanting to help me, or extremely willing to finally let Wolf out so as to gain some sort of sanity back.  Wolf is not a jerk by any means, though just as I am at times, he can become very passionate in his feelings and crusades, which can create reactions from people that could be construed as possibly annoyed, if not offended, and while I couldn’t quite place where her reactions were on that scale of compassion or offense, I was simply relieved that one part of this nightmare was finally over.  Once I paid the bail fee and signed liability statements, I was told that I should go wait out in my car and that Wolf would be released and meet me outside when they could get his paperwork processed, which they said was their top priority at that point.  So I went out to my car to wait…again.

I don’t even remember how long I waited, but I will not forget how I saw him come out of the door in my rear view mirror, and when he opened the passenger side door and got in my car, all I could do was break down in tears.  The tears flowed from relief; release of anxiety, frustration, and love…a true unconditional love, as well as the realization that I would go through Hell with, or for, Wolf if he needed me to.  A romanticized notion in some regards, a codependent notion in others, but none of those really seem to fit as it was honestly, simply a moment of clarity as to just how deeply I loved and cared about Wolf, and how I just how far I would be willing to go to be a support for him and help him in life.  It was in that moment I realized just how much I was willing to be a true life partner…if he truly wanted me as a life partner.

He asked me why I was emotional at that moment, but I could not muster the words to answer him.  They were caught in my throat and with a million other thoughts running at the exact same time, I truly could not figure out how to explain why I was in tears.  I was not ashamed of my freely flowing expression of emotions, nor was I nervous about explaining them; I just could not put to words what I was feeling, because I tried and the words would not come, so I was silent for a moment and listened to him vent his frustrations at that moment.  I remember feeling an sense of pride, because even with his poor choice that led to this consequence, he was one of the strongest men I knew, while being one of the most sensitive men, and I also felt humbled beyond belief that he felt I was worthy enough to be in his life.

Writing it out that way seems to set me up for the critical remarks of simply being taken advantage of, being a doormat, being a slave, being too codependent, being an enabler, and every other unhealthy thing that could be placed on our relationship, but it certainly didn’t seem that way at the time.  Yes, I know, another “red flag” and one I actually noticed and took heed of, though again, in my soul, this was a true defining moment and a bit of a turning point in our relationship.  I had probably let him take advantage of me at times, though I never once gave up who I am at my core, or let him cross boundaries that I had placed due to very unhealthy relationships in the past.  I knew I had a much higher tolerance to others “taking advantage” of me, which for me is simply being compassionate and helping other people, especially if they have nobody else to turn to, though I have my own boundaries that I have placed and do not let people cross those, so I feel that I do know what is healthy for me and what is not.  He was not being unhealthy for me, nor were my reactions to this night unhealthy for me.  In fact, this seemed to bring about even stronger healthy bonds and boundaries, which makes sense when most of our true life changes come from some of the most painful times in our lives that test our limits, if not push our limits to new lengths that, in the end, create new limits.

As this part of the background of the new journey comes to close and the next part of the background is written, all I can do is thank my higher power for such an amazing person in my life.  Everyone has made an imprint in my life and helped change or shape who I am, and Wolf has been nothing short of a blessing, whom I am eternally grateful to have met.  I may not make as much of an imprint as he has for me, but I do know that Wolf loves me, and it is an honest love that burns deeper than simply a fairy tale romance from my perspective and feelings.  Where it goes, I am unsure, and only time will tell, though I do hope that this next journey I am about to take is something Wolf is prepared for me to take, as I have a feeling this will become a very defining moment for me, him, and what we consider as a definition for our relationship.

Wolf may decide that he truly wants me to take this journey, since it is not really about him in many ways and it is about me honestly, though I will not waste my time and will leave him behind if he has difficulty accepting that in at least one way, this is about him and his journeys and my efforts to understand and support his journeys.  If I see that I am investing too much of my time and energy into taking this journey, that is a little bit of a change of direction for me due to supporting and adapting to his own journey, without Wolf’s support and the ability to accept the risks and consequences of this next chapter, then I will painfully leave Wolf to make his quest individually and change my direction to ensure I don’t give more than I can risk losing…including the risk of losing myself.

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