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Tossing Pebbles in the Stream

This blog is my place to sit and toss pebbles into the stream. The stream of Life relentlessly passing before us. We can affect it little. For the most part I just watch it passing and follow the flow. Occasionally, I need to comment on its passing, tossing a pebble at it to enjoy the ripple affect upon Life's surface.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Reaching my Limit

I pride myself in being patient and understanding in relationships. I am quick to give a person the "shadow of a doubt" or forgive an act of bad behaviour which has caused me personal harm or anquish. In short, I am long suffering.

Years ago, I took in a troubled youth that had been a ward of the Province for many years after he became too much for his parents to handle. When no one else would step forward to take him in, I did. He was the brother of a girlfriend of mine. I was determined to not be another person to give up on him. Well, in the end I did.

In the end, he declared he was going to find the mother who threw him away when he was three come Monday. This was an excuse not to participate in our family life. I had reached my limit. "No, surprise,! you are going today, pack your stuff."

Years later he came to see me and recounted that day and said, "I really let you down didn't I."

"Yes you did." was my only reply. After he said that I was less critical of myself, for I felt I had let him down.

During the seven years I was a single foster father, I had many times when I felt I had reached my limit of understanding with a young foster child. Twice, I had foster children removed from my home when they threated me with violence or mischief (making up stories about me). At least with the Children's Aid Society they were able to ease the transition.

In romantic relationship, (yes! I have had a few,) I have ended only one, not because of the quality of the relatiohsip but because the woman and her psychiatrist husband fought over the children.

It was too painful to watch. He took the two biological children and she got the two adopted ones, one of which was an African child, they brought back from Kenya, like one more of their many African artifacts.

I have just had an experience with my friend, Denis, which saw mew reach my limit. He occasionally lives with me between periods of work. in the North on the tundra, drilling for minerals.

Denis and I have been friends for about ten years. We even worked together for a while. He is a heavy drinker and marijana user. He does much that tests one's patience but like most people he has some admirable qualities.

This last incident occured about a month ago. Since he came out of the Bush he has been beguiled with a woman in Thunder Bay.

After he finishes a stint at work he often goes to a nearby city to party. He spends several thousand dollars on his vices and "working girls".

He fell for one of these part-time working girls and was trying to get her to come to visit him here. I tried to tell him , "you are not supposed to fall in love with the "party girls.", which he often refers to a crack whores. (His attitude toward women in not one of his admirable qualities.)

He took it upon himself to take my truck and drive to Thunder Bay (1000 miles away) to see her. Denis lost his license years ago by driving impaired. He was there before I knew where he had disappeared. On the phone, he said he would be back in a few days. I should have called the police but that would have required me to take an $800 plane ride and a two day drive to retrieve the truck. So I impatiently waited.

Ten days, later, he tried it again. This time he was stopped by the police two hours up the road for driving impaired, plus, more that the limit of marijuana for personal use and lots of cash. He got several charges including "Intent to sell the marijuana." I had to go and retrieve the truck.

He then paid his ladyfriend's transportation to come and visit him, to help him get over his depression for the trouble he got himself in. This required special arrangements for her to get her methadone shots daily in North Bay. He used the truck with her driving most of the time.

I don't think the visit went as well as he had expected. The day he had a neighbour drive them to see her off, my truck was not returned. He went on a drunk. I was starting to think he had decided to drive her home to Thunder Bay. After a day of looking around town I found the truck at the neighbour's as if was being hidden from me. I retrieved it.

For a number of reasons, two of which were I could not keep Denis out of the truck and I thought he was playing me for a fool, I decided to ask him to move out.

He came home druck, of course. "Denis, you cannot live here anymore.." "I know " he relied, I screwed up. I am drunk now I will talk to you in the morning." Later he accused me of abandoning him in his hour of need.

I thought Denis had gone to sleep, While I was starting to feel sorry for him, I saw the truck was gone again. I had reached my limit. I called the police. Denis had taken the truck and tried to sell it to one of his friends.

The police finally arrested him and charged him with theft of the truck.

I feel badly for Denis but he was clearly out of control. putting me and other people at risk. I prized our "odd couple" friendship. I often defended him to others for I knew him well enough to know his good qualities and vulnerabilites.. Unfortunately, our friendship is the price we have paid for his bad behaviour and my willingness to say, "No, more.!"

Sometimes my Life feels like a soap opera.


At 2:01 p.m., Blogger Alyssa said...

I think you had a lot of patience with Denis. By taking your vehicle so many times and abusing your generosity and good nature he broke your trust. I think you did the right thing - actually it was the only thing you could do. Obviously, Denis has some emotional and substance abuse problems(they go hand in hand) and either doesn't recognize the fact or doesn't care. It's really too bad because he did seem like an interesting and fun person.

He is the type of person I call a "user". Not so much in the sense of drug-taking, but that he uses people with no regard to their wishes or feelings. Kind of selfish. Maybe he will wake up to the fact that he's rather a screw up, and turn some of the aspects of his life around.

I'm hoping for the best and that he'll make amends and your friendship can be repaired. But until that day, you are much better off not allowing him in your life. (Your situation is quite similar to one that I had with my daughter years back.)

At 5:25 p.m., Blogger Merelyme said... sure do have some stories! i think for some people...the best thing we can do for them is to call them on their bullshit and make them responsible...even when it means a loss of the friendship. you really did try....i am sorry this turned out as it did.

At 9:40 p.m., Blogger Peggy said...

I think you did the right thing. You were there for him for a long time but he choose to take advantage of your friendship. One day maybe he will wise up and know what a true friend he really had

At 11:27 p.m., Blogger Anvilcloud said...

Philip, I think you are almost a saint for exhibiting so much tolerance for so long. In this case it isn't Denis but the drugs. If he ever kicks them, you might or might not like the real Denis. Who knows?

At 12:22 p.m., Blogger KGMom said...

Good grief, Philip--you had every reason to "reach your limit." In fact, I think had you reached it at an earlier point, people would understand you.
Anyway, when I read--he took your truck to drive it to Thunder Bay (1000 miles away) I burst out--oh my.
Hmmm--hide the keys?
Glad things are ok now.

At 8:08 p.m., Blogger Ginnie said...

He sounds like a good candidate for the program that saved my life
... AA.
An alcoholic who is sober is often times a very nice and lovable person...but put a drink or drug in them and they become a completely different person.
His behavior is inexcusable and you did the right thing. Please don't let him "weasle" his way back in to your life. Alcoholics who are still drinking are masters at manipulation and deceit.

At 10:58 a.m., Blogger edifice rex said...

Denis sounds a lot like some of the guys I have worked around but stayed away from. You just can't let people use you and you can't help somebody that doesn't want help no matter how much you want to. I learned that one the hard way too.

At 4:10 p.m., Blogger possum said...

Well, a bit over due, but I am glad you finally did it. It is hard to know the difference between being kind and enabling. I know it was a tough call, especially given your guilt from those past events, but you did what was best for BOTH of you. (Not to mention your truck!)
You are lucky he did not do anything worse... he could have killed someone with his drunk driving - IN YOUR TRUCK - then what? I think he needs the ultimatum - sober up or be gone. It really is the best thing you can do for him. (and you!)
Are there any Al-Anon groups around there???? You might want to visit one of them for a while.
I am just glad nothing worse happened.

At 8:24 p.m., Blogger Loretta said...

You did your best to be a friend, that's all anyone could ask for. You were his friend, it doesn't sound like he was yours!!

At 1:41 a.m., Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think all you can do is try....when the situation becomes dangerous to you or prevents you helping others because of the time being taken-up, then it is unfortunately time to pass-on to try to help someone else.

At 4:50 p.m., Blogger Casey said... are kindness personified. I could not have tolerated 1/4 of what you have, and I am known to be very forgiving. I am truly sorry about the loss of your friendship...but gee whiz...the other person has to have a responsibility in that too.


At 5:06 p.m., Blogger Janet said...

You definitely went above and beyond. You cannot let him blame you for "abandoning" him. Even Mother Teresa would have had him arrested long before you did.

At 5:27 p.m., Blogger Old Wom Tigley said...

You did the right thing... the only thing you could do. You had been there for him when even himself was not there for him... you did right Philip.

At 8:24 p.m., Blogger Julie said...

Your heart is made of Gold... No wonder you are a pastor..
We are all teachers to each other aren't we? you continue to teach me all the time dear friend...


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