My Friend’s Baggage Affects Me

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This is the second post featuring my rocky friendship with Jake; check out Part 1.

After I let Jake sleep on my couch for a few days, he went back to his parents’ house. We remained in contact. I knew he was trouble, but I saw something in him that made me want to befriend him.

Jake had an inner strength that was absolutely amazing. Even though he appeared totally out of control with his addictions, inwardly he seemed to be bravely fighting something. Maybe drugs and alcohol were just his misguided way of fighting whatever his inner baggage was.

I was determined to get to know Jake and find out!

Being friends with Jake was a wild ride. Never boring, never safe.

Once around midnight, I got a frantic call from him asking me to drive him home to his parents’ house. Instead of giving me the address where he was, he gave an intersection of two streets near my house.

When I got there, I didn’t see Jake. So, I called his phone. He immediately jumped from behind some bushes where he was hiding and got into my car. I knew I was going to hear a wild story. As I drove him home, he told me he was buying drugs in a nearby parking lot when the police raided the area. He ran into the woods and lost the police who were chasing him. When he got to the other side of the woods, he kept hiding and called me.

Oh no! I thought as I dropped off Jake at his parents’ house. I was just unknowingly a driver of a getaway car in a crime!

I wondered if this friendship would get me in big trouble, but I cared too much to back out.

Jake never seemed to have a girlfriend, so I started wondering if he also had same-sex attractions like me. As we got closer, he started opening up and talking about difficult situations in his past.

One day, I asked him why he had trouble dating girls.

Jake’s first response went something like: “My parents and the church f***ed me up with all their restrictions!”

Then, he admitted more: “I also did some experimenting that I can’t get out of my mind.”

To be continued . . .

Have you ever had a friend whose emotional baggage affected you? How have a friend’s addictions hurt you? How have your own addictions affected others?

* Photo courtesy Herr Olsen, Creative Commons.

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  • My exboyfriend was a drug addict (don’t know if he still is as I haven’t seen him for over twelve years) (I don’t want to). I tried to ‘fix’ him, presenting myself, drug and alcohol free, as an example of how one should live. Found out later that at least for me, it wasn’t so much an addiction to substance but an addictive personality; I became addicted to pornorgraphy. As I started fighting this addiction (working towards seventh month) I accidently found his picture on a sex offender website; he had been convicted of having child porn.

    I don’t believe him to be a pervert; I think he downloaded something he shouldn’t have and got caught. The exact same thing could have happened to me. Finding this has only strengthened my resolve to be free from this. He has been to jail many times, mostly due to drug related charges. I wanted to change him, maybe even build a life together; but I can’t. He has to change himself. I don’t know all the personal demons he has in his past (many are like mine), but you can’t make them go away by masking them with substance abuse.

    Once I got personal with God about my past, He got personal with me and started helping me deal with the things that happened, so I could confront the source of my addiction to pornography, and begin to fight it. It also lead me to being to accept my SSA so that I could fight it. I still carry on the fight to this day.

    • Bradley,

      My relationship to Jake was somewhat different than yours with your boyfriend. I have never been sexual with Jake and I was not trying to force any change. I was just being there for him and seeking to point him in the right direction. Looking back now, I was being too gentle. I should have forcefully told him to seek out help for his addictions.

  • Mike,

    Thanks for the compliment! Yes, I should have urged Jake to seek addiction help, but at the time I was taking a more passive approach and just being a friend. He knew I opposed his drug use.

  • Kevin Zimmerman

    A friend I was in community with shared my struggle of accepting ourselves. We had several good chats, but also a few times we made each other cry… because we understood the lies the other was believing so well.

    And I think the biggest way addictions have affected the people around me is just my lack of presence in different situations. Whether emotional or physical presence (especially during college), I know that my addiction kept (still keeps sometimes?) me from engaging more fully and more often with people.