The Old Man On The Mountain

A View From the Backwoods of NH


I was thinking of an old friend the other day, someone that, some time back, I used to hang out with, listening to music, play video games, basically just unwind after a long week. We used to fish as well, and during that time would talk – about work, about life, about, well, whatever.

As time went on, we drifted apart, only catching up at a mutual friends “on occasion”. And so it was that, a few years back, I heard that he’d fallen on hard times, and had taken to drinking more heavily. I thought about giving him a call, but there really wasn’t much that I could say or do at that point. So I let it go as “he’ll get his shit together, he just needs some time”.

But as time went on, things didn’t get better. As I spoke with our “mutual friend” I learned that things had gotten bad enough that they had held an “intervention” for him. Well, I have always had a real sour view on interventions. To me, interventions are nothing more than a sneak attack by folks that feel that individual honesty isn’t strong enough, but maybe group bullying will be.

I mean, you could say that the Japanese “intervened” on America at at Pearl Harbor, because America wouldn’t agree with their world philosophies. That’s how I see them, anyway. Anyone that has been “intervened” knows exactly what I’m talking about. And those that haven’t should be grateful that their family and friends don’t subscribe to the “bully” approach (btw, check out the stats on the success of this “process” – to say failure is an understatement).

So, when I heard about this, I contacted my friend, because I finally had something I could offer him – an unbiased ear. For me, there is nothing scarier than having overwhelming problems and knowing there is “no one” in your close circle of family and friends that you can trust to be objective, or to just listen.

And that’s exactly what I told him – I’m here if you need someone to talk to – I’m here if you need someone to listen – I’m here to share any of my experinces. And as time went on, he reached bottom, decided that he didn’t like it, went to rehab, came out clean and, to the best of my knowledge, has stayed that way.

While we used to talk with more frequency early on, now it’s back to occasionally. I hope that his “true” friends and family are a little more understanding and supportive, now that he’s quit drinking. The last call I got from him was about 2 minutes long, consisted of “Hi”, “What’s new” and “I’ve got to go”. I felt bad, because it seemed like one of those “obligated” calls – you know, a call someone makes, not because they want to talk but because they feel obligated.

And I hope that’s not the case. I didn’t reach out to him for that – it’s not what I’d ever want or need. I reconnected because I saw someone in need – it happened to be an old friend – and if I’m no longer needed that’s fine, nothing more, nothing less. We can go back to the way things were and the world will still move on. Until the next sneak attack…