I have a friend that drifts in and out of my life at times. She called me two weeks ago. She was in trouble of course. I have known this woman for over 30 years, and we were close at one time. She has a knack of finding men that are just bad news. Druggies, alcoholics, deadbeats you name it she will find one. Over the years I have watched her destroy her life with drugs and bad choices. She often ends up in the hospital for the drugs, food and most importantly a place to sleep. Fortunately for her she does have some health problems so she can get a two or three day vacation at the local hospital. She is also a great actress.
Her latest tradgedy involves a man she had been “dating” on and off for years. Heoften breaks it off with her, but then comes back after a while to party.When he dumps her for awhile she somehow always finds a friend that will take her in for a time. Recently, the boyfriend dropped her off at a motel, paid for a weeks stay and left her there. She has no job, no car, no money, and very few people she can call friends.
After the stay at the motel and she was forced to move out, with nowhere to go, she of course went to the emergency room. She is diabetic and because her blood sugar was high they admitted her for a four-day stay. While there she somehow got the doctor to give her Xanax and Lunesta (two of her favorite drugs). Tonight she was released, so she says. I think she was released earlier in the day and just hung around in the lobby making phone calls looking for a place to go.
She called me again crying because the hospital social worker made arrangements for her to go to a shelter nearby. The hours are seven pm until seven am. You must wait in line most of the day to secure a bed for that night. In the morning…you leave. You are on your own the rest of the day. No money = No food.
She has taken advantage of everybody she knows, gotten fired from jobs for being stoned and stealing. She was once a beautiful woman, and she now looks terrible…she is 51 and looks 65. Anyone that has helped her in the past and been burned will have nothing to do with her. She knows better than to ask me for money or a place to stay. I know her far too well.
I have been and still am friends with her some of her estranged family, and I think of her daughter as my own. (Thankfully she has turned out to be a responsible, lovely grown woman. She won’t help her Mother either…I don’t blame her)
She needs her medication and she is afraid to go to the shelter. I told her it could be no worse than the seven days she spent in County Jail last summer after she broke into a deceased family member’s home to look for drugs and money.
This woman will do nothing for herself. She will not look for a job. I gave her several phone numbers of shelters that would help her out and I found some charities and organization that will help her get her medication for free. She called no one. She has nothing else to do but stand in line and wait for a bed in the homeless shelter the hospital directed her to.
So, here I am in my warm jammies, in my warm house, with my meds, and food in my fridge. And I feel guilty.
Am I wrong? Should I help her? If I give her money, she will buy cigarettes and score some drugs. She cannot stay in my home. I have a family, and truthfully I would be afraid she would steal from me.
Guilt is a powerful thing.