Day 3: Protein

December 27, 2020

Last night was a rough one.

He hadn’t stirred all day except for his AA zoom and to eat.

I checked on him before bed and he was weeping.

“I have to tell you something.”

I braced for an earthquake.

He was in severe pain, he said, in his back and he was afraid.

I asked what the doctor said about complications and he shrugged.

I spied an unopened manila envelope in the corner and tore it apart. In it, were detailed instructions to eat high protein meals and to be alarmed by back pain or breathing issues.

I lost my shit.

He hadn’t even read his user manual. Why should he? Someone else will deal with it. Someone else always does.

I was fortunate to recognize my codependent inclinations young, when at 20, my much older friend always needed me and I loved it. I recall her minor children calling me and asking for food because their mom was out partying. I raced over with burgers and beamed with pride that I had been available and accessible and willing to help. Congratulations me!

I thought I had curbed these tendencies and cut so much dead wood from my life. But the desire never truly leaves us.

As I brought him this high protein breakfast today, I thought about whether I’m helping him at all.

I believe he is capable of surviving, but I don’t believe he will do what is necessary to get a job or keep a job. Or go to rehab. Or shower.

I asked him what time was today’s AA zoom.

“They’re taking a break today.”

Did he think I wasn’t the one who sent him the schedule? Or that I didn’t already know the answer to my question?

“That group maybe, but be on the one at noon.”

A sober friend told me to cut him loose. She said when she called her parents to tell them she was finally going to rehab, her father said, “Good for you. I hope it works out.” And he hung up. (Her dad has been sober since ’75)

It is not my job to create this structure, or to bring him protein.

A protein’s overall function is dependent on its structure, which folds and twists on itself based on interaction. Hemoglobin, for example, could not carry oxygen to the blood without the structure of a complex protein.

Codependency is a complex protein.

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