Minerva' Breakdown 


Dear Minerva,

I have a friend who recently quit a few of his addictions. I was supportive through those big life changes, and I handled his moods as he gave up smoking and drinking. I was always encouraging and understanding. I am now quite disappointed that since he became sober, he stopped being my funny, kind friend and is now bitter, jaded and judgmental. He isn't the same friend. Is it possible he was a better person when he was partaking of his vices?

—Friend Withdrawa

Dear Friend Withdrawal,

While your friend—or, perhaps, former friend—deserves kudos for taking steps to improve his health, it sounds like he has lost sight of the important things in life. I am not an addiction specialist, so I can't speak to the science of it, but I can say that many people are different when they are under the influence of substances. What you may now be seeing is who he really is as a person. Without the veil of tobacco and alcohol, he may indeed be bitter and judgmental—certainly characteristics that are unbecoming most of the time. If you can't tolerate his behavior, consider his time in your life for what it was worth and move forward without him, knowing you were the best friend you could be. Human unhappiness can run deep. Hopefully he comes to terms with his other demons before he loses everyone in his life. Good luck to both of you. l

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