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Old 01-12-07, 06:07 AM   #1
jppe
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Lost a friend

At the risk of creating a depressing thread on a Friday I needed to share some sad news on a close friend. A fellow church member that was in his late 40's passed away this week. The sad and very tragic reality is that it was totally and completely avoidable. The cause of his death? His liver finally succumbed to his alcoholism. I didn't think that still happened in 2007????

The fellow was a former professional athlete, talented, gregarious, the life of the party and very successful in business but the stuff just got complete control of him. My kids knew his kids pretty well and just don't know what to think. We all knew and saw the effects of his addiction but he never saw this it coming. He was a master at disguising and obviously even fooling himself that it wasn't that big of a deal.

I assumed this stuff just didn't happen anymore but obviously I was very wrong. Left behind are two terrific kids in college and high school and a wife who is probably very devastated. I think we're all in a state of disbelief and shock that he was unable to get control of himself.

I've read where I share this trait with some of you, that I've become much more conscious and observant of other's healthy/unhealthy habits. I continue to be more aware and amazed at what the population at large is doing to their health. I have close family members who could use better habits and are not doing themselves any long term benefit continuing as they are. I try to help..........

I know I've read a number of bio's of folks who have overcome something or are on the their way to a more healthy lifestyle. Good for you. Here's hoping we're able to conquer whatever demons or issues loom over us.

Sorry for the "noise" but my friend's leaving us was just so unnecessary........Maybe something I can work out on a long ride tomorrow.

Last edited by jppe; 01-12-07 at 10:21 AM.
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Old 01-12-07, 06:36 AM   #2
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JPPE,

It's hard to sit and watch someone else abuse their life through their addictions. Part of the tragedy is that his/her self abuse almost always abuses someone else (spouse, children, friends, coworkers). These bystanders are often the passive victims and find themselves torn between their love for the abuser and their instinct for survival. Usually love wins out because we tend to be overly optimistic about a person's chances in overcoming the addiction.

One of the hardest things I have to do in my line of work is to speak honestly to these types of problems. There are no "easy" solutions. "Take the kids and leave," is countered by "where will I live and how will I support myself?" And so the addiction continues. A vicious circle like watching a dog chase its tail.

For you, for your children and spouse, for your friends at church, the best solution now is to face the reality of his alcoholism and all addictions honestly and openly. Don't tiptoe around the issue and be there for his children and wife. They will need you. Now more than ever.

As you ride, work out a few ways you might offer to help that family in the coming months and years. Make a tangible difference in their life. And be a positive male role model in the eyes of his children. Bless you for these efforts. I'll keep you, his family, your church and your pastor, in my riding prayers.
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Old 01-12-07, 07:51 AM   #3
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Life is hard. Don't worry about sharing a thread like this... At least not on my account. My thoughts are with you and the others as you try to make sense of this.
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Old 01-12-07, 08:00 AM   #4
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Dear JPPE:

My sympathies. Lovey is a counselor and has seen a lot of that sort of thing. The waste of it all and to see it done voluntarily is still a huge mystery to me. Helping the grieving family in whatever ways you can seems to be the only option. One thing Lovey says is to check in on them after the rush has passed, they will be a long time dealing with this.
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Old 01-12-07, 08:44 AM   #5
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jppe, nobody objects to you sharing your thoughts here, it doesn't always have to be about cycling. This drug is still the biggest drug problem in our country. I lost my father to it and am a recovering alcoholic myself. Many of us can function and carry out daily tasks while addicted to alcohol and many of us can hide it from others. You were a friend, that's all you could do, and now you can be a friend to his family. In my case, the love of friends pulled me out of it, (barely). Just be there for them if they need you.
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Old 01-12-07, 09:38 AM   #6
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Thank you for a difficult post, JPPE; you have my sincere condolences.

When well-meaning friends advise me that bicycling is dangerous, I simply look at the immense health benefits I continue to derive from 100k cumulative miles in the saddle.

We all know that exercise boosts endorphin levels dramatically and that many alcoholics are attempting to self-medicate for depression. I cannot prove this, but I like to believe that a bicycling habit has saved at least a few folks from alcoholism.
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Old 01-12-07, 10:11 AM   #7
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Man, that's sad, and it affects so many, not to mention society in general. I was telling my wife the other night as we were watching a television show about some unfortunate people who were born with genetic handicaps of one sort or the other, that not too many things make me more angry than physically normal people who squander their lives away abusing themeselves in one way or another. We once had a tenant who was severely handicapped and fought so hard to lead a normal life, even working a 40 hour week. She couldn't walk, couldn't hear and consequently, couldn't speak--yet she struggled to be a successful individual; a real inspiration.

Then we've all seen others throw their lives away for selfish gratification. Go figure????????
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Old 01-12-07, 10:41 AM   #8
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Now, that just plain sucks

It's really hard to watch someone you know take themselves down. It's even harder when they finally "succeed" in doing so. Change comes from within. There was nothing you could do really.

Get on out there and do that ride.
You might not find any answers, you might not find any peace but take solace in knowing that you are alive.
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Old 01-12-07, 11:58 AM   #9
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Sorry to hear of you and your friends' loss, jppe. Yes, we've discussed this lifestyle consequences thing here before, and yes, we'll discuss it again, but that doesn't make it any easier when something like this happens. Our thoughts are with you.
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Old 01-12-07, 12:09 PM   #10
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It's very sad that he could not overcome the alcohol. Just shows how powerful it is.

I lost my best friend a couple of years ago. I find that his memory propels me to make my life that much more worthwhile.

Memories from meeting him for the first time in the middle of the stage in high school, to riding his Kawasaki Z1, being roommates and fighting being evicted because he was black and I was white, fixing up a blown head gasket on a Ford Taurus that blew just after my wife and I bought it, roughing it in a big RV at a week-long Grateful Dead concert.

He died too young. He was my best man, and ironically, it was a call my ex-wife made to me to tell me about his death that was the start of our divorce.

My lifetime bike is an old orange American Eagle/Nishiki, that I traded him for a pile of wood. So it seems that each day I continue to live a little of him lives too.

The bike is fine, just demonstrating that you should seek shade if making a repair in hot weather.
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Old 01-12-07, 12:29 PM   #11
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It hurts bad to lose a friend. We do crazy things to ourselves, even knowing the consequences.
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Old 01-12-07, 03:00 PM   #12
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Lost a father to alcohol, brother to drugs, another brother has his father's addiction. A pattern here? Seeing those things occur was and is difficult, but knowing your own choices are nominally improving your personal odds of surviving to a "Ripe Old Age" help in putting situations like these in perspective. Each of us chooses how to behave, and rationalizes why we either do or don't act in a manner that is or isn't responsible. I have two daughters who are my “raison d'ętre" along with my wife. I have chosen to take care of myself for those and many other reasons. Those are my choices, they appear to be your's as well. I'm grateful my life affords me the motivation,opportunity, and ability to cycle. I expect your does as well. Perhaps we, as a group, need to spend a bit less time preaching about the health benefits, fitness, etc., for it's own sake, and try to help those who need to look for other motivation that could be a bit more meaningful.
Probably a bit too philosophical here, we will spin the Prayer Wheels for your friend's family and for you as well.
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Old 01-12-07, 03:05 PM   #13
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Sorry to hear of your loss. My thoughts are with you and his family.
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Old 01-12-07, 03:07 PM   #14
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This type of thing happens. I actually treat this for a living, and I've seen some fine people lose this battle. I think cycling helps a lot. It's a much healthier addiction. I recommend it to anyone who I think could safely do it.
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Old 01-12-07, 03:25 PM   #15
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Tough Break.
Sorry for the loss of your friend.
People only change when they really want to change.
Nothing you could have done.

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Old 01-13-07, 02:18 AM   #16
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I lost a very close friend in 2001 and that hit me bad. He was my riding partner and the same age- but was stronger and fitter than me. In 99 I had a bypass and Shortly afterwards- he had chest pains and went to get it checked out- No problem found. Then out one night and he stopped to have a rest on a ride and that was it. One heart attack. He had clogged arteries- internal of the heart, so it did not show up on the intensive check he had in 99.

If Death can come early to someone that does keep fit, does not abuse their body, and has no real signs beforehand- Then the rest of us that abuse our bodies by excessive riding, Poor diet, excessive pies and All those energy drinks have to enjoy it while it lasts.
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Old 01-13-07, 06:42 AM   #17
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Thanks to you all for the kind and thoughtful posts. They're very helpful.
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Old 01-13-07, 07:35 AM   #18
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A poet once said, "grief itself is a medicine." So is sharing it. Hang in there, go for that ride, and keep your buddies posted.
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Old 01-13-07, 07:49 AM   #19
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I am all too familiar with both of the things you speak of, jppe.
I think of my friend Allen every day.
I try to laugh instead of be sad and hope he is laughing at me
too....I think he is. I hope you might come to this stage of
acceptance soon.
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Old 01-13-07, 09:43 AM   #20
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Was this Friday-thread depressing? Yes.
Was this Friday-thread sad news? Yes.
Did this Friday-thread need to be shared? Yes.

To speak, of how easy a body & soul can be kept prisoner of addictions, should be a responsibility for all of us.

To be freed from an addiction, may not be possible, unless we are reminded of the consequences. Thank you for the thread, jppe.
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Old 01-13-07, 09:36 PM   #21
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Sorry to hear of your loss and prayers for the family.

Odd that this should come up. While at the eye institute (preparations for an eye surgery to come soon) I was sitting waiting for some tests to be run. One of the attendants came into the area to get another patient and asked him how he was. His reply was "miserably sober". As I live in a well to do area it isn't uncommon to see people "of money" and this guy was one of them. Sad that with all of his money that his life had come down to miserably sober.
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Old 01-14-07, 12:01 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Motorad
Was this Friday-thread depressing? Yes.
Was this Friday-thread sad news? Yes.
Did this Friday-thread need to be shared? Yes.
I should agree with you, and yet I can't get past how awful I felt reading the OP...and wondering why it's even there to begin with.

Having grown up in an alcoholic family, I watched my father destroy not only his life, but the lives of his entire family...and do it beneath the facade of being a "gregarious, life-of-the-party" person, who never felt he had a problem, or that he was effecting others negatively with his behavior.

Good riddence to your "friend." He didn't deserve to live one minute longer than he did. And, if this is an inappropriate response to the OP, then don't bring stuff like this up...because there's no way you can broach this subject without cutting someone very, very deeply.
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Old 01-14-07, 10:46 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Big Paulie
I should agree with you, and yet I can't get past how awful I felt reading the OP...and wondering why it's even there to begin with.

Having grown up in an alcoholic family, I watched my father destroy not only his life, but the lives of his entire family...and do it beneath the facade of being a "gregarious, life-of-the-party" person, who never felt he had a problem, or that he was effecting others negatively with his behavior.

Good riddence to your "friend." He didn't deserve to live one minute longer than he did. And, if this is an inappropriate response to the OP, then don't bring stuff like this up...because there's no way you can broach this subject without cutting someone very, very deeply.
I think that's a little harsh. Sorry that you had to live through something that bad, but still, it's a little harsh.
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Old 01-14-07, 12:00 PM   #24
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I think that's a little harsh. Sorry that you had to live through something that bad, but still, it's a little harsh.
Well, this is a harsh issue to bring up in a bike forum, isn't it? And, as I mentioned earlier...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Big Paulie
if this is an inappropriate response to the OP, then don't bring stuff like this up...because there's no way you can broach this subject without cutting someone very, very deeply.
We can talk all day about chemical addiction, and whether or not it's a disease or biological destiny or a lack of character or whatever. But at some point, in a moment of sober clarity, we all have the opportunity to think about how we are effecting others. It's one of the most fundamental human traits, and the pathology that allows some people to ignore those thoughts is inconceivably vile.

Last edited by Big Paulie; 01-14-07 at 04:18 PM.
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Old 01-14-07, 03:29 PM   #25
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jppe, I'm so sorry to hear of the loss of your friend. No matter the reason it never seems to make sense.
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