New years eve I went to a party with a friend who had, at the time, a drinking problem. This was someone who had helped me out a lot when I was down with a fractured leg. He regularly came to my place to pick me up and help me to get around at social events, so I wouldn’t feel alone or left out.
We had been spending a lot of time together, and were getting along really well, but his drinking was becoming a problem. When we attended social gatherings he would drink a lot, despite being asked by multiple people to limit his drinking. One person even put a lock on the liquor cabinet, but he started buying and bringing his own liquor, despite living exclusively on government benefits.
He’s on benefits because he’s filed under the claim that he has a mental disability. I have questions with regard to this claim because he claims he can’t work, yet he is perfectly capable of driving himself to parties and other social gatherings, building complex models from kits and participating in hobby clubs with no problems.
He would drink too much, then he would start to exhibit behavior that made people uncomfortable. Making comments that were unsettling, and continuing to do so after being asked to stop. Nobody was sure how to handle the situation because they didn’t want to tell him to stop attending parties; and also because of his asserted disability. He was a really nice guy while sober and generally great to be around.
We both knew that his drinking was a problem, so before the new years party we stopped at a cash machine where I took out $300 and asked him to keep it in his pocket. I asked him to take one of the $100 bills out of his right pocket each time he had a drink at the party, and to stop drinking once he had all 3 bills in his left pocket. He was disgruntled about it, but agreed it was a good idea and to go along with the plan.
This guy always has a habit of being the first to arrive at parties. If you tell him the party starts at 5pm he has to be there at 4:59pm. So we arrive around 4:45, and before people have even started arriving for the party he’s started drinking. One of the people in the house casually mentioned that it was pretty early and maybe he should wait a bit before getting started so he wouldn’t be hung over before the party was over. Over the next couple of hours he finishes that drink, and when I see him next he has a different drink in his hand and he’s obviously drunk. His speech is slurred and he’s stumbling. I ask him, “how many bills do you have in your right pocket?” He pokes around for a bit in his pocket and says “three.” I ask how many drinks he’s had and he says two, so I ask him to take two bills out of his pocket and put them in the other pocket, which he does. I go to play party games in the living room and he goes out to hang out on the back porch. When I see him about an hour later, he’s very obviously nearly incapacitated.
He’s having significant problems forming sentences and it takes him a good ten seconds or so to pronounce my name. I ask him how many drinks he’s had. He says he’s on his third drink. I ask how many bills he has in his right pocket and he says he doesn’t know. He’s having a hard time getting his hand into his pocket. He eventually pulls three wadded up bills out of his right pocket. He has no idea what’s going on but he can tell by the look on my face something is wrong. He says this is his last drink and disappears into the crowd.
Another hour passes and he shows up with a different drink again. He sees me, and without prompting, says he set down his last drink and forgot where he put it, so he got another. As the night goes on, this happens two more times. Each time he sees me while he has another drink in his hand he says he forgot where he put his drink so he got another one. I tell him he’s reneged on our agreement and we’ll talk about it later, then we part ways again. I get invited to spend some time cuddling with a friend in his bedroom and chatting with his girlfriend. So I go in and we’re hanging out chatting and cuddling and watching TV. After about half an hour his girlfriend goes out to check on the party, and comes back, and says “where’s the baseball bat.” My friend points it out and I don’t ask any questions until she leaves with the bat. Then I turn to my friend and I’m like, “what’s going on?” He shrugs and we wait to see what happens next. His girlfriend comes back into the room and says “Majik you need to go handle (my alcoholic friend).”
I respond with “what do you mean handle him? He’s my friend, but I’m not responsible for him.” She says that she went into the garage to check on the party in there and found him with his hand down someone’s pants, that that person had asked him not to do that and to stop, and that he had proceeded anyway. She said that the person had left the party because they felt they had been violated and that they were no longer comfortable being around him.
I got up and went out to see if I could find out what was up with my drunken friend. I look around and ask if anyone has seen him. Several people say that either he left of they don’t know where he is. I go out back and look for him, then I go out to my car and look for him there, but he’s not present at either location. So I go back into the party, and a few minutes he shows up looking confused. He says he doesn’t know what’s going on. I tell him what I was told, that he was accused of touching someone, and he says he has no recollection of that happening. I ask him if he wants to leave and he says no, he’d rather stay. I go back to talk to the girlfriend who is furious. She closes the door to the bedroom and I tell her my drunken friend has no recollection of what she’s accused him of happening. She says she certainly saw it happen and so did several other people who were present. I tell her that he has no recollection of the event happening and that she claims it does, so I don’t know who to believe. She tells me that two other people approached her once they found out what he was alleged to have done and said that they also received unsolicited contact. At this point most people at the large gathering still don’t know what’s going on, and the drunken friend has blended back into the party. I decide not to pursue the matter any further and also rejoin the party, watching youtube videos with the crowd in the front room. The party plays out, everyone celebrates the turning of the new year, and as everyone is preparing to either bed down or leave the party, another friend approaches and asks for a ride home. Initially I tell him now, but then I go to my car and re-arrange some boxes, and make room to put the 40 split seat up in the back for him to sit in. So I go back and inform him there’s room for him. He and I and the drunken friend proceed to the car, and as we’re driving away the drunken friend asks me if he’s fucked up. I say yes, he’s fucked up pretty bad. He asks if we’re still friends. I tell him we probably should spend some time apart and he asks why. I reiterate the problems that happened at the party and he says he doesn’t remember the inappropriate touching happening. He then says he can’t remember most of what happened at the party. My other friend confirms several people complained to him that they had been touched by my drunken friend and that they had left the party because they had been made uncomfortable. The sober friend and I make random small talk for the rest of the ride to fill the silence.
When we get to my place where my drunken friend’s car is waiting, I tell him he is obviously still drunk and shouldn’t drive home. I offer to give him a ride, and to bring him back to get his car after he’s sober. He says he’s fine and asks again if we’re still friends. I repeat that we should have some time apart. This makes him visibly upset and he apologizes, but not for anything specific. He gets in his car, obviously still drunk, and drives off. I proceed to my other friend’s house and drop him off, then I return home and fall into bed where I immediately fall asleep.
The next day I’m sitting at my desk and my phone is blowing up with people asking me what’s going on. I’m looking at 75 messages that my now-sober former friend has left while I was sleeping. That seems a bit uncomfortable after I’ve told him twice I don’t want to see or talk to him, so I put him on ignore in Telegram. Half an hour later there’s a knock on the door. I’m not expecting anyone and I have a pretty good idea who it is, so I don’t answer the door. My roommate is down the street at the coffee shop conducting some business. The knocking stops, then after about 45 minutes I get a message from my roommate telling me that the ex-friend saw his car in the parking log and came in to talk to him about me. He says the ex-friend gave him the money I had left with him before the party and said he wanted to return some books I had loaned him. In reality I hadn’t loaned him the books, I’d traded them with his father for some other books. He asks my roommate to let him into the apartment so he can talk to me. My roommate declines the request and the ex-friend goes out and sits in his car. He’s still sitting there when my roommate leaves the coffee shop half hour later.
After this encounter the ex-friend starts messaging and calling my roommate non-stop trying to ask questions about me. My roommate complains and shows me the messages on his phone. There are dozens of them. When my roommate finally tells the ex-friend to stop messaging him about me, the ex-friend starts going into group chats that we’re both members of and shit talking me to anyone who will listen. He gets banned from several chats without any input on my part when people get tired of hearing it. I start messaging my friends and asking them not to answer any questions he asks only to find out he’s already gotten to most of them and asked questions and complained about me. Other people start messaging me to ask why he’s messaging them talking about me. I ask them to ignore him and to not answer any questions about me. This goes on for the rest of the day and into the night. When I wake up the next morning I discover he’s been talking to the admins of every chat I’m in and asking them to ban me; and that he’s successfully convinced one chat admin who doesn’t know what’s going on. I discover this when I go to look into the chat and find it’s no longer accessible. I message the owner of the chat who is up to this point oblivious to the situation and explain. I show him message logs from the ex-friend and some of the message logs my roommate had screenshotted. The chat owner reverses the ban and has a chat with the ex-friend, telling him to knock it off or he’ll be banned instead. One of the people who lives in the house messages me and tells me I should call the owner of the house where the New Years party was hosted, so I call him.
He says he’s heard about the shit storm my ex-friend is causing and asks me for details. I send him lots of screenshots of chat logs with the ex-friend’s obsessive behavior and tell him about the preceding events that transpired after we left the party. The house owner asks to end the call, then he calls the ex-friend and tells him he’s not allowed on his property ever again.
After a couple of days the ex-friend’s behavior becomes known to everyone and many people block or just ignore him. After the initial shit storm he starts to show up at every social gathering he knows I attend regularly, religiously, and always gets there before me. House owners on a few occasions complain that he’s showing up before the party has started. He situates himself in the middle of each gathering, talks loudly throughout the evening and tries to make conversation with me anytime I walk by or get into his voluminous voice range. The situation is visibly awkward but nobody wants to be the one to tell either of us to leave. So after a while I stop attending all of my usual social gatherings and find gatherings that he either isn’t allowed to attend or doesn’t want to attend. This significantly reduces my social circle, but it also keeps me away from the ex-friend. It takes several weeks, but I get invited to other gatherings and I find open invite gatherings that conflict with other appointments in the ex-friend’s regular schedule and attend those, bringing my social outings back to the usual 3 to 5 a week.
To wrap up this story I want to address how the shit spiraled out of control, from a simple social break into full-on stalking. If the ex-friend had respected my request to leave me alone for a while, I probably would have sat down with him and had a conversation with him about what had happened, and made amends. However that wasn’t what happened. His behavior went into the realm of disturbing to the point I felt I had to protect myself from him. Still to this day I don’t dislike him when he’s behaving normally. I dislike his drinking problem with the problems it brings, and I have both heard and seen signs of it still happening. He regularly posts pictures of bottles of liquor to chats and jokes about how wasted he’s going to get, and he still gets wasted and disrespects people and their space. When people complain about his behavior or threaten corrective action he says either he can’t remember his bad behavior happening or he shouldn’t be punished because he has a disability. I dislike his stalking and his refusal to respect my space. I dislike that he intentionally interjected into all of the social gatherings I enjoyed going to when he could have chosen to go to them on some days and not go on other days, so that both of us could attend without causing discomfort for others. Am I completely innocent? Probably not. I’m sure I could have behaved better, too. But if he had asked me to stop, I would have stopped.