Here’s what happened: I purchased alcohol once for a family friend. I was thirty and teaching at the time. She was underage and in search of a drink. She was also depressed. I don’t know if I knew then that she was drinking quite as much as she was.
But I was old enough to know better. I was jeopardizing my job – and my career for life. If I had been caught, I would have lost my job and likely would not have received a teacher’s license ever again.
Why did I do it? I think in part because I was shocked: no one had ever asked me to do anything like that before. A friend once said that my greatest fault was wanting everyone to like me. So maybe that’s why I did it.
My friend killed herself a few years after that. The bigger significance here was that the one thing I did to help her was to get alcohol; I’ve always wondered what more positive thing could I have done.
That’s been hanging over my head for many, many years. I’d like to think of myself as a person who tries to help people, but in this situation, I didn’t. I understand that on a rational level I’m not responsible, that I didn’t hurt her – but the dots still connect on an emotional level.