Dear Papa Bear,
First, I'm fully aware my grammar sucks, but at least, I have good spelling and thank you for your time :3
For a few months now, I've been thinking and bothered by a robbery that happened to me—or, more like who robbed me. I got back most of stuff (only missing three things), this happened in my home town; it's a small community, so it didn't take too long to find a few people to question, but while I was playing inspector, trying to find who did it, everything I found pointed to very close friend. Me and him were close, we have nicknames for each other (I was Chief and he was Apple). We always walked side-by-side, we know each other’s favorite color, we grew up with each other, we taught each to fight, we shared our money, we even showed each how to get in our homes, took each other to restaurants. We grew up in a bad environment (drugs, alcohol, bullies, etc.). We always told each other that one day, we would leave and find a better home. As we got older, my little brothers were born, which caused me to grow into a guardian-like personality (gay, straight, bi, I don't care, they're my brothers, and I'll protect them). My friend, on the other hand, gave in to the drugs and alcohol, and I never did. We became exact opposites, but our friendship never faded or weakened.
So I was very resistant to believe that he was the one to rob me. When I told my dad, who trusted Apple as much as me, of what, I've found, my dad was more than angry. My dad told me to strike Apple for stealing from me, or if I wanted my dad would hurt Apple for me. But I told my dad that I'd handle it. For the next few weeks my stuff would randomly appear by my window, which without a doubt confirmed it was Apple who stole from me (years ago, I told him, if he had anything for me, but I wasn't home, to just leave it by my window). I tried to confront him, but I could never find him, till one day another friend of ours got Apple to see me while I was doing yard work for my dad. We talked, and apparently Apple was drugged by his older brother (who was recently in jail) and tricked into robbing me. When the drugs started to wear off, and realized who he robbed, slowly he stole my stuff from his brother to return to me. He didn't want to see me till all my stuff was returned.
I told Apple that I'm very grateful that he was bringing back my stuff, but he should have told me. We could have gotten everything back together. He said he didn't want to get his brother in trouble (who's back in jail for stealing).
This is the only thing he has ever done wrong toward me. If I asked anyone else in real life they'd tell me to just hit him and carry on without him, I'm not sure, if I should forgive him and act like this never happened, or forget our friendship and continue my life without him? what would you do?
Hale (age 19, Alberta)
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Some people say that you should always forgive someone and turn the other cheek, no matter what. My philosophy is to take it on a case-by-case basis. There are certain parameters I use to decide whether or not to forgive someone, including:
A bad example of this comes from my husbear’s past. Yogi had a partner who was a crackhead. He started stealing and selling Yogi’s possessions to buy more drugs (fails test #1). Eventually, Yogi kicked him out of the house. Years later, this guy contacted Yogi again, asking to be friends again. He never apologized (fails test #4), nor did he offer to make financial amends for the thousands of dollars’ worth of stuff he took (fails #3). I imagine he failed #2 as well, since he was not high at the time he stole stuff because he was stealing in order to get high again. Yogi, basically, told him to piss off, and I agree with that decision. (Apple’s brother is likely stealing to pay for drugs, just as Yogi’s former mate was).
In your case, the answer to all the above questions is “yes.” This was the only time Apple stole from you; his mind was clouded by drugs; he returned the stolen items; and he apologized (correct?) I think we can both understand his behavior, and I believe the cause of it all is his brother. The solution offered by your father and some friends (to hit him and move on) is both unconstructive and ape-like in its lack of intelligence and compassion.
Hale, you should forgive Apple (at least for now), but that should not be the end of this story. Apple needs help. Now that you have forgiven him (or I hope you will), the next step is to be a true friend. You need to get Apple away from the bad influence of his brother, first and foremost. You also need to save him from a life of drugs and alcohol before he ends up like his brother. The theft he perpetrated is an alarm, a call to action that his problem is becoming worse.
To start, check out Alberta Health Services, or also Addiction Enders in Alberta, and see what you can do to find a rehab program for Apple.
It is time to be a real friend, Hale. Your friend needs you. His stealing from you should not be taken as a personal offense so much as a cry for help. You should help him while he is still your friend (which he showed by his behavior) because if you wait too long the drugs and alcohol will eventually rot his brain and change who he is. At that point, you are at risk of losing the person Apple really is forever. And that would be tragic.
I wish both of you luck. Please write again if you need further help.
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