Thursday, 12 June 2014
Who would be crazier? The alcoholic? Or me, the person who picks one out, then complains they do alcoholic things, like drinking when they shouldn't and wreaking all kinds of havoc?
To be angry at an alcoholic for doing alcoholic things make no more sense than being angry at a dog for barking or a bee for stinging.
When I find myself complaining about the alcoholics in my life, I have to ask myself what I am protecting. Clearly, if I am not setting boundaries or getting the hell out of the situation, I must at some level be getting a kick out of it.
Sometimes I have stayed in deals with alcoholics because I am scared of being alone, scared of a boring life, scared I will have to admit I was wrong, or scared to admit I was powerless, preferring to flit between guilt and blame.
No, whenever I complain, I have to be honest with myself and say: what would the alternative be? And why have I chosen to remain exposed?
I started to get well when I realised that loving alcoholics gives the sober people around them a lot of power and the self-righteous kick of the victim and martyr. How important I was that this helpless loser would depend on me to clear up the mess! How brave, and strong, and wise, and competent I was, effective and efficient for the two of us, while he was passed out or drinking vodka mixed with fruit juice, because it's healthy, or snorting lines cut with a maxed-out card.
And all the while, I craved the excitement and sentiment that only alcoholics could provide.
The orphan with the big eyes and the broken wing; the promises and super-sized dreams; the fantasies of theirs that even I started to believe in.
As a friend of mine says, they are Halloween, Christmas, and Valentine's Day all rolled into one; turnip juice in a beautiful glass; their light shining just that little bit brighter than the boring, humdrum, 'normal' people that were the alternative.
I did not start to get well till I could start to admit I had as much of a problem as them: they need alcohol to feel alive; I needed an alcoholic. After all, why else would I invite them into my life, one after another?