Wednesday, May 13, 2015
What If There Was No Such Thing As An Alcoholic?
Hey, do you know this guy? I do, he's the guy I used as my yardstick to gauge whether or not I was an alcoholic. Okay, maybe not this guy, but I definitely had an image in my head of what I thought an alcoholic looked like. The blowsy bar fly with smeared red lip stick and blinking reindeer sweater lined up at the VFW potluck on Christmas Day because none of her kids invited her to their houses, her red solo cup of beer and smoldering cigarette waiting for her at the bar.
Yep, that was my vision of an alcoholic. She gave me great comfort. I wasn't her. And just as long as I didn't become her, I could happily keep on drinking. Right?
Nope. I was miserable. And I knew the cause. But as long as I wasn't an alcoholic, I didn't have to quit.
What if there was no such thing as an alcoholic? What if that word had never been coined?
What would we have to defend our drinking against? What excuse would we have to keep pursuing so fervently an activity that makes us unhappy?
If we could no longer console ourselves with the fact that we're not alcoholics, what excuse would we have to keep drinking ourselves miserable?
If I hadn't spent all those years assuring myself I wasn't an alcoholic, would I have just quit drinking just because it was making me miserable?
I think maybe it would be a good idea to abolish that word from our vocabulary. Although I wear it these days as a badge of courage, I'd surrender it if it meant people would quit using the excuse that they're not one, so they can keep on making themselves miserable.