Kile Ozier imagines a conversation he might have with a friend in need. Because he understands.
Hey, My Friend…
Last night, three of the four people on this planet who care the most for you told you they want to help you with your “drinking problem.” No one threatened or challenged you, no ultimatums were presented, no judgement was offered and nobody made you Wrong for having this particular Monkey on your back.
You responded with threats and anger and challenges, ridicule and sarcasm, rationalization and justification; you struck when no one else had dealt a blow. All in all, you responded in a by-the-book, classic alcoholic / addict manner.
Your immediate response to a loving, caring, nurturing act of protection was rage. This might be worth noting as you reflect on last night’s conversation, given your chronological adulthood.
I did get a good laugh when you threatened our experience with your Sobriety. “Just wait until I’m sober, you’ll be sorry you asked for it…” Please remember you said that when you are sober and know just how ridiculous that sounds. We will be gleefully throwing it in your face at many opportunities.
Your response does make sense, of course; the Mind is profoundly resistant to Change and rabidly protective of the Status Quo. The mind of a drunk even more so. I hope this sinks in, Buddy, because I do not want to watch you hit bottom and lose so much of that to which you aspire, that for which you have been working so hard.
I only wish that when I was in this place in which you now find yourself, even one of my friends had pulled me aside and told me that I drank too much: that I should stop it.
Times were different, then, and the people with whom I’d surrounded myself consisted of a larger percentage of heavy drinkers / alcoholics. Even when I questioned my own drinking, sharing that I thought I may have had a drinking problem; the emphatic response from my heavily-drinking friends was “NO! You don’t have a problem at ALL!”
Likely because – had we acknowledged that I might have one, that might indicate that I was not alone in that.
So, I continued to think I could control my highs and time my inebriation (sound familiar?), would be thinking during the day of what I would be drinking that night, concentrating hard on some mornings to remember the details of the night before, and so on.
…until I nearly killed myself: barely missing two others while driving drunk, lacerating my face, losing both a lung and a hip, nearly losing my traumatized liver, breaking various bones and transforming a body in perfect health into one that can predict the weather where the cracks in the bones exist.
But I didn’t have anyone to tell me that.
Your behavior in the past six months has become more aggressive, more hostile, arrogant, dismissive and veritably compassion-free. I don’t think that’s the real you; I think that’s the frustrated, defensive, scared and insecure you. We’re all scared, man. All of us.
Dump the liquor and deal with yourself.
I hope, in the long run, you listen. Listen to what was said to you, listen to what you said. It’s all there; no news was communicated, last night. You know you have a serious problem.
You even acknowledged your alcoholism, Babe; justifying it in lieu of the current unavailability of other mind-altering substances for you to “…be able to relax and sleep.” Rather than acknowledge that you have a problem that calls for being dealt with; you embrace it as a Given and something you (and we around you) must endure.
But that’s what alcoholics do. They suffer the self-pity of their own self-destruction and then drink more to make it less painful, thus making it worse.
My friend; one can sleep without alcohol or drugs. While that can seem fun, the actual resultant rest isn’t the same quality as what one experiences, for instance, after a good workout. And the end result is what you see in the mirror and in the faces of those who care for you.
Don’t dismiss it.
The same goes for relief of stress. Plenty of us around you are under great stress; there are healthy ways to alleviate that. Work out, box, swim, run…take CARE of yourself, man. There’s only one You, and we want you around.
You have choices to make, and all of them will affect your future.
As one who has been through one or two of these Hells; it looks to me from here that you are very close to hitting bottom. I truly do not want that to happen.
As I write that, I know that – in your mind set of the moment – this almost sounds romantic to you. As you embrace your drinking, as you revel in discovering you are drunk and lost and don’t know your way home. I witness the perverse pleasure you draw from your hangovers and your cancelled meetings or lost days at work…they just “prove” something you are in love with; that you are not Good Enough.
You are more than Good Enough, Amigo. More than Good Enough.
So here’s the thing. You’re 30. You’ve got to Step Up, now, and handle this or it will get the better of you. You can clean up your act and continue to soar skyward on a trajectory of success that has continued unabated for the past few years…or, you can get busted by this, lose your job(s) and ultimately find yourself running lights for a backwater high school theatre and being school Custodian on the side.
What was given to you last night was a Gift. It is my hope that you grow to see that. Rather than threaten your loved ones with the Consequences of your Sobriety; perhaps you could Gift them and yourself with the Real and Wonderful You who is currently drowning within you, now.
We’re here to help. We’re here to pull you out of the maelstrom, help you to shore, commiserate the rough times and help you find your way around the mental or psychological obstacles to less stress and more confidence…at the same time as we are negotiating our own Peace.
Last night was about Love and Caring, Mate. Please get a grip and take care of yourself.