It is fascinating how people who live unmanageable lives have that bravado to lecture you in detail about the details of your life.
They know what you are doing wrong. You are living in the wrong neighbourhood. You are shopping at the wrong grocers and retailers. You are overspending. You don’t know the value of things. You also don’t understand your profession in the way they would, if they were working at your job. Your friends are good-for-nothings. Your partner is deficient. If he was theirs, he would be doing what they want him to do and when. If she was theirs, she would not be so brazen and high and mighty. Your parents have expectations no one can possibly meet, they are freaks or too bougie or both – it depends on their mood, or the day. They can’t believe how you could have lived so long having gathered no life skills, having no clue about how to enjoy yourself, having been sheltered from all the bad stuff they know that life is, having made all those terrible decisions, without ever having been punished.
They, on the other hand, are misunderstood geniuses. They know the best neighbourhood. But there is a story about why they chose to live where they live and why they are just a breath away from being homeless. They know how to spend their money. But they get a kick out of returning their purchases to customer service and give clerks an unforgettable performance each time, and they feel free to beg for spare change for their booze and maybe their other drugs too. They claim to know the value of craftsmanship and of good work, but they can’t keep a job, their home is hardly furnished with high quality items, their vehicles break down frequently, objects and IDs disappear. Of course, they have their excuses down pat. Their friends are lenders and people who have an immense capacity to suffer and can not bring themselves to cut chords. Their work life is marked by inconsistency. But, of course, it is the bad boss, the envious colleagues, the unreasonable work rules that had more weight. Their friends are better than your friends, but those friends are fatigued and worried, or they drink too. Their dating history is a secret or fuzzy or scrappy. The reason why they broke up was because the ex turned lesbian. Or because he was too boring. The one idealized ex couldn’t put up with something, but you are not privy to the information. You never hear about domestic violence and why the police knows them too. They get so upset with other people’s parents that they find no time to speak about their own. They have done everything right. But other people interfered with their plans. They have been good eggs, but people are without any sense of humour and so sensitive these days. People’s deficient sense of humour and excessive touchiness is what makes this era terrible. In the past, in some unidentified rustic place, men were men, women were women, children were children, the government had no power, they could drink in peace and not even once think about taxes, laundry, fines or bills. No one suffered as much as they did. No one is as revolutionary, as vanguard, and as competent as they are. And while they sigh about the injustice of their fate, they fall asleep. They don’t remember the following day what they were lamenting about.
If you are the sober person sitting through this model of blather, be the responsible one. Accept that alcoholism is an illness of the mind and the body. Reach out to other sober people. Find literature about people who have survived alcoholic environments and have opened up about their pain. Don’t trivialize the situation you are in. Find all available resources for friends and relatives of addicts in your locality. Network.
My sister Karmen Jurela wrote an excellent book titled Rauschliebe / Double Life ☆. Double Life talks about being at the receiving end of alcoholism. The main character attaches herself, intensely and obsessively, to a long lost crush who turns out to be an alcoholic. Determined to make the relationship work, she gets pulled deeper and deeper into codependency and love addiction and becomes the alcoholic’s victim. The book will be available in English by the end of 2020. German readers can take a look at http://rauschliebe.de
There is plenty of helpful literature about alcoholism and recovery. There is not enough literature about the suffering of people who have to cope with another person’s addiction. Double Life speaks to the unheard and the neglected who are discovering their agency and gathering the strength to leave a setting that can kill them. It is a gripping book. It will shake and move you. You will not put it out of your hands. You will not regret reading it. It is new on the market. I recommend it to everyone affected by alcohol abuse.
27 July 2020
☆ Working title