The best person to catch a thief is someone who knows the way a thief works, how he or she thinks. Only a thief knows how another thief behaves, and can spot their body language, the unconscious code that is apparent only to a member of same tribe.
If you are a “dysfunctional drinker”, I’ll spot you immediately, even in a crowded party.
Like I used to, you will immediately peruse the available alcohol – mentally calculating if there is enough. You’ll never let your glass get empty completely, you’ll keep topping it up – so no-one will know how much you have consumed.
You will laugh a little too loudly, won’t mingle, and only appear to be listening to the conversation.
You might display either annoyance or excessive interest in my sobriety.
If you catch my eye, and you are not too drunk, you might realize that you have blown your cover. But don’t worry, I won’t embarrass you, or call you out.
Here’s the thing – I know I can’t fix people. YOU have to fix yourself, just like I did.
I am mindful of words that Anne Lamott once said…
“Help is sometimes the sunny side of control”
I do have control over my own sobriety, however. And I have a duty to myself, to not let YOUR drinking impact me, and I refuse to be an enabler.
Just as there is honour among thieves, I have my own “code of conduct”.
I’ve accepted that everyone gets there in their own time. And some people never arrive.
It took me a LONG times before I even acknowledged that I might have a problem. And even longer before I dealt with it. Looking back, I know that I would have been defensive at best, and more likely outraged if anyone had tried to tell me that I should even ‘cut back’. I had to get there on my own.
Sadly, I know of too many people who have succumbed to debilitating health issues, even death, because of their addiction to alcohol.
If you are one of these people – I can’t save you. Only YOU can save you.
I’ve put my own boundaries in place.
I refuse to enable anyone to drink to excess. If you are a guest at my home, you don’t get to be shitfaced, and expect to be invited back.
I won’t tell you what you want to hear.
If you ask me about your drinking, I am going to give you my honest opinion. I also won’t be complicit in hiding your drinking. And don’t try and hide your booze in my house. I know all the spots.
I’ll talk about my experience- if you want to know.
It’s all public. You can ask me anything you want (within reason) and I’ll do my best to answer. You can read my blog and my book. You can take what’s useful to you- and you can leave the rest. Don’t try and pick apart my story to find the ways that you are “different”. As they say in AA – look for the similarities. I’m not “special” and neither are you.
I’ll be here – I won’t abandon you.
I’ll still be here, living my sober life. I won’t put my life on hold and I won’t run after you, because I don’t do that anymore. But if you need a shoulder, or a helping hand – you know where to find me.
We may be members in this strange “club” of dysfunctional drinkers (even if you haven’t yet accepted your membership), so I empathize. There is a bond between us – just as there is “honour” among thieves. But you don’t always get a free pass.
You can however, always expect honesty.