The most challenging thing a person can experience in life is to watch someone they love dismantling their world and wasting away because of addiction. I cannot illustrate how painful this feels, although I know I do not face this tragedy alone. Drinking is common and socially accepted. It’s common to neglect and evade all responsibility and reason only to throw away your life and surrender yourself to the bottle.
I used to think I could change the inevitable, that I could rehabilitate the addict with love and care, that I could stop the monster from forming in the mirror. The thing about alcohol is it doesn’t like to share. It’s eager and impatient, always ready to devour the person it possesses. It consumes the warmth and benevolence of our loved ones; it spits out malignancy that manifests the monster within them.
Some alcoholics are festive, the life of the party, I wish that was the case for all. Alcohol is manipulative. It twists and distorts the clarity of the consumer and disfigures their ability to reason; it makes them blind to the glimmer of fear in your eyes as they reach for another bottle. Most importantly, it facilitates ignorance and delusion and modifies their acts of terror to appear to them as lively and entertaining. Some alcoholics are calm and collective after they’ve had enough, and they peacefully drift to sleep without traumatizing their loved ones. I pray every night for a miracle like that, to not wake up to screaming and the roaring of profanity, to no longer visualize the violence which would be the epitome of my childhood. Although I’m grown and no longer remain at the center of rampage and destructiveness, there’s not a day that goes by that I do not wake up fearful that this is the day alcohol will take my loved one away.
Alcohol is an annihilator. It wreaks havoc upon families, mutating love into carnage and assassinating the opportunity for a child to thrive. Alcohol slaughters a child’s hope and leaves them nothing, only to lead them down the road to drown in demolition. Words cannot convey how difficult it is for a child to witness the craving, the fixation that an alcoholic procures. No child can understand how a bottle of beer becomes more important than putting dinner on the table or taking care of them when they are gravely ill. It implants misery in your heart and within your mind.
Loving someone with an addiction is a war. It’s an impossibility to reach compromise; it’s impossible to make them love you. I say this because I’ve tried. Alcohol is a virus, an infection forever injected. It’s genetic too. That’s the scariest part of all, that someone so repulsive, pervaded with indecency, and filled with such barbarity could be transmitted to an innocent child. It’s scary to say that this person could be me one day. Statistics say it all, and the odds are against those like myself. Genetically, we’re screwed, but I don’t choose to see it that way.
I believe everyone has a choice in this world—even when immersed in adversity, we all have a choice. The choice to be who we needed when we were younger, to reject the person who made you fearful of Happy Hour or the sound of beer cans piling up in the kitchen sink. You have the choice to make a difference, to agitate and break the cycle, and manifest a family without the toxicity. Create a family that teaches their children how to love rather than fight, to live freely rather than be controlled by a cancerous commodity.
It’s simple, the reality of it all is you can’t change them; no one can. I wish there was a simple trick I could share that would reverse the damage done and could stop the enslavement to this liquid cancer. However, I’m not writing to those who have made their decisions, the decision to be a model of violence and corruption. I write to those who have yet to make them. I write to those that lived and breathed in a world without light, love, and sobriety. You have a choice and it’s solely your decision—the decision about who you choose to be in this world.
Be the person you needed when you were younger. I ask you to please be sober.