Sunday, June 25, 2006

Alcoholics Synonymous

Alcoholics are abusers of the drink of course. They are also users. They use people for purely selfish reasons; for any personal advantage and gain without so much as a token thank you. They are egoistic; manipulative; arrogant; dishonest; opinionated right up to the brim, overflowing even; have no compunctions about doing what they do; know that what they do is right, and never need more than a bit of glib justification to establish their case.

I have friends who are alcoholics. I know people who may not be friends but are alcoholics. I know alcoholics who have been through detoxification and rehabilitation often, are apparently clean, sober, going through the Program, yet retain the qualities I've mentioned above. Of course there are exceptions, but I do not include them in this rant of mine.

One alcoholic, a friend since childhood, lost his mother recently. In fact the reason he had been in a rehab for three months till the day his mother died, was because of the inhuman treatment he had meted out to her. The reason he had to part company with his wife and two sons was because of the consequences of his alcoholism. The reason he is unemployable is alcohol. The reason his mother died was due to the effects of his abuse which caused a deterioration in her already frail, medical condition. Today I consider him a previous friend. A person as easily detested as you could be indifferent to.

I know that AA requires moral and emotional support for a recovering alcoholic/addict from his family and friends because they say it is a family disease. An incurable disease that affects all those closely connected with the abuser even if they themselves do not share his choice or consumption of intoxicant. Alcoholics know that. And because they have this crucial piece of knowldege, they knowingly take advantage of it. They then expect the world and its uncle to support them in all the ways they themselves are too lazy or reluctant to do, which is everything. If they could get you to wipe their bum after they take a dump, they would. Everyday. Every time.

Alcoholics are insecure, but show off as if the world turns because the sun shines out of their arse. This is evident from their I-centred talk. It's always "I did this", "I did that", "I said it first", and notably, "But I didn't do it!". This ex-friend, at a prayer meeting for his late mother, when asked to say a few words, only talked about how he returned to this city to be with her after his father passed away, implying an unselfish sacrifice. He talked of what he did for her, he talked of being the devoted son he never was. Not once did he even mention the contribution she may have made to his existence other than calling her his mother. I know for a fact that even in private, he has expressed no remorse or regret, or even shed a crocodile tear.

The first two days out of rehab, he really seemed to be on the rocky road to full recovery. We were impressed, both with his progress and the good that the rehab had done for him. Yet, once his mother had been consigned to earth to complete her cycle of dust to dust, and he became increasingly aware of his inheritance (not a fortune, but no pittance either), he regressed to his former self. His alcoholic self. His true, real self. He reverted to being immodest, insufferable, inexcusable in the shortest possible time. His excuse for not returning to the rehab as he had promised when he was released for his mother's funeral, was this: "They've taught me to face reality, to handle the outside world, and if I don't start doing that now, when will I?" That's glib. Impressively so. In normal circumstances, he would have been there another three months at least. His counsellor told me that, adding that while he was improving, more time was necessary for a complete recovery. This ex-friend told me how he doesn't like his counsellor for many reasons, not least being that person's inability to be intellectual. I believe his counsellor just saw through him and was in the process of making him reveal his true self, when the mother's death interrupted matters.

This guy used the rehab as a good excuse to stay out of prison which neighbours and well-wishers of his mother wanted him to be in. He had a clean-up as it were, at a long, rigorous, but healthy vacation, and now with no further responsibilities, with easy access to a fair bit of cash, and the pretentious, misplaced sympathy of certain people who don't actually know him, he is going to become a rich alcoholic. For a while of course. Till the money is all drunk up, till his cirrhotic liver and his preferred lifestyle send him to an early grave. I can only hope it will be a timely one.

One other alcoholic I know has never been in rehab or through detox. He fortunately has no family to abuse and spread his disease to. He too shares the same qualities as the one above, but in varying degrees. He is obssessed with proving he is India's foremost competitive bridge player, is perhaps the only stock market trader in the country who did not make money in the fleeting boom period recently, and denies his alcoholism vehemently.

A third one, or as he likes to call himself "a recovering addict and alcoholic", currently benefiting from the Program to only stay clean, is similarly warped in the head. Offering to place him in an income-earning opportunity, I also gave him a friendly warning that the employer already knew of his previous addiction problems and it was a good chance for him to prove his capabilities despite the reputation that preceded him. He so surprised me with his almost crazed, hysterical reaction to this warning of mine, that I have resolved never to help him again. All he does is attend AA/NA meetings every evening, and surfs the Net all day looking for women who will pity him enough to marry him, if not, just lay him. Meanwhile, his older brother accommodates him, takes care of his expenses, doing more than he should, and getting used once again in the bargain he has made with his sibling to stay clean.

It perhaps is not possible for organisations who work with addicts to both rid the abuser of his dependancy as well as clean up his way of thinking. I believe the three persons I've mentioned above were already messed in their minds and their true personality types merely accentuated by the abuse of the intoxicants. They sorely need serious psychiatric help but who's going to help them get it? Not me!

And just as a by the way: "The Globe, issue 2, 2005, is a special issue, "Launch of Indian Alcohol Policy Alliance." A few statistics: 62.5 million users of alcohol in India; per capita consumption up 106.7% over 15-year period; sale of alcohol growing at 8% a year; 270,000 people die each year due to use and abuse of alcohol..."


Prerona said...

i really liked this - a topic close to my heart. however, all alchoholics are not of the same cast. there are all kinds out there - many shades of strange.

personally, my conflict is, sometimes i feel there's only so much u can do to push someone to change. at some point, they have to want it, else u can spend ur whole life pushing them but they wont move. and yet at other times, at the point of giving up on them, i feel, they dont know what they are doing. if someone were walking down the street and into a truck bcz the wind swept something into their eyes and momentarily blinded them - but u were there and cud see both them and the truck - are u responsible in some part for pulling them outof the way? even if they - bcz they cant see the truck - think ur nuts?

patrix said...

good point, prerona! and yet, if one has even a shred of humanity left, how can one stop trying? for my personal satisfaction, being a goody two-shoes is preferable to being an indifferent wimp, regardless of the opinions i may have expressed!

Prerona said...

"being a goody two-shoes is preferable to being an indifferent wimp" ... for reasons to elaborate to explain, it sounds wonderfully re assuring to hear that. thank u. sincerely :)

lol at the the uncle patrick thing (on procheta's blog)