I was reading a post from the Springfield Cyclist and that inspired this post, which I hadn’t planned on writing but now can’t avoid.
A friend that I was trying to work with didn’t make it. Sadly, we drunks tend to die before our time if we don’t choose recovery, and when we do cash out we usually leave a train wreck behind us.
I could have done more to help him. I could have held his hand, left my family to stay with him, called him on a more consistent basis, led him by the nose… None of it would have gotten him sober. I’ve never seen any form of coddling work but you never know, this time, for the first time in the history of man, it could have.
The truth, at least for him, was a little more sucky. The truth is painful. I had to accept that I was a low-down, loser of a drunk before I could cease fighting to keep drinking – and that’s what we do, we fight to keep drinking.
My friend’s problem was even a little worse, he was mired in self-pity. It wasn’t fair, it was her fault, the law’s fault, the world’s fault – anyone but his own. Self-pity to a drunk, unless cast aside, is suffocating, enervating and deadly as a pistol. If everything is the fault of others, there’s nothing I can do to change. For a drunk to pity oneself is akin to a fox blaming the pig because the fox was caught raiding the henhouse. It plays well to the dopes, but the pats on the back soon fade to memories as each dope realizes the fallacy of the construct as they are duped, used and cast aside for another more gullible enabler.
If that seems harsh, it is… But it’s the God’s honest, unvarnished truth.
Some are what we call constitutionally incapable of being honest – this is where my friend lived and got drunk. Again and again until he’d used up everyone he could.
When he ran out of dupes, he died. Alone. Found unresponsive. Much will be said of this man. They’ll speak kindly of him at his funeral, probably gloss over much of the wreckage he created and maybe even wrap a nice bow around it…
The sad truth is he is dead because he wouldn’t place the blame where it belonged: On himself.
Don’t be that person. That shit’ll kill ya.
My sponsor told me that self pity, self doubt and self persecution are the three killers of sobriety. I would have to agree — self pity nearly killed me before I got sober. And I was going down that same road of alienating friends and family that your friend did.
This is a very important message for anyone, not just drunks, to understand: self pity really is deadly. I have to fight the tendency to feel sorry for myself every single day. If I don’t, it will drag me down like slow-motion quicksand.
Amen Brent, Amen.