“…I’ve unfriended you on Facebook and blocked your phone number. You are my last alcoholic. Goodbye.”
I don’t like to say that my family is all alcoholics, but we have pretty strong numbers. My grandfather was dead at 45, his liver rotted through, leaving behind a small family and a whole town of party buddies who thought he was really great. It’s an established fact that alcoholism runs through families. It doesn’t necessarily breed other alcoholics, but it breeds codependents and nurturers and excuse makers and people who seek out alcoholics as partners.
I’m not an alcoholic, and my sister isn’t, but we find ‘em and we date ‘em. It’s what we’re good at. She is of the opinion that there’s no man in the world who’s not an alcoholic, because she hadn’t met one yet.
I can tell when someone is an alcoholic or an addict without ever seeing them use. It is my superpower, because if you are an alcoholic or addict active in your addiction,
- I will find you attractive. I will feel that magical flutter in my chest that only happens in the movies and which I now associate with fear.
- Alcoholics will tell you the same stories over and over, and they forget the things you tell them, because they weren’t listening. They tell you things when they’re drunk and they don’t remember when they’re sober. This is your problem.
- Alcoholics may brush with greatness, but sometimes they don’t seem to have achieved very much. Maybe they were nearly in a big band, or they used to be in one, or made some great art when they were younger, but now they’re 40 and call themselves a photographer but the last time they took a picture was last year sometime, or they just keep losing job after job because everyone else is a JERK.
- Alcoholics don’t prioritize sex. Personally, I love sex, and if I love you, I really want to have sex with you, lots of it. Alcoholics might have sex with you if they are able to after the bar closes and if there’s no booze in the house. And that’s abnormal. Science tells us that healthy men will prioritize sex over food, over sleep, over personal safety- but not over addiction.
- Sometimes you can tell someone is an alcoholic because nothing is ever their fault. If you hang around long enough, everything will become your fault.
- Sometimes you can tell someone is an alcoholic because they are so charming and wonderful, and when they are nice to you, it’s the most wonderful feeling in the world, and it covers you in warmth and light, and when it turns off it feels like the planet Hoth. Alcoholics are two different people. You think that once they stop drinking, the bad selfish lying part will go away and the sweet smart creative will stay behind and love you, but the fact is that the second thing is a fiction that allows the first thing to survive. The mean drunk is who they really are.
- My last alcoholic was a super smart very handsome photographer that had been a TA for twenty years and wasn’t sure what had happened. He came to visit me from San Francisco and suggested we go to a bar in LA, and at the bar in a city where he didn’t live, everyone knew his name. So I was concerned.