1.They tend to have a genetic predisposition. Something in the brain is a little haywire, slightly imbalanced. Both are examples of invisible diseases.
2. They get a boatload of judgment. Both get the, “Aren’t you over that yet?” Both get unsolicited tips. “Just stop after one”. “Just get outside”. “Just appreciate what you have”. “Just get over it”. Rarely does any good advice begin with, “Just”. One of the most ridiculous is, “Stop being so selfish”.
3. They don’t want to be this way. As beautiful as a good drink feels, no one wants to be hooked. As needed as a good cry is, no one wants to be unable to fathom happiness. These are not pleas for attention, the behavior is a result of the disease, uncontrolled.
4. They relapse. Even when the disease is managed, there are still ups and downs. There are depressive dives and days (weeks/months/years) when long-sober alcoholics might contemplate a drink. Or take one. Or more.
5. They take things day by day. Forever. It’s not over, not ever. There is no, “I’m done with that now”. There is a split-second moment in almost every single day in which the person isn’t sure if they will make it.
6. They push people they love away. They act like assholes, highly emotional and illogical while in the thick of it. They’re unpredictable. They say things they do not mean. They are too intoxicated, or too tired to be nice.
7. Sometimes they smell. Or otherwise don’t take care of themselves. Stress has an odor. Alcohol has an odor. Sweat has an odor. Both are gangrenous, eating a person alive from the inside out, emitting the stench of decay in the process.
8. They can be a drag to be around. They can be wildly out of control or barely-breathing, impossible to move from the bed. It can be exhausting to stay positive and uplifting when the person you are with is neither of those things.
9. Left unchecked both result in a slow, toxic death. Unpleasant to think about, but all too true. The alcoholics know it. The depressives know it. For some reason the friends and family don’t always know it.
10. They tend to benefit from support groups and networks. Alcoholics Anonymous, church groups, online groups. It’s usually helpful to talk to others who understand a situation. If you fall into either category, you are not alone. Not even close.
Need some help getting some help? Here are a few relevant links: