Sunday, December 07, 2014
Sunset at Holyrood Pond - Newfoundland.
Once upon a time I decided to do something about my drinking, known as "The Failing" where I come from. The Failing was an exclusive classification given to drunken old priests in large stone mansions with a doddery old housekeeper cleaning up after them. Or a gawd-luv-'im bank manager soaking his braincells to mush every night in the pub while his wife and childer hid behind the curtains, starving and waiting for another smashup of the remaining sticks of furniture. Status was everything when it came to categorizing these swanky alcoholics.
A drunken woman wouldn't be spoken about in the same breath. She'd deserve a fresh gulp of air and a brand new paragraph full of words like "a drunken slut", or "she should cop herself on" or "her poor suffering husband should leave that terrible wan, the church would give him an annulment for sure, they'd understand."
The old double standard, still rampant to this day I'm sorry to say, especially out on this Rock where women die in droves from untreated alcoholism, too ashamed to make themselves visible in recovery houses or detox centres. Small island, endless gossip syndrome.
I hang around recovered alcoholics. They're my tribe since June 1986.
I've learned a lot about the disease. Yes, much of it is hereditary, some of it can be environmental. You get the old nature vs nurture argument. But the debating society can continue without me. I yam who(m)I yam. Whether it was because of grandparents or aunties having it, I really can't be arsed. I did once. But it's just a distraction from the recovery. The drinking is merely a symptom for all the emotional shyte underneath, festering, needing a regular airing. With those who understand completely.
All I know is if I walk into a function/party/wedding/funeral and one or two or three of my tribe are there we will seek each other out with an ESP that would astonish you and immediately zero in for an often silent hug before we move on.
Why? You might ask.
Because we live in spite of.
When so very many died because of.