What is to be alcoholic?

BY JACOB OKETCH

To be an alcoholic is to be dependent on alcohol. That is, without alcohol, you cannot effectively function as a human being. You are not able to perform the normal functions expected of a person. These may include, work, leisure or even sex. It means that you must induce yourself with liquor to be seen to be doing anything meaningful. Without it, you cannot perform as simple a task like just conversing with someone freely.

To be an alcoholic is to be forgetful. It is legendary how alcoholics can actually forget an entire scenario in a bar, which took more than an hour. It could be in a luncheon or any other gathering. In such places, several things take place at the same time. What a waste that an alcoholic attends such a function and leaves the place blank, without any meaningful contact. Furthermore, an alcoholic will instantly forget a person who has just been introduced to them in a function. What an embarrassment to meet someone and they remind you of where you met and yet, you are totally clueless of what they are talking about.

To be an alcoholic is to be bossy and commanding. This reminds me of this old man who could not stomach being corrected in an argument. You could see that he was always domineering. It is futile to try to win an argument with an alcoholic. And this is why spouses should learn the art of living with an alcoholic. To avoid altercations that lead to the use of force, a spouse should devise a better way of dealing with an alcoholic rather than arguing. This of course does not imply that one should just be submissive. On the contrary, there are a number of things that one can do to cleverly subdue an alcoholic other than just running your mouth.

To be an alcoholic is to be an intellectual actor. Most alcoholics have perfected the act of assuming an air of bragadoccio, especially one related to being educated and sophisticated. An alcoholic hardly speaks to somebody in their mother tongue especially if they are sufficiently educated and can speak the English associated with people of the West. They assume a superior demeanor which puts some people down. If you want to befriend an alcoholic, all you have to do is to speak to them in fluent English and pretend that you are a university professor.

To be an alcoholic is to be stubborn and unreasonable, most of the time. Why should people quarrel over the same thing all the time? One of the greatest marriage breakers is alcoholism. This is because of the promises that an alcoholic makes about quitting and then repeats the exact same mistake day in day out, year in, year out. 

To be an alcoholic is to be so carefree that you don’t pay attention to much of what is going on. There are so many things that happen in a single day. You occupy your time with so much drinking that you forget that that there are so many other things to focus on. That is why you find yourself with the same people and in the same place day in day out. There is very little diversification in what one does and that is why there is less motivation to try new things. Even if one is gifted in a particular area, they end up stagnating because there is very little room to expand that talent.

To be an alcoholic is to fail to nurture healthy relationships. Most friends that one has are those that they meet in drinking dens. Rarely do you find a meaningful friend in an alcoholic. Lasting friendships are brewed in schools, colleges and work institutions. These are friendships that occurred in the course of pursuit of a noble goal. What ignites them is one’s ability to excel in a particular discipline. Hence, the friendship is fuelled by a desire to be better in what one is doing. These are the kind of friends who go out of their way to promote a friend’s efforts to better their life.

To be an alcoholic is to be someone who does not aspire to achieve anything meaningful other than to have a good time with those they perceive as friends. There is no motivation to venture into a project that is geared towards improving their lot. As long as one is high, that is just about everything that life is all about. This lack of drive to excel stagnates one’s progress. You stop focusing on setting goals and striving to achieve them. When one reaches rock bottom, they realize that they have squandered so much time that the weight of disappointment can lead to suicide.

To be alcoholic is not fun but more importantly it is not by choice. One can be born an alcoholic. It is not necessarily a trait that you acquire. You are wired differently from other people. You are allergic to alcohol and using it has disastrous results for you. To be alcoholic can be genetic. Yes, it can be. So when you see yourself sinking deeper in alcoholism and your father also happened to be alcoholic, chances are that you are carrying the gene of alcoholism that has been passed on to you. It is important to note that an alcoholic may be one who did not set out to be one but it was rather predetermined because their kin was alcoholic long before they were born and thus, they inherited the gene.

To be an alcoholic is not a bad thing per se. It only becomes a bad thing when one is in denial because you are at a place where you are not able to handle your problem. The moment you flip the coin and accept that you are an alcoholic, hope enters your life and you are able to devise ways of going round your predicament. Admitting that you are powerless over alcohol is the first step to seeking therapy towards alcoholism. That acceptance is like repenting your sins and seeking forgiveness. And sure enough, you will get that pardon that you have needed for so long but which you have been unconsciously rebuffing by denying your condition.

To be alcoholic is to be sick and it is something that can only be managed by treatment. To be or not to be is not a choice for an alcoholic. The remedy to this form of sickness is to adhere to the principles of leading a sober life. Since it is a disease which has no cure, it is futile to spend one’s life trying to seek cure for alcoholism. Total abstinence is the antidote that alcoholism needs. Have a sober day.   

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