Denise R. Weuve

Ink Damage and Other Permanent Stains

The Drunk in Sobriety

It might be unfair to call him the drunk, he has been sober for a bit now. Still once a drunk always a drunk.  But he is aware now.  Aware of the lives around him like a newborn becoming aware of his own feet yet still unable to maneuver them into a walking position.

He explains how the holidays are difficult for him, perhaps he will drink again, but so far he has held out.  He must deal with family he would like to forget, friends he has distance himself from, and mostly himself.  His emotions get the best of him, drag him deeper into his selfish ways and he stops calling, talking, reaching, until right now.  He will work the grave yard shift to forget the eves and the days that follow.  Sleep through what he must.

As the night continues he tells how his sister owes him, for she stole his SSI checks when he started rehab.  Now in sobriety, he knows those who care about him will never leave him.  They haven’t this far, so when he retreats and disappears from them they let him come back.  I want to argue back.  I want to explain they allowed “the drunk” to retreat, because sometimes they had to be sick of him.  Sometimes they wanted him gone.  The kind ones excused his behavior as a drunk and not really the sensitive man he is.  What he doesn’t understand is now, he is not the drunk.  When he runs, it is him, the man he has cemented.  He can not blame it on a forgotten week, but instead on his own selfishness.

I tell him that eventually they will leave.

He reminds me I haven’t.  I’m here, listening comforting, and not being heard or comforted.  I guess he is right, I stay.  But I hate it here, and the holidays don’t feel like the holidays.  I have sent out cards, wrapped gifts, and still nothing.  I don’t want to spend time with family, or friends.  I don’t want to pretend I am happy when I struggle every day to find meaning in breath.  I don’t get to sleep through the holiday as I must orchestrate them for a detached family that will take without appreciation, that will measure love by dollar signs.  Or worry about whether I gave gifts that will stay with my friends, long after they have been disposed of.

What I want is a drink and a place I don’t desperately need to .

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