Another story in a million stories, another idiotic comment in a string of comments… And I quote:
Look, the issue now for me is not about the pros and the cons of the law, or how thrilling it is that I have the privilege of helping to underwrite drug-addicted and alcoholic deadbeats. It’s moot. It’s law.
The person who wrote that is a very good, years long friend of mine. It was one of a million posts (exaggeration) he has been writing lately about the ACA. I have been holding my tongue, or my fingers, from making any comments. Practicing that old “restraint of pen and tongue” thing. It hasn’t been that hard because others have been clearly stating my opinion to him, no need for me to get into the debate.
Until that….that ridiculous, hateful, stupid, clueless prejudiced piece of drivel, spouted off as if it were a clear fact : “drug addicted and alcoholic deadbeats”….
OH YEAH??? Like ME!!???
The feeling of shame blindsided and overwhelmed me. The anger followed right on the heels of the shame and I very quickly typed out a scathing retort about his stupidity, his need to name call, how all of his posts have been rude and demeaning but this one took the cake, that, oh and by the way he just might like to take a good hard look at his own drinking and then signed off with “your alcoholic friend”.
The I took a very deep breathe and pushed….delete.
I know better. I know “what others think of me is not my business”. I also know it is quite possible that he doesn’t even know I am an alcoholic, and that if he did he might have thought before posting that.
Yes, he is an old and dear friend, but he and his wife moved away before I stopped drinking. They have been back to visit and I have been to their daughters wedding in Santa Fe since I got sober, but I’m not sure they noticed I wasn’t drinking,
busy as they were drinking because it is not all about me. We drank together sure…and plenty over the years, but my real drinking was done alone; there were many surprised people when I finally got sober. Benefit of the doubt is that he does not know.
MAN, this has got me so twisted though! I hate the stigma of alcoholism,and this kind of comment just perpetuates it, in such a mindless, careless way. This thinking keeps people from getting help, because of shame but also because the vast majority of alcoholics are not deadbeats, they are like me. Like you. When people we love and care about characterize us like this, even without knowing, it’s so painful. It’s hard to not take it personally, it’s hard to not feel shame and self-hatred along with great anger and sadness at the behaviour of others. I don’t run around shouting from the rooftops my alcoholic status. I keep it close to the vest. I mean, sure I get the 12 step Buddha on my news feed and other occasional recovery related items, but I don’t think most people notice, or, frankly, care. It isn’t about me, yet this felt like it, it felt like it was about me. It hurt, really hurt.
I don’t know what, if anything , I am going to do about it. Obviously the dramatic, just-as-hateful post is not gonna happen, thankfully! Grateful I have learned that lesson well and, besides, the feelings of shame I had? I don’t want to perpetuate that. A stupid remark doesn’t deserve that. Does it deserve compassion? Probably…not sure I am there yet. Does it deserve a response at all? That’s a good question,one I am working on.
It doesn’t deserve a public response. I’m not ready to fly my flag right out there, loud and proud. A private response though, a PM just being honest and as loving as I can possibly be, and yet firm. Calling him out at the absurdity and falsehood of the statement and the fact that I was personally hurt by his comments. “As an alcoholic myself I was personally hurt by your comments…whether directed at me or not I am a member of a fellowship of people in recovery from alcoholism and the perpetuation of the false stigma of addicts and alcoholics as derelicts and deadbeats hurts us all”.
I don’t know. This is a hard one for me.
I am definitely up for any and all input.