Off my chest

News flash:  Alcoholics lie.

I realize this is a HUGE sweeping generalization.  But there, I said it.  They lie.  I would imagine other addicts do the same.  It’s part of the deal.  Part of the coverup.  Part of the behavior pattern. 

I don’t speak exactly from first-hand experience.  The origination of the lies part.  I speak from the other side of it.  The observer’s side.  The one-who-has-been-lied-to side.

And so based on THAT perspective, I’m going to talk a little bit.  And yes, if you hear thinly concealed anger swirling around with bottomless sadness and bone-weary frustration, you hear correctly.

They lie.  They do.  This one does.  The one of which I speak.  The one who has lied to me.  This one lies – and sometimes manages to rope the other one into the lie too.  Right to your face.  Sober or not.  Drunk or not.  "I’m fine."  "I’m not drinking."  "Well a little glass of wine doesn’t count."  And they want you to pretend right along with them.  That "pink elephant in the living room" thing.  We tiptoe around it but we are not supposed to speak ABOUT it.  Because, you know, it’s not really there.  No!  How odd that you would suggest such a thing!  Isn’t it odd that she said that!  Ho ho ho, how silly and misguided!  How incorrect!

And I wonder if the lie is even made consciously any more…or if the lie is so important in keeping annoying people like myself away, that the lie becomes more important than the truth…than the relationship…than anything.  Other than the alcohol, which, of course, is even more important than the lie.  The lie is kind of a bodyguard to the alcohol.  Sort of.  It protects THAT all-important relationship.  That relationship which has become more important than relationships with other humans…unless they bring you booze…or at least drink with you…or at least don’t glare at you when you drink.

Lies.  There is no truth in "I’m fine" if you can’t – CAN NOT AND ABSOLUTELY REFUSE TO ENTERTAIN THE THOUGHT OF IT – give up the booze.  I’m sorry.  There’s a vast difference between enjoying a good glass of Cabernet and needing to know there’s a bottle of SOME kind of alcohol in the house.  And that a little sip isn’t REALLY going to hurt anything.  And that day after day of a little sip and a little sip and maybe two sips or just one sip but a bigger sip than the other one…until something comes along out of left field that throws you off your carefully orchestrated "everything is fine" balance beam parade…and you fall…and one sip or two becomes one bottle or two…and horizontal becomes the position of choice…and you can’t climb the stairs or really move, for that matter…unless it is to reach for that blessed bottle.  The one constant.  The one reliable component.  The only thing that comes through for you without you having to really put a whole lot of effort into it.  Much easier to just drink into oblivion than to actually look yourself in the eye and NOT lie.  And DEAL with all the painful stuff.

Because in order for the lie to be effective on other people, you first have to convince yourself of the lie.  So you say it enough and you eventually forget that all is not really fine – that all is, in fact, a great masquerade of fine-ness, and really, under the sequins and ostrich feathers, all is really pretty crappy.  Not all of all…there are good external things…but you can’t see them really well any more because you are so busy focusing on not focusing on what is really awful and miserable and horrid and painful inside yourself that you might catch glimpses of the good stuff, but they go by like street signs on the highway.  Heretheregone.  And of no importance, since they are outside of the big ugly pit beneath the costume of lies you are constantly occupied with repairing.  Stitch upon stitch upon stitch. 

That tangled web, you know.

It’s exhausting to interact with such a person.  It’s a vomitous ride on a mental and emotional rollercoaster.  It’s painful because maybe this person is someone you can’t let go of…even if you are somehow supposed to because it’s such a toxic relationship.  So you try to keep yourself distanced somehow…try not to be in that little car when the ride starts…but even though you don’t believe the lie…there still remains some tiny, hopeful little part of you that wants to believe.  That wishes it would be different.  That it would finally really, truly be "fine."  But of course it’s not, and you know that the minute your guard remains down for too long.  You open that door and peek in and open it a bit more and hold your breath and hope and wish and open it just a little more and…and nothing bad happens so you exhale and BAM – that little door slams shut with you inside and there you go again.  And you try, while you are creeping all-too-slowly up to the top, to take deep breaths and somehow not really BE there on that ride…just to step back in your head and try to just observe, without your stomach ending up in your mouth and the tears stinging your eyes as you try not to scream because if you scream your mouth will open and what if your stomach falls out then where will you be????

And then you reach the top and head down that long, long, steep track that curves and spins sideways and you are flying along helplessly because there are lies upon lies telling you everything is fine everything is fine but you know it’s not fine but no matter how much you scream but the person you are screaming to doesn’t want to hear it. 

And the lies block the sound of your screams, so you basically just look like some crazy wacko with your mouth open and your face turning red.

The lies separate you from that person you foolishly think you can talk to and have any sort of an impact on.  That person doesn’t want you to get through.  For one thing, that person is superior to you.  That’s part of the lie; part of the barrier that keeps you OUT.  They don’t want you in there.  You don’t know what they are going through.  NO ONE does.  NO ONE knows what this person goes through or has gone through or will go through.  So stop banging on the door.  Your knuckles have blood on scabs on scars from all this banging and banging.  Just wrap your hand in some distant memories and go away.  You are not wanted.  Not if you’re going to be like this.  This person is fine, just fine, and does not need or want your intrusion.  Do you know how hurtful it is to this person when you say these awful things and dredge up the past and the past and the past and even the very recent past???  We don’t like to dwell in the past, we don’t.  Because we don’t like to have to look at those icky parts of ourselves.  We shut the door on them as fast as we can and don’t you dare try to make us look at them again because it will hurt our feelings tremendously and that really isn’t going to help at all and even if you say you are tired of being hurt, we will not listen because WE, TOO are tired of being hurt and cannot fathom anyone’s hurt outside our own.  WE are hurt and saddened by the things you say, the painful memories you dredge up and wave in our face…WE are trying to GO FORWARD and



and here you are bringing up the past.  So we will just get off the phone and weep for ourselves…our hurt and fragile selves.

We.  Because the person and the lie are a team.  The person doesn’t function without the lie.  And anyone who wishes to get along with the person must embrace the lie as well.  Embrace it.  Welcome it.  Hold it close and cling to it.  Make it a part of the family.  Because that pink elephant isn’t there at all.  That’s an ottoman.  A very big, garish, pink ottoman.  In the shape of an elephant.  But it’s not an elephant.  Oh, no. 

And there is no problem. 

Because we’re all just fine.

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