If I had to compose a top ten list of adjectives to describe the alcoholic, the word gone would surely place near the top. So in the TDA Alphabet Primer, the letter G is for gone. While earlier letters of the primer focused on those of us alcoholics in recovery or still practicing, I would hope that families and colleagues of alcoholics and addicts pay particularly close attention to this segment.
Regardless of how many times they have witnessed a loved one or coworker choose alcohol over family or work, it is very difficult for those who do not directly suffer from the disease to fully understand just how completely powerless we are over alcohol. Surely, they must think, William’s ball game must be more important than drinks after work but a quick look in the stands will confirm that daddy is gone. How about that extra effort the boss thought John would put into the project that just had to be out the door by 4 PM… that is still sitting there half finished because he’s gone, never came back from lunch.
I think it is impossible for those addiction-free and of sound mind to understand how a simple drink could take absolute priority over all things in life. Friends, family, freedom and life itself all play second fiddle to alcohol in the world of the alcoholic. It may sound crazy to the uninitiated, and insanity it is, that’s why they call it a disease.
So if you have a practicing alcoholic in your life, I really doubt that you will ever really understand what they are going through or how they got this way. There is one thing however that it will behoove you to understand; you cannot under any circumstances rely upon an alcoholic. Regardless of how important you think an issue is to the family or the job, alcoholics serve only one master and just as soon as you depend upon them… they will be gone.