As some of you may know one of the central contradictions in my life is that I'm a non-drinker who chooses to spend a vast amount of time in a bar, surrounded by heavy drinkers. I don't drink because I self-identify as an alcoholic who has been clean and sober (one day at a time) since New Year's Eve of 1986. I spend my time in the bar because one of my addictions that I still practice is to singing Karaoke. If you want to sing and have an audience, the bar is pretty much a necessity.
The people I hang out with, some of whom are very heavy drinkers and some of whom I strongly believe are alcoholics, know I don't drink. They see me sipping my club soda and getting up on stage to humiliate myself in a state of sobriety. I don't judge them as bad people for being either heavy drinkers or alcoholics, however anytime one of them indicates an interest in not drinking I'm certainly supportive.
It should be noted that although I am clean and sober lo these many years, by some definitions, I am more often in my disease than not, because I'm also a compulsive over-eater and sugar-addict. Although I've found Overeaters Anonymous to be ineffective for me in dealing with the addiction, I do accept the basic premise. My behavior around food is profoundly fucked up and self-destructive. This is another reason I'm not in a position to lecture my fellow bar denizens, no matter how fucked up I think they are. (Although I once did tell my friend David, "you're really drunk" just as a descriptive phrase, because it was like three in the afternoon on a Saturday and he was really drunk. He stopped for awhile. It didn't stick.)
One of the regulars is a lovely older gent named Scotty. Just a really sweet guy, although he can be just as deliciously bitchy as any Asian queen. He goes to the Mint, but never sings. Just enjoys the socializing and the drinking. Lots of drinking. He was a close friend of Brendan (RIP) and the two of them used to down a lot of shots together. I believe Scotty is in his mid 50's, although he could be slightly older. Recently, for medical reasons, he stopped drinking. (I think there were heart issues.)Didn't go to any meetings or do any steps. Just went on the wagon for six months. And he was doing great. Looked better. Said he felt better. Two weeks ago, I heard from Sebastian that Scotty was drinking again and I didn't want to believe it, but it was true. When Scotty told me, I said I'd heard. I could tell there was a certain amount of shame and guilt and embarrassment, but I think he just missed the social part of the drinking. I also think he's an alcoholic and the addiction asserted itself. I just smiled and kept drinking my club soda, because what else could I say?
WELL----apparently somebody did have something to say, and that somebody is Richard. (Not to be confused with my friend Rich. Rich is a guy I have a crush on, Richard is a guy I don't.) Richard is also a regular. He also drinks, but I don't really consider him a heavy drinker. He's a charter member of the Cult of the Hawaiian shirt and generally wears too much cologne. Mostly I duck him because of the cologne, but he's a perfectly nice guy.
Except on Sunday, he got it into his head to lecture Scotty about his drinking, and suggest he should stop again. He also compared him to Eddy, who owns the Mint and is in my opinion a stone alcoholic as well. There was also a knife brandished (Richard is an electrician and he carries an electrician's knife.) Scotty, who probably KNOWS that he should stop, went BATSHIT!!! He was bitching and grousing (and drinking) for most of the afternoon and then around 6:00PM, he went nuts and starting SCREAMING at Richard, telling him to shut up and then telling him to get out of the bar, which Richard did.
It was a SCENE! Big Drah-ma. Everybody just staring in shock.
So I don't know where we go from here. I assume everyone will just chill out and things will go back to normal. The thing is, I think Richard was totally 100% out of line. It wasn't his place to say anything.
I also think he was right.
But since I had a pocketful of Jelly Bellys that I was surreptitiously sneaking all afternoon, I'm really not the one to say anything about anyone else's addictive behavior.
More on this story as it develops.