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You Have No Idea !

You Have No Idea !
August 09
20:05 2019

By: Mike Rudon Jr. –

What are your thoughts on alcoholics? On drunks? You know…those terrible, nasty people who pretty much only take up space and make life hard for all the good folks? I figure you think alcoholics are those Hispanic guys you see staggering on the highways sometimes. Or weaving on their bikes, or fighting in one of the ten million sleazy bars around Belize, machetes never far away. You probably also think about those Mayas too. They love their liquor, right? See them all the time camped out in front of the bars until they fall asleep or somehow, through the grace of God or the spirits of their ancestors, find their way home. Those are the real drunks, you believe.

And those people. Down South. My lerd. I remember one election when a political party’s campaign strategy in Dangriga was to find a popular bar and open a bar tab for a couple months before the election, and invite everybody to drink as much as they want. Was a sure way to win votes, they figured. Cause these people love their liquor. Oh, oh…those guys too that you see walking around in tattered clothing in the city, looking like they have no home. Sometimes you can catch a glimpse of that red top in their back pocket. Sometimes they come ask for a dollar or two, reeking like the end of the world. Did I miss anybody? Maybe those guys you see on corners or select spots countrywide always drinking – when the sun comes up and when the sun goes down. Cuello’s sells the cheap bad man now, so life is good again. A whole new world. Filthy drunks, right?
Stereotypes are a hell of a thing. But they’re real, at least in the minds of very many people. People believe what they believe. And they know what they know. You can tell them that alcoholism isn’t about culture, or social standing, or bank account, or how cute you are – you know, ugly people drinking are drunks. Cute people drinking are just, em, letting off a little steam. It is what it is.

I am always blown away by people who think they know, but have no idea. Hell, I have people who refuse to accept that I’m an alcoholic. Imagine – I’m admitting that I’m a drunk and they’re saying nope, you’re not. See, I can’t be an alcoholic because I clean up well, and I hold down a job, and you don’t always see me with a drink in my hand. I can also have an intelligent conversation, and I love my kids. I’ve just given you a bunch of reasons why I’m not an alcoholic – except that I am.

I could tell you horror stories. I could tell you about my hiding bottles of rum in my home, strategically placing one or two so that they would be found quickly by my now ex-wife, with the hope that she would stop looking. The kids would go hunting all the time – except they wouldn’t be hunting Easter eggs. They’d be hunting bottles of white rum, trying to save me from myself. Those are the more pleasant horror stories. Like a Brothers Grimm tale, but the animated version. Ugh!

How many times have we heard about the most tragic accidents, multiple fatalities including children even? The driver was drunk. Before that driver was drunk, he was just a normal guy like all of us, not an alcoholic. But after the accident, he enters the Alcoholic Hall of Shame and in social media and on the streets he is condemned and vilified and scorned. There are calls for flogging and lynching and even public execution. I smirk a lot when I read that stuff, because see, a lot of people who are calling for the public execution live in houses built from the glass of rum bottles. But they are not drunks. They haven’t killed anybody. So it’s all good. It’s a hell of a thing.

Every weekend, and most weeknights, every bar in Belize is full of drinkers. Every club, ever park, every social function and a lot of homes. I’ve been there. I’ve seen it. I have seen young girls so drunk if you asked their names they wouldn’t know it. I have seen kids practically comatose in bars. And it’s the same faces you see. Do you think because you get drunk at Thirsty Thursday every weekend night you are different from the man or woman who gets drunk in some less socially acceptable spot? Do you believe that because you dress in expensive clothes when you are vomiting all over yourself after another bout of drinking, you are any different from the man in dirty clothes vomiting in a drain? Do you really believe that because you drive a fancy ride home to your fancy house when you can’t even see straight, you’re any different than the man who staggers home, or who has no home?

Here’s something you may not know, or want to know. Alcoholism is blind, and greedy. I have known doctors who are alcoholics, and I remember one who regularly had to be revived so he could work his shift at a regional hospital. There are many business executives who are drunks. Bankers. Attorneys too. Politicians. Social workers. Priests. A lot of those pretty little boys and girls spending their parents’ cash at the popular clubs right now. It’s the truth. And we don’t want to see it. A lot of you are alcoholics, but you won’t look in the mirror. A lot of us are alcoholics, but you can’t bear to see it.

I’ve been sober a little bit now. Have no intention of going back to my old life. But I can tell you that our culture of drinking in this country can destroy us and is destroying us. We only vilify drinking when it results in bloodshed…when it’s ugly and nasty and vile. Do we not get that whether a woman gets drunk on fancy daiquiris with garnishes at a posh club, or gets drunk on red top outside a brothel, it’s the same thing? No? That’s what I thought. We don’t get it.

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