You see it unfold slowly, like coming rain. It starts with that need to constantly have a pint. When you call him he will be in a bar. Daily. Even Mondays. Then come the episodes in the bar; the fights or aggression, the reluctance to walk away and leave when time has come to go home, the blackouts in the club. There is that point when work starts to suffer because they are indoors nursing a hangover. This comes with missed appointments. Warning letters. Then those phone- calls that ask for money. Soft loans that will be paid by end month but never quite get settled. The physical manifestations start showing: their faces sink in at the cheeks, the dry lips, the clothes that begin to hang on the body’s shoulders like a scarecrow. General sloppiness. Untucked shirt tails. Missed belt loops. One. Two. Ill fitting pants. Red eyes. Sloppy talk. Booze breath. Then one day you will be riding in their car and they ask you to pop the glove compartment and casually ask you to retrieve a bottle of whisky in there. “Dude,” you will say, “you can’t drink at this time of the day, man, and certainly not when you are driving!” They will call you a wanker and grab the bottle from your hand and take a swig straight from the bloody bottle.
Then you will know there is a problem.
We all love our whisky and a little debauchery. We all work hard to afford the fine drink. But not all of us will know when to draw the line in the bar, when to say “this is enough”, “I can only handle this much”, “I should only take this much.” There are some of us who get dependent. Those who slide into the bottle, with only their heads above the drink, at the brink of destruction.
And we have to say something,we have to intervene. We can’t drink and make merry and then step aside when a pal is becoming a drunk. It wouldn’t be cool. It’s not right. It’s hard, of course. It’s hard to sit him down and tell him, “Boss, you have a problem with alcohol,” because he will ask you if you are Jesus. He will feel persecuted. But you have to have that conversation with him or her. You have to point it out, because you will be saving him from the bottle.
Save a friend today. Have that conversation.