By Emmeline Bisiikwa, Uganda
I always have the worst luck when it comes to drinking, other people’s drinking that is. I can count the number of drinkers I have dated but they have left their mark. At best, they are functional alcoholics and at worst, alcoholics that didn’t know they needed help.
Don’t get me wrong, I have done my share of drinking and yes, drunkenness too. But I do not make it my life’s goal to find the next drink and drink myself to oblivion for whatever reasons. Or go to social gatherings every other day and drink all I can until I am not standing anymore.
Functional alcoholics too need the help, they just don’t know it yet. They drink and go to work, or work to drink. They take one before a presentation to steady their nerves and possibly take one after a hard day to relax. They believe they are safe and can stop for a while. I find it weird that that is who showed up on my doorstep.
I met him through a friend and he was charming and solicitous. I did not know it then but he had been drinking. He texted, called and seemed to enjoy talking to me. We did this all day for a while and then he invited me out of town with him and friends for a long weekend. I couldn’t make it so he went. They drank themselves silly all weekend and then some.
Come Monday, he asked to see me later that night. He has been drinking so I was hesitant; I really hated to see him for the first time under those conditions. However, he had been nothing but a gentleman so I agreed to meet him. We did meet and he was drunk, yet coherent, we talked, laughed and talked some more. At least he isn’t a bad drunk, I thought to myself.
We made plans to meet on Sunday but then on Tuesday while chatting, we agreed to meet the next day. After work I was excited to meet him but he was busy finishing up work. I asked him to text me when he was done. A few hours later, I asked if he was still at work. He said a few friends were meeting up for a drink but he would come see me after leaving.
Several hours and messages later, he revealed he was on his way. That was the last I heard of him that night. I went to bed disappointed and worried. Was he an alcoholic? Is this what I would have to deal with every time we made plans?
The next day, he apologized and said he had had one shot too many and got really drunk. He promised to make it up to me though. Now thing is, I had been down this road before. Was I ready to repeat my mistakes? Also how did you make someone realize they needed help if they couldn’t admit they were an alcoholic?
After all they were functioning, according to them.