I don’t write that much about alcoholism or addiction but that’s not because it’s not a constant presence in my life. It’s because like most evils it’s banal, dreadfully dull to read let alone write about. While I’ve written this journal for almost 11 years now for my own pleasure, I do care about those who read what I’ve written, making alcoholism and addiction one of the less common topics here.
The last person I shared a drink with nearly 12 years ago died last month. The Wife’s sister was found dead and alone, ending a life that like most started with promise but for addicts ends in tragedy, and I don’t use that word lightly. The Greeks used the term to describe those whose fates were completely out of their hands, subject to the whims of the gods that controlled them. Like the tragic figures of Grecian morality plays, the addict is controlled by his own god, his addiction, and suffers accordingly. Some like Homer’s heroes are able to rise above their addictions, but only through Divine Intervention.
My sister-in-law was not so lucky. The gods never smiled on her, and instead condemned her to a life that ended under a blazing sun above a cloudless sky. At heart she was a wonderful, kind person who deserved much better than the fate she got. Like many families of addicts, we tried to save from the Siren song of addiction, but our entreaties, pleading and efforts were much weaker than the straps that bound Odysseus to the mast, and she stopped hearing us years ago.
Now her suffering is over, and the demons of addiction have claimed another soul. But I will remember her kindly and hope that she is happy wherever she has gone, free at last from the torment that only another addict understands. With love, to a lost friend.