Would you rather be right, or would you rather be kind? I was asked this recently, by a close trusted friend.
I struggle with the hard truths. I prefer a softer, gentler approach; I want to be someone's soft landing. It's ironic in many respects, because what got me sober wasn't a kinder, gentler touch. It was being told the cold, hard truth, over and over. And it wasn't until I had no other way to go that I finally agreed to give sober a try.
Ideally, kind and right aren't mutually exclusive. This trusted friend of mine has a way of delivering hard truths in a non-threatening but decidedly firm manner. The thing is, though, that I'm open to hearing those truths, so the message doesn't need to be delivered with a sledgehammer.
When someone is fighting for their life, kindness can get in the way. Addiction is a life and death struggle. Maybe not today, or tomorrow, but eventually. Because here is a cold, hard truth: if you are an active alcoholic the elevator only goes one way. Down.
At some point all the hand-holding, "yay team!" words of encouragement, heartfelt hugs and long conversations don't work. At some point I have to stop and say, "Look. You're in a fight for your life here. If you don't stop, you are going to die."
But if someone doesn't believe it, or doesn't care, words don't matter. Ask anyone who has ever begged an alcoholic to stop drinking.
Here is another truth: if alcohol is slowly taking over your life, one day you will get sober or it will destroy you.
If you find yourself opening your mouth to protest - offer reasons why you aren't that bad, how you can control it, give examples of ways you're functioning normally - pay attention. Social drinkers don't need to put all those rules around their drinking.
All the flowery speech and hand-holding isn't going to save you. You're going to have to figure out if you want to save yourself, first.
I'd like to believe I can catch the moon. I'd like to believe the power of love is enough to get someone sober.
It isn't. What gets people sober is the power of the truth.