There has only been one person in my life that has called me a drunk.
This was last year, many months before I put down my wine glass for good, but my first reaction was not of denial or outrage but "takes one to know one...."
The lady (I'll call her L) who shone a spotlight into my darkness, was (is) not a friend. We were thrown together by the enduring friendship of our husbands.
During our first meeting, we established a mutual loathing, and ironically, a mutual comradery.
The unspoken comradery existed because of our shared love of alcohol, and also because we provided each other with a useful metric for our drinking habit..
"God, at least I don't drink as much as L...... " , I have been known to utter (both internally and externally, to focus attention away from me)
I am sure that L used me in the same way.
My husband and his friend were seemingly oblivious to the tension between L and I, until we finally had an argument that culminated in angry words fueled by alcohol, and the ensuing name calling.
My husband and his friend put it down to 'girl drama" and ignored it, they took to meeting for lunch occasionally, and the boozy dinner foursomes stopped.
Being called a drunk was one of many incidents that would finally form the tipping point for me.
Looking back, I remember one afternoon when L and I were together waiting for our husbands to arrive back from fishing.
She had just arrived back from a trip to visit her family, and mentioned that one of her cousins had stopped drinking.
"I was looking forward to sharing a bottle of wine with her" said L "but it turns out she's an alcoholic, and doesn't touch it any more"
She went on to say...."You know what, I sometimes wonder if I am......"
It would have been so easy for me to say " You know what? Me too, maybe we should do something about it....". But I didn't.
It was convenient for me to have someone who was far worse than me....
I recalled this conversation when the other day my husband mentioned casually that he had met up with his friend for lunch.
"L had a bit of a meltdown" he said. " She got herself into a rage and drove her truck through the gates in the front yard"
'Luckily (friend) managed to stop her before she drove into town....she was very drunk"
A year ago I would have feigned alarm and sympathy, while internally ticking off another box on the list "Reasons Why L is a Worse Drunk than Me"
Now I just wish that I had responded when she was so obviously reaching out for help.