I am a hypocrite. I know it, and it’s probably the personal trait that I do battle with the most. My ego has an almost instinctive tendency to look down on the poor, the addicted, the stupid… never mind the fact that I fit into all of those categories like I was manufactured for them. Being cognizant of my bitterness and hatred rarely helps. Beyond a handful of minutes a day, I can’t keep the will to be empathetic in focus. Perhaps the reason I hate these people so much is because they remind me so much of myself.
My brother is without a doubt the best example of my hypocrisy. Aside from a handful of glaring differences, he and I are identical in our behavior (or, he is identical to how I used to behave). Now to be fair I believe, correctly I think, that his inner darkness makes mine look downright holy, but we have more similarities than differences.
I lose my shit on a daily basis when I discover that he has stolen the food I meant to have for lunch the next day; when all of the meat in the house vanishes because he was up from 11pm to 6am stuffing his drunk face. There was even a period where I had gotten so fed up that I was only eating vegetables because I knew that he doesn’t know how to make a meal out of them and when he gets drunk he doesn’t see them as food. Any convenience food… forget about it! We can’t have potato chips or anything of the sort in the house because it won’t last long enough for us to enjoy it. Even though my brother isn’t drinking at the moment (he’s been jobless for over a month) he is still the worst kind of parasite. But…
I stole too. A LOT. And probably more brazenly. As far as I know, and I’m probably wrong, he only steals from his family. I stole from employers, friends… I even stole money out of my mothers purse once. It’s disgusting. So why do I hound on him so much? Well, it’s different when it’s happening to you of course and I shouldn’t just roll over and say “oh, well I used to do it so I understand and I’ll let it slide“. I do let it slide though because I haven’t yet developed the guts to do anything about it. I’m getting there; I was always scared of confrontation as a stunted teenage drunk but as my mind ages in sobriety I find myself challenging people more (when necessary) and it’s only a matter of time before this boils over.
Addicts lie. It’s basically our vocation. Some of us are great at it and some of us are laughably miserable at it. My brother is the latter. You can catch him red handed and he will still try to argue that it’s not actually happening. There are only two of us in this house besides my mother and it is readily apparent that I am sober, yet he will still claim, slurring and staggering in the doorway, that it wasn’t him who drank all of my mother’s wine and stole all of her Vicodin.
I lied with almost every breath. I was good at it though. I have left a long trail of devastated lovers, employers, friends, and relatives behind me. I latched onto codependent women like a piranha convincing them just long enough that I was one of the good guys and I would be different from all of those other dirt-bags who treated them like they were disposable. Then once they were committed I let the facade drop, comfortable in the knowledge that they were to weak to ever leave me. Once I was done with them I’d toss them aside for the next one. I lied to a boss’ face once, telling him I’d done something important that needed to be done when I hadn’t even attempted it. He knew I was lying but he couldn’t prove it so that was that. I suppose that’s what addicts do… as long as you can’t prove that we’ve done anything, most people are too scared and full of self-doubt to press the issue.
Those were my two biggest sins. I said earlier that I considered my brother far worse and that’s simply because he can add totaling three cars while driving drunk, destroying property, and beating his girlfriends bloody to the list. It’s not that I’ve never driven drunk; any alcoholic who says they haven’t is a big fat liar. I’ve never been caught. I’m fortunate enough to have never been caught for any of the things I did. It’s given me an ease of recovery that many other addicts I’ve met find almost insulting. I’m no better or worse than any of them yet I get to act like I am because I’ve never been to prison and I have a sterling employment reputation. And boy do I use that to my advantage. I guess some things never change…