It dawned on me today, while watching a movie about an alcoholic, that perhaps Donald Trump should start drinking. If he did, perhaps he could get the help it appears he so desperately needs.
As most people know, Trump doesn’t drink, and although some photos have surfaced on social media of him with glasses of what appears to be alcohol in his hand, for the sake of argument, let’s assume he doesn’t. He says he abstains because of his brother, an alcoholic who took his own life at the age of 42. Having lost two brothers to addiction and suicide, I understand the pain of this. The death deeply affected Tump, as this article in Newsweek, by Susan Cheever (daughter of famous alcoholic John Cheever), so eloquently explores.
Cheever posits the following:
Untreated, teetotalers like the Diet Coke–swilling Donald are often control freaks, hyper-competent because somebody has to get things done in an alcoholic household, shockingly honest and occasionally suffused with rage—all scars from the family tragedies that have led to their not drinking.
She goes on to discuss the possible roles non-drinking alcoholic family members may adopt.
I don’t disagree with Ms. Cheever, but there is another possibility she doesn’t address and that is this: Trump may very well be what we alcoholics call a ‘dry drunk.’ Of course since I’m not, thankfully, one of Trumps inner circle I can only theorize here. I am presenting a possibility, nothing more.
However, I also come from an alcoholic family, I am a recovered alcoholic with 21 years sobriety, and have spent a good part of my life with alcoholics, dry and drinking, and therefore have a certainly amount of experience in the matter.
I believe alcoholism is a three-fold disease: mental, physical and spiritual. It has a genetic component and runs a toxic river through families, one generation to the next. I also believe that just because one stops drinking, or perhaps never starts, as in Trump’s case, this doesn’t mean the three-fold aspect of the disease won’t become manifest.
The personality characteristics of an alcoholic are (among other things), grandiosity, defiance, self-centeredness in the extreme, entitlement, a lack of empathy, blaming others for one’s problems, lying — even when the truth would serve just as well, rage, sexual impropriety, and an out-of-all-proportion ego.
Further, it’s been my experience that without help, without learning humility and re-sizing the bloated ego, without taking a fearless moral inventory, without making amends where needed, the dry-drunk will only continue to take hostages (so to speak), and cut a wide swath of destruction through their world.
If in fact Trump is a dry-drunk, with his entitlement, his lying, his grandiosity, his lack of empathy, his insistence he is the best at everything and other people are always at fault while he is always innocent, his misogyny and defiance… all the ‘ism’ content of alcoholism without the booze itself … he is unlikely to be motivated to surrender to rigorous self-examination, humility and truth.
Trump’s wealth, however much that may be, and the sycophants who surround him, will shelter him from the consequences of his actions. Some of us might even call those ‘surrogates’ enablers. Some in the general public, who have little or no experience with this personality type, will be blinded by the cheap sheen of his ersatz trappings, and by his hyper-masculine strut and bravado. But, for those of us who don’t wish to be held hostage by this behavior, all we can do is walk away, leave him to the destiny of his own making and pray no one is drowned in his wake.
Frankly, I feel sorrow as much as horror. I’ve known dozens of people like this over the years. I’ve seen miraculous transformations. I doubt Trump will be one of them.