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.

donald-trumpAs 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.

17 Comments

  1. Kate Riddel on October 9, 2016 at 5:08 pm

    My family and friends join me in being shocked at Donald Trump’s behavior and the damage he causes — none of us can understand how he can sleep at night. Thanks for this excellent, clear, and insightful essay. I’ve not heard anyone put it quite the way you have, and you may well be right! Kind regards, Kate

    • Lauren B. Davis on October 9, 2016 at 5:10 pm

      Thanks for your comment, Kate. I believe he’s a sick man, and certainly not someone who should be allowed anywhere near the White House.

  2. Dave Owens on October 9, 2016 at 6:02 pm

    Dear Lauren, thanks for this powerful blog. I think you really captured the essence of Trump :
    “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.”
    Dave

    • Lauren B. Davis on October 9, 2016 at 6:15 pm

      Thanks, Dave. Would that it were otherwise.

  3. Cecilia Neuschul on October 9, 2016 at 7:10 pm

    Dear Lauren,
    I agree that you captured the essence of Trump. A very precise analyses / diagnosis
    of his personality. Bravo !
    I think your essay should be sent to New York Times and/or the Washington Post.
    Cecilia in Montreal

    • Lauren B. Davis on October 9, 2016 at 7:18 pm

      Thanks, Cecilia, I appreciate your support.

  4. Joan on October 10, 2016 at 4:02 am

    Dear Lauren,

    Wow! You are indeed describing Donald Trump. The way he behaves is clearly explained in your blog and these characteristics can definitely be attributed to the behaviour of a dry drunk. I am just amazed that he can still be holding such a prestigious position after everything that he himself has said/done recently and all the history that is now being divulged about his past.
    What is America thinking??
    I agree with Cecilia that this blog should be printed as an article in one of the newspapers she mentioned. Perhaps people could then accept that he has an illness and put him out to rest …

    • Lauren B. Davis on October 10, 2016 at 8:49 am

      Thanks very much, Joan. What is America thinking? Perhaps there is some wider pathology that also needs healing.

  5. Fiona Smythe on October 10, 2016 at 9:19 am

    Dear Lauren, I watched last night’s Presidential debate and was horrified by Donald Trump, as I have been for many months. I’ve given much thought to how someone could be so obviously narcissistic, mean, small-minded, dishonest, etc…. and blame everyone else anytime things don’t go his way. I’m amazed he’s had any success in business, why would anyone want to deal with someone so untrustworthy?
    Your essay shed new light on what might be one of the root causes associated with the man he has become. A despicable dry drunk! The sooner he gets the help he needs, the better for all of us.
    Thanks, Fiona

    • Lauren B. Davis on October 10, 2016 at 9:21 am

      Thanks for your comment, Fiona. That debate was difficult to watch, wasn’t it? His ‘success’ is both mystifying and depressing.

  6. Anne on October 10, 2016 at 12:46 pm

    Dear Lauren
    Great analysis! Hope it helps some people trying to figure out where all that grandiosity is coming from.

    Anne

    • Lauren B. Davis on October 10, 2016 at 1:34 pm

      thanks, Anne. Me, too!

  7. Lauren B. Davis on October 10, 2016 at 1:39 pm

    Okay, apparently I’m not the only person who’s considered this possibility see “Drunk Donald Trump” on the Jimmy Kimmel Show — https://youtu.be/JhWmnNhtuM4

  8. Rita on October 10, 2016 at 5:02 pm

    I get this. I was the one who did not pick up the substance in my family of origin and was the child of parents who never abused substances but had no help in recognizing the debris they carried from their childhoods and the flawed coping styles they handed on.
    We will go to any lengths to fend off the shame, to create a facade of success and normalcy. we become addicted to things the world praises, heroic care of others which is another face of controlling them, educational or work life achievement . . . and nothing is ever enough to assuage the hole in the soul — except the program you describe which helped me acknowledge that there was a God and it wasn’t me. Funny Donald and Bill Clinton have similar family of origin stories. This is sad and the idolizing of Donald speaks to how many may have the same story.

    • Lauren B. Davis on October 10, 2016 at 5:17 pm

      Absolutely, Rita. That hole in the soul. And you’re so right about the sadness of it, and the pervasiveness of the damage. We pray for healing for every soul.

  9. Lynne Davis on October 19, 2016 at 10:31 am

    Lauren, As usual you are spot on. A terrific assessment of a deranged and freakish personality. Let us hope and pray that we will all be spared taken hostage! Thank you.

    • Lauren B. Davis on October 19, 2016 at 10:35 am

      Thanks, Lynne. Fingers crossed. (I should also say, Lynne Davis is NOT a relative! Snort.)

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