Ferret is not doing well. It seems he has unleashed the hounds as far as his drinking goes after a many month drought. He did so well for most of the winter.
Seeing him today made me glad I am sober. He went straight back to his old ways of drinking mouthwash and missed work today. His clothes were amiss and he looked haggard and tired down at the shopping center needing a shower badly.
Not seeing Ferret or hearing from Ferret is good news. It means he is doing well and busily working. Seeing him down at the shopping center at his old haunts all day was an ill omen and didn’t bode well for the future.
“That dude was drinking mouthwash from the dollar store,” Rosa told me quietly, as if it were a secret, as we were walking back to my house for some sandwiches.
“I know,” I said. “It’s crazy.”
“Will mouthwash mess you up?” Rosa asked.
“Yes,” I replied. “It has the same amount of drinkable grain alcohol as a 60 proof bottle of whiskey. It will most definitely get you messed up.”
“God, that’s got to be tearing up his insides.”
I sighed and agreed, worried.
Ferret had climbed the fence behind the shopping center and slept on an old blanket last night. I saw Dumpster Diving Dan this morning and he told me he saw Ferret crawling through a hole in that fence early this morning to go get what he presumed was breakfast. It must have been a sad sight to see. Dan just shook his head and agreed with me that alcoholism is a terrible thing. Dan knows all too well from his own experiences with drinking and getting sober over the years after his tour of duty in Viet-Nam.
“I did some crazy things while smoking crack cocaine,” Rosa told me. “But I don’t think I would ever drink mouthwash.”
I was now standing in my kitchen making I and Rosa some roast turkey sandwiches and potato chips.
“Never say never,” I replied. “You know all too well how crazy addictions can get when you are using.”
“But mouthwash…” Rosa said flabbergasted as I cut her off from saying anything further.
The whole conversation felt tawdry and cheap.
“Let’s drop it and eat our lunch,” I said as I set our paper plates on the kitchen table, sitting down, as Rosa joined me.
We quietly sat and ate our sandwiches as Rosa mulled over what had happened today. She wasn’t hanging around when Ferret was using last summer and was astonished someone could live like that. Alcoholism is a terrible disease, indeed, I pondered as we ate.