The Alcoholic Next Door

*That glorious moment when you get to put your head down and shut your eyes and let it all go away for a few hours. The TV still emitting a faint glow, this side of the pillow still cool, lids barely touching and BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG! Damn! 12:30 at night. This can’t be good.

One of my neighbors. A very nice young lady crying and babbling and reaching for a hug – needing to be not wrong for a moment. Details trickle out as they are withheld, revolving around a drunk husband, a dog beaten to death, a rope being held by its end. Sadly, it is just another story to add to my life’s collection; each heartbreaking, each unique yet identical to all the others.

Prohibition did not work. People like to drink. They have since the first accidentally-fermented grapes were bravely ingested. No matter how many marriages it wrecks, families it demolishes or lives it obliterates, alcohol is not going to go away. Two things, quickly:

Alcoholism needs to be taught in high school.

By preserving alcohol’s status as a taboo, never teaching about it and only scolding and warning against it, adults guarantee that young people will gravitate to it at their earliest opportunity. Teaching ‘abstinence only‘ doesn’t work any better with booze than it does with sex. Alcohol is fun, exciting, prohibited, alluring. And because the other side isn’t responsibly presented to them, only those things become equated/associated with booze and vice-versa. A mindset can stay with a person against all logic and experience.

High school sophomores must be given accurate information about alcoholism and other addictions so that stories like Mickey Mantle’s and Daniel Radcliffe’s and Amy Winehouse’s are a part of their concept of alcohol, to go along with the fun. We must give these kids a fighting chance against a devastating disease and affliction. We must educate them. We must take our (adult) collective head out of the sand, stop pretending or hoping that our darlings would never drink or have sex, and give them fair, unbiased information compiled by a small group of educators with politicians banned from the proceedings.

No one ever banged on a neighbor’s door at midnight crying because they or anyone else smoked pot.

Thankfully, between neighboring nations legalizing marijuana and the governors of states in which legal pot has added millions to their education coffers complaining, the DOJ has not been making much noise about ‘bud’ lately. Hopefully it is not solely because they are so busy tearing families apart and so incompetent that they can’t figure out how to get them back together.

Marijuana use does not create homeless people, belligerent people, mean people, hurtful people or hurting people – all on the list of alcohol’s claims to fame. Marijuana use does not destroy homes, families or relationships.  Marijuana is not physically addictive and marijuana does not devastate lives.

Marijuana use does not create homeless people, belligerent people, mean people, hurtful people or hurting people – all on the list of alcohol’s claims to fame.
USA Marijuana

Can we somehow put an end to politicians, preachers and pundits – no matter how well-intentioned – falsely accusing poor Mary Jane and damning her, while thinking about the cocktail that will follow the bellowing?

Can we just stop the blatant hypocrisy?

If you choose to ignore the evils of alcohol and pretend they don’t exist, don’t put them on pot just to make your (probably alcoholic) self feel better. If you had half a brain you would have already figured out how to tax it instead of fabricating tales about it even taller than the Rocky Mountains.


So, as radical as it is, I propose that we get the facts before we speak, tell the truth, and educate our young people.

What a heretic.

Our neighbor spent the night safely in our guest room and our limited counseling amounted to a repetitive “do what’s best for you”. There are two sides to every story and no one can ever understand the dynamics of a marriage except the two people in it.

I am confident that she is not in physical danger at home, so we walk a fine line as the Switzerland of the neighborhood while letting our house guest know that she is safe here.



–  REENO  –

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Alcoholism Alcoholism Alcoholism

A graduate of Portland State University, Steve Kloser is the author of “Beginning Band - A Guide to Success” and “Let's Make Music - Classroom Recorder Course”.
He is also an accomplished teacher, conductor and composer, having penned numerous pieces including: La Vida and Fly With Me.
Teacher, web developer, Packers fan and proud American, Reeno's usually slanted outlook often presents an unlikely perspective on issues old and new. Reeno currently lives in Portland, OR.
Read more at or follow Reeno on Twitter at

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