Drunk in Public

On my way back from grabbing a delicious piping hot personal pan pizza from Pizza Hut today, I walked past a scene I have seen many time in the years I’ve worked in downtown Minneapolis. Two police officers were citing a homeless man who was obviously intoxicated. They then generally cart them off to detox in a van. Now this sight is not uncommon, but today it made me tear up, because alcoholism is something that hits close to home.

Alcoholism is a progressive disease. It can take a wonderful human being and turn them into an unrecognizable monster. That man today was at some point someone’s son, someone’s brother, perhaps someone’s father. He more than likely is also suffering from mental illness of some sort. He was all of those things once, but now all he is is this disease. All he is now is a drunk. The addiction has robbed him of all he once was, and potentially all he could be. He may never sober up in his lifetime. Even if he does, he may never be able to repair all of the damage he has caused. The alcohol may just eat him alive. And that breaks my heart.

If you’ve never experienced it, it is truly heartbreaking to see someone slowly killing themselves through addiction. It is one of the hardest things to sit back and watch, knowing there’s not a damned thing you can do to save them from themselves.

My point: don’t judge. You don’t know what kind of hell someone is currently living in. Show a little more compassion to your fellow humans. We’d all be better off if we did.

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