I was at a local health food restaurant sitting at the open bar because I was alone. I was incredibly sad after a breakup and on that day was just off (shaking, lacking focus, speech was garbled a little, and body was stiff). There was a mixed drink next to my meal that was so tart I’d been sipping it for an hour.

Apparently, I was so off that day that when four friends showed up, one asked me if I had a ride home because they'd assumed I was drunk. Another grilled me on the contents of the glass. The others just stood there staring and not talking, so I felt monitored. They had good intentions, but they went after the wrong elephant in that room.

It really hurt my feelings, because I had bigger challenges than alcohol at that point. All I needed were some friends who might understand without needing explanations.

Usually it is strangers, but these were women I knew socially.  A clear indication that unfortunate assumptions had been made about addiction, rather than the more horrific realities of a brain disease. My symptoms vary widely day to day and they just hadn’t seen me off yet. Some former friends even took these common symptoms personally and no longer hang with me.

If someone refuses to fully acknowledge the fact that you have a serious condition you cannot always control, it’s good information about them, not you.

I’ll take addiction for 200 Alex! (I know, I know...be careful what you wish for.)

Parkinson’s is spiked by stress or by being in loud places around a lot of people sometimes. It is incredibly unpredictable, and even if a PwP is having a drink, judging them is not helpful...it’s uninformed. It’s also gossiping to promote this misinformation about anyone with a neurologic disorder and it’s disappointing when relatively healthy friends frame us in this manner.

Get with the program.

Additionally, IF someone has an addiction, judging them and discussing your opinions about their lifestyle behind their back is not exactly the best way to support the nightmare they are most certainly experiencing. If that seems to be a concern, have some compassion and speak with them privately, one on one. Humiliation and judgement aren’t cures for anything.