We live in a society where alcohol has become such a toxic drug that people will do anything to consume it. Think about how at the height of the 2020 lockdown people were trying their nefarious ways of getting alcohol, which was banned for sale at the time.
However, for one Thando Pato that period presented a moment to finally end her long toxic relationship with alcohol. In her debut memoir titled, On the Rocks, Thando narrates her deeply personal battle with the substance that has seen her become what she calls “a functioning alcoholic”.
Now, I need to congratulate Thando for her courage and humility in sharing such a personal story that can easily be attached to shame and humiliation. It takes a special kind of courage to admit your struggles with a toxic substance such as alcohol with the public. The scribe should be credited for giving not only addicts something to draw inspiration from, but for anyone to understand how addiction affects every soul attached to the addict.
As much as this beautifully-intimate memoir is about Thando’s battle with alcohol and her sobriety thereafter, it is also about understanding and appreciating the self, and finding the willpower to be in charge of your life in the face of adversity.
Oftentimes we run to addictive substances such as alcohol and drugs because of our emotional turmoil and we foolishly believe that those substances would magically heal us.
I strongly believe that Thando’s story serves as a motivation and education to those who are currently battling with addiction and to those of us who fool ourselves in believing that alcohol can magically solve our inner emotional distress.
Inside the pages of this book there are two very good lessons that readers will learn from Thando’s story. (1) You have to admit that you have a problem when you know you have a problem, (2) find ways to seek help to your problem instead of delaying that process by fooling yourself that you are “functioning well”, when you are not.
I think the only bummer for me is on the notion of a “high-functioning alcoholic”. There’s nothing of that sort. Working yourself up just to temporarily numb your problems does not amount to one being highly functioning. If you are an alcoholic or any addict, having the ability to still do your work or keep all the “normality” in your life does not mean that you are okay. It just means that you are delaying your process of finding help and dealing with the problem. You are not “a high-functioning” person, but one that is ill-functioning, because you are not well.
Besides that, On the Rocks is a sober and powerful read that will inspire different generations of addicts to find their way to sobriety.