Deacon’s Dry Drunk

February 1st, 2013 → 3:27 pm @ // No Comments

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Did anyone see the last week’s episode of the TV show Nashville on ABC?

Well, if you did, you got a good look at a dry drunk. (If you didn’t, you can see it at And if you are living with an active addict or love someone currently in rehab and are a recovering enabler yourself, you really should watch it.

The character Deacon Clayborn, 12 years sober now, didn’t literally take a drink of alcohol, but he fell off the wagon big time as far as I’m concerned. After a false report in the press that Deacon had a relapse, his friend, ex-music partner and married true love, Rayna James stopped by his house to check on him. And the alcoholic personality Deacon usually keeps in check came shining through.

“The good news is that it’s not 12 years ago, and I’m not your responsibility anymore,” Deacon spews at his clearly concerned friend. But he is right. Deacon is not Rayna’s responsibility now—and in truth, he should not have been 12 years ago either.

She says, “I care about you.” To which he responds with a sarcastic and manipulative, “Awesome….You could have waited for me and you didn’t.” Deacon is referring to Rayna marrying someone else 12 years ago while he was in his fifth round—yes, fifth round—of rehab.  I don’t know about you, but to me Deacon here sounds about as self-absorbed as any active addict. In other words, he might not be drinking but he’s acting like an alcoholic; he is on a dry drunk.

Rayna pleads, “How many times did I have to go looking for you, drag you out of a hotel room. You were so wasted I didn’t know if you were drunk or dead. I didn’t know that the fifth time in rehab was going to take.”

Instead of being able to feel her pain, understand that she had good cause for her actions and own his responsibility in her choices, the addict in Deacon has the hubris to make himself the victim and say, “You lost faith in me.” Well dah, Deacon. Don’t you think losing faith in you was the sensible choice for this woman you supposedly love. Or did you want to see her devote her life to an alcoholic who may or may not ever recover?

Rayna has every right to doubt Deacon’s sobriety even after 12 years. After putting him in rehab five times and the fact that most addicts do have relapses, she is well within reason to be concerned. And he is playing an addict’s game by trying to make her feel guilty about those legitimate concerns.

I wish Rayna would have stood strong and put the onus back on Deacon. But she responded, “I never lost faith in you, and I haven’t lost faith in you. But it’s conversations like this that make it so I can’t do this anymore.”

To which Deacon replies with a great and wise truth, “Then don’t do it.”

That would be the hope; that Rayna stops feeling responsible for Deacon and starts living in truth. But then living in truth doesn’t make very good TV; there’s not much drama in it. So by the end of the episode, Deacon and Rayna end up on a private jet together (too complicated to explain how that happened). And at least for the time being, it looks like Deacon will continue with his holier-than-thou dry drunk and Rayna will continue with her dry enabling.

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