My co-worker and I once watched Gerald walk down the street, bracing himself against the brick wall in between stumbles, hardly able to hold onto his bag-covered bottle... it took him five minutes to travel each shop-length... and we said "If Gerald can make it out of here alive, anyone can."
He asked me to help him fill out a medical examination with him once, since he couldn't see through his greasy, chin-length blonde bangs, and since he couldn't see anyway, or maneuver a writing utensil. We came to the question "How much alcohol do you drink each day?" and in between hysterical fits of laughter, he finally manages to tell me that seriously, it was usually more than 2 gallons, depending on how much he could pan-handle.
Even his drinking buddies tried to refuse him a drink sometimes: "Gerry, even though we have to watch you die, we're not going to help you."
We hadn't seen Gerald in a while, and we assumed the worst, but there was rumors going around that he went to rehab (which were usually met by sarcasm: "Like he could walk that far.") We still talked about him, thought about him, wondered about him, hoping the rumors were true.
Last week, a man walked through the door: clean shaven, hair cut, clean clothes, walking straight, and in clear, un-slurred speech said to us: "Merry Christmas. I love you." He gave us each a hug, gave us each a wrapped Christmas present with the strict instructions not to open it until Christmas morning, and left.
We looked at each other in disbelief and said, "Anyone can."