A viral Instagram hoax is once again making the rounds on social media in an obnoxious attempt to raise awareness of alcohol addiction. But what it really does is trivialize the problem.
Louise Delage is the username of an Instagram account belonging to someone who describes herself as a 25-year-old living in Paris, but that’s not who she really is. The account and the girl in all the Instagram posts is part of an ad campaign called “Like My Addiction,” to raise awareness of alcoholism among millennials.
In many of her posts, the girl is holding an alcoholic beverage.
Here she is sipping a glass of champagne at a gathering.
And here she is enjoying some wine at dinner.
The jig was up in September 2016, when the account posted a video explaining that it was all a lie, and that everyone who liked any of the girl’s photos had been actively enabling and encouraging her “addiction.”
After a montage of the girl’s photos flash by, the ad concludes with this message: “It’s easy to miss the addiction of someone close.”
Ooooookay. So here’s the thing: this is not what addiction looks like. As someone who has lost a relative to alcoholism and comes from a family with members who often struggle to maintain a healthy relationship with alcohol, I know what addiction is. And this isn’t it.
Some of Louise’s posts have no alcohol in them.
In many, one has to play a game of Where’s Waldo to find a bottle of beer or champagne.
An alcoholic is someone who can’t function or enjoy things without booze. It’s someone who eventually becomes reclusive, or even isolated. Addicts, at their worst, do not want to get out of bed in the morning or will only leave the house for a beer run. They’re not going to venture out onto a boat and chill some white wine in a pretty glass, they’re going to drink vodka from a brown paper bag — or, in my relative’s case, drink two suitcases of beer every night until he passed out. Alcoholics don’t enjoy a lone drink on the beach. They can’t stop at one; they can’t stop at all.
People aren’t going to post photos of themselves working or doing menial things. They’re going to post photos of themselves having fun or enjoying unique experiences. If someone is holding a beer in a few of those snaps, so what? Enjoying life with a glass of wine, or having a bottle of tequila tucked away in the background somewhere, doesn’t make someone an addict, and pretending otherwise trivializes the very real problem that is alcoholism.