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Providing non-judgmental and non-criticizing support for family and friends of end-stage alcoholics through one-on-one coaching, support groups, blog posts, workshops and public speaking.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

How can I help the caregiver?

This post is dedicated to a commenter named “Unknown”.

I understand how torn you are about what to do about your parents. Your father is wasting away from the booze and your mother is wasting away from the stress of taking care of him. That puts you in an uncomfortable position.

All of the things you describe of your father are typical of an alcoholic. As the alcohol continues to saturate his frontal lobe, he loses the ability to think logically about his actions. This part of the brain controls common courtesy, values and the ability to “care” about what he is doing. Simply put, at this time he does not care because the alcohol is now controlling his brain.

Your Dad, the loving one, he is still in there. But it’s like he’s in a coma and some other personality is in his place. I always think of the old horror movie “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” where pods are put next to a sleeping person and when they wake up the human person one is gone and the pod person is left.

Unfortunately, there is really not much you can do about your father. Alcoholic’s drink. That’s what they do. Those who care for the alcoholic are left with the mess to clean up. It sounds like your mother has been in a “frog soup” type of situation for a long time.

In my opinion, your mother’s cries for help are not really about you trying to get your father to stop drinking. She’s asking you to help save her sanity. It may be easier than you realize.

If you live close enough, when she calls – go to her. Give her a strong and lasting hug.
Don’t let go until she does. Then send her to go do something for herself – mani/pedi, shopping or, maybe, just a visit with a friend. Look on Groupon for tickets to something entertaining that are reasonably affordable.

While she is gone, look around and see if there’s something that needs to be done that you can help with. Clean the kitchen or bathroom; put fresh sheets on her bed; make cookies; prepare dinner; do a load of laundry; write a note and put it with those fresh cookies and a pot of tea; or anything else you can think of to do.

Being a caregiver to an alcoholic is a thankless job. Any indication that you appreciate and love her is a big boost to the caregiver. You don’t love her because she’s taking care of your father. You love her because she is your mother.

When talking to people who have alcoholics that have passed, I’ve found that the pain and suffering the alcoholic caused seems to fade and the person grieves for the person before the pod was left at their bedside. You father is an alcoholic but he is still your father and that’s the person you mourn. There will undoubtedly be a roller coaster of emotion ranging for extreme hate to extreme love. Let it happen. Feel it all so that you can find a way thru the mess of emotion.

There is nothing for you to feel guilty about. This is not your disease, not your circus and not your monkeys. You father must own what is his and you would be doing him a dis-service by taking that off his shoulders. If/when he asks for your help, you can offer to help him find a rehab center or a way to detox in a medically safe environment. Tell him you will not help him drink because his drinking is none of your business.

After you’ve helped your Mom, the best thing you can do is continue to live your life. Make your own happiness, be productive, and be good to yourself. Don’t let the alcohol or the alcoholic define who you are. Seeing you happy will be a wonderful gift to your mother.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Where'd she go??

Someone sent me an e-mail asking if Riley had died. The person was concerned because I had not posted in quite a while. The answer is – NO Riley is not dead. He is still the Immortal Alcoholic.

The reality of life is that sometimes we get caught up in whatever it is that’s going on and we forget, or we put on the back burner, about the rest of our lives. I’ve been spending so much time on taking care of Riley that I had not stopped to do things that I love to do. One of those things is writing posts on the blog. Life happens. Priorities shift by necessity. That’s the way things go.

I can’t tell you that a break will not happen again. It definitely WILL happen again. No one person can constantly be immersed in alcoholism and not need a break. Sometimes it happens by design and other times it happens inadvertently. Again, it’s called life.

There are exciting things happening ahead. Keep coming here and find out what is new.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Finding traits on the road to survival

September 9th is my father’s birthday. September is Recovery Month. What do the two have in common – almost nothing. Except, that my father believed he could “cure” Riley of “that problem” if he could be alone with him for about a month. Daddy was old school. I have heard tales of him being greatly depressed after having lost his best friend during the War. The depression led to some heavy drinking. It didn’t last long because his newlywed bride, my mother, threatened to end the marriage if things didn’t change. He stopped right then and there and drinking was never an issue again. Yes. He did drink, but never over-indulged again.

With five children and several cousins being in his charge, Daddy was often overwhelmed with frustration. It seemed to all of us that he was all-knowing and was almost clairvoyant about what we were doing. Telling him a lie was bound to end in unpleasantness. He was never violent because he didn’t have to be. He had a certain look of disapproval that you always hoped was intended for someone else.

Besides being strict, he was also a bit of a comedian especially when taken aback by something one of us said or did. When he was exasperated, confused or surprised, he would place his open hand on the upper ridge of his nose, just under his eyes, and bring it up his face. He stopped and rubbed his eyes, still open handed, then continued to his forehead and the top of his head. Then he would take his hand down and raise one eyebrow and say “Whaaaat?”; Or sometimes, “Have you lost your mind?”; Or, some other expression of astonishment.

I understand that hand movement. Without even realizing it I seem to do the same thing. I guess I’ve been doing it for a long time but just didn’t notice it.

The other day Riley was being especially needy. He needed the picture of the dog to be moved a half-inch further from the television. He needed a new bottle of water so it would be there the minute the current one was empty. He needed the sheet pulled over his feet. He needed to know if I had called anyone about a supplemental Medicare plan. He needed for me to order him something from QVC. He needed… he needed… he needed.

After the first 3 “need requests” I found myself. Placing my hand at the upper ridge of my nose and imitating my fathers hand movements.


It is gratifying that I have inherited some of my father’s traits. It makes it easier to cope with whatever is going on at the moment. My father’s incredible work ethic, overwhelming perseverance, positive attitude, exude strength without violence, intuitive but logical reasoning, and ability to forgive, are traits that I wish to add to my bag of things I have received from my parents. Just like my blue eyes and reddish/blonde hair, I am my father’s daughter. I just don’t understand why I couldn’t have gotten the curls…

All of the traits mentioned above have led to my being able to survive my journey down this fork in my road of life. I haven’t achieved all of them to the level that I want, but it’s a continuous worthwhile effort. All things considered, the road I’m on is a short road that only seems like a million miles long. Yet, I’m more than just surviving, I’m thriving. And although I may be frustrated and exasperated at daily instances, I am basically happy.

The road to happiness can begin with an examination of the traits you have, the ones you want, and having a goal of achieving what you believe you lack. Once you have identified the traits, you can move forward with putting them into your everyday life. At first, this survival thing isn’t easy but it will get easier. When you aren’t even looking you may end up being happy and thriving in spite of your difficult road.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Which holiday is this? You can chose.

There’s a fresh crispness to the morning air these days. It’s much more enjoyable that the scorching hot air that won’t let me take a deep breath. Autumn is on it’s way and I’m welcoming it with open arms.

This is also Labor Day Weekend. Spouses and loved ones of alcoholics will most likely not greet the weekend with open arms. For us it’s just another weekend that will provide the opportunity for the alcoholic to get drunk and stay drunk the entire time. It won’t matter that it’s the last chance to do things with the kids before they head back to school. It won’t matter if the weekend is spent on a beach or in the mountains. No matter what else is going on – there will absolutely be drinking, drunkenness, accidents, arguments, inappropriate behavior and crying. There will be lots of tears.

While families all over the country are looking forward to a weekend of fun and relaxation, others are gridding their loins for what’s ahead over the next few days. Instead of preparing for a good time, they are preparing for a potential disaster.

To those “other” families your chance to change things is at your fingertips. You can focus on your kids, yourself and others affected by the alcoholic. You have the power to make this a great weekend and be happy for it rather than dreading the next few days.

Start with the facts:

1.                  The alcoholic is going to drink. There’s nothing you can do about that.

2.                  The alcoholic may try to sabotage anything you try to do.

3.                  The alcoholic doesn’t care if it’s important to you or the family to have a happy and peaceful weekend.

4.                  You can’t change the alcoholic’s mindset.

5.                  It’s important to you to provide the family with the weekend they need.

6.                  You can make a change.

Once you understand and accept those facts, you will be able to move forward. Forget about the alcoholic’s wants and needs. Forget about the anger and resentment he will try to force upon you. Don’t become a party to his chaos.

Quietly go about planning the weekend you want. Want to have a picnic at the local park? Quietly go about packing the basket. Tell the kids you are going on a picnic the morning you are to go. Invite friends to join you. Do not invite the alcoholic. Then go have a wonderful picnic in the park.

The point is to just plan whatever activity you want and then do it. You don’t need permission from the alcoholic. You don’t need the input or the “help” the alcoholic may want to provide. You can tell him you’re going (if you want) but don’t invite chaos to your party.

This is the way to start regaining your independence. Start with something small and work up to bigger things. Eventually, you’ll feel comfortable doing things on your own. You won’t feel as though you are only half of a married couple. You will be a strong ONE of two separate entities.

It’s Labor Day weekend, but this could be your Independence Day weekend. It’s your choice. Do you want to be the alcoholic’s “laborer” or the “Statue of Liberty”.

For support from people like you go to:


This brand new forum needs your help to grow. Come join us.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

A new support group for family and friends

A brand new OARS Group is now available on an independent site!

When I closed down my site for Linda’s Front Porch, I also closed the OARS Forum on Linda’s Front Porch. The only OARS group available currently is the one on FaceBook. While FaceBook is awesome and that group has a lot of activity, I sometimes question if it gives enough access to those who are not members of FaceBook.

Announcing the New and Improved OARS Group! The site is up and running for the next 30 days. Members of this site are subscribers and pay a $5 monthly fee for access. However, membership is free until September 29th, 2016. After that date, a fee will be charged on a monthly basis. This will give the members a chance to try the forum before having to pay the fee. If you don’t like the site, and opt out, no fee will be charged.

I wanted to give this forum a try, get feedback, comments and suggestions, before I commit to a long-term contract. If it doesn’t seem to work, I’ll take it down.

Forums work best when there are active postings and a sufficient number of responders to the post. Without that no forum can survive for very long. The more members, the more there is a chance of people being logged in at the same time, which means more opportunity for conversations.

You do not have to e-mail me and ask to join. Simply click the “subscribe” button, fill in the form, and wait for a confirmation e-mail. After you fill in the form, an e-mail is sent to me and my administrators and with a simple “acceptance” you will be added to the group. You won’t have to wait for me to reply to your e-mails – which can often take weeks. And – with this site – I can have other administrators to help me accept/decline new members.

This is a private site. The administrators will monitor it regularly and watch out for members who do not respect others viewpoints, challenges, etc. In short, we all must play nice and be courteous of each other. You are welcome to vent your frustrations, but not to show anger to others. Heated discussions are allowed, hatefulness is not.

Another great thing is the ability to private message members in the group. Sometimes we connect with another member and just want a one-on-one talk. Talking is good and now available on OARS Group private messaging.

Please visit the site and help me make this a success! It’s free for now – so there’s nothing to lose except your feeling of isolation. Let’s all connect together and survive this chaos.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

ABC News call to alcoholics

Image result for Diane Sawyer, pix
Diane Sawyer, ABC News

ABC News 20/20 will be producing a segment on alcoholism and are seeking alcoholics willing to participate by volunteering to submit their picture to be shown during the segment.

Diane Sawyer will be interviewing one of their

Sunday, August 28, 2016

The alcoholic's spouse...

I’m not an alcoholic. In some circles that statement would be considered a denial of being an alcoholic when I actually am an alcoholic. In that circle I would be damned either way. Logic tells me I’m not an alcoholic. I drink a glass or two of wine every year. I don’t over-indulge. I haven’t been drunk since I went to Jimmie’s place for a protest party in 1967. I know I’m not an alcoholic.

I also know that alcohol has damaged my life. Being the wife

Thursday, August 25, 2016

We are all customers...

Riley has been in a nursing home for respite care while I re-charge my batteries. It has been a pretty awesome week for me just to be able to come and go without concern for who is watching after Riley. There has been no need for changing soiled underwear, serving meals or snacks, doing daily laundry or having to be quiet in the early hours of the morning. It’s been great just to be alone in my house.

But the week is over and he is back at home.

The nursing home was clean and there

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

A post for Rebecca

This post is in response to a comment I received connected to the "Strength in Numbers" that I posted yesterday. I feel that it is important to address this publicly because Rebecca Lambert needs to hear from you. Before reading this post, please read her comment at the link below.


To Rebecca Lambert – 

Your comment sounds so familiar to me. I can’t tell you how many times Riley has said he would rather be dead than sober. Although he doesn’t believe his addiction will kill him. At least you acknowledge your murderer.

It is commonplace for the loved ones of addicts to

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Strength in numbers...

There is strength in numbers. When the numbers consist of parents who have children addicted to drugs or alcohol, the strength becomes super-human.

The is a movement a foot – a wave of angry parents are reaching out to the court systems of Virginia to initiate a change in how drug related cases are handled. They use the State of Ohio as a model of what they hope to create in Virginia. Please click the link below and watch a short video:

 I’ve been asked to help organize a group of 16 parents who desperately want to help their children. I have accepted the challenge to help the group grow from an idea to a reality.

Many times on this blog, I have stated that I have very little experience with drug addiction. While the basic concept of addiction applies, there is a whole set of facts that are different from alcoholism. Addiction is addiction – I get that. But heroin addiction in a young adult feels (to me) very different from a 57 year old man downing a bottle of vodka and case of beer on a daily basis.

I hate to say this, but alcoholism has become popular. There have been lots of publicity and advertising as well as movies and TV shows, dealing with alcoholism.  It has only been in the past couple of years that we’ve been seeing more about drug addiction, especially heroin. It’s time to make some changes.

Where I live, and in a 50-mile radius, heroin addiction is at epidemic levels with teens and young adults. Everyday I see or hear of a young person losing their life to overdose and “bad batches”. Ironically, as told to me by a local first responder, when the kids hear someone has died from heroin, they want to buy from that same batch/person. The reasoning is that it had to have been some “really good stuff” and they wouldn’t have to use as much.

These kids – young adults and teens – believe they are invincible. They believe they are the immortal addicts because in their drug soaked brains they believe they are smarter. Who are they smarter than? Smarter than the police. Smarter than their parents. Smarter than the EMT’s. Smarter than everyone. The mind set is “I know something you don’t know and I’m not telling you what it is I know.”

While I say that I have very little experience with drug addiction, I have had close encounters. Several close relatives have fought their own battles with drugs. Some of them were successful in their fight and others failed – fatally. So while I haven’t lived in a house with a drug addict, I am familiar with the pain and suffering of the people who love addicts. I’ve seen the look on parents faces as they try to make sense of the death of their baby to something like heroin. I’ve had to turn away family members who bang on my door in the middle of the night because they need money for a fix. I’ve run to the rescue to people who have claimed to be sick but really are “jonesing” for white powder.

Accepting the challenge does not in any way diminish my dedication to the families and friends of alcoholics. I’m just adding a dimension to my causes. I hope my readers will stand by me and continue to help me make a difference to society.