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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.

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.

video

  
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:

http://oarsfamilysupport.weebly.com/ 

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.

http://immortalalcoholic.blogspot.com/2016/08/strength-in-numbers.html

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.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Who is Miss Vodie? What's her resume?

Everyone knows the bad stuff about drinking liquor. But few people really take notice of the history of distilled liquors. Inquiring minds want to know – so I inquired. That is I did some research. There’s a list of reference resources at the end of this post.

The liquor I hear the most about is the one I often refer to as Miss Vodie – or otherwise known as Vodka. It seems like a good place to start.

Vodka is a distilled beverage composed of water and ethanol and sometimes flavored other fruits or sugars. It is made by the distillation from potatoes or rice and very pure water. It can be made from many other kinds of materials such as grain or molasses. It is used to make cocktails such as martinis, Cosmopolitans, Screwdriver, Bloody Mary’s and many other drinks.

The name “Vodka” is from a Slavic work “voda” meaning “little water”. It was recorded for the first time in 1405 in court documents in Poland. At that time it was primarily used for medicines, cosmetics and making gunpowder.

I always thought the homeport of vodka was somewhere in Russia. However, Poland claims to have distilled vodka as early as the 8th century. That version was more of a crude brandy since it was distilled from wine. So maybe it cannot really be considered a true vodka.

At the end of the 9th century the first documented production of Russian vodka was reported. During the 14th century vodka was considered to be the Russian national drink. In the mid 16th century, Poland and Finland also laid claims as it being their national drink. The first exports of vodka were to Sweden in 1505.

The liquid contained many impurities and many methods were used to “purify” the drink. It was very expensive to produce palatable vodka so distilleries became the exclusive right of the nobility because they were the only ones who could afford the task. By the 18th century a new system of purifying using charcoal filtration was developed making it less expensive to produce.

Vodka increased in popularity as Russian soldiers introduced the liquor to other parts of Europe during the Napoleonic Wars. The high demand led to the production of lower grade vodka which was produced from distilling potato mash. The availability of the cheaper, mass-produced vodkas began an “epidemic of drunkenness”. Attempts were made to control the situation by enacting a law to make production and distribution of vodka in a Russia as a monopoly.

The name “Vodka” was officially adopted after a standard of technique and a guarantee of quality was attained at the end of the 19th century.

All private distilleries in Moscow were confiscated after the Russian Revolution. Many Russian vodka makers emigrated taking their skills with them. In Paris, a Russian immigrant named Smirnoff developed a French version of vodka. He partner with another Russian who had relocated to the USA. In 1934 vodka began being produced in the USA. It increased in popularity with Americans by the 1940s. In the 1960s-1970s vodka reached it’s all-time high popularity in the USA.

The vodka boom was greatly due to the change in lifestyles at the time. The more affluent younger generation, relaxed lifestyle, and mix-ability of vodka contributed to its increase in popularity. Martini’s were all the rage and considered to be the drink of exclusive circles and upper class bars.

In the less sophisticated, back country areas there was another kind of vodka brewing. Bathtub vodka or, commonly called “Moonshine”. This can be produced easily and cheaply. It can also be deadly. Severe poisoning leading to blindness and death can occur as the result of drinking this homemade concoction.

During Prohibition Bathtub Vodka was being cooked up in big cities as well as back country. When Prohibition ended, the bathtubs may have returned to providing a place to bathe, but the country moonshine stills continued to prosper. To this day there is an abundance of illegal stills hidden in the countryside.

Vodka can be as much as 40%-50% pure alcohol. It is very easy to over-consume vodka especially when mixed with other juices or mixers. Excessive amounts will inhibit your judgment and decrease fine motor control and coordination. It increases your risk of alcoholism and its associated diseases such as cirrhosis.

I gathered all this information from internet research of various sites. All I really need to know is that it is has been a huge factor in destroying Riley’s life. I don’t blame Miss Vodie or the vodka producing industry. It isn’t vodka’s fault that Riley chooses that liquor to join him in his decline. The fault is hard to establish. I think we’d have to take a look at the entirety of Riley’s life to really determine the fault that led him into alcoholism.


Reference websites: Ginvodka.org; Wikipedia; Livestrong.com

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Hot Off the Presses!! Get your Workbook now!!

I’ve been a very busy girl over the past month. I’ve been working on updating the Workbook for Caretakers of End-Stage Alcoholics. It’s now available in a paperback version on Amazon.com. You can get it here:


You can still get the computer version here on the blog, but it will not be available anywhere else – at least for now.

The paperback version has been updated and packed with new information. It is a must have for anyone dealing with an alcoholic. It’s all the information you wished you didn’t need to know.

I use my workbook almost everyday. I keep one for Riley and I can see how he has deteriorated over the past couple of years. When the doctor comes to visit (Yes, our doctor makes house calls – The Visiting Physician’s Association.), he can clearly see how things have changed from one visit to the next.

I also have a workbook for myself. I have altered it in different ways to fit my own health issues. I’m not an alcoholic but I am diabetic. I track all the vital information and my blood sugar levels. My doctor loves it when I give him my charts from the Workbook and sees my improvement.

I will be developing a workbook for non-alcoholics in the very near future.

About two years ago, I asked for, and received, stories from my readers of their own journey through loving an alcoholic. I still have most of them and will be using them to write my next book. You can still contribute if you want by e-mailing me your story to LindasFrontPorch@outlook.com with “story” in the subject line. Identities will be changed to provide anonymity for the contributors. I will also accept stories based on drug addiction.

There is a new book on the market by Wren Waters, titled The Alcoholic Husband Primer: Survival Tips for Wives of Alcoholics. I enjoyed reading this book. It was clear and offered a point of view unique to wives of alcoholics. I highly recommend reading this book. You can get it at:


Another recent book is This Naked Mind by Annie Grace. While I prefer not to get into the business of recommending book dealing primarily with alcoholics rather than families of alcoholics, I thought this one was worth mentioning. This Naked Mind offers a new solution. Annie Grace will open your eyes to the startling role of alcohol in our culture. She psychological, neurological, cultural, social and industry factors creating a must read for anyone who drinks.



I’ll be posting another book review next month. If you have any you’d like to recommend or reviews you’d like published, please e-mail me at LindasFrontPorch@outlook.com with the word “review” in the subject line.