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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.

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 anchor persons, Elizabeth Vargas, about her struggles with alcoholism. ABC would like to convey as many images of people who are willing to put a face to alcoholism showing that alcoholics come from all walks of life, age groups, and backgrounds.

If you are interested in participating, please e-mail me with 20/20 in the subject line and I'll forward to you the contact info for ABC News. You can speak directly to one of the producers about any questions you may have.

I have already submitted pictures of Riley in various stages of drinking. Please consider doing the same.

Currently, they are only interested in alcoholics and not the family/friends. However, that may change as the program is written and edited.

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 of an alcoholic has caused me to be someone that I never wanted to me. I can turn into a shrew in an instant. I am less social and less trusting. Where I was once at the top of my game professionally, I stopped being able to concentrate on my office work. I used to be outgoing and friendly with a positive attitude. Now I just want to be left alone. My once balanced budget is now a sea of red. Even when I have money, I’m hesitant to spend it for fear of having none.

At the time I took Riley back in, my life was happy, independent, free and open to meet new people. That all changed after his first near-death encounter just a few weeks after he came to my house to stay. My friends stopped coming around. It was harder for me to work. I was spending all my savings on things I needed to care for him. There didn’t seem to be anything left over for nails, hair or restaurant gatherings.

I kept taking care of him because I was told by medical professionals that he was dying. I fell into a frog soup situation. Each time he recovered from a near fatal situation, his health was worse. He could not take care of himself – and now he is completely bedridden. And here I am still acting as his caregiver.

Something is different now than when I first started caring for him. I have found my life again. I work at what I want to do and don’t let Riley’s condition stand in my way. Well… that may be an exaggeration… but I’m getting closer everyday to spending more time away from him.

When I started this blog way back in 2010 I found my passion or more accurately, I rekindled my passion for writing. I became more active on FaceBook and re-connected with old friends. I took every opportunity to smile and talk to complete strangers on the street, in the grocery story, and everywhere I went. I came back to life as through I had been asleep for a long time.

As typical with lives, mine ebbed and waned as problems and situations changed. Riley got worse or better. We moved several times. I got sick. I got well. It’s called life. Even when I lost focus on my life, I knew I was in there just waiting for the opportunity to get out.

That’s what it is being the spouse of an alcoholic. It’s a constant struggle to remain alive and not disappear into his chaos. It’s so easy to stop thinking or doing for yourself because you become absorbed by the alcoholic. There are messes to clean up and things to be done that would normally be the responsibility of the alcoholic. You cease having a personality of your own. Your image to the outside world is that of a weak, clingy, victim who is the alcoholic’s slave and aid to his disease. No spouse would really want that but that’s part of being in the frog soup pot.

Frog Soup – Put a frog into a pot of boiling water and it will jump right out. Put the frog in a pot of cold water and slowly bring the water to a boil. The frog will stay in the pot and become Frog Soup.

The changes in the alcoholic household happen slowly and are nearly unrecognizable until the situation boils over. Once the alcoholic becomes so sick or dependent, the spouse becomes the caregiver and if she/he is not careful, they lose their life while still breathing.

It is very important for the spouse to remain the person that they want to be. If you find you’re losing it – search within yourself for what ignites your own passion. It takes some work in handling the details with the alcoholic. But it can be done. Don’t let the alcoholic’s desire to live in chaos become your existence. Create, generate, and/or preserve your own circle of friends. There are ways to meeting people in your situation other than Al-Anon, however, Al-Anon is a good start.

If it’s early in the disease, make plans for getting out. You may not want to go right now, but in the future, it may be the safest thing for you to do. Keep your options open.

No matter what… remember that you are a person worthy of a life of your own filled with peace, happiness, and independence.

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 appeared to be adequate personnel available to attend to the patients. I don’t know if they are called patients. Someone once told me that they are residents. Whatever. The residents seemed happy and comfortable.

I went to the nursing home because it was Riley’s birthday and I wanted to make sure he had some kind of acknowledgment. I brought an ice cream cake, party hats and a banner for his room.

I also wanted to have a brief conversation with his nurse. She was a little bitty thing. So cute and young. As I was trying to explain a few things, she didn’t seem to be really hearing me. So, I left to find the admissions director to discuss the possibility of permanent placement. That was equally unsatisfying. The rates are so high, I would have to win the lottery to be able to afford placing him there. I truly don’t know how people do it.

After returning home, I realized that I had forgotten to tell them about wanting Riley to get a haircut while he was there. I called his nurse, but she said I had to come to the nursing home and pay for it in advance. She also said that the barber wouldn’t be there until Tuesday. Riley was coming home on Tuesday. I asked her if she would please have someone call me to see if they could get him to the barber before he left. She acknowledged and read my phone number back to me.

On Monday, I called the admission director to double check that an attempt would be made to get Riley his haircut. She was not at her desk, so I left a voice mail. I was patient. I left two messages, surely someone would be calling me back. But no phone call came.

Tuesday morning, Riley returned home with his hair in the same awful condition it was in when he went to the nursing home. I was very disappointed.

I have noticed that customer service is sorely lacking when it should be a priority. I guess the days are gone when the customer was always right. I remember a seminar I was gave on “Defining Who Your Customers Really Are”. In a nutshell, almost everyone you do any type of business with and even those who support you to do your business end up being your customer.

Some people might say that I was not the customer of the nursing home, that Riley was the true customer. However, I manage Riley’s care and have the authority to remove him from their care. I’m the one who says, he stays or goes. So, yes, Riley is a customer but I am also a customer. I deserve to be treated with respect. I deserve to have calls returned. I deserve to be kept in the loop of his treatment and care. If that doesn’t happen, I’m inclined to remove both me and Riley from their circle of customers.

Someone once told me that “you get what you accept”. I believe that is true. We all must stand up and insist that we be treated with respect. We must take our business elsewhere if we are not appreciated as customers. If we don’t, we will continue to let the people who are suppose to be serving us, control us instead.

My time away from Riley provided me with rest and a sense of renewed energy to continue to do the things that are important to me. I found myself again. I can once again say “no” to people who insist that they know what I need more than I do.

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 want the alcoholic/addict to love them enough to put a higher value on the relationship than on the drug of choice. What most family members don’t understand is that it is impossible for that to happen. Loved ones say cruel things without realizing that what they are saying is hurtful. What the addict doesn’t understand is that those cruel things are meant to be a means of slapping the addict across the face so they will snap out of it. It doesn’t work. It doesn’t hold the value of the next high for the addict.

For the family, it doesn’t matter who made the most money or who paid for Christmas. What matters is how much of that money went toward booze or drugs. Because whatever the amount is, it was too much. That alcohol/booze money took you away from them. If you asked them, they would probably say they would rather be penniless than to see you destroy yourself.

You ask when it is your turn to tell them how they have hurt you. The time for you to tell them is after you have been clean and sober for at least six months. When your mind is clear enough for you to communicate without being in a hazy cloud of intoxication, that’s when they will listen to you. They can’t and won’t believe it’s you who is really talking because if you are high or drunk, they know it’s booze or drugs that have invented the words coming from your mouth.

I’m happy to let you spew in the comments of this blog. However, there are consequences to letting it all hang out in such a public forum. You even gave your e-mail address. You are no longer private in your pain. People WILL reach out to you. Attempts will be made to help save your life. I don’t see your comment as a “vent” I see a woman who is asking for help – that’s why you chose such a public place.

“I can’t fix it, but I’m expected to.” You are absolutely right. The reason you are expected to is because you are the only one who can fix it. You aren’t expected to do it alone, but no one can do it for you. There are lots of people highly trained to help you fix it. The question is, do you want to fix it. And it doesn’t matter if it’s a addiction problem or a family problem. I guarantee you that if there is an alcohol/drug problem you definitely have a family problem. In that case one must be resolved before you can work on the other.

Running away has always been my dream when I’m faced with problems that have difficult resolution issues. Unfortunately, when running away we always seem to take ourselves (and our problems) with us. A friend once said to me, “No matter where you turn, there you are.” Some distance can be a good thing when the distance is designed to keep space between you and others in order to figure things out.

What is the significance of September 27th? What is it about that day that makes it the ideal time to go? And are you planning on a road trip that has no end? Are you planning on taking your life because it is the only way (in your opinion) to stop the pain?

I’m reaching out to the drug and alcohol recovery centers to give some insight to you on some other options for you life. I know you are an intelligent woman who is capable of understanding that there’s a whole other life for you. You’ve reached out for help, are you willing to take it?

To my readers -- 

Please respond to Rebecca in the comments section of this post. Please do not overwhelm her with e-mails which may only frustrate and confuse her. Also, please be polite and respectful no matter how angry or upset you may be with the situation. Thank you for taking the time to help Rebecca.

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. 

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Hallucinations, agitation and drugs that help

Riley was in the Navy submarine service for more than 25 years. He served aboard the USS Shark which was a sister ship of the USS Scorpion. The Scorpion went down near the Azores and was never recovered. The cause of the event was never exactly determined. But, the crew members of the Shark felt an uncanny connection to those who served and lost their life aboard the Scorpion.

About a year ago, Riley was having severe panic attacks and hallucinations about incidents that happened to him aboard submarines. He was clearly terrified of “going down with the ship.” These dreams, hallucinations, images, whatever, would last for days. There was no sleep because he was screaming out for help. He didn’t know who I was and didn’t understand how I got there.

We tried drugs of all sorts, but nothing was making a dent in giving us some relief. Finally, our nurse practioner found us the answer. She spent hours doing research and had many conversations with our pharmacist. Then she sat down with and explained why nothing had worked so far.

The drugs we had been administering to Riley all had the same chemical components as alcohol.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Please Drink Responsibly

When Patrick Branson contacted me about helping with his upcoming documentary and told me the name "Please Drink Responsibly" I was reminded of the time when Riley argued with me that it was OK for him to drive drunk because he had been doing it for years and nothing bad ever happened. He was insistent that it was not right for anyone else to drive drunk, but it was OK for him because he had experience.  

Please Drink Responsibly is a documentary film produced by Patrick Branson. There is no corporate funding for this film. It exists from donations given by people like me and you. They are at the end of production but do not have enough funds to get it finished. They are so close yet so far.

To donate to this film and get it out there to the public, please contact Patrick Branson by leaving a message or comment on his Facebook page at:

As family and friends of alcoholics and alcoholics, we all know how important it is for films like this to be aired. Please join with me in making it happen.

Friday, July 22, 2016

The state of sobriety

There was a full moon on Wednesday night. I admired how bright and shiny it was with its ability to light up my entire yard. Intellectually I know that the moon only appears white because it is reflecting the light here on earth. Still, I revel in its beauty and can almost feel the magical power emanating from the shine.

I could use some magical power these days. Riley has not been feeling well. Besides not feeling well, he is having a difficult time communicating with the nurse about his pain. Often times he simply says that he just feels yucky in general then will yell out in pain a few minutes later. Ask him where it hurts – his answer is on his entire right side. If I had magic powers I would just wave my wand and be able to see his pain.

Often I will say something to a person about Riley no longer drinking. Everyone oooos and ahhhhs about how his sobriety is wonderful. I’m told that I should at least be grateful for the lack of alcohol. I know they mean well. I smile and nod.

Back in the day, if Riley had quit drinking and was still able to maintain a quality life, I would be