Friday, October 22, 2010

Life Expectancy

I’m in an unusual situation. My alcoholic has exceeded any reasonable expectation of continued breathing time. He has been through the rehab process 13 times. I’ve been told at least eight times that he will not live another 6 months without detox. Since he refuses to detox and refuses to stop drinking, I anticipate and plan for the end which, unfortunately, always feels as though it would be a blessing. We have even gotten to the place of having hospice involved in his care during his final days. But his final days never arrive. I always end up insisting he go to the emergency room, he detoxs, we are told he won’t make it this time, and he recovers.

24 comments:

Judith said...

I don't know that this is so unusual! You are describing my life, too. Right now, my husband, who began gurgling blood yesterday, is in a medical center. They are running tests, and I expect to hear later today that he will make it just fine. (The doctors' voices will be proud and reassuring. I will crumple up and cry.) A lawyer has suggested telling the medical center not to release him to me because I can't care for him--which is true--but then I will have to try to protect my hard-earned assets against attachment by medical assistance. The great lesson I have learned from being married to an alcoholic is that there are choices--but no good choices.

Linda said...

I think you're right. When I first started this blog, I thought I was the only one in this position. But, I've had so much response, e-mails, etc, that I know this is much more common than I had thought.

I don't know your location, but once he gets thru detox, he will appear to be of sound mind and have the ability to make his own decisions. You might be able to get him into a physical rehab type facility. That will help him regain some of his physical strength without having alcohol accessible. And that might buy you some "sane" time in which you can make some decisions. They kept Riley for 6 wonderful weeks -- I was delighted for the respite.

Anonymous said...

Your blog has been of great value to me. I am facing the facts that all 3 of my adult children have chemical dependency issues. One son is in the mid to late stages of alcoholism. My lady friend of 30 years is an end stage alcoholic and I do not think she is long for this world. As all this came to pass, my current "guy friend" escalated his drinking to the point where I can not tolerate his company anymore. At the present moment I attend Al Anon meetings and I am scrambling to find some help in grieving the simultaneous loss of my family and my 2 closest friends. This is a lonely time for me. I can only imagine what you go through on a daily basis.

Anonymous said...

I left my husband of 29 years after finally realizing nothing was ever going to change no matter how hard I tried. He went into rehab for the 3rd time a few months later. I decided to file for divorce while he was sober. Shortly after he started drinking again. Now I have feelings that I am responsible. He has had end stage liver failure for at least 2 years. He is now at a Care facility and his family blames me. I've been thru the "it will only be a couple months" too many times.

Anonymous said...

I too had divorced my husband of 23 years. It was getting so much for my tow boys and I, hit my rock bottom. And to of course most of his family hates me. He is now living with them in Florida. I hope they really can see what was haappening to him, and maybe some hope for him, He can quit for them. He did not do it for hiswife and boys. Such shame, to let your family go for the dam Bacardi booze.I think to his health will eventuly catch up to him. He is a mean drunk to his boys and I and I was DONE!

Anonymous said...

I too live with an alcoholic who has been thru rehab and numerous stays in the hospital where he was close to death. He then renews himself and it starts all over again. Promises mean nothing anymore. I don't trust anything he says as he lies to cover up his drinking. I'm amazed that he is still living at 70. the times he is in rehab or the hospital were restful times for me. Now I dread going home everyday, never knowing what I will find. I have stopped letting him lay guilt trips on me, I'm not the one buying or putting the bottle to his lips. it is a choice that he makes daily. yes, it is an addiction but, you can take control over your thoughts and emotions.

Anonymous said...

Wondering if I can get private pay hospice care for end stage alcoholic family member. He spent all of the last two years in rehab facilities, staying sober about a week or so in between discharges and subsequent rehabs...currently out of rehab for about 6 weeks, living in a local hotel, possibly a week before he dies. Would like him to receive compassionate, non-judgemental care while he finishes his life...60 years old, plenty of money in IRA, divorced and children, ex-wife will not get involved. I understand this, but, can we at least get him hospice and HHA to keep him clean and comfortable?

Anonymous said...

Recently, after feeling hopeless that my violent alcoholic husband will probably never stop drinking I started researching on the life expectancy issue. That's how I discovered this blog which has clearly made me realize that I need to divorce my husband. I think fifteen years of abuse is too much, and I don't want to end up like so many women who lament that they wish they left a long time ago, or that they feel that they wasted their life away taking care of a man who is physically incapable of taking care of himself, yet he never seems to lose the ability to abuse his caretaker.

Anonymous said...

I lived with an alcoholic for 10 years. We produced two beautiful children. I could no longer take the sober, drunk, sober, drunk routine and refused to allow our children to witness that, so I filed for divorce. I have full-custody of our children; except for the summertime. Unfortunately, last Thursday, my 10 year old son found his dad laying in the grass outside - dead. He had been there all night. He died because he couldn't put down the bottle. And now I have to take care of my traumatized son and daughter who lost there dad - all by myself. Is it wrong of me to feel angry and hate towards him for doing this to us?
We have an appointment with a psychologist on Wednesday who deals with family, children and teen grief counseling. However, I don't want my children to know how I really feel, yet at the same time I feel obligated to make their dad's memory a good one.

Anonymous said...

@ anonymous-son found father dead..You can feel however you feel. I would suggest individual counseling or Al Anon for you so that you can share your true feelings without having your children exposed. I am sure they will understand when they are adults, but they don't have the same thinking skills as adults right now. You're being there for your kids, but you need to take care of yourself also. Best of luck. Thank you for sharing your experience.

Anonymous said...

Oh my gosh! I am ready to divorce my alcoholic husband as well. This is the 2nd time I've left in the past 4 months and divorce papers are in the workings. I very much love my husband and don't want to divorce him, but can't stand the emotional and verbal abuse I have been enduring for some time now. And of course everything he has done wrong is justified by something I apparently did to him 12 years ago. Odd. Deep down I am hoping for death. I think his death would be much easier to cope with than divorcing him after being together for 22 years and I still love him very much. I came across this site trying to decide how much time he has left on this planet. Hard to say, but I am trying so hard to get a handle on my situation. I have older children (26,19,16) and the 26 year-old is disgusted with my husband. My 19-year old has had some mental issues this past year and I believe that is partly to do with the fact that he busted his dad with a 'phone line' talking/texting other women. That is basically where all this went down. I was happy one day, then the next day my kid tells me my husband is having an affair - so ya, shot in the gut. My 16-year old is disappointed and sad, but a very strong girl. I am only worried about my middle child because he seems to be the one 'in the middle' of this unfortunate situation.

Anonymous said...

My brother-in-law is (well, was)one of the most gifted, intelligent, caring people I had ever met. Over the years, continued consumption of beer, depression and non-eating have him looking pretty horrific! He has had many trips to the hospital, and a couple of rehab trips (the family spent a bit of money to get him to "one of the best". He has short term memory loss, and has a rash over his entire body, along with various other sores from consistent scratching. Trips to the dermatologist (3 times) and the doctor don't help, as it is systemic. It is hard to watch, but you're right. You think they are close to death, but they keep on keepin' on. EMT's called Christmas, he was intubated (sp), in ICU and PCU, hospice called in, yet he survived again!!! You go to check on them, and sometimes secretly hope they have died in their sleep. We have been through this stage for 3 years, and a friend who lost a brother to this says it will get very ugly, I feel that it's ugly enough now.

Anonymous said...

I am a new reader, and am grateful for a place to speak my feelings to people who understand the heartbreak of loving an alcoholic. My alcoholic was once my lover, but the alcohol destroyed all of that. For years now, I have been his only friend. Most of his family has long since given up on him, but somehow I always remain a believer. I always tell him I am his "forever friend." In the past couple of months, his body has begun to succumb to the ravages of years of alcohol. Just like the posts here, he is in and out of the hospital in various crises. Hideous withdrawals, of which he has no recollection, but which are burned into my memory. One night last week I went to the hospital late to visit him. When I entered his room, he was barely breathing -- just 4 or 5 times a minute. I responded instinctively by calling for help. For more than an hour, he breathed only when I told him to. Somewhere in the midst of all that, I came to the stark realization that perhaps I was doing him no favor -- perhaps the loving thing would have been to let him simply stop breathing and just drift quietly away. But I am the eternal believer, and hope is not easily pried from my fingers. I think I kept telling him to breathe that night because there are things I still need to say to him. Most of all, I want to tell him that I know he is a good human and that I'm sorry I have never found a way to help him get free of his demons. I want to tell him that I will always believe in the good in him, and that I will stay right beside him, come what may. When he started coming to that night, the doctor was asking him mental status questions, and asked him who I was. He answered, "That is my very best, BEST friend in the whole wide world." The tears flowed in torrents. I am so grateful to have heard those words -- so glad to know he KNOWS that's who and what I am. I wonder sometimes how much he is going to have to suffer before he can finally escape the prison of his addiction. Life has not been kind to him. Granted, he has made choices that have brought hardship to himself and to others. But that doesn't make his suffering any less suffering. I know the road ahead promises to be a rugged one -- for us, and for everyone reading and writing here. I wish I had a way to give every one of you a huge hug.

Anonymous said...

I have kept your blog in my favorites for many months and this is the first time that I am reading it. I have lived with my husband for 33 years, we had 2 wonderful sons together. He drank when we met (as teenagers) and did drugs (which I found out later) by the time I found out about the drug useage I had our first son. I told him to leave and not come back until he straightened himself out. He went into the military. Spent 20 years in the military and is now retired. He had been mandated to rehab twice during his 20 years. After both times he was wonderful for a time. 13 years ago after his last tour without us, I found out he had an affair (not the only one) I left and he transferred to his next station, our boys went with him. This was only for 2 weeks (and I was in hell as this was the only time I was ever away from the kids..they were teenagers at the time). I came back with thoughts of leaving when our youngest went off to college (3 years) in the meantime our oldest son got heavily into drugs and was thrown out of college. We were all living together when my husband got orders to transfer for 6 months alone. During this time, our older son passed away from a drug overdose. He was just 20 years old. My heart will never heal and I go on day to day trying to act normally. In the meantime, my husbands drinking got worse and worse, he retired from the military and got a wonderful job traveling the world. He started using pot again and drinking everyday. That was 7 years ago, he has now lost his job, and is home all day, doing nothing. He never grieved for our son, when his name is brought up, he gets upset. I have tried so many times to leave, but I really have no where to go. My mother is gone, our youngest just got married, and with a new wife that is the last thing that they need is mom in the house. In the past 30 years, I have done everything, held every crappy job, cleaned, cooked, volunteered at the kids schools and with sports. I do not understand how this man is still alive, he has put me thru hell and does not seem to care. I am now at the point where I found a lawyer and have been trying to save some money to leave. I know in my heart that I stayed so long because I could not stand the thought of losing someone else. Now I have lost myself.

Cindylou said...

I came across this site also because I'm wondering how long a human body can take the alcohol abuse before dying! I actually had the strength to leave my abusive alcoholic husband of 30 years last summer, but after 2 months I stupidly returned because I felt sorry for him! I could've been divorced by now. His drinking seems to be getting worse and he just keeps getting meaner and more ridiculous everyday. I know now I must leave him for good this next time. I feel he won't live much longer , but one can't go one hoping forever. I'm going to pick myself up and get my act together so I can leave him for good now! Alcoholics are the most selfish people I know. I don't know if I truly believe it's a disease either. It's a disease you can choose to have.
They destroy everything and everyone around them because they are selfish and pathetic. Yes, I'm angry.

Anonymous said...

Wow...after reading some of these comments on this site, I can't believe how much it sounds like I had written all of it myself!! This "disease" is horrible!! My husband of 28 years is an alcoholic. He drinks a pint of vodka a day and has been an excessive binge drinker for 10 years. He still works, but has some mobility issues. He's 56 years old but walks like he's 90. He has never been to a rehab or will not agree to talk to anyone about his problem. He comes home from work about 5 and his pint is gone by 6:30. Sometimes it takes less than an hour for him to finish it off. I know a lot of you have it so much worse than I do. I just get tired of night after night of the drunk state he is in. It is very selfish. I am alone, yet he's there. It's a terrible life for the non drinker. My heart goes out to all of you...maybe one day we will see the end one way or another.

Liz said...

Wow. All I can think to say is, "Me, too!" What a sad commentary. I got to this site wondering how close is he to dying, too. After years of complaining to everyone about him, I finally decided to "shot or get off the pot", as they say. I decided to stick it out with him rather than to continue threats of divorce. Fortunately, all of my kids are grown and living elsewhere, so this doesn't affect them. I feel bad for him and still care for him and he has no where else to go. However, just in the past few weeks, I've noticed major changes in him. He never used to stagger and he's getting verbally abusive more often.Also,he seems to be blacking out more since he's drinking more--either drinking more or his brain is going cause his liver may not be able to clean out all the toxins. I pray a lot, which is what saves me. I'll add all of you to my prayers, too. God Bless all of you. LIZ
LARGEST

Anonymous said...

People married to alcoholics or are related to alcoholics naturally wonder how long he or she will live from the self-inflicted abuse, but the question should really be how long will I live if I continue to live with such a person?

Dy Combs said...

I've been married to a fucntioning alcoholic for 27 years. Successfuk businessman so he was able to retire 2 years before his retirment kicks in. He has high blood pressure and diabetis. We have all grown children and as soon as the youngest left home, I've made a decision to retire abroad so we can enjoy our savings more than if we retire in the states. Also, in the hope that new environment will bring new beginning and maybe hope for him. Initially it was great! First 2 months he was drinking very little and his health got better. We are now going on our 4th month abroad when things just went downhill. He binged like crazy.

He can drink a gallon of vodka in a few hours but never will drink in the morning or in the middle of the night. Now he mixes it with coffee and on and off will pass out in the couch throughout the day. Also first time he's been unable to sleep through the night as his body will wake him every hour or so looking for more alcohol.

At first I was terrfied thinking we are 10,000 miles away from home and how can I handle this by myself if anything happens. I began reading online about detachment. I realized it's a blessing to be away as this will protect our children from the agony of seeing him kill himself. They all grew up seeing him drink but not like this 24/7.

I began slowly detaching myself from his problem. I love him dearly but i know i have no control over his alcoholism. I spent many tears and heartaches and worries and this has to end on my part if I would have enough energy to fly and see my kids and grandkids someday. I'm 46 and he is 60, but the worry for many years made me feel older.

Each time he makes a sound or yells and calls me to help him stand up, I am neither mean or kind. I'm neutral. Just last night he laid on the cement floor on our driveway and i allowed it. In the past, i would do everything in my power to put him in bed but this time I didn't. He woke up few minutes later and managed to sit on his own but still groggy and was hitting both sides of his head left and right as he passes in and out of consiousness. I stopped counting how much he drank or what time he started. I began to take care of myself. If he doesnt want to shower as his hygiene went downhill, I no longer beg just so he will shave. I stopped carrying the consenquences of his actions. It's the only way I'm able to relax and truly found serenity. I'm on my way to fully recover from all the heartaches that this alcoholism has brought into our lives. I'm detaching slowly but surely.

Anonymous said...

I've been married to a fucntioning alcoholic for 27 years. Successfuk businessman so he was able to retire 2 years before his retirment kicks in. He has high blood pressure and diabetis. We have all grown children and as soon as the youngest left home, I've made a decision to retire abroad so we can enjoy our savings more than if we retire in the states. Also, in the hope that new environment will bring new beginning and maybe hope for him. Initially it was great! First 2 months he was drinking very little and his health got better. We are now going on our 4th month abroad when things just went downhill. He binged like crazy.

He can drink a gallon of vodka in a few hours but never will drink in the morning or in the middle of the night. Now he mixes it with coffee and on and off will pass out in the couch throughout the day. Also first time he's been unable to sleep through the night as his body will wake him every hour or so looking for more alcohol.

At first I was terrfied thinking we are 10,000 miles away from home and how can I handle this by myself if anything happens. I began reading online about detachment. I realized it's a blessing to be away as this will protect our children from the agony of seeing him kill himself. They all grew up seeing him drink but not like this 24/7.

I began slowly detaching myself from his problem. I love him dearly but i know i have no control over his alcoholism. I spent many tears and heartaches and worries and this has to end on my part if I would have enough energy to fly and see my kids and grandkids someday. I'm 46 and he is 60, but the worry for many years made me feel older.

Each time he makes a sound or yells and calls me to help him stand up, I am neither mean or kind. I'm neutral. Just last night he laid on the cement floor on our driveway and i allowed it. In the past, i would do everything in my power to put him in bed but this time I didn't. He woke up few minutes later and managed to sit on his own but still groggy and was hitting both sides of his head left and right as he passes in and out of consiousness. I stopped counting how much he drank or what time he started. I began to take care of myself. If he doesnt want to shower as his hygiene went downhill, I no longer beg just so he will shave. I stopped carrying the consenquences of his actions. It's the only way I'm able to relax and truly found serenity. I'm on my way to fully recover from all the heartaches that this alcoholism has brought into our lives. I'm detaching slowly but surely.

Anonymous said...

Big hugs and prayer fir us all.
I too am married to an alcholic for the last17 years and we dated for 5 . I guess I should have said no but when your in love and you have been together for 5 years and he has never said anything out of the way so we wed
Now his health is going down hill fast with falls surgery and more fall not to mention the multiple seizures. I just don't know how much more his frail body can take. Like some of you I too think death would be more passionate. When all he is doing is hurting himself and me. I love him and I know that's a terrible thought but sometimes that's the way I feel

Cindylou said...

My functional alcholholic is now falling more and getting staggering drunk like a teenager. He also is having liver issues. Yeah!!! I refuse to help him anymore and am surely not going to pick him off the cement floor or anywhere else. I believe he needs to start facing the consequences of his behavior and addiction. I'm not standing for it anymore. I'm going to start videotaping him also when he is being verbally abusive. His anger is getting so bad. I feel he is getting worse in every aspect of his alcoholism . I'm getting scared actually for my own safety. I'm making plans to leave again but this time it will be for good.

Alice in Wonderland said...

Thank you each one for your posts. The most striking thing was what I did not read. Not one person who sacrificed his/her life to stay involved with a non-recovering alcoholic posted a happy ending. Not one wrote, "It's all worth it. My brother-in-law / brother / sister/ husband / child / etc is now sober for 10 years and leading a healthy life. "Interesting game...the only winning move is to not play."

Alice in Wonderland said...

Thank you each one for your posts. The most striking thing was what I did not read. Not one person who sacrificed his/her life to stay involved with a non-recovering alcoholic posted a happy ending. Not one wrote, "It's all worth it. My brother-in-law / brother / sister/ husband / child / etc is now sober for 10 years and leading a healthy life. "Interesting game...the only winning move is to not play."