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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.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

A change is coming...

Riley recalls our breakfast at the pancake house and informs me that it would have been much better if we had shared a bottle of champagne during our meal. This leads us to an interesting conversation and an example of how charming and manipulative an alcoholic can be.
I love wine. I even love a nice gin and tonic on a hot summer day. The perfect drink with my perfect steak is a thick, full-bodied cabernet. Here’s the catch. When Riley came to stay with me I had two previously opened bottles of wine in the fridge and they had been there for almost a month. I had a nicely stocked liquor cabinet complete with a variety of brandy and other liqueur like Tia Maria and Sambuca. It had taken me years to stock the cabinet and I seldom emptied a bottle of anything – even things like gin or vodka just didn’t seem to run out. When I want a drink or want to serve drinks to my guests, I had what I needed. But, one or two is enough for me and if my guests want to get drunk they know to go to someone else’s house.
This is common knowledge for anyone who has know me for more than a week. Riley knows this fact about me. And, he has starting asking me if I want to pick up some wine to go with dinner. I give him a look. He says he doesn’t believe having some wine with dinner would hurt him any. And, oh by the way, he knows I would enjoy a glass and he doesn’t want to deprive me of the pleasure of things I enjoy.
OMG – is he kidding me!!  The only thing Riley is depriving me of by me not having wine at dinner is the insanity that follows that bottle. The truth is if there were wine at dinner I would only get one glass because the rest of the bottle would be gone before I finished that one glass.
A slippery slope…
In AA you will hear the phrase “slippery slope”. I’ve heard it in other places too, but mostly in AA meetings. A slippery slope is something or some situation that an alcoholic knows has put him at risk of drinking in the past. For example, going to a bar would be a place that is a slippery slope for an alcoholic.
There is also the fact that a true alcoholic cannot have ONE drink. That’s the whole issue of alcoholism. One drink will turn off the common sense element in the alcoholic’s brain and they will believe they can just drink the town under the table.
Riley knows this. He was involved with AA and other programs for years. And yet… he wants to have wine with dinner. Oh – and let’s not forget champagne with breakfast…  I don’t know if it is the brain damage talking or the alcoholism – probably both.
In any event, I don’t need wine with my dinner to enjoy my steak. If I have my choice between wine and a sober brain damaged Riley, I chose the later. But, since there has been soooooo much conversation and remarks lately, I know that the atmosphere out here in the country is about to change.
I have always said that if it gets to the point that Riley comes right out and asks me to buy him vodka – I will buy the vodka. I might wait a while and see how often he asks. I won’t jump up from my computer and run to the liquor store. It will involve attempts at rationality and common sense. But in the end – it’s not my body or my life. If he chooses to destroy himself, then he has that option.
I also know that NOT buying the vodka will also result in the deterioration of my peaceful existence as it is now. Riley will become more and more passive aggressive and there will be more confrontations over the “simple” things – like feeding the dog from the dining table. Little meaningless things will turn into giant mountains. He will also start drinking things with alcohol as an ingredient – such as mouthwash. If he wants alcohol – he will find it – somehow – someplace.
My only problem with buying the vodka is an issue of life and death -- his death and my contribution to that death by providing him the means. On the other hand, simply buying the vodka doesn’t mean he has to drink it.  He could easily consume products not intended for consumption that contain alcohol and cause a much more rapid end result.
I know we are reaching that decision point. No matter what, I know what the result will be. It’s a bridge that will be crossed – at least I know what is on the other side. I know what to expect and I know that the alcohol hazed insanity will be trying to edge its way into my total focal point rather than staying on the peripheral edge.
My battle will not be to keep him sober – it will be in maintaining my ability to deal with reality as it is. My battle will be to not try to save him again when he doesn’t want salvation.

4 comments:

HyperCRYPTICal said...

Hi There,

I 'found' your blog this morning via your comment on AlcoholicDaze and have just read through you entries now (late afternoon in England).

You are truly amazing and you have my total admiration; the strengh, love, coping strategies and insight you have - well as I say, are admirable. Your family and Riley are blessed to have you.

Take care.

Anna:o]

Linda said...

Anna,

Thank you for reading my blog and understanding my situation. Please know that my comments concerning the medical profession are not designed to be an insult to them. I truly believe they do the best they can. As with any profession, some are more dilegent than others.

I see many similarities in AlcoholicDaze. I'm happy she is getting on with her life. I wish I could have offered her strength during the ordeal.

Please keep reading and sending me comments (good and bad).

HyperCRYPTICal said...

Hi Linda,

I realise there is a lack of understanding in some in the medical and nursing professions and you have every right to say so. People are just people whatever job they do and it is easy to make judgements on others from the outside looking in - this is without living the experience of alcohol dependence or living with somebody with it.

Please be assured that I will be a regular visitor to your blog.

Take care.

Anna :o]

Anonymous said...

I grew up with an alcoholic father who drank himself to an early grave when I was 15 - one year later I met who would become my alcoholic husband & have been with him for 30+ years. Your blog hits home on so many levels & I just want to say thank you! God bless you for sharing this & reminding me that I am OK despite the fact that I have continued to live with an alcoholic. Friends think I'm crazy and don't understand why I don't just up and leave. Most days I wonder why I have stuck it out this long. However, it is not that simple to just walk away and start over again - perhaps I haven't found the strength yet. Or maybe I am stronger than I realize??

May God bless you