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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, December 8, 2010

To buy or not to buy...

To answer Alea’s question required a lot of soul searching. The problem is it’s difficult to give her an answer as to why would I buy him booze. There are lots of answers and most of them don’t follow in the same direction. Some are irrational. Some imply that I have no compassion for Riley. Some, in a convoluted way, make perfect sense.

But first, I feel I must insert a disclaimer. I believe in, and as much as possible, will adhere to the Law of Robotics – see my post “A Flawed Plan” from the month of October for more information on that topic. I cannot and will not intentionally cause the demise of any other person. I like to think I could… but the reality is… I’m a spineless wimp and no matter what I say, I know I’ll do everything I can to keep Riley alive. I am not capable of taking another human life.

Here are the most obvious answers that I came up with:

First – I’m getting tired of the fight. I’m tired of the daily conversations that consist of trying to make him see the logical, sensible reasons as to why Riley should not drink. Day after day, he remains insistent that he wants alcohol. Day after day, I’m insistent about not buying it. Right now it’s just a discussion, but in the future it will become an argument that lasts my entire waking hours.

I know intrinsically that Riley will become more passive aggressive and will manipulate any little thing into a way for him to have access to alcohol. It will be subtle. It may take months. While it’s happening I will be second guessing everything he says and does. Looking over my shoulder and checking the bank account for discrepancies. My role as policeman and warden will become more difficult to maintain.

But, in the end, he will find a way. He will wear me down and I’ll forget to check on the bank account or I’ll let him run an errand. So why fight it? If I’m going to lose, why not let it be sooner than later? He will drink, he will get physically sicker, and he will die. And, clearly, that’s his choice. So why fight a losing battle?

Second – If I don’t buy vodka he will drink other things like mouthwash, vanilla extract, cough syrup, anything with alcohol as the ingredient. He will drink these things and he will die. That means I’ll have to switch to using products that I don’t find to work as well. I’ll substitute flavoring for extracts and alcohol-free mouthwash instead of my beloved stuff in the brown bottle.

Why should I make such a change in my life to accommodate his addiction? Isn’t it up to him to know that those things are harmful and not for consumption in large quantities? I suppose it could be said that – it’s what I signed up for when I took him in. But, I’m not sure if that really is what I signed up for.

When Riley came back to my home, I took him in because he was near death. My plan was to ease him into the afterlife without the turmoil becoming a part of Alea’s life. From that point of view, I failed. I pulled him back from his direct flight to the undertakers. And I not only did it once, I did it a total of three times since he’s been here.

I had no intention of really changing my life and making a permanent place for him in my home. I thought this would be a minor blip on the radar screen of my life. I thought, maybe, I could go on from this and continue on my way. I can live my life and love my life, but as long as he is here -- there is that blip.

Although I lived alone, I had men in my life before Riley returned. If he were gone, possibly a new relationship would bloom -- with a man who truly believed in me, truly loved me and would make me his choice and top priority. That can never happen as long as Riley is in my home.

The truth is I don’t know if I’d ever want another man in my life. After living with five brothers as a child and being married to a selfish alkie, having the bathroom sink to myself is very luxurious. My life is good without a male counterpart. So for me to think that maybe… well… that’s no reason to push Riley over the edge.

Third – Once he becomes inebriated, to suddenly remove alcohol from his grasp would throw him into a deadly withdrawal. I’ve had at least three medical doctors tell me to continue providing him alcohol because it was too dangerous to take it away. In this case, to NOT provide alcohol would mean that he dies.

Alea’s point is that if my life is better with a sober brain damaged Riley, why would I make it worse by allowing him to have alcohol and go back to the days described in “Memories of Days”?

My answer would be my life could be even better if he were not in it all. Providing Riley vodka or turning a blind eye to his drinking means he will be leaving my life permanently.

If my past behavior is an indicator of my future behavior, then I predict the following:

I will fight to keep him sober for as long as I possibly can. I will refuse to get the alcohol. But, eventually I will stop being the policeman of his actions. He will begin to drink whatever he finds. And that “find” will be the end of him. He will create his own demise and I will not have to do anything. That will relieve me of my moral responsibility and we can all get on with our lives.


Anonymous said...

I am finding your blog very helpful, honest and inspiring.
Thank you for this great resource which I plan to use often.
I am in Al-Anon and I find it very helpful to me.
Thank you

Seth said...

This was important for me to read today. Thank you.

kevin blumer said...

i use to hate xmas with my girl friend i never wanted to buy alcohol at all becasue it use to be like just walking on egg shells you knew soon as she started drinking she could not stop then the deppresion would kick in me been an alcoholic the same and sufforing form BPD i dont buy dirnk atall including when i go out to sosialise i drink lime soda mutch better idear hard but safer

Anonymous said...

As a recovering Alcoholic with 30 years of continuous sobriety, I have to say that giving Riley alcohol is the kindest thing you can do. I believe the Drs. are right, at this late stage, to not give him alcohol could be deadly. Trying to control the amount is the hard part. I used to never give "Street Drunks" money....now I do. I have no way of knowing if more booze is going to kill them or if the booze will give them another day to get their MIRACLE. I choose to believe that they will get their MIRACLE. Praying for that same MIRACLE for you and for your family and for Riley. Your blog is very well written and very helpful to me. Thank you!

Anonymous said...

I am enjoying your posts. While I did not know what alcoholism was or how much alcohol was acceptable or safe so one would not become alcoholic. Truth is, 20 years later, that I think my husband was already an alcoholic when I met him. I just thought he liked to go out with the guys (and then girls too) more than he should.
I like the honesty. Some "craziness" has set in and quite possibly some drug use.
We now have a new grandchild and I don't want her affected like our children were. I don't want her around him.
Thanks again for the posts. It helps a great deal just to know that it is not just me thinking that he is "crazy" sometimes. Many crazy things going on.