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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, January 16, 2011

Déjà vu…

I was watching Dr. Phil on Thursday, January 13, 2011 and I saw the interview with Ted Williams. This once homeless man was an overnight hit via a You Tube broadcast. He has a wonderfully smooth, although gravelly voice and had once studied as a radio announcer. Since the You Tube performance he has been offered many jobs and is well on his way to fame and fortune. Well… Ted is well on his way, but there is this one little thing…

By his own admission, Ted Williams has issues with alcohol and drugs. A reunion with his family brought to light that although Ted claims to have been clean and sober for two years, he has now returned to one of his old friends – Vodka. Now that he has some money his favorite friend, Grey as in Grey Goose, visits often.

Dr. Phil had a confrontation with Ted on this particular program.  Ted stated that he would only go into a treatment facility if a “professional doctor or counselor” told him he should.  Dr. Phil reviewed his qualifications to Ted and then made him an incredible offer.

He offered Ted the opportunity to attend a treatment facility that only the very well funded and insured could possibly afford to attend. Ted’s response was a litany of activities that Ted felt he needed to do before he entered rehab. Dr. Phil met each of Ted’s required tasks with a resolution that would allow him to go directly to rehab without passing go or collecting $200. In the end, Ted was accompanied to his hometown by an official of the rehab center with the plan being to eventually escort him to the center at South Padre Island, Texas.

OK. So I get it. I truly do. What I get is that all alcoholics are the same. They have the same vocabulary and the same script. They all have the same set of excuses and sense of paranoia.

If I have heard Riley say once, I’ve heard it a thousand times – I want a “professional” to tell me that I’m dying… need to go to rehab… can’t drive… can’t live alone. And no matter how many times a “professional” does tell him, there is some reason why he can’t consider that person as qualified to make that determination.

All alcoholics have a million reasons why they can’t go into treatment now. They range from… I can’t take time off work… I can’t afford it… It’s too hot… It’s too cold… It’s Sunday… the sun came up this morning. I know and understand that a new way of life might be frightening – after all a known evil may seem better than an unknown good.

I listened intently to the program and at the same time felt I could have been Ted’s wife because the only thing different from Riley was the physical body. Ted’s actions, reasons, excuses and comments have actually been voiced by Riley. It was as though Riley had written the script for Ted. It was Déjà Vu all over again.

As non-alcoholics, it’s hard for us to understand why someone, such as Ted, with such an incredible chance at a life most of us can only dream about, would throw up road blocks in the path of that life. We’ve all seen it… experienced it… hated it with our own alcoholics.

It appears that after all… Ted is just another alcoholic. He’s no different than so many others that have lost outstanding opportunities because they chose their friends named Grey… Smirnoff… Seagrams… Popov… instead of taking a risk at a chance of a lifetime.


Alcoholic Daze (ADDY) said...

Hi. I have finally gotten round to adding you to my bloglist!! If I had a pound for every time Greg wheedled his way out of giving up alcohol, I would be a millionairess by now. He always refused rehab as he did not want to mix with criminals and drug addicts, then he said he would miss his computer. He even once said he was afraid I might take the opportunity to run away and leave him. Even when an emergency would tak him to hospital and they detoxed him there,he would come home and say it was OK to have the occasional drink. Of course one drink would lead to another and he would be back to alcoholism in no time at all. It seems to be part of the illness that all alcoholics come out with the the same excuses. Such a shame. You show Riey my blog. If he carries on, he'll go the same way as Greg,. Maybe that might motivate him!

immortalalcoholic said...

Hi Addy... nice to have you back. I've been away from the computer for a few days too -- having dental work done is kicking my @#$%.

It is a shame that things don't change. Even after discussing the program with Riley -- he agrees the absurdity, but doesn't see how it is a portrait of himself. He reads my blog and all the comments faithfully.

Anonymous said...

Alcoholics don't choose to ignore opportunities. They are way past that.The grip of addiction is strong.

What is irritating is when some bloggers pretend sympathy and sadness and huge regret. These are often people who have left their loved ones to drown in alcohol or supplied them with it. For a quiet life.

To all you 'carers' out there, basking in self-righteousness, I would say this..You are also to blame.

Linda (The Immortal Alcoholic) said...

Anonymous -- I have copied your comment to the discussion page of The Immortal Alcoholic Facebook Community Page under the topic of "Choice or Not?" Go to Facebook and type The Immortal Alcoholic in the search bar. I hope you join in the discussion.

Ann said...

I wouldn't say I fled in self rightousness as much as I fled in gratitude for the shreds of sanity I had left. If my spouse decides to continue with his disease as is, it's out of my control. I didn't cause his alcoholism, although he disputes that, I can't control his alcoholism and I certainly can't cure it! There came a point in time when I accepted that things are not going to change, and I had to decide to either live with a drunk, or break away and try to restart my life without the man who I looked at as my life partner, and away from the insanity of alcoholism. I feel deep regret that a good man, an intelligent, handsome man with whom I planned a solid future is no longer a part of my plan, I miss him, I miss who he was before, and I will for the rest of my life.

AnyEdge said...

Anonymous sounds very wounded. I can't imagine the pain you've suffered, and I hope you find solace from it. I agree that enabling is a terrible thing, but it doesn't make the enabler to blame for the alcoholic. I'm confused what anonymous would have someone do. If they aren't supposed to leave, and aren't supposed to enable, then what? Stand and watch? That's too much to ask, and doesn't help anyhow.

I'm a sober alcoholic. I haven't read enough of immortal's story to offer any advice or help, if such were even wanted. What I can say is that some of us get sober. Some of us find the pain eventually too intolerable to bear.

Addiction is what it is. But it can be sundered when a person is ready. I agree that enabling does no favors. The only help for an alcoholic who drinks is help to the bottom. It is sad, but true.

Syd said...

The only thing that I have found to work is to take care of myself. When I stopped listening to the excuses and promises and lies, and was fed up with life with active alcoholism, then something happened. I am grateful that my wife decided that our life was more important than the bottle.