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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, January 25, 2011

The inevitable...

I knew this day would come. I knew I couldn’t control every thing every moment of every day. And now it has happened and I must shift gears.

Over the weekend, we rented a car so that I could run errands and do shopping. Since our regular car is not in great shape, I often rent a car. It works out well because I don’t like to have readily available transportation. That eliminates arguments over whether or not Riley can drive to wherever to do whatever. No car – no issue.

However, when there has been a car available and I have asked Riley to do little local runs, he has not disappointed me. He has done what he said he would do and returned without stopping at the liquor store or a bar. He returns home in a sober state of mind.

Yesterday I was swamped with work files. Being a telecommuter, I have an obligation to maintain a higher-than-average production level in both quantity and quality. Yesterday I was on overload because a new job task has been assigned to me and I need to show that I can handle the fluctuating requirements. If I can’t keep up my end of the commitment, I’ll be forced to return to the office environment – which means moving 3,000 miles from Alea and Ryan. That’s not a good thing.

Also, I expected the delivery of a sizable quantity of office supplies as well as the delivery of my daughter’s birthday present. My signature is required for the supplies.

All of that meant that getting the rental car back to Enterprise was going to be a problem. Adding another day would be costly. So I made a decision. I decided to delegate the car rental return to Riley. He had been doing so well… surely he could handle this. I was basking in the warmth of the last few months of his sobriety. But history does, in fact, repeat itself.

First off, I must say, Riley did not return home in a drunken state of mind. But, he brought home with him a bottle of his old friend Aristocrat. He didn’t hide it. He took it out of the bag and put it on the kitchen counter. It was a smaller bottle – about half the size of the one he used to go through in about a day’s time.

He justified his purchase with the fact that it was a “cheap” bottle of vodka. As if it really mattered to me that he could have spent more dollars. The monetary expense was not as important as the sanity expense.

I asked if we could talk about it before he cracked that seal and unleashed a whole lot of craziness. And we did talk. I listened to him tell me that he needed to see if he could handle just taking a drink or two a day. I listened to him explain how he thinks it might be different since he can’t get to the liquor store very often. I listened and it was as if I could say the words before they ever came out of his mouth.

Then I asked him to listen. I told him that I would not buy any booze for him. Once he emptied that bottle – I would not make sure that he got replenishments. Whatever the results of drinking that bottle were – would be results that he created. I reminded him that without transportation it would be difficult for me to get him medical attention quickly. I reminded him of further brain damage that could result. I made sure he heard me reiterate all the reasons why he should not take that drink.

After our conversation, we both continued with our normal routine. But what happened later seemed a bit odd to me. And I don’t know if it was me or if it was Riley, but I was surprised.

Riley had insisted that he cook dinner – steak, broccoli and pasta salad – yum. He usually started cooking at about 5:00 pm. When it got to be 6: pm, I came out and asked if he had started dinner. He just looked at me. Then he mumbled… that he was waiting for me to tell him that I was hungry. Huhhhh??? I didn’t know I was suppose to do that…

I took a closer look at him. He seemed very drunk… way drunker than he should have been judging from the amount missing from the bottle – which was nearly full. So… what the heck?? Why did he seem so out of it?

I went to my office and checked the bank accounts – nothing out of the ordinary there. He didn’t have any cash – so he couldn’t spend any. There were no checks missing from the checkbook. Everything was good. So he didn’t spend any money on getting extra booze. His return time didn’t allow for a bar stop-in and besides there was no money missing.

Two possibilities come to mind. The first possibility is a somewhat “Pavlovian” experience. This would mean the anticipation of consuming the alcohol was making him behave in a semi-drunken state of mind. I could also have had a Pavlovian experience. I may have expected him to be drunk and so I saw him as drunk.

The second possibility is centered in the fact that Riley has brain damage and the alcohol affects him quicker due to the reduced functionality of the noggin.

My gear have been shifted from “relaxed” to “on alert”. It will be interesting to see what happens when the bottle is empty and he has no way to obtain more. Will he be back to drinking anything or everything containing alcohol? I don’t know, I just have to wait and see. After all, there is nothing I CAN do except wait.


dAAve said...

Sounds like someone hasn't hit their bottom yet.

Alcoholic Daze (ADDY) said...

Hey. I am so sorry. This all sounds so familiar to me. One of Greg's excuses when he came back from detox was always "I want to see whether I can handle the occasional drink or two at social occasions". Within days he would be back to full alcoholism again. If Riley cannot get regular supplies then he may be able to recover again, but I am so sorry that your carousel is still going round.

poet said...

you deserve a medal, or some sort of recognition. i really mean that. i havebeen reading long enough, and read the older postings to learn as much as anyone else who reads daily. i'm so sorry you are dealing wtih it all. after being sober nearly 8 yrs, and recovered, i truly realize that if i were to take that first drink, it would take me back in to hell. a place i never ever want to be. i feel sad for riley....if only he could choose abstinence. *gentle hugs*

Syd said...

I am really sorry. What a sad thing for you and for him. Experimenting for the alcoholic ends in failure. But it sounds as if he hasn't fully grasped that yet.