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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.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Update to Road and comments on Al-Anon and AA

The trip to the city went well. The dental work wasn’t as horrible as I had imagined and a plan was worked out for the rest of the necessary procedures. I don’t like going to the dentist – but I’m feeling better about the entire ordeal. By next month, this will be just a blip on my radar screen.

Riley got his hair cut at a nearby salon – actually all the hair on his head was trimmed down – not just one. He looked all nice and neat when he picked me up. And he was stone cold sober. He went to the salon and then back to the dentist office without detours. I’m proud of him for that.

We stopped at a very nice, upscale restaurant in the downtown area before heading back to the country. It was enjoyable to sit down to dinner and try the scrumptious menu offerings. No mention was made of a wine to compliment the meal – no cocktails – no alcohol of any sort. The meal was wonderfully peaceful and the food was delish.

Riley drove us home and we arrived in the country to be greeted by Jade and Maggie who wagged their entire bodies with excitement for our return.


This is a wonderful organization that has much to offer those living in the insanity of alcoholism. I am not opposed to Al-Anon. In fact in the pages “What the Non-Alcoholic Can Do” and “Finding Help” there are references to both AA and Al-Anon. I spent many years going to meetings and appreciated the support and understanding that I received. It truly helped me. For many reasons, I currently don’t attend meetings. Even though, I don’t adhere to all the steps and traditions – I respect and understand the teachings.

It is my belief that we each must create our own steps to maintain sanity and they may not look like the 12 steps in Al-Anon. However, Al-Anon is a wonderful place to start and a perfect basic-training on the reality road.

Just to be clear, I’m not trying to save my marriage – my marriage was over 15 years ago.  (See “How I Got Here”) I’m just trying to take care of my daughter by not allowing the alcoholism to take over her life via Riley. I provide a buffer zone between the insanity of alcoholism and Alea’s daily life.

If I were to follow Al-Anon teachings to the letter, I would let Alea do whatever she wants to do about her father. I would only focus on myself and not Riley or Alea. They are both adults and can make their own decisions. But, the law of motherhood is supreme. Maybe, having lost my son, I feel it more acutely – but it will not be denied. Ask any mother what is most important – 99.99% will tell you it’s her children.

So… Alea will not live a life of cleaning up human feces or urine from the floor. She will not be monitoring the depth of jaundice in her father’s skin and eyes. She will not be the brunt of his unrealistic demands. And she will not find him dead in a pool of his own vomited blood. All of those things will fall on my shoulders because – I’m the MOM and legally the wife of her father. It’s a small price to pay to keep my daughter happy and safe so she can enjoy her own marriage, son and grandchildren.

After all these years, what I’ve come to learn is that I DO live a life based on Al-Alnon concepts and principles. I just do it differently and more subconsciously than most people. I do it without thinking about it. And I’m realistic. I know what’s ahead and I have planned accordingly.

Most people actively participating in meetings are there to help them stay with the alcoholic in their life. They are looking for a way to make sense of the insanity. It is soooo difficult, almost impossible, to detach from someone who is your entire heart. It goes against the grain of all things we learn about love and marriage throughout our entire lives. I pray for those people everyday.

I’m detached from Riley because I don’t see him as a loving husband. He came to me as a terminally ill man in need of care and attention. Do I love him? Yes – just as I love all my other brothers – but not with passion and desire as a wife should for her husband. He no longer holds my heart. That’s what makes this bearable.

Riley and AA
For many years Riley was so entrenched in AA that there was nothing else in his life. He volunteered at the local AA Service Center and was DCM (District Committee Member) for his AA District. He switched his addiction from alcohol to AA – which was not a bad switch. But, all his many years ensconced in AA (from 1982 to 2008) was never a deterrent to drinking. He attended meetings drunk or sober.

I believe that AA only works if the alcoholic can be truly honest with himself and everyone around him. For Riley, I believe that drinking while being active in AA was a challenge. He loves being able to “get away with things” and not being called out on his drunkenness at meetings gave him a sense of accomplishment.

End-Stage and Attitude –
Riley is truly “end-stage”. That means all efforts to save him have been exhausted. Doctors no longer suggest he go into detox because the risk of death is too high. Rehab centers refuse him admission. No one tries to convince him there is a better way. Riley makes it very clear that he does NOT want to be sober. He hates living in the here and now and prefers to have his life hazed over by alcohol. The man I met in 1966 is gone forever and will never return. I have long since grieved over the loss of my beloved husband.

Why I started this blog –
I have spent a lot of time scouring the internet looking for information on end-stage alcoholism. I found very little. I knew there must be people who have been through what I’m going through. By starting this blog, I was hoping I would connect with others who have had similar experiences. I also hoped to provide information as well as support.

When I look at other people’s blogs, I see that they have been blogging for quite some time. I believe these blogs can be a wealth of information for my readers. By those standards, my blog is just a baby in blog world.  I have much to learn, so forgive me if I sometimes stumble.

My family is pushing for me to write a book based on my experience. No decision has been made on that as of yet. When I had my poll more than 80% of the people who responded wanted to see my blog in book form – so I’m leaning in that direction.

A request –
If you find someone who may need to read what I have written, if you have blog readers of your own who may benefit from my experience, please refer them to my blog or provide a link in your own blog. I will do the same for other bloggers and will try to answer all my e-mails that are not posted as comments.

Thank you and let’s make 2011 a triumphant success in all aspects of our lives by maintaining sanity within reality!


Elizabeth R. said...

Hi. I live with an end stage alcoholic as well, but I too am an alcoholic and am counting days. You can check me out or Follow me on www.countingdays.org. I look forward to more of your posts

Syd said...

There are many ways to achieve serenity. What ever works for you. We each have to find our own way.

dAAve said...

I'm frequently reminded that sobriety AND recovery are for those who want it. Not just those who need it. I think we must be willing to do whatever it takes.

Thanks for dropping by and I'll install a link to your blog.