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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.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

My own addiction...

I have an addiction of my own. For an hour of each day, I transport myself to Genoa City and become a part of the world of Young and Restless. I have watched it from the very first episode in the 1970s. With so many soap operas being cancelled – I pray that God will spare me my one addiction and help the powers that be understand that this is an important program.

It’s an hour a day that allows me to be a part of the fictional city. I can be any one of the characters, but I think I relate to Nikki and Phyllis more than any of the others. I see in them traits that resemble my own.

I’m getting off tract – because that’s a whole other post. The point is – it’s only an hour a day and I need that hour so I can just stop and breathe.

Riley interrupted my hour yesterday. He came barreling into my office with that little smile on his face – and – announced that it was storming in California. He sat down directly in front of the TV. When he has done this in the past, I’ve just let it go. But, today – I needed my little brain trip to somewhere else. I asked him if he could wait another 15 minutes to tell me about the weather.

He abruptly stood up and stomped out the door.

The truth is – unless California has had an earthquake and fallen into the Pacific – I don’t really care about the weather in a state where I’m not living. If there is severe flooding in an area of the state where my relatives and friends reside – yes – I want to know. But, will waiting 15 minutes change anything? Is there anything I can do about it? I don’t think so.

Later in the day, I had to go out and run some errands. Before I left I asked Riley if he was sure that he didn’t want to come along. The answer was that he did not want to go.

There was something in his attitude. I knew something was going to happen.

Then – there is was – Riley could not understand why it was more important to watch TV than doing the things I needed to do or talking to him about the what was going on in the real world. Although, he would never admit to it – he was angry that I had asked him to wait.

He proceeded to tell me about how he lives and deals with the real world where things need to be done. He told me he had responsibilities and in his world he didn’t have time to waste on soap operas.

I responded by telling him exactly what I thought – how could he talk to me about living up to my responsibilities when he doesn’t do what he says he’s going to do around the house? It’s hypocritical for him to chastise me for watching TV when that’s ALL he does all day long.

He almost got me. He almost got me to go into a triad of self-righteous indignation. And he almost managed to make me feel guilty about watching Y&R. But – I took a deep breath and then it hit me. Riley 2 was in the building and Riley 1 had disappeared.

A month ago all the things Riley 1 said he was going to do managed to get done. Currently, very little actually takes place. The problem is – I really hadn’t noticed so much until yesterday.  I have been so busy, I didn’t realize that the floors hadn’t been sweep and the furniture was covered in dust. Both chores are his self-assigned duties.

I’ve been spoiled because I’ve enjoyed Riley 1 over the past few months. He is someone I can tolerate and actually talk to. He is someone who helps me by keeping the house tidy and doing other little things that I need.

Riley 2 has a problem with the accumulation of ammonia in his frontal lobe. His reasoning is not always logical. He is angry most of the time. He makes unreasonable demands. He thinks he’s done things he hasn’t and thinks he hasn’t done things that he has. I am all too familiar with Riley 2 because I see him far more often than Riley 1.

Riley 1’s return to drinking – even though it is just beer – has finally caught up with him. Beer is booze. Booze is a toxin that likes to make a home in the frontal lobe. His body is not able to fully metabolize the alcohol and it is taking over his persona.

I have taken things for granted. That was not wise.

My escape to a world where there is continuous serious drama – infidelity, corruption, lies, alcoholism, lost children, questionable sanity – will not change. It will happen for me everyday for as long as the producers produce. My addiction will continue and I will not be seeking out a 12-step program to help me stop.

In Linda and Riley World there is also drama, questionable sanity, lies, and other things that might make a good soap opera. We already have a Young and Restless. How about an Old and Buzzed??


Alcoholic Daze (ADDY) said...

Sorry to say it again, but this all sounds so familiar. At least your addiction doesn't hurt anyone. In fact it's the escape from insanity that you need.

Syd said...

Riley 2 would be a lot to deal with. I think that you need your escape. Take care.

Anonymous said...

I came home from work today ( I am the only one who has worked in the last 4 years) to a drunken husband and a house that hasn't had an attention all week, since I've been working. I'm so tired, 2 hours of sleep last night. My drunk is now raging at the TV about all the unfair things that have happened to him.....I'm not really sure why Entertainment Tonight is so rage inducing. This is my life every day. About 3 months ago the doctor told him that his liver is inflamed and he needs to stop drinking, although given the stupor that he is now in most of the time I'm pretty sure it's more than inflamed, but I'm not the doctor. Well, he made a half hearted attempt to get sober and managed to be tolerable for just about 30 days! It was really nice having someone to talk to, coming home to a clean house and a sober if not somewhat subdued husband. I made the mistake of letting myself be somewhat close to happy, then it all came crashing down. 3 weeks in he decided to go to detox and after 5 days he came home, 3 days later he was drinking again and has been ever since. I don't feel I can leave him because I know he would die without me, so I stay and live in misery instead. Most of the time I do what you suggest and just smile and nod, but some days, like today it's just really really hard. I too have my soap addiction, unfortunately they have been cancelled and I won't have them much longer. Where will I be able to go then?
Sorry for the rant, I figured this was safer than ranting at my drunk.

Alcoholic Daze (ADDY) said...

To Anonymous - try Al-anon (a global group for those living with an alcoholic - number in your local telephone directory. It may not offer all the solutions, but it'll help you deal with your nightmare.

Gabriele Goldstone said...

Yes, Al-anon helps. My husband stopped drinking April 11th (when I took his money away) Just long enough for him to fix the basement ceiling tiles and kill some dandelions. Then the liar (sorry, the addict) said he needed more money for the dandelions and now he's drunk again. I know exactly what you mean about 2 people in the same body.

3 years til I can end this crazy life. God help me. That serenity prayer is my daily strength.

Linda said...

Anonymous... feel free to rant at will!

Al-Anon will help you find a support group. Every Al-Anon group has it's own personality. So if you don't like one -- try going to another. Just remember that Al-Anon is there for YOU and not the alcoholic. The goal is to help YOU learn to be happy in spite of it all. There are good things to learn there.

I think you must remember that your husband has made a choice. After detoxing, he was well aware that his choice will probably kill him. It was his choice to make.

You've decided to stay. There's nothing wrong with that. But, I want you to be aware that caretaking an alcoholic is a long, hard and thankless job.

You are welcome here. You will find support here. Please keep reading and feel free to e-mail me directly.

jo said...

omg here i am again. your stories are me! exactly! how dare we do ANYTHING except jump when they say to? amazing stuff here, guys.