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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.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Courage to change...

I had a slap in the face last night. I’ve been neglecting a whole segment of my readership and I want to apologize because it was never my intent. I’m talking about alcoholics who follow my blog. Many are caretakers of end-stage alcoholics; others seem to gain insight from reading what it is like for the rest of us. This post is for you – my alcoholic readers.

I had a commenter last night who wanted to know if it was safe for her to detox at home. I felt a sense of urgency in her comment. I can’t advise her to do anything. I can only suggest. But I know she needed my help. It took everything in me to not post my phone number and have her call me. Instead I urged her to call her local chapter of AA or a rehab center.

I sent out a tweet to try to find someone who could offer her more help than I did. I wanted to hear back from a rehab center that would volunteer to help her even if the help was just over the phone. I thought maybe a recovering alcoholic would respond and extend a hand. But Twitter gave me nothing. How very disappointing that was.

The help did come from two of my loyal followers and they offered the best words they could to help. I don’t know if she heard their words. I don’t know if she got the help she needed.

When I started this blog, I never really thought much about alcoholics who were not end-stage. I had enough to deal with just having Riley. I never thought I would be providing help to people who didn’t want to be in Riley’s situation. Nevertheless, here I am just now discovering that I may be able to make a difference in the prevention of end-stage. Imagine – a world where alcoholism never gets to that point!

I’m looking for a rehab center willing to work with me by providing help in the form of taking phone calls from people in crisis. By “in crisis” I mean people who are feeling a need to detox or stop immediately. I mean people who are urgent in their request for information and may want to be admitted that very same night. The alcoholic may not live in the rehab center’s locale, but a referral to a nearby center should be possible.

There is the naggy little voice in the back of my head that tells me that there would be NO money in it for the rehab center in making a referral – so why should they help? It seems that money is always the issue. How about this as a reason why all rehab centers should provide some type of assistance no matter what the financial situation is – IT IS THE RIGHT THING TO DO!  Wouldn’t it be great to dispel the idea that rehab centers are money-grubbers who are only interested in well-insured patients? What a novel idea to provide help just because you can.

That being said – if any rehab centers out there want to join me and offer support to my alcoholic followers, please e-mail me at immortalalcoholic@gmail.com. If we are a match, I will post a link to your center both here and on The Immortal Alcoholic FaceBook page.

Enough about rehab centers. If you think you need immediate help there is always AA. I’m told that if you call them, they may even send someone to your home to help you through the difficult decisions surrounding the “to drink or not to drink” question. You don’t have to be a Christian. You don’t even have to believe in God. You just need to have a desire to stop drinking. If you’re not sure if you want sobriety – talk to one of these people who have walked in your shoes. They’ve seen and heard it all. Most importantly their hearts are open to helping others. And it’s FREE!

To find a local chapter meeting there is a website that will tell you the available meetings in your area. You can find it here http://www.aa.org/lang/en/central_offices.cfm?origpage=373 .

AA also has online meetings. You don’t even have to leave your house. Just join in on your computer. You don’t have to get dressed or even brush your teeth – just go to this site http://aa-intergroup.org/.

There are other support groups that are not 12-step based. I don’t have any links to those at this moment, but would welcome any to contact me via e-mail so I may post the info on my blog.

The question of detox is difficult to answer. It is my opinion – and only an opinion – that detox should never be done at home. However, if you are only drinking a couple of shots a day and don’t have the shakes if you go a day without – maybe you can just quit. If I were an alcoholic and I wanted to detox, I would not do at home without consulting a medical professional.

Today I’m going to set up a place on my blog that supports alcoholics looking for help. It is my way of doing what I can. Is anyone else interested in joining me in this challenge?

12 comments:

Syd said...

I totally support the idea of calling AA intergroup. They will send a couple of alcoholics to the home and will take someone to detox. They still do twelfth step calls in my area. I know of several people who have taken drunks to detox. Rehabs are expensive and are money makers--no doubt. Perhaps they have their place. I am not sure, nor do I have experience with rehabs.

I think that your idea of posting resources for alcoholics is a good one. I do that for the families and friends of those who are affected by alcoholism. The blog does give resources and I will now add some more.

Anonymous said...

Linda, this is Mary, the early-stage alcoholic who replied here yesterday. Because of the courage you gave me, I DID reach out for help. I called the substance abuse hotline at the university where I work. I explained that I am the adult daughter of a very advanced end-stager, and that her life is my future if I don't stop my own alcoholism in it's tracks before it's too late. I can honestly say that reading your blog was the shot of courage that made me make the call.

I talked for over an hour with a substance counselor. They mostly work with students but are there for employees, too. At one point, I broke down sobbing, and she let me cry and cry. I don't want to have to hit rock bottom before quitting. While I'm still respected at my job and an active member of my community, I want reclaim what I am and who I am. I do not have to walk my mothers miserable path.

This search for help isn't new for me. For months I've been seeking support and programs for people with early-stage. This is further complicated by the fact that I'm secular. The counselor at the hotline said that university medical will work with me to find the program that fits. She arranged a face-to-face meeting for me with a substance abuse specialist today. I have no idea what I'll learn, or what will happen, but I will go, and as of yesterday I am taking my first steps back to the life I was meant to lead. I expect I might cry some more.

Linda, thank you from the bottom of my heart for the courage you gave me. I will be reading your blog regularly and commenting when I can help or to give an update. You and your readers are now a part of my recovery network -- the very first part.

My love and gratitude to you all.

Karen E. said...

CONGRATS..WAY TO GO MARY!! You are a STRONG woman that will only become stronger on this journey. There will be tough hard times but in the end you will control EVERYTHING! We are behind you all the way!

Linda (The Immortal Alcoholic's Wife) said...

Mary -- I'm doing my little happy dance!!! So glad you let me know that you are OK. Like MaMa Hen, I was worried about you all night.

This is the first step in being who you really are and I can't wait to get to know that Mary. Keep going in this direction -- that's advise I freely give. It may be tough with your Mom being an end-stage, but I know you have the strength to handle the hurdles.

I am here for you, as I'm sure my readers are as well. E-mail me, visit us on FaceBook, do whatever you need to do to have each day be a sober day!

Dixie Redfearn said...

Linda, Yours was the first blog I started reading when I quit drinking. You were a wonderful source of inspiration for me! I didn't need detox but your intelligent observations were inspiring and Riley became the example of what I did not want to be. Thanks for all you do to share your situation and your wisdom.

jo said...

mary!

i am pulling for you. you have great courage, which is not the absence of fear, but acting in spite of the fear.

all my support in this. anyway i can help, im here.

if reading about our end stage alcoholics helps in any way, it is worth it.

there are only 2 ends in addiction. death faster, death slower. end stage is rare because usually death comes faster and sooner. thats all addiction does. kill.

jo said...

oh PS. one thing.

to mary, linda reached out with caring and love. YOU grabbed it. you chose it. YOU are doing this!

not minimizing linda at all. its out there but you have to choose to grab it. you did it. yourself!

yay!my dear, its there in YOU.

Eclectic Bohemian said...

Kudos Mary! And I am here if you ever want to just talk, vent, cry, scream, laugh, etc. Actually I am here if anyone wants to talk. I have been clean/sober 4 years now. I also have somewhat of a unique position. Before my alcoholism/addiction was activated, I was married to a horrendous alcoholic for 12 years. So I can identify with both sides.

Last 100 Days as an Alcoholic said...

Good for you Mary.
Don't let the secular thing stop you - the groups and people ultimately want to support you so it may be expedient just to let that part of it slide for the time being.
Getting sober safely is the main thing at this point.
Good luck, be gentle and stay strong.

Eli said...

Mary!!!!

I am so proud of you and the strength that it took to take those first steps. Wow! It's too bad that you couldn't see my face light up when I read that you spoke with someone about your drinking.

Keep your eyes wide open and know that the more you reach out the more you will find others who are (or have been) walking in your shoes or can relate so closely to how you feel.

There's no point in sugar-coating how it feels to get and remain sober. Yes, there will be tears. That's OK. Let them out! There will be angry tears, sad tears, happy tears and gut-busting laughter through tears. Getting sober is a difficult journey but it is SO worth the trip.

I do have a place in which I could refer you for support and potential treatment. I am an alumni of the facility and can speak very highly of it. Since this is a public blog, I'm not certain if it's proper to name a specific treatment center or toll-free help line without appearing to endorse them. Thus, I am going to e-mail information to Linda to determine how it is best to relay to others.

In the meantime, please let us know how you're doing and if you need help.

Michele said...

smartrecovery.org is a non 12-step program that I've found to be extremely helpful.

Anonymous said...

Hi Linda. Reading your blog was what finally put me over the edge and on the path to sobriety. Your honesty helped me see through the web of crap my life had become. It's been 6 months, and I am so grateful.