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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, December 13, 2011

Santa before pilgrims?...

I can feel the depression settling into my brain. I have fought it with a hard consistent repetition of a list of things I have to be grateful for. But, unfortunately, the dark monster has taken hold and doesn’t seem to be leaving anytime soon. My mantra has always been “find the humor,” but I’m afraid I’m in so deep that humor will be quite elusive. I’m a trooper. Giving up just isn’t a part of who I am --- so let me try one more time to find something – anything – that I can use against that monster in my head.

Riley can drink 14 beers a day and has no qualms about telling anyone. He can drink a half-gallon of wine and then tell anyone who will listen that it was a very good year for that box of mass produced, chemically aged, white zinfandel. And he’s serious about that. There it is! There’s some humor in that box of wine.

My first experience with wine was with Riley. He took me to very fancy restaurants and ordered wine with our meals. He told me to sip it slowly and would then ask me questions about what I tasted. It was because of those dinners that I developed a love for smooth, velvety dark cabernets and the lightness of a delicate white. He also taught me about brandy and the difference between Sherry and B&B. He was my professor and I was his awestruck willing student.

The mere idea that he would covet his supply of boxed wine is such a contradiction to those dating days of wine tasting that I have to laugh. Well – maybe not out loud – but at least a little snicker. Riley has digressed from a liquor snob to a booze whore. I have to shake my head at that one. The contradiction in itself, is humorous and I give a little smile at the mere thought of him going from Chateauneuf-du-Pape to Red Mountain.

Riley has returned to drinking vodka. I admit that I bought the clear stuff because he had mentioned that it might be more cost effective because he would drink less of the beer and wine. After he asked for it more than a dozen times, and with my bank account dwindling from alcohol expense, I relented and bought him the vodka. I understand the possible implications of that purchase. My resolve appears to be beat down and I gave in. So be it. It’s what he wants and this will eliminate the daily barrage of requests.

So far, it’s not soooo bad. He still drinks the beer and wine and I’m not running to the store every other day for more booze. However, I know that there will be a slow decline in his mental state and overall outward drunkenness.

The storage of the vodka is interesting. While the wine is out on the counter and the beer cans get stacked neatly in the pantry prior to going into the designated refrigerator space, the vodka is a whole different story. He doesn’t want it visible anywhere in the house. He says he doesn’t like it sitting out where people can see it. I didn’t realize that until I thought we were out of vodka and I asked if he wanted me to get some more. I was shocked at how quickly it had disappeared. But, he told me we still had two bottles and they were in the panty.

I searched the pantry shelves and could not find the vodka. I determined it just must be another one of his memory lapses, so I put it on the grocery list. But, Riley insisted that we did not need more vodka – we still had two bottles! I asked him to find it for me. I watched as he went to the laundry room and opened the cupboard containing the detergent and other cleaning supplies. It was not there. Then he opened the cupboard containing the paper towels and toilet paper. He moved the TP aside and behind it were the two bottles of vodka.

I scratched the vodka off the list and thought to myself – Behind the toilet paper?? Inside the cupboard?? Hidden away?? Why?? There are only the two of us living here. We seldom have visitors and when we do they are just the family. Who is he hiding it from??

Well… there’s humor in all that. I can see it and I have the start of this little upward curl on my lips. So now I’ve gained a snicker and a curl – not too bad for someone who admits to being depressed.

I know that Riley is not the only cause of my depression. It’s the holidays, for goodness sakes! It is, in fact, suicide season! And who wouldn't be depressed? On Halloween, my favorite radio station started playing Christmas music. Really?? Can’t we just take a moment to breathe?? If we start Christmas in October, I don’t think it’s so unthinkable that anyone would be burned out by December 1st. Just the thought of it is depressing. I don’t want to think about Santa when I haven’t even ordered the Thanksgiving turkey!

I’m feeling my son’s absence acutely this year so I was elated when my nephew called to tell me he was spending Christmas with me. But due to unfortunate circumstances, he won’t be able to make the trip. I’m very disappointed about that. To add more insult – my granddaughter has a loose tooth. A loose tooth!! A true slap in the face that she is growing up!! How could she do that when I’m not done with her babyhood yet! I guess I’m pretty much doomed this year.

My previous experience is that I typically want nothing to do with Christmas until we get closer to the actual day. Gradually, I warm up to the idea. Reading back over this post, I’m struck with how ridiculous I’m being. I’m not the only one who is depressed. Many people are depressed for much more valid reasons than mine. Many people won’t even have so much as a Christmas tree, let alone gifts under that tree.

So what if Riley hides the vodka? It’s his vodka. So what if I listened to carols in October? I could have changed the station. So what if my nephew can’t visit me? He’ll be here in the summer. So what if my granddaughter has a loose tooth? She’s still excited to see the red dress I made for her. And as for my son – he’s still here with me in spirit.

And now – I must say – thanks to all my readers. Because writing this post has pulled me out of my depression and made me see that I have much to be un-depressed about. I’m so encouraged, that I believe I’ll wrap some of those gifts that have been piled up on my dining room table. As I wrap each gift, I’ll think about the person I’m giving the gift to and say “thank you” that they are a part of my family.

I found the humor in my situation with Riley and I have come to the realization that there are other contributing factors. So bring on the Christmas – I’m ready!!


Syd said...

Sometimes when I feel down, writing it out really helps. I am glad that you feel better, Linda. Doing for others helps me--like the wrapping of gifts. Last night, I took some homemade cranberry nut bread to my home group. It felt good to be with those people who I know so well and give a little gift. So I am in the Christmas spirit--feeling good that we aren't doing a lot of buying but giving small things to a few people. The thought of tackling a mall would make me depressed!
Hang in there. This holiday will soon be over.

Anonymous said...

I love present buying and wrapping, i love decorating up for xmas, i have to have everything matching a colour scheme from the paper to the decorations. Ive asked me 2 best friends to pop round one evening for tea just because no one else will see my hard colour co-ordinated work, They are apprehensive about coming because they know how ill Dave is now. I was looking forward to their visit but this weekend Dave has gone from bad to worse with the level of alcohol, my beautiful tree has been fallen on, squashed and broken 4 times so far, breaking decoraions too, the pile of presents in the corner also lay victim to a drunks falls and some have ripped open, i found 2 of my daughers presents very wet!!!! no comment. By the 4th time he fell on the tree i just laughed out loud. If we cant find the humour we are doomed ha ha

Have Myelin? said...

I haven't gotten into the Christmas spirit yet, hope to for my son's sake as well as my boyfriends but there is a big "BUT" in there.

I try to find humor (lately I've had to look in the garbage can for it BUT...)

Keep writing. =)

ADDY said...

It's OK to feel down - you are going through a very bad time. But remember there are people who are a lot worse off (tho it doesn't seem possible). You could be homeless and hungry on the streets, you could have lost all your nearest and dearest, you could have an incurable disease. When I'm feeling down (and I do from time to time)I try to play the Polyanna game and think of those worse off. ((Big huggs)))