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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 20, 2012

Biding my time...

Thank you everyone for your concern and support. I have taken to heart all your advice and suggestions and I have come up with a plan. I also want to thank my friend, Gill, for being the cornerstone of the plan he helped me create.

Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. Using that definition, I am the one who is insane. I continue to try to get Riley to understand reason and conform to societal rules. The insanity is that I often think I’ve gotten through to him. I have not and I will not ever achieve my goal. It’s insane for me to try.

I never expect that Riley will choose sobriety. I never anticipate that he will come to me and tell me he wants to go back to rehab. On this issue, I am a realist. I don’t fight it or push for it anymore. We are way beyond that point. Riley is way beyond that point.

Riley is dangerous. He has no concern for the health or safety of anyone else. He wants what he wants and will use any means to get it. If someone gets hurt along the way, then that person should have stayed out of his way. If the person who gets hurt happens to be Riley – he doesn’t care as long as he gets what he wants at the moment. Like a toddler throwing a temper tantrum, he wants instant gratification.

Riley is a self-imposed captive in this house because his drinking prevents him from being able to be with other people. I am his keeper and because of that, I am the one he hates. He sees me as a road block to attaining the elusive instant gratification. He has no choice but to take his anger out on me and, since he is not physically abusive, he turns to passive aggression. It’s really not his fault. He’s just trying to survive in the manner that he wants.

The past three days of frustration, elevated blood pressure, headaches and tears, are my fault. His drinking is not my fault – my expectations are my fault. I was so relaxed when I came back from OBX that I forgot to regain my “Riley’s keeper” persona before I entered the house. I was not objective and forgot about the past repeating itself. I let my guard down. I allowed myself to argue with a man who no longer has any logical reasoning ability. It’s like me trying to convince my potted mums not to go dormant for the winter. Those mums are on auto-pilot. No matter what I say, they will be ugly until spring.

In the past, Riley has always just let me do the things that needed to be done because he knew I was “taking care” of him. He was always a little paranoid, but for the most part, I can just tell him I’m doing something and he has been OK with that. But, things have changed. I believe his brain is so damaged that he now sees me as a threat. He is conflicted. He wants to get away from me because I’m not letting him do what he wants, but he also wants to stay because he knows I’ll keep him safe. It is a true contradiction and if I were Riley, I’d probably be expressing mercurial emotions just as he is doing.

Don’t misinterpret my post as feeling sorry for him. There is none of that here. He created his own mess and now he has to deal with the consequences. He has been vocal to everyone about his intentions to drive while drunk and also to do whatever he pleases in spite of the laws or rules. He isn’t to be pitied and I have very little compassion for his situation. And that situation is going to get a lot worse for him.

When I called Gill, I just wanted to come by his office and drop off a copy of the new workbook. But, I also asked if there was any way he could help me with getting Riley’s driver’s license revoked. Gill is an addiction counselor who works for the State of North Carolina. He evaluates drunk drivers and offers a treatment plan. He also conducts classes and groups in his office. Both Riley and I have known him for more than 30 years.

During our phone call, I told Gill that I needed to find a way to keep Riley from driving, even though I was taking him to DMV to get his car registered. I told him I was considering filing an order of incompetency. When he offered to help make that happen, my energy was renewed with the knowledge that I now had an ally.

He told me to call the last hospital where Riley was a patient and have them fax over whatever was in the medical records. Then, he would have a meeting with Riley and ask him some questions to determine where he stands on the issue of sobriety as well as the level of his drunkenness. We would gather the information and put it into a court-friendly format. It will take some time (maybe a couple of weeks) to gather all the info and create a concise evaluation. But, it will be worth it.

Right now, I’m just a wife making accusations. With Gill at my side I am a woman who has explored the options and done her due-diligence. My opinions become facts. I have validation.

After getting the car taken care of, we went to Gill’s office. It wasn’t like a regular counseling session. It was less formal. Riley didn’t understand that he was being evaluated. Riley was just having a conversation with an old friend. I was in and out of the office and, for the most part, I kept my mouth shut. Gill had Riley blow into the breathalyzer and he blew a .18 – twice the legal limit.

A couple of hours went by when Riley became fidgety because he had not had a drink in several hours. He was more agitated and confrontational. It was time to end things for the day. But, Gill asked Riley to come back on Monday when they could have some one-on-one time with me out of the room. Riley agreed. In the back of my mind I was thinking on Monday I could file the incompetency papers and have my nails done or just sit in the little bookstore/coffee shop. I could do something without worrying about what Riley was doing. That was a huge relief.

Things were quieter in my house last night. I won’t say peaceful – just quieter. I feel less chaotic, more focused and less likely to expect anything from Riley except illogical, disjointed reasoning and thoughts. I will do my best to try to find some humor in his contradictions. I will agree with whatever he says because to do anything else will just wind up the Merry-Go-Round. Just because I am agreeable doesn’t mean I’m going to act on anything he says. I’m just buying time, buying a peaceful household until Monday.


Syd said...

I hope that all goes well for both of you. There is a solution.

Kibble said...

I am not sure that the court will feel that someone who buys alcohol and registered a car for an alcoholic determined to drive whether drunk or not is an appropriate guardian. No judgement here, but maybe consult a lawyer about that one? It would be awful if he were declared incompetent and then made a ward of the state who would likely not see things the way you do. If so, you could end up with a personal moral obligation to care for him but no right to make medical, legal or financial decisions.

Linda (The Immortal Alcoholics Wife) said...

Syd -- Gill is checking into the VA's 2-yr long residential program. There is a chance that Riley could go, but it depends on a lot of different factors.

Kibble -- There is a point in time when the alcoholic must continue to consume the alcohol because it is too dangerous to stop. I have documentation that Riley is at that point.

Legally, the car should have been registered almost two years ago. It's now registered, but that doesn't mean it is drivable. Getting it registered is a step in getting it away from Riley. It is all about baby steps.

And you are absolutely right that Riley could become a ward of the state and that would not be so good. But, I have a documented history of saving Riley from the grim reaper and keeping him safe. My way may not be the best way for everyone. It depends on the situation.

All I really want is to have control of the money that is used to maintain our household. And to make it impossible for him to drive drunk.

The only reason Riley is still with me is out of a personal moral obligation and I do have POA for medical, legal and financial -- but I need for him to not be able to revoke those POAs.

You're right -- I should consult with a lawyer, but I don't have the funds.

Anonymous said...

What is one to do when their alcoholic is uninsured and refuseds help and they are no longer physically or mentally able to take care of them. I have been on the phone all morning trying to find some avenue of help and come up with nothing. If i don't provide him with alcohol it is a given that he will have seizures and full blown dts. I have been down that road before and its not pretty. Last time the er dr. got him stabilized and then sent me out to buy vodka before releasing him. There is state funded detox and rehab but he will not even consider it. In Texas you cannot have a person committed on substance abuse issues. Does anyone have any suggestions, I simply cannot do this anymore. Losing my mind.


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

Sally -- If he is refusing to use the state funded resources I'm not sure what you can do. I suggest that you go to Facebook and request to join the OARS F&F Group. Ask for permission to join the group and I'll approve you right away. Once there you can present the question and I'm sure you can get an answer. I have a faithful Texas follower that may have some insight on what is available in that state. Your posts will be deleted after 24 hours and they will never be public.

All alcoholics in almost every state must be in agreement with being admitted to most programs. Unfortunately, they still are expected to make reason and sound decisions when they truly are not capable of doing so. However, if an alcoholic doesn't want sobriety, the chances of it being successful are doubtful.

That being said -- you must determine if he is a danger to himself or others. I don't know about Texas, but you can get a 72-hour hold and psych eval even if the alcoholic doesn't agree. It could be a step to detox.

If any readers have suggestions, please post them so that we can help Anonymous.