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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.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Waging war...

It was one year ago yesterday that Riley went to the store for some milk and came home with a 24 pack of beer. It was the beginning of the end for him. I wish yesterday had come with us being able to celebrate a year of sobriety, but, of course, that was just wishful thinking. And now, here we are, at the end of his life and I wonder – was it really worth it? I’ve clearly stated before that the reasoning for why a person would degrade themselves for the sake of alcohol is beyond my comprehension.

I remember reading somewhere that in our early settler days, the merchants provided whiskey to the Native Americans so that the merchants could cheat them out of land, pottery, and other items. Native Americans became addicted to the whiskey and that ensured a high trade volume for the merchants. The merchants took the Native American artifacts back to the homeland and sold them for a high price. So, the fact is that the merchants took advantage of the Native Americans for the sake of money. The Native Americans sold themselves out just to get some whiskey.

We hear a lot these days about biological and chemical warfare. A lot of money goes into creating ways for one side to do another in by means of a silent killer such as a virus or a non-distinguishable gas. I wonder what would happen if one side started spiking the drinking water supply with small amounts of alcohol and then increasing the amount slowly. I imagine that eventually there would be a whole nation of alcoholics or at least a whole segment of alcohol damaged populace. In time, the alcohol would render the population with the inability to think or reason clearly. Just like the Native Americans, they would be easy pickin’s.
OK. So maybe it would not be as quick acting as the opponent would like. But, it would be far cheaper than hiring a bunch of scientists to re-invent the horse. And it wouldn’t be creating a new malady for the entire world to worry about getting into the wrong hands.  I’m sure someone somewhere sometime along the way, has thought of this scenario. Maybe Hitler was working on a plan like this.

Of course, I hate the plan and the scenario. I hate it that people have been duped by others to believe that just a little couldn’t hurt. I believe that if two factions want to war it out, they should each have a certain number of warriors send to a far off place. They should fight it out in hand-to-hand combat and the last warrior standing wins. Quick, clean and to the point. No injured children. No raped or pillaged villages. No collateral damage.
It’ll never happen. The reality is that war is good for the economy. It creates jobs building war machines and hiring soldiers. It is profitable. Just like alcohol is profitable. Our government recognizes the value of the alcohol industry. In some states the liquor industry is controlled by the state government. Alcohol is only available in state regulated stores manned by government employees.

I know that alcoholics wage a war inside themselves. It’s a war between the desire for the alcohol and reality of common sense. I’m not an alcoholic, so I can only imagine what kind of war that would be. Losing that war and becoming a victim of substance abuse results in the ultimate loss – loss of life. And the effects are far-reaching. The collateral damage is overwhelming. Children, families, homes are all included in the circle of devastation. There are so many people waging this war right here and now, that I wonder if the water has, in fact, been spiked with the awful juice.
Riley has lost that war inside himself. Although for him, he never considered it to be a war. He made a decision. His choice was to die an alcoholic death. Now that our country home is a buzz with hospice workers, bath aides, and others who simply want to make Riley’s last days as comfortable as possible, he is losing his ability to hold onto his life and he just doesn’t care. He enjoys the company, but denies why they are all here.

I’m told over and over that there still may be hope. Riley could still get through all his bodily devastation and return to sobriety. I’m a realist and I follow Dr. Phil’s theory that the best indication of future behavior is past behavior. I know that long-term sobriety will never be something that Riley will ever have or appreciate.
Even if Riley manages to survive detox and achieves sobriety. The alcohol has so damaged his brain function that he will most likely suffer from permanent dementia. If that is so, I most likely would have to place him in a nursing facility. I don’t believe I could physically care for his needs. So, what kind of sobriety is that?? It’s like saying, you can be sober and live, but your life will be contained within this specific space – much like a prisoner. The alcohol still wins.

I believe I predicted somewhere that it would take about a year for Riley to get to this place – the end of his life. Sometimes I hate it when I’m right.

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

My prayers are with you!

sallie said...

My thoughts and prayers are with you. Soon he will be in a better place and you will be able to have a life of your own. Hugs to you

Beth said...

Thinking of you Linda and wishing for peace and strength in what may be Riley's last days. ((((hugs)))

Amy said...

My thoughts and prayers are with you. May Riley go as peacefully as possible.
I lost my husband 1 month ago today to alcoholism. Once hospice came into our home - he left us 2 days later.
I remind myself daily - that he is at peace and his demons are gone now.

Ann said...

Sending prayers and hugs.....

Ms Kay said...

I hope Riley goes peacefully and I hope you are okay . X

ADDY said...

So so sorry. I am just reliving events on my two-year anniversary and the end is not pleasant. My thoughts are with you. Stay strong... the end is not far and then you will get your peace.

Anonymous said...

Prayers that you find peace and the strength to take you through. As hard and difficult as it is, it doesn't make it any easier when the end comes.

Karen E. said...

My thoughts and prayers are with YOU and peace for Riley.

nicolal said...

so frustrating and terribly sad .Alcoholism took my father and somehow you feel guilty for feeling relieved the battle is over .
My thoughts are with you at this sad time.

Syd said...

I am sorry that Riley has gone down hill to this extent. Sadly, alcoholism is a progressive disease. As the Big Book says, it is cunning, baffling and powerful. Very sad for all who are affected by the disease, including the family.

Anonymous said...

Dear Linda,
Thoughts and prayers to you and your daughter. Your insights and information have helped so many people. You treated Riley with dignity and respect, and I hope you are comforted with the help of hospice and your community of supporters.

NorthernTeacher said...

You know you are prepared. Stay strong.

Lulu said...

My heart totally aches for you, but I am also in awe of your clarity and strength. You are an amazing woman. Sending you prayers during this difficult time... ~ Lulu

Judy said...

Linda: I also stayed by my husband until the end and watched him die. I put up with all his crap and now my life is so much better without him. I am learning things about myself that I did not know. Your live after Riley will be wonderful and peaceful. There is light at the end of the tunnel. He is so lucky to have you stay by him until the end. Hang in there and stay strong.

charles jeam said...

Alcohol abuse and addiction can break a family apart. Fore-armed with some knowledge about what to expect during the detoxification process will help ensure that your family works together to beat the addiction. Alcohol detox