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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, March 8, 2012

Tornado repost...

With all the tornados whirling around our states, I thought it would be a good time to re-post one I wrote last year.

Tornado warning… (5/3/2011)

When the Emergency Broadcast came over the television announcing that we were under a Tornado Warning, I gathered my stuff – blankets, pillows, laptop, water, etc – and put it in a secure place in my bathroom. I was ready.

Riley was in his rocking chair watching his usual NCIS. I told him we needed to get his bathroom ready in case the worst came about. He just said – “Don’t worry, I’ll be fine.” And being the good little caretaker that I am – I stocked his bathroom. Both the bathrooms are small and there is really only room for one person in each.

As the night wore on, I settled in and listened. Wind, rain, hail, more rain, quiet, wind and more wind – but there was no rumble. I was waiting for the rumble sound of an oncoming train. It never happened – and I was thankful.

As I was waiting, I could feel the house swaying with the wind. We have a brick rancher – solid as possibly could be – but the wind was so strong it was moving the house. I thought of the three little pigs who built their last house of bricks. What a smart thing to do.

In spite of the three little pigs’ wise decision to use brick in the construction – some lyrics kept running through my head -- but they weren’t verses about the pigs’ quest for a secure dwelling. Instead, I was hearing in my head the lyrics to a song from The Wizard of Oz.

The wind began to switch – the house to pitch and suddenly the hinges started to unhitch.

Life with an alcoholic is much the same as a house in the middle of a tornado. This first verse could well define what it is like to watch the beginning of an alcoholic downfall. Things are unsettled, the family never feels secure and things start to fall apart.

Just then the Witch – to satisfy an itch went flying on her broomstick, thumbing for a hitch.

The alcoholic (the Witch) needs to satisfy the craving for alcohol and so he/she seeks it out. Sometimes they ask others to help them obtain the alcohol – as in hitching a ride to the liquor store.

And oh, what happened then was rich.

I think if we substitute the word “sad” for the word “rich,” this would be exactly correct. Because what happens after the alcoholic gets the booze is rich with sadness.

The house began to pitch. The kitchen took a slitch.

Things become increasingly upsetting in the alcoholic household as the drinking continues.

It landed on the Wicked Witch in the middle of a ditch, which was not a healthy situation for the Wicked Witch.

The consequences of the alcoholic’s actions cause him/her to land in unpleasant situations. Eventually the health of the alcoholic deteriorates and puts the alcoholic’s life in danger.

Who began to twitch and was reduced to just a stitch of what was once the Wicked Witch.

The person who was once a vital, productive, happy member of the community is reduced to becoming a mere servant of alcohol. At that point, the entire family is not in Kansas anymore, but rather in some uninhabitable place – like Antarctica. No matter how many times you click your heels, those ruby red slippers are not going to help you now.

I’m told by fellow country dwellers that this is unusual weather for this time of year. Funny, in Linda and Riley World – living in a tornado is a way of life.


Gerry said...

I think this is a brilliant post. When my dad was trying to drink himself to death the household was living in tornado alley. I would dread hearing the clink of bottles outside which would signal he was home and the unpleasantries were going to begin! There would be a long siege of fighting going on down stairs. I remember one night hearing a crash and running downstairs, opening the door to see that my drunken dad had dropped a kerosene lamp on the floor (we had no electricity) and it had broken and kerosene was running across the floor. By great good fortune the lighted wick was snuffed out and the kerosene did not catch on fire. But I was alerted once more to the possibility of him setting the house on fire. I practiced in my mind how we could escape by the upstairs window onto the porch. My other sisters said they practiced their own procedures should the house go up in flames and they could not get down stairs. By the time I left home or was taken out of that home when I was 13 I had developed such a severe fire phobia that I would excuse myself twice at every meal to go out and check and see if the roof was on fire! Nobody ever knew I was doing this. I would also do it every little while the rest of the day. I knew what was happening, the family was in danger of going up in flames due to my dad's drinking, if the house did catch on fire, he would not be able to handle it and would go ahead and kill himself. The fire phobia only lasted a couple of months when I was away from that home, but my poor sisters were left to survive it the best they could. My dad however began to realize what he was doing to his family, and bought another ranch, began to work many long hours and gradually cut his drinking back to two or three binges or relapses a year, whereas prior to this he had gotten drunk every weekend for years!

ADDY said...

Never a dull moment and always on tenterhooks. A good analogy.

Syd said...

If the alcoholic is the tornado, then we are the hurricane. Both are part of the destruction.

jo said...

for some peace of mind, linda.

get a weather radio and it will alarm you with a tornado warning if its in your area. a police scanner is what i use to track storms, along with a radar site online.

i am a certified storm spotter and live in tornado alley. we are used to them. dont count on sirens or local news alerts...they will be behind precious minutes you may need for safety.

this way you wont have to listen for the sound..

weather warnings do no good with mine. he pays no attention to them. i gave up on that. even when one went thru our back yard once and we had the neighbors shed in our tree.

scanners are around 100$. weather radios here are about 40$. well worth it.