About Me

My photo

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, June 15, 2012

No longer sequestered...

I just spent the past week in the Outer Banks of North Carolina. The time spend with my grandkids and great-grandkids is priceless.  However, this visit was a bit more stressful for me.

Whenever I visit, I always think to myself that I can maintain all my communication and contact with my readers and OARS members via the internet. My left-coast family and the Riley’s nursing home/staff always can reach me via my cell phone. I’m not cut off from the world. I’m still here.
The only problem with that scenario is that the kids’ internet access was not working. They usually have free public access as a benefit for living in a resort community. But, for some reason it was not working. I packed up the laptop and went to the local MacDonald’s where there was always free wi-fi. But I got zip. Nada. Nothing. I spied another person on their laptop and asked if they were able to connect with the web. She told me she hadn’t been able to connect no matter where she was on the OBX. Oh! Well… this was not good.

After a couple of days the frustration seemed to fade away and I was able to relax and not be glued to the computer. It was actually rather pleasant. I was worried that my readers might think I had abandoned them, but realized that this was just a way of having a forced vacation.
I played hide and seek and build forts out of sheets and dining chairs. I cooked dinners that contained all four food groups. My great granddaughter went out looking for houses. I watched a countless number of Storage Wars with my granddaughter-in-law. I focused only on those days and I didn’t seem to worry much about what was going to happen when I went home.

There was a down side to my visit. I had taken Jade with me because I had no one to check on her at home. I had no dog sitter. She loves an adventure, so she happily jumped into the van when I called her. She was even happier when I made a stop at the nursing home so she could visit with Riley. She climbed right into the bed with him and gave him doggie kisses all over him. Clearly, she had missed him and was happy to make the reconnection. So far so good…  I thought.
The kids live in a typical beach box with is just a bit larger than a three bedroom apartment sitting on top of pilings. There is a yard, but it is not fenced in. They have a dog of their own – a sweet grey dog about half of Jade’s size.  He’s a little boy named Bently who is really still a puppy, so he’s full of energy. Bently walks on a leash and also does his business on a designated area of the deck. He’s a good boy. But – he is not neutered yet and thinks Jade, who lost her puppy-making-equipment  several  years ago, should be his girlfriend. Never mind that Jade is twice his size and totally not interested – Bently loves her. Bently wants her. Jade tolerates him.

Jade was pretty good about using the deck, but she would often go to the door and ask to go out. She’s 65 pounds and is not well trained in leash etiquette. She pulls as I try to walk her and I’m not strong enough to keep her under control. As a result, her outdoor time was limited. Indoors, she would play with Bently until she would get tired of his unwanted advances and then snap at him. They would both settle down for naps when Jade made it clear she had had enough. Jade is very patient with the little ones and allowed them to pull on her ears and give her hugs.
I can image the frustration Jade felt from being cooped up in a relatively small space with no freedom to run the fields or chase after mice, rabbits or birds. I equate her frustration to being similar to what I feel when I’m cooped up in the house with Riley for weeks on end. I can also see how it would be similar to Riley now being in a small nursing home room rather than the big space he had in the country house.

Now I am faced with giving up this country home and moving to the OBX. I know it will be a move that will make me more accessible to the kids which is what I want. As much as I dislike living in the OBX, I know it will be good for me. However, this will be a challenge. Rentals are scare here at this time unless, of course, I want to pay $3K for a place right on the beach. I must provide a place for Jade to have some access to the outdoors. There must be room for Riley if he should be able to return home. And I prefer it to provide some privacy and not be on pilings. It’s a tall order for that area.
For me, this move will mean I’m no longer sequestered in a remote area. As much as I love it here, I love my family more. All of the space out here, creates a similar frustration as Jade being coped up inside my grandson’s house. The loneliness of the open space makes it feel confining.

If I could pick up this property with the horse paddocks and open fields and transport it to Kill Devil Hills, none of us would feel confined or restricted. It would be the perfect situation. Even Bently could come to visit and chase Jade all around the paddocks. He’d never catch her – but he’d certainly have fun trying.


Anonymous said...


We missed you, but I'm glad you had a week off and away from the computer.

I was very surprised by your statement that you need a room for Riley should he be able to return home. Is that really a possibility?


Anonymous said...

Sending much love your way.

As difficult as it was, I think something needed you away from the internet for a little bit.

Love & hugs,

Syd said...

Sounds like you had a good week and much deserved time away. I am glad that Jade is getting attention. Are there doggy parks nearby? Those are good places to let the dogs have fun. Have a good weekend!

Mary said...

So glad you had a good time with your family and a much needed break. I have been following your story for a few weeks now and check frequently for updates on Riley. My experience with a loved one is much the same and every emotional twist that goes with seeing someone you love die slowly to a disease with many faces. I catch myself saying "I know what you mean, been there done that" when reading your past posts. Thank you for sharing your life with us. If you ever wonder does anyone care...we do, we're listening...

Anonymous said...


Thank you for doing this. It is oddly enough so much my story, too, although my end stage alcoholic entered my life only 1 year and 8 months ago! We met online, began going out together. I was so dumb it took me several months to realize what his problem was (alcohol) and then he became ill, oddly enough not alcohol related. What followed was a year of surgeries, hospitals, nursing homes, therapists, and then, in spite of successful medical care, instead of recovery, an almost total decline into drinking, drinking, drinking. Now he is staying in bed 23hours a day, sleeps all day, watches TV at ear splitting levels all night, wets himself, doesn't make it to the bathroom, refuses to bathe, eats in bed, spills food on himself, the bed, the floor, and vomits up what little bit he does get down. He falls, gets hurt, recovers. Says exactly what you said, "It must be something I ate" and regarding the messes he makes and who's to clean them up, "why bother". He confabulates, running islands of memory into continuous chains of events which make no sense to ANYONE, even him. He is alternately sweet, loving and appreciative of my presence, my help, ME, and in the next breath mocking, scornful, critical and dismissive. I am horrified to see what is happening to him and terrified to see what is happening to me. I'm a widow left with a huge reservoir of love with no proper place to put it. I told him I would help him through his illness knowing it would take at least a year. Now I love him totally but realize I cannot help him at all. He is on the same path as your Riley and I can't go with him. I have a daughter who needs me and a sister who is almost completely dependent upon me, and in order to have health insurance myself, I work full time, at age 63, with RA and diabetes. And I now, also like you, am sick from lack of sleep, and lack of support. My friends have mostly abandoned me because I won't (can't) abandon him. He's addicted to alcohol and I'm addicted to him. I've come a long way in 19 months, from knowing nothing about alcoholism to knowing every word you have written as if I wrote them myself. I knew better than to get involved with an alcoholic, I just thought I was bullet proof, I had a fabulous marriage, thought I was not capable of loving someone harmful to me, someone who I now know doesn't really love me, isn't capable of loving me, of loving anything except his drug of choice, alcohol. I tell myself everyday to just let it end, every time I see him he does at least ONE thing to justify my just walking away and never coming back, but my drug of choice is love, something some researchers now say is stronger than heroin, cocaine or even meth and my love has become focused on him. All I want to say really is to anyone reading this...DO NOT even BEGIN any kind of relationship with anyone who loves to drink. The statistical probability is that it will end in slow death for at least one of you, and more probably both. Don't go there. They will NOT thank you, they will blame you, laugh at you, mock you, make fun of you. They are already in love, every love receptor and instigator in their brain already committed to alcohol. You will come in a distant second at every important juncture in your relationship. They don't love you they can't, they don't want you, they will use you because they must, to keep going so they can keep drinking. Alcohol owns them and soon it will own youk too.

Linda -- Immortal Alcoholic's Wife said...

Jan -- I'll be posting more about Riley's condition in the next post.

Syd -- Thank you so much for writing. Riley wants me to bring him some paper & stamps so he can write back.

Anonymous -- Caretakers of end-stage alcoholics understand your dilemma. Please consider joining the OARS F&F group on Facebook. You will find support, comfort and understanding there. It is a private page and what is written there stays there.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Linda, for taking up your precious time and attention and reading all that, and for your suggestion. Is it too late for me to get out? Is it wrong, inhumane, un-Christian, unfair? I have no obligation to this man, legally or otherwise. I owe him nothing. I take nothing from him, not even his love, really, because it isn't real. I tell him his saying I love you to me sounds like a man writing a check for an old cow when he still thinks he might just possibly still be able to get a younger one for free. And it is a bad check anyway, a check that the minute I decide to finally to believe in it and actually deposit it will be promptly returned maked insufficient funds. I know now that he was looking for a younger, thinner, better-looking richer woman, or someone like me, still not bad-looking for her age, someone he "wouldn't be ashamed to be seen with anywhere" (he thinks this is complimentary, he has very high standards) endlessly entertaining, funny, cute, sweet, amusing, loving, resourceful, intelligent...good, loving and good who would willingly take care of him for nothing. Nothing...not love or money. That's when he says he loves me, when I've (unasked, in spite of his protests) once again cleaned up his vomit, his excrement, his broken glass, changed his bed (when I watch and wait and get the chance e.g. when he has to go potty), washed his clothes (when he will agree to take them off and let me), his dishes, his toilet, his floor, AND done the same for his cat. I buy groceries, I cook, I clean, I arrange things for convenience, safety, he criticizes as I do these things, politely asking, did you miss that, shouldn't you do this, why didn't you do that, WHY did you do THAT? I tell him that at this point I've (literally, directly) been (accidentally of course) urinated on, pooped on, vomited on, fallen on, caught several different "bugs" from him...that at this point he's done everything but run over me with his car and spit on me. And it feels like he does that, too. His beautiful voice that I love so much can turn into a whiplash aimed uniquely for me in the blink of an eye. Where do I get permission to leave and never go back, to not answer the phone. How do I tell him? He is in total denial of what is happening to him, far gone into Werneke-Korsakoff, disconnected brain cells beyond sustained logic, understanding. He isn't lying, he's confabulating, connecting the dots that he sees, creating a reality that leaves him blamelessly alone to keep on drinking. And now he's to the point where it doesn't even take as much alcohol as it once did to keep him comfortably blissed. His eyes waver, his hands shake, his gait allows him to walk maybe 50 feet at a time, maybe. Hs stamina is non-existant, he sweats, he rests, he drinks, he sleeps fitfully with the lights on, the TV blaring for several hours and awakes to do it all again, 5 hour cycles endlessly through everyday, everynight. He promises to get up, bathe, to go out, do something, anything, but then says...I went to sleep, I'm scum, why do you put up with me? Why bother? He only bothers to stay "sober" long enough to drive to fast food places and go in the grocery store for wine and that is getting more difficult by the week. Where do I get permission to opt out of this scenario? I introduced myself into it, how do I get out? So sorry for dumping this on you, so sorry...

Linda -- Immortal Alcoholic's Wife said...

Anonymous -- If you're looking for someone to say it's OK to leave -- It's OK to leave. It's easy for me to say that, but the real question is why won't you give yourself permission to leave?

You must ask yourself "why" you stay? What is it that you gain from staying? Once you figure that out, you can take steps to find whatever the "reward" is in staying in some other way.

The life your living is dangerous. Those "bugs" you're talking about are probably salmonella. Let me tell you it never completely goes away. The stress of your life will eventually causes you other problems as well.

At this point, in my opinion, you are not doing him a favor by staying. Why should he do ANYTHING for himself when you will do it for him? If you love this man, then you are loving him to death. Let him take responsibility for his own life -- or death.

In my opnion, you should not just walk away, but run away very quickly. I don't say this lightly, but this is not, and if I understand you correctly, was never a very solid relationship.

Are you ready to die for this man? Because if you stay that just what might happen to you. -- Linda

Syd said...

Linda, I would like to hear from Riley. Will write him this week. Been busy with Sea School.

Anonymous said...

I don't think that we have the right to tell another person whether they shoudl leave their relationship. That is playing God, and shaming someone does not help them. Please stop telling people tp leave their relationships, you are harming them by doing that, and making that persons self esteem even worse. this should be a place of no judgement. We need to accept ppl where they are. Not tell them what WE think they should do.