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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, February 28, 2013

Free lunch...

I learned a hard lesson as a child. It had to do with an advertisement I saw that said a car was being offered for FREE. I took the ad to my father and told him I had the solution to helping my brother get another car. My father read over the ad and then read to me the “fine print.” It seems certain accessories were free – like the windshield wipers – but the car itself still had a price tag. After our discussion about how unfair the ad was, he looked me squarely in the eyes and said, “Linda, no matter what anyone says, there is no such thing as a free lunch.”

My father was right. Even a free lunch costs something.  Although it may not be in dollars and cents, the cost can still be more than you can afford. Anyone who has ever felt pressured to accept an invitation from a boss to have lunch, knows that there is a price tag. To accept means your cost is in the time you spend eating with a person you would not choose on an everyday basis.
Recently I had a conversation with the developer of the Webinar “Intervene – An Emergency Guide to Heavy Drinking and Alcoholism.” We were talking about feeling guilty because we have to solicit funds to manage the different projects that we hope will make a difference in someone’s life. As much as we both would like to offer everything we have to everyone who wants it at no cost at all, the fact is that everything cost something.
A comment on my last post says I have gone “corporate.” That I’m no longer real and Riley is forgotten. The commenter was disappointed in me because I posted that my book was now available in Smashwords and that the webinar was coming up and my followers were invited to join. I want to address this comment publicly here so if others feel the same they may be able to understand.
“The Immortal Alcoholic’s Wife” has been offered on this site for quite a while. It is not a new thing. An e-book version was promised many months ago and I’ve followed through on that promise. The book is now available for your Kindle, Nook, IPad, etc. In the next couple of days it will be available at Barnes & Noble and Amazon.  A soft cover version is also promised and I’m working on making that happen.
The webinar is not my creation. I have contributed information for the material, but I cannot take ownership because it is not mine to take. Sandy Jones is the author, creator and producer of the entire 11-week series of classes. She has done an excellent job and there is a lot to learn from her research and efforts. There are expenses associated with this endeavor, such as the web hosting and designing, handouts, teleconference expenses. This was a huge undertaking and while she was working on this webinar, she had less time to work on her real job. To be offered to my readers for $50 is just a drop in the bucket compared to what it cost her.
Besides “The Immortal Alcoholic’s Wife” and the “Workbook for Caretakers of End-Stage Alcoholics” (which is currently being updated), I also have three support groups for friends and families of alcoholics. Two are free to host via FaceBook, but the third is a private site for which I pay to maintain and host. It is expensive. The money comes from the GoFundMe account. Usually there is not enough money in the account and I cut corners on my home budget so I can keep the website up and running.
Besides the cold hard cash that is needed to keep doing what I do, I spend nearly five hours a day on Immortal Alcoholic / OARS related activities. During those hours, I support followers either through e-mail or on the support sites. My in-box has so many letters that where I used to answer every one within a few hours, I now can seldom answer each and every one individually. I do research on things that I hear about or information passed on to me. I plan and organize to expand the groups and eventually make available real meetings with real people. I reach out in my community to offer my services to anyone that I can possibly help.

While I’m doing that, I’m working a part-time “corporate” day-job that gives me just enough income to fund my activities. I’m watching out for Riley and teaching him how to be self-sufficient again after having so abused his brain with alcohol that he only is able to function at the level of a pre-teen boy. I cook for him, clean for him, shop for him and set his TV recorder so he never misses an episode of NCIS. He could not afford to pay someone for all the things I do for him. In fact, when I have someone come in to help, it can cost as much as $50 an hour.
I was once worked for a Fortune 500 company in San Francisco. I wore designer suits to work and had standing appointments for my hair and nails. I worked from very early in the morning into the evening. I planned, facilitated, and attended conferences, conventions, seminars, workshops, meetings and teambuilding events. I couldn’t get through the day without my calendar. I made great money and it cost me great money in cash and time just to keep up the appearances and be away from my family.  I thank God every day that I no longer work in that environment.
In my dream world, I would be able to quit my day-job and find a way to make money on the things that give me the most satisfaction – my Immortal Alcoholic and OARS work. I would be able to help people and put food on the table at the same time. I don’t live in a dream world. I live in reality where the bills come in every month no matter how helpful I am to others. I can rack up hundreds of hours of “good deeds” but the electric company still wants cash.

So… as Sandy and I talked about feeling guilty about trying to make money off this horrible thing called addiction, we came to understand that the more money we make, the more we can benefit others. We discussed the fact that rehab centers make big money off addiction. Doctors, lawyers, hospitals, all turn a profit from addiction. Neither of us aspire to become multi-millionaires from doing what we do. We just don’t want to end up in the red or sacrifice necessities for the cause.

To the commenter who said I’m not real, I’m fundraising. Anonymous is half right. I am fundraising. But I am still real and Riley is still flourishing under my care. I’m helping about 1,000 people on average every single day. Just imagine how many people could benefit if I could afford more time and money to provide the avenues to reach them.

Anonymous – if you’re looking for a free lunch, well, I wish you good luck with that.


Anonymous said...

Not only are there no free lunches, you are also not a charity or whipping post - I don't feel you owe anyone any explanations or justifications. Linda keep doing what is right for you

Bev said...

This brings to mind when my eyes were opened about tithing at church. Going to church every week, enjoying the sermon, the comfort of the building, the coffee in the lobby, the programs and all that 'church' has to offer and never thinking twice about who's paying for it all. When I changed churches, I heard the verses from the Bible that talks about tithing. I started to think it through and realized that it's not always 'someone else' who pays for all of that - that 'someone else' should be everybody - and that included me : D So I guess what I'm trying to say is that if you believe in a cause you need to support that cause because without everyone's support 'causes' eventually disappear.

Jenny Woolf said...

You shouldn't let these people who don't do anything get you down. Of course you need money to do your work.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for this blog and please continue to do what you do. I do see people comment sometimes and they clearly don't "get it". They are the minority, you are real, life is hard and I don't see that you ever have to apologise or explain. It clearly says on home page these are your opinions and experiences. Keep up the fab work and I wish you well in all your endeavours and life in general. THANK YOU x

Tawanda Bee said...

Thank you for writing this, for sharing your experience, because I struggle valuing myself and my services. I needed this today.

I think of the 7th Tradition of being fully self supporting. I love that you are finding ways to be fully self supporting AND be of service!

As they say... "You GO girl."

Anonymous said...

It's always the harsh things people say that stick with us. Keep fighting the good fight and know that there are those of us who appreciate all that you do.

Anonymous said...

the person who criticised you needs agood kick up the backside-you are doing a great job and i'm sure i speak for many when i say that if it wasnt for the sterling work you do by sharing your insightful wisdom on this site,a lot of us partners of addicts wold feel much more lonely and bereft of support-you keep up the good work...i dunno where you'll get your reward,but i for one appreciate you and your work enormously-thank you.

Lance said...

I would like to add that I am an alcoholic and one of those thousands of people you helped. The story of Riley, and your pain, helped me to realize the horrible pain for my loved ones, and myself, if I continued. I have now been sober over a year. Thank You!

Anonymous said...

I found this blog over a year ago and it has helped to have no contact with an alkie exhusband who has basically stalked me for over 25 years. He has been calling me again daily for the past month and I just do not answer the phone. Found out online that once again he has been indicted for a second crime so he must be getting worse. There is even a mugshot of him online and he's looks like hell. Fat extended belly and his face is full of sores. Maybe he is also a crack head addict. Unreal. The pattern seems to be that when things crash down for him the phone calls increase. The first indictment was for burglary and this one is now for tampering/ fabricating physical evidence with intent to impair. I just have to wait for the court process to play out. NO CONTACT NO MATTER WHAT. Two felony charges. I figure he is looking for someone to take him in as he probably runs to another state to hide. I have come to the conclusion that he is a true psychopath. I wish he would die. I absolutely despise him. Maybe someday I will get to the point where it just does not hurt anymore. He is pure evilness. A slithering snake.

Anonymous said...

Just reading the post above and thinking how brave you are to remain not involved. I am thinking about leaving and could see how the characterisics of my husband would be like that. Maybe thats why I delay... The phrase "Immortal Alcoholic" is a clever clever use of words as each time I think he has gone too far.... He always wakes up. Big thanks to Linda for this blog and for allowing us to take comfort and support in a secret place that "he" doesn't know about and can't have a go at me for. Take it easy all x

Zowie said...

Wow to the 2 anonymous posts above.
I, too, was about to walk out on my a. husband this past Christmas. I contacted a lawyer and was looking for another place to live. It must have sobered him up to reality because he has not had a drink since Christmas day. As much as I would not like to live by myself, it would be so much better than living with his alcoholic depressions and negative attitudes. But, I am wondering how long his sobriety will last. It's almost too good to be true.

Anonymous said...

Zowie, if it is good when he is sober I hope he continues to stay sober. It is so draining to reach the point of leaving for them to improve, albeit slighly, and then months or years to pass by for the need to get out and the strength to do it comes along. I have had tasters of being out and there is no stress and I am so much happier but I seem to get myself trapped back in again. I'm sure that even sober mine doesn't appeal to me. Good luck x

Anonymous said...

Well you keep calling me out. I still see very little of Riley in your posts. Can I be clear 1) You stopped buying him drinks and he has markedly improved 2) You are all finding your way and I am pleased about this. There is no free lunch, but there is accountability and I have no fault with you. But in retrospect does not the fact of not buying the booze really serve as the turning point in your and Riley's life? What would you say about that> thanks