Saturday, March 30, 2013
Imagine this… you’re on a beautiful, white, sandy beach at the edge of a pristine blue water sea. You really want to go for a swim. Just as you reach the edge of the water you notice a sign saying that the water is “shark infested”. What would you do? You don’t see any visible signs of sharks. There’s no “Sharks” music playing in the background. The water is so inviting and calm and you just want to take a little dip.
This was the scenario I presented to Riley this morning while he was bragging that he had improved in his physical condition and was almost whole again. So I risked the question about going back to drinking. I said, “Do you understand that the reason you have improved so much is mostly because you are not drinking?” His answer was, “Yes.”I was feeling way too confident or I would not have asked the next question. “Do you think you have learned that you cannot drink and stay healthy?”
“Well, you were wrong. Booze did not kill me and I believe it won’t ever kill me.” He was so matter-of-fact with that little smirky “I’ve proven that you were wrong” smile across his lips. “You don’t seem to understand that I’m addicted to alcohol and because of that you can never expect me to stop drinking.”My response was that addicted people break the addiction every day and that I didn’t feel that it was impossible for him to stop drinking. After all, it has been almost a year since he had a drink. Why start back now and cause his health to go downhill?
He says he will go back to drinking because he’s an alcoholic. Personally, after everything that has happened over the past six years, it just seems ludicrous to go back to drinking when there is no longer any of the poison in his system.At that time, I proposed the beach scenario to him. Would he go into the water?
He replied, he’d already been in the water and was still alive. The signs posted were probably more than a year old which meant they were no longer relevant.Yes, he is still alive, but he has caused his body great stress and there are permanent life-long repercussions to his swim in shark-infested waters. The shark may not have eaten his entire body, he maybe have lost a toe on the first venture out into the water. Well, he lived through that, so let’s go just a bit further out there – and he loses his leg. He heals that then goes back in because, after all, he’s not dead yet. Back into the water and he loses everything up to his waist. And yet – he goes back into the water again and this time he becomes the shark’s dinner.
Riley sees that analogy and believes it just doesn’t apply to him. The sign must be lying, there are no sharks and even if there are sharks, they won’t get him. He was born and raised in Iowa, but I think it should have been Missouri because he has to see and experience those shark bites to believe it will happen. Even then – he really doesn’t think it will kill him.A few people have asked me how Riley is doing. Why don’t I write so much about him anymore? There isn’t much to write. Riley can maneuverer around the house with the aid of a cane and furniture to give him balance. He can wash the dishes. He can do his own laundry. He can even cook soup in the microwave. He can find his favorite channels on his TV.
In Riley’s mind, that’s really all he needs. He seems to either accept the fact, or is oblivious it, that he can no longer drive, cannot fix a complete dinner, shower without assistance, figure out how to program his TV remote or record a program; play a game of bridge; or do grocery shopping. These used to be things he loved to do. But, he doesn’t seem to connect the dots that the alcohol has robbed him of those abilities.He proudly announces that as soon as he has the chance he will be drinking again. So why don’t we just have a bottle of wine with dinner? Why don’t we have a cocktail while he watches me cook? Besides, I can keep him from getting drunk if he’s right there with me --- right?
WRONG. He wouldn’t share that bottle of wine with me. I’d have to have one of my own of which I would only drink maybe two glasses and he would finish my bottle too. It isn’t a cocktail while cooking – it would be a bottle which he would be the only one drinking. It would gradually increase to more than one bottle and, WHAM-O! We are back in the hospital and he’s clinging to his last breath of life wondering where he is and how he got there.I can’t control everything. Hell… I sometimes can’t even control my own diabetes. But, I will not subject myself to his insanity any sooner than absolutely necessary. I know the day is coming. I know he will find a way. Maybe it will start with my vanilla extract or mouthwash or the cough syrup. Maybe he’ll take a hit of my favorite perfume.
Riley is a smart guy, in spite of his stupidity, he knows that when I catch him drinking things not intended for consumption, I’ll probably give up and go get him a bottle. I truly hope it doesn’t come to that. And, it may not even be me who ends up buying it for him. He can be a very convincing man when he wants to be.Right now, my waters are shark-free. But if I should see a sign posted, I will not question how long it has been there or if it is true. I’ll just lay on the beach and soak up the sunshine. That is, while I still have sunny days.
at 4:37 AM