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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.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

A little more review...

Let’s do a little more review, but this time let’s take out any reference to my personal situation. Let’s talk about something more important than how I get by financially or why I ended up writing this blog.

1 -- End-stage alcoholism is the condition of an alcoholic who has reached a certain stage in the addiction. Most are alcoholics who have been through rehab or detox several times with each end result being a return to drunkenness. By this time the organs have suffered damage and the brain does not function with logic. Often there may have been a stroke or heart attack caused from alcohol abuse.
2 – The liver is a miracle organ that has the capability of healing itself as long as there is still viable healthy tissue available for re-generation. However, eventually the liver will reach a point where there is no healthy tissue at all and will begin a total shut-down.
3 – The front lobe of the brain houses our ability to make logical, rational choices with a moral compass. When the brain becomes saturated with alcohol, the brain loses the ability to discern logicality from irrationality or to make moral choices. Expecting an alcoholic to make a rational, moral choice is like asking a baby not to cry for their next feeding.
4 – It doesn’t really matter what name you give to all the various medical complications associated with alcohol abuse. What is important is the effect it has on the body and brain. Once the non-alcoholic understands what is happening inside the alcoholic’s body, they are better able to understand why things are the way they are. But, really, that’s all it means if the alcoholic doesn’t stop drinking the condition will continue the downward spiral.
5 – There is no cure for alcoholism. The only thing that can save an alcoholic’s life is a desire to change their life direction. That’s a very tall order for someone who has a faulty frontal lobe causing them to not have the ability to reason.
6 – Recovery is possible even for end-stage alcoholics. Sometimes it may take some manipulation and coercing to get them into a detox center. Sometimes they get into detox via a medical crisis. However it happens doesn’t matter. What matters is that it happens. It is rare that an end-stage alcoholic suddenly decides that sobriety is a better way of life. I just don’t want anyone to think that it is completely impossible because it is possible.
7 – There are many support groups for the caretakers, family, and/or friends of alcoholics. Once upon a time the only option was for a 12-step program. That’s not the case anymore. Simply Google Alcoholism Family Support and you might be surprised as to how many options there are. Of course, anyone who reads my blog is invited to join the OARS Family and Friends Support Group. You will find the link in the side bar of this blog.
8 – It doesn’t matter if the alcoholic in your life is at end-stage, early stages or has already passed. What is important is that it does not destroy the lives of the people who love the alcoholic. There is life outside the alcoholic chaos. It isn’t easy to find, but it is there. It’s worth finding, so don’t give up the search.
9 – The alcoholic does not set out to harm anyone. They simply can’t see that they are putting people at risk. It’s part of the frontal lobe thing. The rudeness, meanness, narcissistic, selfishness is part of the result of the alcohol abuse. It is up to us (the caretakers) to decide how to handle the situation. We can ignore it, fight it, run from it, or cry about it. There is no right or wrong way. There is each individual’s way and that’s all.
10 – Detach is not a dirty word. I know it feels like it. I know it feels like we are abandoning the alcoholic and that action often feels like we are allowing them to die. But, really, there is no way to stop that snowball as it picks up speed going down that mountain. The only thing we can do is find a way to keep the fall-out from falling on us. Find a way to have a life of your own and enjoy that life.
11 – Everyone on this planet is affected by alcoholism in some way or another. There are economic, social, and familial consequences to alcoholism. Even those who do not drink must pay the debt created by alcohol abuse through higher medical rates or taxes to pay for prison sentences. Families pay by the loss of a father, mother, son, daughter, sister or brother. No one is immune.
What I’ve touched here is only a small amount of what needs to be known about alcoholism. There will always be new information to reveal. There will always be stories of heartbreak and stories of success. There will always be people who are trying to make a difference.
At the end of Alcohol Awareness Month, we all need to be reminded that things are not always as cut and dry as they may seem. We all need to be reminded of the basics. We all need to remember that every one of us is struggling in some way. Let’s end this month with a renewed energy to survive.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You have to leave your alcoholics at once. There is no hope, get out.

They never stop.

Go find a life with non-alcoholics, there are millions of non-alcoholics.