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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.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Let me in!!

I don’t pay much attention to buildings that offer the opportunity to buy hard liquor in bulk. The last time I was in such a store was while Riley was in hospice at the nursing home. That would be more than a year ago. I wanted to buy a small bottle of tequila because I was in a highly unusual mood for a Margarita. I was disappointed that the main ingredient for my desired cocktail was so expensive, but I bought it anyway and haven’t been back since. When you only drink every three or four months, even a small bottle has a tendency to last a while.

In North Carolina, the liquor stores are all state government alcohol control board operated. They are aptly name “ABC” stores. In my mind that seems like a childish name for such an adult product. But that’s off the track a bit.

I was driving down the main road in our town which has only two ABC stores. There is one as you enter the beach area and another just about midway down. Both stores are on the same main access road which runs the entire length of the Outer Banks. The one store I frequented when Riley was drinking was the one about midway. It is flanked on one side by a CVS store and a major grocery store. Across the street are numerous fast food restaurants. It is a busy, bustling corner.

I was going to the grocery store and when I turned at the appropriate street, I noticed that there was no longer an ABC store on the corner. It was gone. Like there one day and gone the next. But, even more than that there was no sight of there ever having been a store of any kind in that location. The building had been replaced with an empty lot.

What the heck??? Was there now only ONE ABC store on the island? My first thoughts were what are all those alcoholics going to do if they only have one store to get their precious liquids? This area has the privilege of have a large percentage of “drinkers”.  ABC stores close on Saturday evening and do not re-open until Monday morning. An image when through my head of drinkers who needed to have their supply replenished before the store closed and who had waited until the last minute to complete that chore. The image goes something like this using myself as the alcoholic/drinker in need:

I drive to my usual ABC store and see that I’m the only car in the parking lot. I think how lucky I am to get such prime parking. The inside of the store looks dark, but maybe it’s because I’m getting here so late. When I reach the end of the walkway ramp, I find the front door to be locked. I check my watch. No shouldn’t be closed because it’s about 10 minutes before closing time. I step back and look at the building quizzically. OH! Wait! There’s a sign…

This store will be permanently closed as of (whatever day is the day before today). We will re-open at our new location in the Surfside Shopping Center at our normal opening time.

Oh my goodness!! I don’t even know where the Surfside Shopping Center is! Do I have enough time to get there? I grab my cell phone and call a friend to find out if she knows where the new store is. She tells me it is right next to the Stamp Store. OK. I know where that is, but I don’t know if I will make it in time.

I put my car in gear and head to the Stamp Store. I run every red light and weave in and out of the traffic. Panic is setting in as I realize I may not have enough time. Then I see the sign over the window front “ABC” Beverage Store. I park right in front and push open the door as the manager heads towards me to lock out anyone behind me.

Phew!! I made it! That was a really close call. I must never wait until the last minute again.

I’m so happy I am not a person who must have a stash of alcohol available every single day. I have been blessed to not have that penchant or gene or whatever it is. On the other hand, I know the business hours of every single Starbucks and Coffee House on the island. I would probably die from withdrawal if I had to survive an entire weekend with my java.

To each his own poison...


afterthefire1964 said...

Oh my late husband planned better than that! After he died, my sons and I found his stash that he had hidden in a "secret storage room" in the garage. The full cans and bottles filled up two of the largest sized recycle bins our city gives to us! The sanitation workers must have thought we were insane!

Grant Allman said...

Another great post! Love this blog!!

Grant Allman said...

Another great post... Love this blog!!

Furtheron said...

I didn't know that about NC. I have only visited once many years ago on a business trip to the research triangle. Of course I was in a hotel where getting a drink wasn't an issue - I don't remember that being a particularly bad time either... frankly I remember very little of that trip other than my luggage got mislaid in transit at Boston and arrived late in the night much to my relief.

Interesting - you point out the issues for the "a large percentage of “drinkers”." you have on the island - but still you have this level of control over supply of the stuff. In the UK now you can buy the stuff 24x7 from so many places - even garages (gas stations) sell it. You drive up put some fuel in (if you feel you need to cover up why you are there) go in to pay and say "Oh whilst I'm here (8am in the morning) can I have a bottle of scotch (or whatever)." I'm annoyed with my local large store, they have bottles all in the entrance as it is Christmas deal time despite this therefore being right in view of kids etc.

Still - one thing I might see this now but I don't need to buy it - for that today I am gratefully sober

Anonymous said...

I enjoy your blog very much. It has given me a lot of information and insight knowing that I am not alone.

Bev said...

Oh how I wish we were like NC. In Ohio there is alcohol in almost every store, including drug stores. They might not all carry the 'hard' stuff' but there's no worry here in finding alcohol to buy.

Anonymous said...

Is there a way that a new OARS invitation can by added. The two links on the site are telling me that the invitation has expired.

Linda Jane Riley said...

Below is the invitation link to OARS:


It changes about once a month.

Anonymous said...

Today has been a "I hate all alcoholics and anything involving alcohol" day.

Living with an alcoholic is like someone stealing your mansion from you, moving in, then having the utter GALL to offer to rent out a space in the shed for you.

I hate what they do to people. Wonder if I will ever not be angry.

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Anonymous said...

Gee, long time since we have heard about Riley and how he is doing.

Anonymous said...

Dear Anonymous from comment on 11/26/13.

I too wonder if I will ever stop being angry at all of the uproar my husband (the alcoholic in our family) has caused.

I know exactly what you mean.

Mike B. said...

I find it sad that your blog does not contain any hope at all. There are many of us alcoholics that are in recovery and have regained our lives yet you all seem to live in the "poor me world". I can not understand any person that would stay with an terminal alcoholic unless it was for financial reasons. Any sane person would run for their lives. Stop feeling sorry for yourselves and making excuses for staying with your alcoholic person. Leave them and start your life over. Be happy.

Anonymous said...

Mike B, if only it were that easy. I am very glad that you are in recovery. Please stay in a good place. My best to you.

Anonymous said...

I don't agree with Mike B. I have been struggling to stay sober for many years with 3 rehabs and AA. I need to hear the true pain I am causing to myself and my partner of 11 years. I just turned 40, sober since 1 Jan this year. I hope to FINALLY turn my life around and not continue to be a slave to the wine store. Thanks so much for your blog, a real wake up call for me.Trish from Australia

Mike B. said...

I spent 1 -1/2 years ending my drinking. I went from months of sobriety back to weekend drinking episodes until I finally had a moment of clarity. Call it an epiphany. I could finally see clear from buying the initial drink, the shame of being drunk, right through to the suffering from withdrawal and decided I did not want that life anymore. I can also tell you that counselors and AA did not make any difference in my life. Think of yourself as 2 people. One is normal and the other is an addict. Nothing will change until you reach inside yourself and decide that the normal you is stronger than the addict. Then you can begin to take control of your life again and be free from drink. You can really do this if you really want to.

Kathy Hatch said...

I looked into leaving. A lawyer said there was help out there, but not to count on getting it. So unless I could afford to live on my own, I was stuck. Since he was not violent, and as long as I put up with his sh**, we began saying, "life begins after daddy goes to sleep". My kids have since grown up and moved out. But my husband is like a three year old. He has no idea of anything in the past. He's famous for saying ,"I must have had a good reason'. He's been on deaths door so many times. But I still don't make enough to live on my own.