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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, May 26, 2014

Just say yes...

Riley in Detox after Heart Attack 2012

I do not like feeling that I'm "hounding" anyone about anything, so if I am pushing the limit -- please forgive me.

There was once a man (actually I’m sure there’s been more than just one) who went to the hospital emergency room and said “I’m really sick and I think I need to detox from alcohol.” The polite nurse takes his vitals and sends him back to a curtained area. The doctor comes and states that they have no beds for patients who are there for detox. He tells the man to return if he is still in pain after detox. He hands him a referral to the rehab hospital up the street who will only take fully insured patients. The man walks out the door, goes home, calls a friend and together they try to get through the night. It’s Sunday and there are no package stores open and the man has no alcohol in the house and doesn't even have enough cash for beer or cheap wine. Two days later the man is dead.

Could this be you? Could this be someone you love? Do you know and understand that the scenario is not just a fictional imagining. This takes place in hospitals all over the world. It’s a disgrace that someone who needs medical attention cannot get it because they are addicted to alcohol. It should not matter if in that moment the alcoholic wants to go to rehab or not. What matters is facing the immediate issue at that exact point in time.

So how can we get our hospitals and medical professionals to change? How do we make them understand that end-stage alcoholism is not always the end of the line with proper medical care? How can we force them to treat people even if they deem the alcoholic as a lost cause? After all, if someone attempts suicide, aren't they admitted to the hospital with every attempt made to keep them from failing at their primary objective? Why should alcoholics be treated any differently?

What we can do is draw attention to the need of medically supervised detox in the hospital environment. We can force the world to see clearly what alcoholism detox really looks like. We can make it real by bringing real people and showing real detox. Movies and movie stars are just fiction and can easily be dismissed by the statement – “Oh, it’s just a movie.” It’s easily forgotten. But real faces and real stories are difficult to erase from the memory. Our real stars are the alcoholics themselves.

If any of you have an actively drinking alcoholic and you believe a hospital stay (for any reason) is in the very near future, please contact me. We want to show what detox is REALLY like for someone who has been drinking non-stop for many years. The detox could follow a medical event while at the hospital. (We all know the best to get hospital detox is to go in for some other life endangering issue.) The idea is to get it on film and show the complications, effects and issues medically of excessive drinking.

I truly believe that how the world sees alcoholism will never be seen realistically until people like us make it real to everyone. How can we change how the hospital admits people for detox until we show how important it is to be IN the hospital during detox?

If your alcoholic is complaining of whatever, start asking if he/she would agree to helping us make others see the importance of getting medical help whether they are drinking or not. Drinking is not the issue -- the ability to have medially supervised detox is the issue. Explain to them that they can help make a big change in how others see drinking.

Of course, we all know that the hope is they will detox and decide on rehab. But that's not a requirement for this program. No intervention, no judgment, no criticism, no one trying to get them to change.

We've all heard them say NO before. So if they say no, it won't injure our ears at all. But if they say YES then they just might be saving the life of an unknown person. They just might be the start of a change in how alcoholics get the help they need just to stay alive.

If you are an alcoholic and you don't want people to say you've wasted your life on booze, then let your life stand for a courageous attempt to change the way things are done. Let your life stand for making the start of the world sit up and take notice. Be the Rosa Parks of drinking -- stay on the bus, but change up the world's seating arrangement.

Please contact me for more info and to let me know of that one person may be willing to yes. If you would like to speak to one of the producers of this hard-hitting documentary, I can make that happen.

5 comments:

Furtheron said...

I wish you well... I hope you reach just one person

Southern Gal said...

Linda, I've come across your blog a time or two. Searching for answers.. I'm so damn mad alcohol took my 30 year old son a week ago today. My faith is strong. I feel like I need to take some of the blame! I want to scream and shout WHY? He has a wife and 2 beautiful boys. Zayn is 8 and Atlas is 18 months old. His suffering the last 15 days was horrible. I can't get the pictures and memories to stop in my brain. I could have saved my son. I feel like a failure! amiragabrielle@aol.com Gabrielle Howard-Gengler.

hyperCRYPTICal said...

Give me an alcoholic and he will be offered naught - bar perhaps living in an 'institution.'
Give me a drug addict and he will be given methadone and perhaps institulisation.
This is the way of the world. A drug addict is viewed as an addict, alcoholism is viewed as a choice...
The medical profession is blind to the addiction of alcohol...or perhaps there is no income derived from it...
Anna :o[

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the time and energy you've spent compiling this vast wealth of information. I have "been there done that" with the emergency room. I was handcuffed to a gurney and left there to "dry out" with no medication or even any meaningful assistance. Smoking was once regarded in similar terms as alcohol consumption - that it was the addicts choice and if they chose to harm themselves in that way, "no harm no foul." But eventually Surgeon General C. Everett Koop got the government recognize that smoking was not just an addiction people voluntarily chose, but it was going to morph into a full-blown public health crisis. And through government ad campaigns the public eventually turned on the cigarette manufacturers. Alcohol needs a Dr. Koop. Only then will ads get yanked off the air, advertising will be restricted, and the medical establishment will begin to treat alcoholism as a not a "dirty addiction" but a public health issue. There are horrible commercials that now air on television and radio about the devastating health consequences of smoking. Do you see any commercials doing that for alcohol? Not enough people are aware of the devastating health and personal consequences of debilitating alcoholism and IMO it can only happen through a massive government campaign similar to what it undertook against smoking in the 1980s. People see alcoholics as mere hapless, weak-willed, stumbling drunks. I think if they were inundated with photos and video footage of people in detox wards, the graphic medical consequences of drinking like esophageal varices, what a cirrhotic liver looks like, what people with ascites and edema look like and photos and videos of those maimed by drunk divers, public option would change just as it did against big tobacco.

Will it happen? I doubt it personally. No matter which political persuasion you lean toward, it should be plainly obvious to everyone that our government is now bought and paid for by the highest bidder. I don't think even think the anti-tobacco campaigns would flyl now. There's just too much money involved. But we can always hope. Aaron in Florida

Recovery on Film said...

Thanks for your inspirational writing. I wanted to send you this link to a recovery blog I am writing; it is a set of daily meditations based on inspirational movie quotes.

Thanks for letting me be of service.

Recovery on Film: http://recoveryonfilm.blogspot.com