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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.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Separation anxiety...

My most viewed post on the blog is about the definition of end-stage alcoholism. I’m hoping that when I’m able to get back to doing seminars, it will be a topic. When I do seminars I usually use blog posts or pages as a starting off place for the subject or topic. I believe that the blog posts only scratch the surface.

I’m not sure when I’ll be able to actually go out and hold a seminar. There has been a suggestion that I do a webinar. I’m not familiar with them, but both of the two that I have participated in have been a bit boring. I dislike that the interaction between speaker and audience via a “chat box”. I like seeing the faces and allowing them to have a “conversational” moment during the event. I also like the interaction between participants. My seminars are also meant to be about networking with people who relate to your situation. I don’t see how that can happen in a webinar.

Thanks to the fundraiser, it appears that I may have a home health aide in the near future.  I’m beginning to plan for the upcoming year. Of course, nothing is ever set in stone. I am forever flexible with scheduling and projects. It is a fact that what I want to do and what I can do are often at totally different ends of the spectrum.

At least there is a difference for me now compared to how things were when Riley was drinking himself into oblivion. Then everything in my life was so very unpredictable. Even a trip to the grocery store could generate a near panic attack when I thought about what may be going on in my absence. I kept my time away from home as short as possible.

When Riley had his heart attack and ended up in hospice, the hesitation to leave home took quite a while to subside. Just when I could easily be away from home for an entire weekend, he came home and a whole new set of problems became evident. Even though he was not drinking, I now had a near invalid who needed constant care and attention. Eventually, Riley became more independent, but he never regained the ability to completely take care of his own needs.

In the midst of the alcoholism, the alcoholic seldom sees or understands the chaos they create. Everything to them seems perfectly normal and perfectly acceptable. That attitude isn't totally unfathomable since the part of the brain most affected by the alcoholic toxins is the part that deals with logic. The lack of filters to screen out unacceptable behavior generates the disbelief in their faces when the do things like – feeding the baby dog food or lounging in the front yard without clothing. It makes sense to them.

Unfortunately, the long-term abuse of alcohol often leads to permanent brain damage – as in Riley’s case. The bad news is that it keeps getting worse over time. I have had difficulty in convincing Riley’s doctors that he is losing more of his logical thought processes all the time. I often have to educate those who, in my opinion, should be the most educated.

Now the cancer is taking a portion of what was left of the reasonable part of Riley. He doesn't understand why the world doesn't revolve around his every wish and desire. He’s extremely critical of my care taking and housekeeping abilities. He often tells me to stop doing anything that is not directly focused on him. He will call me into his space on average seven times an hour and about half of those calls are to tell me that I need to do the dishes or pick up a penny off the floor even though he’s perfectly capable of picking up the penny by himself. It is exhausting. It is frustrating. I wish I could be angry but its CANCER and not drunkenness, even though the drunkenness most likely made him more susceptible to getting the cancer.  Even without alcohol, there are still the same feelings of frustration and anxiety.

In Riley’s case, end-stage has taken on a whole new meaning. There’s now an additional aspect to add to the definition of end-stage alcoholism. I will certainly be expounding on the subject in my public seminars on the definition of end-stage. Should I add it to the Stages of Alcoholism? I wonder about that since it doesn't happen to every alcoholic. But, it is certainly worth thinking about.

I’ll try to publish a tentative calendar when I get one formulated in my mind and on paper. I hope to see your faces in the audience. 


JansSushiBar said...

Linda, there are various - and often free - applications that allow people to do "meetings" online that don't involve chat boxes. You set up a meeting time, and give the list of participants a telephone number, along with a meeting code. The participants then call the log into the meeting website, use the meeting code and call the telephone number; everyone can participate over the phone while you give whatever kind of presentation you have on their computers and you don't have to worry about anyone traveling - including you. Some even allow the participants with webcams, which most laptops come with these days, to "see" each other on the screen and interact that way.

Linda -- The Immortal Alcoholic's Wife said...

Thanks Jan -- I know that Skype has a program. I'll check into these types of programs. I know some required software -- but it's a good suggestion and I'll see what I can find out. My problem is that I don't use a formal presentation. I start talking about the subject and then the participants join in. It's very personal, friendly and casual. That format has been successful for me in the past. However -- I am capable of change. -- Linda