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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.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

A million requests...

I started this blog on September 9, 2010 with an entry about how I got to where I was at that time. How I Got Here  I remember that once the site was up and running and posting several times, I tried to make some changes to the format and lost all my posts. I re-did the layout and re-posted the posts on October 19, 2010.

Since then I’ve published 317 posts over 4 ½ years. I’m very proud to say that I am celebrating my one millionth hit (view). I never in a million years imagined I would ever have my blog viewed a million times. In honor of the occasion, this post will be a review of the journey that the blog (and both Riley and I) have taken.

September 2010 – Riley was drinking but still moderately functional. I started the blog as a means of communication for my family and a way to put into writing all the research information I had gathered. I thought that possibly the information I gathered could help other people. Some posts were my own point of view, others contained factual information and some were about my life with Riley in the past and also in the present.

Early in December 2010, Buddy T of About.Alcoholism.com About.Alcoholism.com sent an e-mail about using my story on the about.com website. I was flattered. After a bit of communication, my story was published on December 12, 2010.

Buddy had warned me that my life would change and he was so very right. My hit numbers were going through the roof. I went from possibly 20 hits to 500 hits a day! I was receiving e-mails daily from people with a story to tell or questions to ask. Most were extremely supportive and some were hateful. I couldn’t keep up with all of it. That was when I decided to start a support group which could connect all these people to one another. That was the birth of the OARS Families and Friends Group (Our Alcoholism Resource and Support) on Facebook and on an independent website. (e-mail me to request an invitation to join at immortalalcoholic@gmail.com put “support group” in the subject line.

I had started designing a workbook to aid me in care taking Riley. I took it with me to every doctor’s appointment. One doctor said he wished all his patients came in with the kind of information in the workbook, so I refined it and made “The Workbook for Caretakers of End-Stage Alcoholics” available for purchase. It’s an interactive book available ONLY on my blog.

In May of 2012, Riley had a heart attack as a result of his alcohol abuse. He was not expected to recover and was placed into a nursing home as a hospice patient. The heart attack was accompanied with mini-strokes and other health related issues. Surely this time he would not recover. But this blog is aptly named the Immortal Alcoholic – Riley’s health improved and he was released from hospice. He was unable to walk, feed himself or attend to any of his own personal needs. But, within a few months, he was able to do many things for himself.

I was insistent that since he was detoxed and could not obtain alcohol without assistance, I declared that I would not allow him to consume any booze as long as I was his caretaker. With the exception of one glass of wine, he has not had anything to drink since his heart attack. He had the wine when he was diagnosed with cancer.

In the summer of 2012, I held the first live OARS meeting with a seminar event on the Outer Banks of NC. The attendance was not great, but I knew I had done several things wrong in the planning. I thought of it as a learning experience for future events.

One of the most exciting things to happen was in April of 2014 when I was asked to participate in the production of a documentary on alcoholism. I searched for family members of alcoholics who would be willing to share their story with the world. I interviewed many candidates and found the select few. I can’t wait for the premiere in 2016.

I had been working on a book depicting my journey from childhood to caretaking my alcoholic husband. I felt people would understand how non-alcoholic’s get drawn in if they knew my story. The book would show how young girls growing up in the 1950’s and 60’s could be groomed to be caregivers.  In the summer of 2014, The Immortal Alcoholic's Wife became available in paperback through Amazon. For e-book fans you can find it here: http://goo.gl/0JOcqd

During the same timeframe, I began preparing for a seminar event in Raleigh, NC. Things were going very well and it appeared that this event would be much better that my first attempt. I also began one-on-one coaching for people involved in a relationship with an alcoholic. I put everything together on a new website called Linda's Front Porch.

My readers could now go to Linda’s Front Porch to purchase my books and browse other things I had up for sell to support OARS and other endeavors. They could read other, more personal, short stories I had written. They could schedule one-on-one time for coaching and check out my calendar.

In July of 2014 Riley had a colonoscopy that revealed that he had cancer. He began radiation treatment on Halloween 2014 and completed the treatment on New Year’s Eve 2014. Around February 23, 2015 he was told he was cancer-free. Could it be that this man truly is immortal? Maybe not. The same day as the cancer-free diagnosis, Riley was admitted into hospice via a diagnosis of end-stage liver failure.

In order to provide Riley with treatment for the cancer, I transported him 50 miles one-way to the cancer center for radiation and chemotherapy. Almost every day I made that 100 mile round trip. I had no aides for him at that time and attended to his needs. He was weak and getting weaker. He was sick and very confused. He was demanding and controlling and consumed my entire day. All of that lead to my postponing the Raleigh seminar.

One million hits. My blog has been requested from the internet Gods one million times. That’s a lot of reading. Thank you to everyone who came to this blog. 

What’s ahead? Lots of exciting things! But you’ll have to keep returning here to find out what they are.


Anonymous said...

Awesome. Making money off of your alcholic partner. WTG. :sarcasm:

Skabootch said...

I can definitely relate. I swear my husband has clydesdale's horseshoes where the sun don't shine. he has dodged so many bullets it's crazy and we still keep going. He was dry 4 yrs but has been drinking again now for about 3. He is having trouble eating, doesn't matter what it is he has trouble digesting - he thinks it's an ulcer but I think it may be more serious. Our Dr (an angel here on earth) knows the situation but hubby doesn't yet want to cave and go and see him. We all know there is only so much that can be done. Hubby functions very well for the most part but his skin is very thin and any cut he bleeds a lot and it takes a lot of time to stop. Also bruises very easy and they are very deep reddish/purple bruises. If we are not in the end stage think we are very close to it. Thrilled to have found this blog!!

Anonymous said...

From one "anonymous" to another - no one pays this woman for the thousands of hours she has spent caring for her alcoholic husband. She decided to use this painful journey to help and inspire other people dealing with similar issues. I'd imagine tat maintaining any other source of income during this process has been damn near impossible.

Do you think you would have had the will power, love and tenacity to come through a situation like hers and find a way to help and inspire people with it? Are people supposed to do everything for free?

Your perspective is not a very thoughtful one. Earning a living by being inspiring and reflective is one of the most positive social ways I can think of. If only everyone could find a way to get by in life sharing their important experiences.