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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, August 16, 2016

A post for Rebecca

This post is in response to a comment I received connected to the "Strength in Numbers" that I posted yesterday. I feel that it is important to address this publicly because Rebecca Lambert needs to hear from you. Before reading this post, please read her comment at the link below.


To Rebecca Lambert – 

Your comment sounds so familiar to me. I can’t tell you how many times Riley has said he would rather be dead than sober. Although he doesn’t believe his addiction will kill him. At least you acknowledge your murderer.

It is commonplace for the loved ones of addicts to
want the alcoholic/addict to love them enough to put a higher value on the relationship than on the drug of choice. What most family members don’t understand is that it is impossible for that to happen. Loved ones say cruel things without realizing that what they are saying is hurtful. What the addict doesn’t understand is that those cruel things are meant to be a means of slapping the addict across the face so they will snap out of it. It doesn’t work. It doesn’t hold the value of the next high for the addict.

For the family, it doesn’t matter who made the most money or who paid for Christmas. What matters is how much of that money went toward booze or drugs. Because whatever the amount is, it was too much. That alcohol/booze money took you away from them. If you asked them, they would probably say they would rather be penniless than to see you destroy yourself.

You ask when it is your turn to tell them how they have hurt you. The time for you to tell them is after you have been clean and sober for at least six months. When your mind is clear enough for you to communicate without being in a hazy cloud of intoxication, that’s when they will listen to you. They can’t and won’t believe it’s you who is really talking because if you are high or drunk, they know it’s booze or drugs that have invented the words coming from your mouth.

I’m happy to let you spew in the comments of this blog. However, there are consequences to letting it all hang out in such a public forum. You even gave your e-mail address. You are no longer private in your pain. People WILL reach out to you. Attempts will be made to help save your life. I don’t see your comment as a “vent” I see a woman who is asking for help – that’s why you chose such a public place.

“I can’t fix it, but I’m expected to.” You are absolutely right. The reason you are expected to is because you are the only one who can fix it. You aren’t expected to do it alone, but no one can do it for you. There are lots of people highly trained to help you fix it. The question is, do you want to fix it. And it doesn’t matter if it’s a addiction problem or a family problem. I guarantee you that if there is an alcohol/drug problem you definitely have a family problem. In that case one must be resolved before you can work on the other.

Running away has always been my dream when I’m faced with problems that have difficult resolution issues. Unfortunately, when running away we always seem to take ourselves (and our problems) with us. A friend once said to me, “No matter where you turn, there you are.” Some distance can be a good thing when the distance is designed to keep space between you and others in order to figure things out.

What is the significance of September 27th? What is it about that day that makes it the ideal time to go? And are you planning on a road trip that has no end? Are you planning on taking your life because it is the only way (in your opinion) to stop the pain?

I’m reaching out to the drug and alcohol recovery centers to give some insight to you on some other options for you life. I know you are an intelligent woman who is capable of understanding that there’s a whole other life for you. You’ve reached out for help, are you willing to take it?

To my readers -- 

Please respond to Rebecca in the comments section of this post. Please do not overwhelm her with e-mails which may only frustrate and confuse her. Also, please be polite and respectful no matter how angry or upset you may be with the situation. Thank you for taking the time to help Rebecca.


Harmony said...

Rebecca, I feel compassion and confusion from your post but I would like to say this. I am Harmony Rose wife of a recovering alcoholic and while I can't diagnose you I really feel that you may have an addiction problem which may be causing you to not think very clearly. You have clearly endured hell from your husband living like a prisoner for so many years. I understand the lack of understanding for what you have gone thru from other people. I believe without knowing you that life is precious and your life is worth living. I believe that you can live that life you are running away from but also the one you are running too. I feel you are reaching for help and I hope you take that first step to get yourself the type of support you need. I at one time not to long ago poured a bottle of pills in my hand so I could end the pain and suffering in the life I was living with my alcoholic husband. What I discovered is that I really did not want my life to end, I just wanted the pain to go away. I didn't want to cause any pain for others, I just wanted my life back. For me I found that in completely surrendering to a higher power (whatever that may be for you) I gained the strength I needed to change my life. I found Forgiveness for myself and my husband was key in my own personal recovery. Please don't make this your last road trip, make it the first one on your journey to a new life. Sharing your story can help others who have felt or still feel the way you do. My healing also came in publishing a book about my journey being the wife of an alcoholic. People do not realize the pain you are in because when someone acts saintly on the outside people forget it can be a whole different ball game behind those closed doors. If using is your way of escaping then recovery from addiction also has to be a part of your journey in order for you to heal mind, body, and soul. Sending you healing energy and positive thoughts that you will read all who have reached out to you and know that you are not alone in how you feel. So many people have been there and are still there, there is strength in numbers if you just hold out your hand the right path will be sown to you and the people who can help you the most are waiting for you, but you have to first choose to help yourself, the choice is yours and I hope whatever you choose is what you believe in your heart to be the right one.

Wishing you Peace & Serenity......Harmony

Andrea said...

Ironic, how differently people read the same piece. And please note, Linda, that I am ONLY commenting because you asked readers to. What I got out of Rebecca's comment was that her family and perhaps friends staged an intervention of sorts, it seems fairly recently, regarding her alcohol and/or drug use. And that was after years of futile attempts to "help" her by policing her, controlling her ability to get and use drugs and alcohol through restricting her access to money and certain people.

I agree with you Harmony; Rebecca's comment is a cry for help. But I think she wants help and support to continue on in her self-destructive journey without interference. I hope she gets her wish. I hope she does pack her bag and leave, and she's allowed the choice to freely live, or not, the life that has brought her such pain. I doubt she will, though, it sounds like her family have for many years refused her the dignity of being allowed the consequences of her actions, which, absent insanity - and I see no indication of that in her comment - I believe we are as human beings entitled to.

I can appreciate Rebecca's insightful confusion regarding whether she has a substance or a family problem - she apparently has both. But those are only two of the legs of this nicely balanced system - the missing one is Rebecca. The family identify Rebecca' her behavior and the substances as the problem, pouring logistical and emotional resources into that stance. Rebecca identifies the family, and maybe the substance. The alcohol and drugs are happy to support both of their view points - their accommodating natures and adaptability, like mutating viruses, is part of what makes them so dangerous.

Now of course, it is Rebecca's choice to use each and every time. But it's also been her family's choice to prevent her from experiencing the consequences of those choices, for reasons we can't begin to know. So the system chugs contentedly along, fueled by the substances. Not much chance of change there; a three legged stool is very sturdy.

Lots of talk about who caused what pain. Absent is, "My CHOICE to do _________ resulted in pain. The question that kicks off change, in my experience, is, "What will I choose next time?" But, and this is where I will part company from many or perhaps most here, I believe fervently that choosing to remain dysfunctionally the same is a right we all have.

Holly said...


Your rambling plea for help is so similar to the hundreds I’ve written myself . They were all written under the influence of alcohol and made perfect sense at the time. Read when sober, they were embarrassing.

You are pleading for help and yet, you are railing against the help your family is trying to give you. They don’t know how to help you unless to tell them. Only YOU can decide what help you want. If you even want it. They are probably doing the best they know how, but you have to want to be helped. Right now, you are seeing them as interfering with your choices and not seeing that they care about you and want to help.

But I don’t think you are ready to be helped. You feel despair at your situation, laying blame on everyone and everything else except where it truly lies – with you.

Rebecca, only YOU can change your life. I don’t think you have gone low enough in your deprivations to want to change. You seemed more miffed at your friends’ and families’ attempts to help than you are at your addiction.

If running away and leaving your friends and family is what you feel is best for you, then do it. I agree with Andrea – you need to be left alone to face the consequences of your choices. They’ve been trying their best to keep you from killing yourself with drugs, but if it is your choice is to pump your body with poisons, then let it be so. Leave, run away, go somewhere where they can’t find you and take all the drugs you want to. Maybe, if you don’t kill yourself in the process, you’ll get so disgusted and pissed off at yourself that you will accept the help that is offered.

I’ve been in the pit you are in. My drug of choice was alcohol. While my sisters never let me forget that they loved me and cared for me, they were wise enough to let me make my own choices, no matter how bad they were. Never did they help me up when I fell down stone cold drunk, never did they clean up my puke, never did they make excuses for my absences. They never tried an intervention because they knew me well enough to know that it would be a wasted effort. Instead, they let me make all the bad choices I did, they let me become a poverty-stricken recluse who stank of booze and puke. They never gave me money to pay my bills because I couldn’t keep a job due to my drinking. Yes, they were prepared to let me die, if that was MY choice. Instead, they let me know that they loved me, but not the alcohol. They made it clear that, as long as I chose to drink, they were not going to be in my life – it was either the booze or family. They loved me, but wanted no part of the disgusting drunk that I was. It took many long years, but I eventually hit my bottom and *I* decided I had had enough.

So, go ahead, run away, leave your family and support system and make all the choices you want without interference and find your bottom. Maybe then you will be ready to choose to quit and take the help offered.