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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 6, 2017

Light with black

In my deepest of dark moments, I still can see a bare speck of light. But if I blink or look away when I look again, the speck is gone. It alternates that way – deep black with the light and then nothing but black. I wonder if it will ever be light with bit of black so I keep looking.

Over the past few months, while I’ve been rather silent, I thought about retiring this blog and all things about alcoholism. I thought about just letting it go. There’s so much that I’ve wanted to do and have not accomplished. There’s so much that needs to be done without the time or money to do it.

This journey of the blog has been long and hard. I keep going by putting one foot in front of the other but it’s like walking through quicksand. I take breaks. I try to shift my focus. But, my status as an alcoholic’s wife and caregiver are still there – almost haunting me.

I find myself so angry with anyone claiming to be an alcoholic that I have no words for them. The fact remains that the alcoholic was not the one that was meant to receive the most advantage from my blog. I wanted to give my support to people just like me – a non-alcoholic faced with caregiving an alcoholic. Doesn’t matter how we got here. It matters that we are here and in need of some information, encouragement, support or just some plain truth.

The whole point was that we would get better and eventually move on from the world of alcoholism to a world ruled only by you. It’s not easy and often nearly impossible under circumstances beyond your control. No matter. I’m here and taking care of a sober alcoholic who is still in denial and has all those ugly alcoholic traits like narcissism and altered memories.

There are times when it can be humorous if you’re in a state of mind when you can let humor into your thoughts.

For example, Riley was reminiscing and trying to remember where he had worked and who his workmates were. He kept thinking I was working in the same place as he was. But I never did. He asked me why didn’t I remember the cute little typist who was assigned to typing his tech manuals. I was patient (well… I tried to be patient) explaining that I never worked there. When he started trying to name off all the women he slept with at each work place, I wanted to throw the TV at him. The final straw was him telling that the cute little typist could F*** all night long. I left the room.

That could have had a humorous little slant to it rather than generating irritation. After I left the room, I called Carrot and told her what had just happened. She burst into belly-aching laughter. She then told me how I could have played into it and said things that would have turned things from hurtful to humorous.

I could have claimed to be that cute little typists or all of the women whose name he could not remember. I could have made up stories about being in his office and create scenarios that would have baffled him. By the time we finished talking about it, I was also rolling on the floor. I’m thankful to have someone in my life who always makes me laugh.

A follower told me that my posts recently had turned dark. I’ve been going through a dark time without much of a speck of light. There’s nothing to do but keep trying to find some kind of humor which will keep the light shining. Even if the light is far off in a distant black hole, I must keep encouraging it to glow. Otherwise, it might burn out forever.

30 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi Linda. Just to let you know your blog and posts have been a life safer for some of us out here. I found you about 2 years ago and read through all your postings in my hunt for information about alcoholism. I admire your fortitude and well,... I don't think I would stand by my husband the way you are standing by yours. But I am not in those shoes, yet.

Your light is your soul. The soul that has so unselfishly shared your life experiences with all of us who are so grateful and Riley who is not and will never be. He is lucky that he has you and that you stuck by him where most of us would have said "screw you" and left. But that is NOT YOU. You are true to your own nature, no matter what. This is what makes you an enlightened soul.

I am glad that you have someone in your life who can make you laugh and help lighten your mood. You are bearing a huge burden and you have every right to go black, but you won't stay there. That is not your place, you have a bright soul.

Thank you for all you have done for me (and I am sure countless others) by posting your blog. You are YOU, a caring giving person who just happens to be an alcoholics wife and caregiver.

Big hug and virtual support from a very grateful fan.

Anonymous said...

You have every right to post from a dark place. The mess, the nastiness, the denial, the days that turn into years. I'm glad you had someone to call and laugh with. Sometimes it's the only thing left. If none of your other dreams come to fruition, just know your blog has been a light for other caretakers. Sometimes knowing you are not alone is enough.

Jenny Woolf said...

I've always admired your blog and posts, and want to tell you to keep looking for that light.

Terbear said...

Dark days, especially with your situation, seem to be always around the corner when a loved one is an addict. And your blog is proof that no longer being in active addiction solves the problem. It's your blog, I say post as you feel, writing can be great therapy for some. For others, therapy can be reading others' words that resonate with them, help them feel so not-alone in the nightmare that alcoholism can become. Like your words have done for so many. Please keep writing, as you never know when the words you write can be the words another desperately needed to read!

Linda said...

I have read your entire blog, and have followed you for years. I dont want you to be sad.. That being said, with all due respect,..Rielly is an ASSHOLE!!!

Leonard L said...

Your Blog is where I found my younger brother Donny many years back. The rocks that you have stumbled on are the same that I'm able to walk on he lost his battle with Miss Vodka a few weeks back. Denial is something that has to be overcome before there is hope for any of us.right up until the very end it was never ever a question of what was taking my brothers life, it was not the alcohol that was listed as cause of death as should be. his heart gave out because his blood pressure could not supply the needed pressure to hold in the lines of life while the heart took its much needed break between pumps. He stopped drinking a few short weeks before his death so this cant be the reasons why confirmed by professionals drinkers world wide. it was the denial and the simple fact that if he had not continued drinking when he was advised some years back he would be here today. I continue to find Donny here in your stories. I have laughed with you and I have cried with you. I share some of your stories thinking that maybe just one person would see the extended arm of help and grab a hold, see themselves in the story and say OMG what am I doing to myself and my family. I find peace knowing that at least one person reached out and there could be more who would not be here with out your words of wisdom from the mean streets stumbling through Alcohol Island sober

Jan said...

They can be cruel, our alcoholics with their narcissism and their altered memories, can't they? Even the ones like mine, who are still "functional." In some ways, I think that's even worse, because he is still, sometimes, that man I fell in love with, that I no longer love.

I would completely understand if you gave up this blog, because I understand your frame of mind right now. But if you can keep going, even intermittently for awhile, I want you to know how much you have helped, and still do, those of us headed down the same path. I try so hard to concentrate on myself, and be happy in my life, but like you, sometimes I find it so difficult. I tell myself, "If Linda can do this, so can I."

Anonymous said...

A dear friend of mine passed away on the 5th of April 2017 due to multiple organ failure after years of heavy drinking.

He died alone, completely alienated from his family and friends.

I tried to be a light in his darkness till the very end, but alas, his glowing ember is no more..

Anonymous said...

Linda,
You help me in ways you can't even imagine. Thank you. I, too, am wandering through the light and dark forest of caregiving an alcoholic. He is not bedridden (yet), but I see it within the next few years, as his osteoarthritis is eating away his knees. He, too, has the random "threads" of different conversations, and I must say, it gives me an absolute deep headache trying to keep track of them all. I joined Al-Anon 6 and 1/2 years ago, and like, you, felt there was nothing to help the families of "end-stage" alcoholics (despite their belief to the contrary). Thank you for being my light in the darkness. I am sending you love and hugs. Something that has helped me some? "Not my circus, not my monkeys."

Love,
Robin West
Saline, Mi

Jen said...

Thank you for your generous public shares. It is so helpful to see your strength and difficulties as this is a horrible disease.

I used to compare my alcoholic husband to every recovered alcoholic but I've realized..he is that guy everyone sees on the streets slumped over passed out on a bench or by a dumpster and is homeless. He's a man with a good life but his disease has destroyed him.

At only 40 he's unsuccessfully been to 18 rehabs and 13 in the past 5 yrs. He has accidentally set my patio on fire from smoking while drunk while I was asleep. He has totalled one brand new such with a prostitute in it. He has had two rehab affairs and has lost all his jobs. He's been kicked out of 8 sober living homes in under a month and has lost everything he has owned from drunk napping on buses stores and being stolen from. He was found unconscious having attempted to commit slide in my bath tub while I was on my way home from a flight. He has stolen every beer from every store and never caught. He steals from people and family and is the master at manipulation and knows how to not answer calls long enough to get his family so worried that they pay for his hotel rooms and room service just so they know where he is in hopes he w8ll detox. I love him but I hate the addict and he's 99 percent addict and his life is binge drinking and sleeping in parks then going to hospitals to detox then back to the streets again. I stopped giving him anything late last year when after racking up 200 in medical expenses he had no other approvals to run off to rehab so an out of network rehab in vegas found out he had insurance and picked him up from the psych ward with only the clothes on his back and flew him from Texas to vegas by creating a letter since he had no id or money and he stayed in this out of network facility for 5 months at 5k a day and due to hipaa laws there wasn't anything I could do except file divorce and remove him from insurance on Jan 1. He's now on medicare and food stamps and has been kicked out of casinos sober living and the rehab kicked him out when he no longer had insurance. So now on the street stealing alcohol he calls to say he loves me and wants to go to salvation army rehab. His parents have him in a hotel with room service and he's drunken than drunk. His parents refuse to realize he manipulates them and thinks he will die if they don't help give him food and a room somewhere but unfortunately they are making things easy for him still. I tell my husband I love him and that's it. He needs to want to change and that means stop manipulating everyone and be honest with everyone. I'm aware my husband's alcoholism will kill him by accident or with declining health. His patents are too high society for his own good so they won't let him work hard for anything. He is already at the psychosis stage with changing personalities and making stories up and the health decline growing belly and inflated face from excessive drinking. He can't eat much or stay awake long and he can't do much but steal and lie. It's a very sad alcoholic life and his mom would do anything to care for him take care of his bills and manage his medical appts because she desperately needs to feel needed and tell everyone how much she has done for her son. She is an enabler and my alcoholic husband knows it and allows it. I've moved on but I still take his calls and pray for him. I have a very heavy heart knowing he will die from this disease.

Gabriele Goldstone said...

I hear you.

Deborah Stull said...

You are an inspiration to so many of us, feeling alone in this fight. Your battle is a long and arduous one, and all of us that you have helped cope, are praying for you now.

Anonymous said...

Don't go away. I need you to be codependent for me with this blog!
You say it like it is. That is so refreshing. Al anon makes me feel like a freak, like I have a bad attitude because I'm not grateful all the time. Meanwhile my controlling emotionally abusive daily drunk husband skates along through life with beautiful pee and a healthy liver and pink healthy facial skin after 40 years of hard drinking.
I'm the one aging faster than he is, getting wrinkled, just generally looking bad, isolated, sitting in my little room, hiding, trying to calm my nerves. I thank the gods you don't spew slogans and express constant gratitute coupled with necessary shameful guilt. Thank-you.

Anonymous said...

Omg I feel like I could have written that comment. My hard core happy go lucky alcoholic just fell and then peed himself and is doing whatever he wants every single day. Says he feels great and is having fun. Tells me I need to lighten up. Meanwhile I'm exhausted picking up the slack and getting things done--- aging faster by the day. Prob die before he does at this rate. The irony of it all. Alanon makes me feel bad as well. Should I just go around whistling a tune while he wreaks havoc and ruins our life? I am told to focus on me and not him---- how can we not focus on them when it's staring us right in the face?!? Thanks for writing--- this blog is so helpful. We may be lonely but we are not alone.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this blog. I have recently discovered it and unfortunately I believe my husband is heading in the same direction as Riley. I feel so helpless and know I need to move on. Please continue to share your "chaotic" life. It is helping me to get through mine. Stay strong!

Anonymous said...

Amazing, the number of people who stand by these abusive asses. I had one in my life, my father, who nearly killed all three of his kids during separate binges. I'm SO glad my mother had the strength to leave the man. It was hard, we suffered as many single parent households do, but we LIVED and in the end did well. Linda, you support and normalize, enabling the reign of these king babies. For years I was told he was "sick" and he couldn't help himself. Even as a kid I knew it wasn't true and he was CHOOSING to continue to drink and hurt us. Linda, you're in a dark place because you decide every day to stay there. Good for you for creating this popular blog so you can get sympathy for your choices, but you aren't doing them any favors.

Debra Desch said...

I, too, am in a dark place and yes, I, too, have glimmers of light. I yearn for the days, months, maybe, (if I am lucky), years where light will overcome the darkness.
I am having trouble with myself lately, I sit and daydream of the day and pray sometimes, that my alcoholic husband would just die. I beat myself up because of how unloving that desire is. I do not love my AH, I am barely able to tolerate being in the same room with him.

A good friend of his just went to detox for seizing (the first time) last weekend. My husband is a very good gossip and acted shocked that his friend would be so far down his addiction path that he consumes a fifth of rum every two days...I replied, well, you're looking at your future, you drink a fifth EVERY day. Hmph...I do not, he replies. I said, we have been over this before, when I actually gave a shit....you didn't believe me then....until you actually measured your bottle yourself. I can prove that I have cut back, he pulls out the checkbook to check dates to the liquor store...see I buy a handle every three days....yeah, well what about when you use cash? And the 3rd day begins a new bottle, soooo, you are drinking a handle every two days.....he closed checkbook and walks away to say that he doesn't drink as much as his buddy.

I forget that you can not have a rational discussion with his drinking behavior...I walk away frustrated, angry, wondering why my golden years are stuck with someone who isn't someone anymore. He is just a sack of flesh who sits drinks and talks nonsense. I hate my life...

Janet said...

Hi Linda. I just found your blog. I needed to find it. I am 60 years old. My AH has had a drinking problem all our married life 40+ years. In the last 2 1/2 years, since his retirement, it has escalated beyond my imaginings! I too am staying because I don't want my adult children saddled with this problem. Thank you for what you have posted about the progression of the illness. I often wonder how much longer he can last, how the end stages will look. In the end I can only take life one day, one minute at a time. I can live my life with as much normalcy as I can manage daily, and try to have a life apart from the alcoholism. Whenever I get bent out of shape about the craziness, I ask myself, "Am I ok right now?" If the answer is yes, I find I am able to relax. It is when I try to project into the future that I have the most anxiety. However, I do find there is a cumulative effect and each new crisis is more difficult to manage than the last. That is when it is hard to see the light for the darkness. I am seeing a counsellor and attending Al-Anon meetings. I am relying on my higher power more and more as the burden gets heavier. I have a great family, but what can they do for me? Rehab was awful. I am in this pod until something changes. Everything changes eventually. I really appreciate your blog and will explore it further. You get it. Not everyone does. Thanks for being here.

Still hopeful said...

Linda,

I just finished reading your entire blog. I see that your last post was a month ago and I hope you are O.K. I'm new to this and have found all comments extremely helpful. I am grateful that I found your blog and have learned so much. I will be picking up my husband soon from his fourth round of rehab. My anxiety level is inching up and I'm trying to be hopeful but at the same time preparing for the relapse. I am attempting to make a plan regarding expectations and consequences. If anyone has suggestions I welcome them. As you can see, I have not learned to detach. How I wish I could. Why do I stay? I've tried to leave but usually feel far worse emotionally than I already do. I also do not want to leave the responsibility of caring for their father to my children. Of course our sons have little to do with their father now and I sometimes feel they are beginning to distance themselves from me. Our daughter would probably take him in, but I like you, will never allow that to happen. She is just starting her life with a young family. I suspect my life will eventually mirror yours. My thoughts and prayers go out to you and everyone dealing with a loved with a terminal illness, in which I include addiction.

"Still hopeful"

Anonymous said...

We all travel through dark times. Please remember that there are many, many of us out there that you have helped to educate. It is so hard to find honest medical answers sometimes. Your showed me that I wasn't crazy. I was married to my alcoholic husband for twenty-five years before his body lost it's alcohol related battle. As Jan said above--sometimes he was still the man I fell in love with. He was more mean and abusive as the years passed, and he was always tortured by his own demons. Thank you for helping me deal with so much over the years. You will always be on my prayer list.

Terry N Steve said...

this post gave me the idea of your pain , but let me tell you . there is always lights ! God doesn't leave his people in pain , i'm glad that you have carrot for sharing your pain and she make you laugh , i want to say that never give up , people who are care taker are in more trouble than the alcoholic themselves . but i know that this time will pass ! and by not leaving them alone , you are doing a great job

Anonymous said...

I found your blog about 2 years ago. Your honesty about what my life was going to become by staying with my husband is much appreciated. And 2 years later the disease continues to control my husband but I am doing what I need to do for our almost grown daughters who still live at home and myself. I understand that I may come home to find he has passed away at any time or I may be his caregiver for longer than I can imagine. There is no right answer to this situation. Each of us has to determine what we can and cannot live with. Your non-judgmental way of explaining the reality of being a caregiver for someone dying of alcoholism has been extremely helpful. I am sorry you have to live like this but I am grateful for your courage in sharing your story. Praying for you.

Anonymous said...

Linda,
While I am fortunate enough to have a supportive family, you are the one that saved me. I was so sad, lost, and confused trying to figure out how to cope. Thank you for putting yourself out there. You are a gift from God. I will be forever grateful.

Anonymous said...

Oh, I really feel for you, sometimes you just want to take a mallet to them don't you? I've just spent a week in Intensive Care sitting by the bed of my alcoholic best friend. We were told he had hours to live & he has pulled through AGAIN! Don't know what to wish for. He is left with liver and kidney failure & now he's going to be in a wheelchair- just let him try & lay his hands on a drink now!. He was out of a coma & breathing independently for 1 hour before he started plotting to get vodka again. He's also lying & telling us his liver and kidneys are fine. Some of his hallucinations are quite funny though, he was watching a herd of cats galloping through Intensive Care today!

Seriously though, it has been wonderful to see how common these experiences are with alcoholics, it's amazing how they can manage to hurt you & get under your skin, until you learn the tricks & how to view the world from their unbelievably selfish perspective & see through their words. The only thing that matters to them is the next drink, hurting you gives them power & control, which they will use to get more drink. That's all it is. The fact that it causes you pain is unimportant. I know you know that (you taught me that), but I wanted to remind you. Take no notice & next time, tell him to f*ck off!

Anonymous said...

Linda,

Are you O.K.?

Unknown said...

My husband of 24 yrs just died 3 weeks ago he was only 42. I took care of him to the end I had to quit my job to care for him otherwise he would have burned the house down or fallen and killed himself. For trips in medical detox and two times in ICU this last time he didn't make it out. He literally drowned in his blood. I really thought I could save him I'm so sick and saddened I've been reading your post for two years now I knew I was in the end stage with him I always hoped he would stop drinking because he always said he would. He also had cirrhosis of the liver. I can't believe the hell I've been through and her daughter.

Saddened wife/caregiver of AH said...

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Saddened wife/caregiver of AH said...

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tina madden said...

I just found this blog this evening, as I was setting here crying my eyes out, for I to live with a functional alcoholic, I fighting with my emotions at the moment and it's hard to explain to anyone elce the emotions I'm going through. So it's nice to know I'm not alone.

Anonymous said...

Living with an end stage alcoholic is pure hell. My AH died last month and I thought I was over grieving the wonderful person he was before he became consumed with alcohol. However, I went through a bit my grieving about the good years and time we had. none of you should ever feel guilty about wishing your end stage AH would disappear or die. I went through that too. I am now learning to put my life together and am enjoying the peace in my house, no more drama,crude name calling . I am looking forward to making a new and positive life for myself and enjoying the years I have left. My prayers are with all of you stuck in these sick relationships. I now know I shoud have left my AH years ago because the drama starts becoming normalized and you stop aknowledgeing it.