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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, August 2, 2017

A living hell...

I met Matt Paust way back in the 1980s when he was a reporter. Over the years, he has retired from the news biz and became an author of political satire novels. Matt has changed his direction to writing poetic rhetoric – poems of a sort. Sometimes when I read what he has written, his words strike a chord deep inside me. I feel he has found his words hidden away in some far corner of my heart or brain.

The poem I’m posting today is a man talking about a woman but it could easily go the opposite way. For me, it explains how I feel how my life has gone with Riley. I’m sure many of you will relate. However, it’s like anything else, you will either like it or not.


By Matt Paust

You sit there, eyes on the floor where she just walked
hell, you think, that's what it is, hell
it's written on your face, you know, the hell
she's made your life a hell, a living hell
is what you're thinking

The charm you thought she meant for you alone
you found
more commonplace than you should know
her whimsy frightens you
you wrap your heart in wrath and hurl it back

Life with her has come to this
denied mistrust entwined with covert scorn
homicide at times worms through your thoughts, wriggles out fleeing
memories of fleeting seconds when true smiles
yours, hers, joined in fierce implacability

I'll be posting more from Matt in the days to come. Be sure to leave a comment and I will pass it on to him.

A Living Hell...

In my first book, The Immortal Alcoholic’s Wife, I strive to show the contrast between Riley, the loving husband and father, as opposed to Riley, the drunken bastard. Back in the day, I loved Riley. Maybe I still do, but I do not love what alcoholism has done to him, his attitudes, his morals, his and my life. Riley doesn’t make my life a living hell – alcoholism does. I don’t hate Riley. I hate alcoholism. I don’t hate my life. I hate how alcoholism has changed my life.

It’s sad that the end stages of Riley’s alcoholic life have destroyed so much in my life. It’s even sadder that I allowed it to happen. I did what most every wife does when faced with alcoholic chaos. I didn’t know any different and no one, or any group, really seemed to help me figure it all out. Now that I have it figured out, I wonder if it is too late. I’m praying that it is not.

Riley is back in hospice and, for about the tenth time, the family is waiting for the grim reaper to knock on his bedroom door – or maybe climb through the window – descend from the ceiling -- whatever. Actually, the only person waiting is me. No one believes he is really going to make an exit. After all, he IS the Immortal Alcoholic.

As I’m waiting, I’m having fantasies about how I will manage the new life that is just beyond my fingertips. I imagine a life that is not a living hell. I imagine being able to eat a whole meal without interruption or not being called when using the bathroom. My fantastical mind ramblings take me to France and a tasting tour through the countryside. And then I remember – he IS the Immortal Alcoholic.

I believe God is testing my patience. OK God! Even the SAT’s have a time limit!

Coming soon!!!
The Immortal Alcoholic's Wife -- Part 2, The Update


Anonymous said...

When he dies, don't be surprised if you continue to be depressed and wondering what it was all about. 3 years after my ah died i am still in awe of all that had happened. I guess some people get over things quickly and move on. I was not one of them. So don't be surprised if you don't feel like jumping on the furniture and celebrating. It is for me, and for many surviving spouses, not the release that one would expect. The finality of it all, the fact that he is never coming back, the loss of the idea of a future together null and void. Heartbreaking. I wish you the best.

Anonymous said...

I am so tired!! Tired of wondering how...tired of wondering when... tired of watching him deteriorate. My ah drinks 5 ounces of vodka per night. We've weened down from a full pint per night. He has done better. We don't have the drama associated with being totally wasted every night. However now, his health is showing his years of alcohol abuse. His speech is slurred all the time. I'm told this could be alcoholic encephalopathy. Also he has started turning red every night again. It is red blotches that starts on his forehead and works it's way down. Last night it went down to his waste! To you, Linda,and whoever else will read this,it is a living hell! And Linda what is so weird, after he looked so bad last night, all day today I've tried to prepare myself mentally for life alone afterwards. There's no hope when he refuses rehab, refuse detox and refuse to reduce the amount again. I know that eventually it will end. I'm so glad I found your blog. It had helped me tremendously!! Even if I just need to vent...like tonight. Thank you!

Anonymous said...

As the precious poster said, do not be surprised if you do not feel the relief you are so desparately seeking. Yes, there will be peace, which is one positive aspect. The "what ifs" and the guilt will follow. It is inevitable, but try not to be too hard on yourself. You will think of the wasted years, they will blurr and you will reminisce about the good years, and then you will mourn the lost future. Allow yourself to grieve for however long it takes. But do not be surprised if it hits you hard. Remember, as well, you will not only be grieving Riley, but you will also be grieving the loss of your caregiver status. And as much as you wish to be rid of that right now, it is something that you will grieve, because the minute he takes his last breath is the minute that your role in life changes.
My late husband's story is so similar to Riley's that it is spooky, Navy career and all. The only difference is that my husband never became sober. It is now 2 days short of 9 months since his passing, and I miss him dearly regrdless of the hell that his alcoholism put us through. I hate the alcoholism that took over his personality, that made him sick and that killed him but I miss the man that I love. Being a widow is a very heartbreaking experience. Everything that defined you over the past few years will suddenly be gone and you are going to have to discover who YOU are. You may think you know it now, but trust me when I say that when the funeral is over and the administrative burden of death is done, there will be a void inside you that needs to be filled with a new definition of you.
And to respond to one point in your post, yes, you love Riley. If you did not love him, you would not have done all that you have for him all these years. You may dislike him and dislike how his choices have negatively impacted your whole family, but you do love him. And you will grieve his loss.
I wish you all the best.

Anonymous said...

I've been reading your blog for several months. Very fitting that you post this. My husband fell off the wagon tonight after nearly 2 years of sobriety. Between angry ranting and welcoming booze back like a long lost friend, he cursed all the "luck" he's had by escaping potentially serious or dangerous situations due to his drinking that could have ended very poorly. We're in our mid-30's. It's going to be a long 30 more. I just hope the hurt and the sadness lessens a bit to make it more tolerable. Pfft. Who am I kidding? It doesn't get easier does it?

Anonymous said...

I found your blog when my husband was banging on my bedroom door yelling he needed a divorce. He is also in end stages of this awful disease and it breaks my heart. I'm so very blessed to have a wonderful Al-Anon family, work family and others that give me so much love and support. This week he has begun to wet himself, go all over the floor on his way to the bathroom and no memory of any of it. This once brilliant man who made me laugh like no other, is a shell of a human being. He is a Vietnam veteran with a PTSD disability but refuses to go to detox or get help. I am already grieving the loss of companionship, the retirement travels and plans that we could have had but sadly are not. I agree that we can still love our spouse but hate the effects of the disease. It is not an easy road...the life of a caregiver but as I pray for strength for myself, I'll keep you in mind as well.