Thursday, February 17, 2022

 Plant happiness in your garden

A friend of mine can grow literally ANYTHING. I bought an orchid thinking “How hard can it be to keep it alive? Surely I can do this.” Well, after it shriveled up, I sent it over to my friends to see if she could resurrect some life. She did just that. The next time I saw the plant it was healthy and blooming. Imagine that! Some loving time and attention was able to turn this dead-like plant into a living breathing beauty.

If only she could do the same thing with real human life. But, it isn’t her responsibility to do that for me or anyone else. It’s my responsibility to turn my life into something that makes me happy. It’s not as easy as that sounds. First there’s the figuring out what makes me happy thing.

When Riley died I floundered around for a couple of years. I had no idea what direction to go. What I thought would happen didn’t come through. After a while, I knew that I wanted to move to Florida. But, at that time, I had a job that I loved and a stable income that I could take with me when I moved. I had friends in Florida and I wanted to be close to them.

Now, it’s been almost two years since I moved and I’m back in the position of trying to do what makes me happy. I find myself without a job and I know what I would like to do as a job but, I can’t make the kind of money I need just by doing what I want to do.  What I want is to be creative and find a regularly paying job using my creative talents is far and few between.

That being the case, I have to re-evaluate what makes me happy. I have to take it to the very bare bones. What makes me happy is being self-sufficient and financially secure. So, although I want a job writing blog posts or as a seamstress, I’ll take some other kind of job. I’ll takea job that gives me a regular means to make my car payment and put food in my doggie’s dish.

Of course, there are other things that make me happy. I’m happy for what I have currently such as: several solid sister-like friendships; a loving but crazy family; and a man who supports and accepts me in spite of my out-of-the box personality. I have awesome neighbors and I live in a resort-like community.

However, I have found that “happiness” can be as cyclic as waves from the Gulf onto the beach.  I find myself struggling to keep all those “happiness” things mentioned above in my forethought when my mind gets focused on the negative. That’s when I wish my Florida Vegetable blogger would come and pour some fertilizer on my positive thoughts. Fortunately, I have that man who sorts through all the garbage and finds a blooming flower and reminds me that it exists.

Everyone has to define what “happiness” to them is and what makes your mental is flowers bloom. I believe a good start is taking a self-inventory and recognize what you do that makes you happy and what you do that you are happy that you are able to do. I’m happiest when I can pay my bills, but that’s not the true crux for what makes me happy.

What makes me happy is seeing my grandchildren smile when they video-chat with me. I’m happy when my dog lays her head in my lap and wants me to pet her head. I’m happy when I can help someone using knowledge that they may not have. I’m happy when my man smiles when he walks in my door and hugs me so tight I can barely breathe. I’m happy when I can make people laugh. I’m happy when I don’t have to “keep myself in line” and always be lady-like. I’m happy when I can design and sew something that looks great. I am very happy when I can write something that people enjoy reading.

If you’re trying to sort all this out for yourself, take your time and give yourself permission to think inwardly about your true feelings for what you do.  You could ask my gardener friend, but she can only help you grow your garden, it’s up to you to grow your mind.

Monday, January 24, 2022

 You Cant Roller Skate in a Buffalo Herd

When Riley, the Immortal Alcoholic, became mortal and left me to a world that that was not immersed in drunken madness, I was surprised to find that I missed the chaos. I had grown so accustomed to balancing everything around me on a tray strategically placed on my open palm while roller skating around obstacles and maintaining my own sanity. Looking back, I can see that I often failed at the sanity part.

I floundered around for a few years while trying to figure out what my purpose was in life now that caregiving Riley was no longer in my job description. Many loving people in my life offered just as many suggestions concerning my future. I continued to work in the world of alcoholism and became a Peer Recovery Support Specialist. But did not get a job with that speciality.

I did a little coaching and joined forces with my good friend and mentor, Gill Haddock of Broadstreet Counseling Services. He encouraged me to put together a workshop on Surviving the Chaos. The planning was going well and just before I signed the venue contract, we got some devastating news that Gill was very ill. He could no longer be a part of the workshop except to encourage me. The program we designed required his presence and action. So we cancelled the event. Gill died last year.

Quality Outsource came along and offered me a job as an independent contractor. I was elated and began working for the company in administrative support. It’s a small company and I was encouraged to learn as much about it as I could. However, I’m preparing for my retirement and slowing down on my work hours.

OK… so… really…. I mean really in all actually, I don’t think I could ever be completely retired. My brain doesn’t work that way. I must have stuff to do and not just crocheting while watching game shows. I write a lot and I spend a lot of time sewing. I look for interesting ways to decorate – redecorate – my apartment. But, I need to earn money to maintain the lifestyle that I prefer.

My point is that even though you may become free of the alcoholism part of your life, things don’t just simply fall into place. There are decisions to be made. You’ll be faced with deep soul-searching as to what you want to do with your life. Sometimes you may have to learn exactly “who” you are because you may not recognize yourself without all the baggage you’ve been hauling around.

Now that I’ve spent a few years away from this blog, I now feel that I have something to share that you may be able to use. This blog is evolving. Surviving will be the focus. Look for changes each time you come here because you may see something you haven’t seen before. Look for things here that you might not expect, such as, short stories, guest posts from a variety of professionals. It’s all still in the formation stage in my mind. It will come out slowly. But for now… enjoy what’s here. Grab a cup of tea, settle back and take a little tour around what’s here.

By the way, I’m open to suggestions. Drop me an e-mail and give me something to consider.

Thursday, January 20, 2022

 It's Alive!

It’s a miracle! I resurrected this blog! I stuck a jumper cable to it and I think it’s starting to show signs of life. Actually, a lot of you have been coming back, checking in, e-mailing me, and perhaps, re-reading some of my posts. Thank you for that.

Although this blog is STILL the Immortal Alcoholic, there will be some changes to update the style and a few other things. I hope you will like the fresh approach and continue to support me by reading and commenting.

I’ll still be accepting guest bloggers while expanding the subject range. Tell me about what you do or what you would like to do for fun and entertainment. Do you have a favorite movie, book, food, restaurant? Tell me about it. Let’s see if we can open up some topics/subjects that will invite some dialog. But let’s stay away from the political mumble jumble that has most of us in a tizzy these days. We all have an opinion and we all think we are right. There’s no need to re-hash what’s been hashed to pieces.

A brief update on Linda – me! I’m in the sunny state of Florida and am happier than a frog on a lily pad in the middle of a pond in the deep south. I’m living proof that there is life AND happiness when the chaos settles and peace is allowed in the house.

I know you are all curious – YES! I’m about two years into a relationship with a man who cares more about me than he does about what’s in his drinking glass. Imagine that! He worries about me and holds the car door open for me. He allows me the – no—he encourages me to be the best of whatever it is I want to be. Believe me, that can change hourly. He accepts me as I am. There are no conditions to his caring. He just does. I didn’t know that men like him existed. If he exists, there must be others out there.

Employment is still on my plate. Although, I now work as an independent contractor rather than an employee. Currently I’m writing a procedure manual for the company. I love this job, the people I work for and the sense of usefulness I get when I’m able to make a difference.

Temporarily Dead is a mystery novel that has been in my computer for quite some time now. It has now graduated to being on my desktop and available for editing and re-writing. It will be out to the public in November. I may, from time to time, post snippets of the story on this blog. This will give you an opportunity to decide if you might like to buy the book and read it from cover to cover.

There will be re-writings of The Immortal Alcoholic’s Wife and several of my other books. Watch for those announcements here.

Look to this blog for a variety of information designed to provide support for all of those who have been, or is currently, collaterally damaged by alcoholism. While most of what I provide is relevant to any addiction, my main focus is on alcoholism.

Please leave your comments, especially the ones telling me what YOU would like to see on this site.

Till next time! 




Thursday, November 19, 2020

Rest In Peace

 I wanted to revive this blog. I wanted to come back to it and post about life after having spend 30+ years in the insanityt of alcohol.

That's not going to happen.

For those of you who are just discovering this blog and are finding it worthwhile, I encourage to purchase my books and watch for new ones on the market. I also encourage you to find other blogs who address the needs of the collaterally damaged. They are out there. There are a lot of them.

I encourage you to get professional counseling, go to AL-Anon or find support anywhere that you can.

As for me... keeping this blog up and running simply keeps me tied to a past that I want to leave in the past. It's time for me to grow and move on. And I mean move on completely out of the alcoholism workd.

I'll post a resource page sometime over the weekend. As of December 1st, 2020 this blog will be completely taken down from the internet.

Rest in Peace

The Immortal Alcoholic Blog

2,243,711 total hits

Oct. 19, 2010 - Dec. 1st 2020

Saturday, November 7, 2020

There is life after death

It has come to my attention that recently someone has been trying to use my identity to turn this blog in a direction that would never be my intent. This person believes that alcoholism can be cured by using some kind of voodoo-ish doctor to solve your problems. Let me tell you, if you have an alcoholic in your life there is no magic fix by any magic doctor anywhere on planet earth. I, however, cannot speak out the outlying planets in our solar system.

ALL COMMENTS ON THIS BLOG ARE MONITORED BY ME AND APPROVED BY ME BEFORE BECOMING PUBLIC. I do not allow comments recommending any kind of magic hocus pocus. I also do not allow unsolicited plugs for rehab centers or organizations. If you see a comment with any such information – it is because I researched it and approved it.

Now that I realize that people are still coming here and reading what has been written, it’s time for me to make this blog lively again. While filled with unpleasant information, there is humor here and there. Sometimes it’s hard to see. When you are up to your ass in alcoholism madness, it’s hard to see anything that may remotely resemble something laughable. Let me assure you that you will have difficultly retaining your sanity if you don’t stop and see the comedy that surrounds you.

If you have been coming here, you probably know my history so I won’t go into all that. If you don’t know, then I suggest you get my book “Immortal Alcoholic’s Wife” and the sequel “The Life of Riley” which are both available on Amazon.

On November 17, 2017, my life took a turn. That’s the day Riley died and opened the door to the possibility of having a life of my own.

The day after Riley’s death, I woke up at the usual time as any other day. I went to his room to see if he were still breathing, as usual. But there was an empty bed. I went to the kitchen to make coffee but skipped making breakfast. Then I sat on my beautiful front porch, wrapped in a blanket, and tried to figure out what I was supposed to do next.

It was the start of Fall and it was not so cold as to turn my nose red. The leaves in the big oak tree in the middle of my front yard were gently falling to the ground. The dog was chasing squirrels and the cat was lying by my side carefully flicking his tail to the rhythm of the rocking chair rails. He was being careful not to have his tail under the rail as it came down where his tail had been.

I was anxious. I knew there was something I was supposed to do. I just didn’t know what it was. Nothing came to my mind. It was Saturday, so anything relating to business would have to wait for Monday. There was laundry to do; Riley’s things to pack up; family to contact; but I continued with rocking away my morning and being unsure of what my role in life was to be now.

It took me a while to decide what to do with my life. I floundered from one thing to another. I talked to friends and family. I had an idea of what I wanted, but was just not sure of how to go about it.

I wanted a life. I mean a real life that belonged only to me. I wanted to make decisions based on my wants and desires. I wanted friends that I could meet for dinner and wouldn’t raise an eyebrow when I ordered a glass of wine. I wanted a social life. And I wanted to discover who I was outside the confines of an alcoholic world.

It took me two years to decide where I wanted to be and how I was going to accomplish getting what I want. It took two years to decide to find out WHO this person named Linda really is.

What you will find in this blog is my journey from the darkness of alcoholism to deciding to be happy. Anyone mentioned in this blog will have an alias to protect the guilty – and OK – the innocent. I didn’t get to where I am today without the help of some very important people. Some contributed favorably and others – well – not so much.

I hope you enjoy reading about my newest adventures and misadventures. I hope you laugh and cry. But most of all I hope you understand that there IS life after.

Friday, February 7, 2020

A New Path

by Wren R Waters 

            I don't really remember how I met Linda.
            No, I remember how.
            I don't remember why.
            Like so many of us, lost in the haze of an alcoholic marriage, I found my way to Linda's blog.
            It was refreshing.
            It was real.
            It was eye opening.
            And it was frightening.
            Her daily trials and tribulations with an end-stage alcoholic left me wondering,
            “Could this really be my husband one day?  Is this my fate too?”
            I must have made a comment on her blog or something.
            But I don't remember why it was we somehow made the move from Internet friends to real, live, talking on the phone, getting together in person friends.  That's a hard leap to make frankly.  But for some reason now lost to the files of time, there was a private “call me” message and then a phone call and then...
            At first look, it would seem we had nothing in common.
            She's a few years older than me.  (Like she's 45 and I'm 35.  Wink, wink.)
            Her children are grown and she has grandchildren.
            I was (am) still raising children.
            She got away from her alcoholic.
            Initially anyway but when he threatened to have their daughter be his caretaker, she acquiesced as any (most?) mothers would and, reluctantly allowed him back into her life.
            To date, I haven't been quite so lucky as to have my alcoholic husband cheat on me and leave.  (But one can always dream, can't she?) 
            My husband is what the industry euphemistically calls a “functioning alcoholic,” since he goes to work every day, doesn't spend the weekends in a holding cell, etc., etc.  I will say I am a little bitter, and completely skeptical of the definition of “functioning.”  Have we really set the addition-bar so low that if an addict – be it alcohol, drugs or anything else – simply goes to work every week and not jail every other weekend, he gets to be declared “functioning?”  Believe me, no matter what the outside world may see, there is nothing “functioning” about these men at home.
            But I digress.
            Back to me and Linda.
            I was married to a “functioning” alcoholic.
            She was married to an end-stage alcoholic.
            I was navigating the emotions of being married to an able-bodied husband who chose to sit in the basement, watching television and drinking beer rather than engaging with his family and participating in life.
            She was navigating the emotions of the being the caregiver to a physically broken man who was breaking her spirit on a daily basis.
            It would seem even with the common ground of alcoholic husbands, we didn't have a lot in common.
            But that first phone call?
            The one that dared to edge up against the unspoken boundaries of Internet friendships?
            The sweet truth is the friendship showed its strength from the very first phone call.  Over the years, we have been there for each other beyond what initially bonded us.  We've cheered for things that weren't alcoholic related; listened to tears that weren't alcoholic husband driven; given pep talks that weren't about surviving the crazy swirling around us. 
            But now the friendship has come full circle and we find ourselves once again with seemingly little in common as we stand on common ground.
            Linda is widowed.
            She spent over ten years of her life as caregiver to a man she no longer loved as a husband but  but for whom she couldn't turn her back on as a suffering human being.  Her grief and healing process is tied up in the complicated and convoluted feelings of caregiver and widow.
            I am not widowed.
            I am not even divorced – yet anyway.  It is my sole mission this year and so my grief, my healing process is centered on the dissolution of what I thought would be forever.  When was the last time you heard of a divorce/widow support group?  Never, right?  Because the emotions and feelings lack commonality. 
            And yet, what we do share is that we are both tired.
            So very, very tired.
            So tired that we can't write.
            And when we can't write we wonder if we've each said, respectively, all we each have to say on the alcoholic husband front.
            And when we wonder if we've said all we have to say, we question whether or not we should still be in the alcoholic-husband game.
            And when we question whether or not we should still be in the alcoholic-husband game...
            We realize we can't just walk away.
            Not from blogging and writing and connecting with other women who are trying to create sanity in the insanity of marriage to an alcoholic.  But maybe it's time to connect in a different way.  Maybe it's time to shift our focus from surviving being married to an alcoholic to thriving in our own lives despite being married to an alcoholic.  
            Linda and I have talked about this a lot and while she agrees “in theory,” she is also hesitant. She knows her readers have come to trust her for information and support regarding the whole alcoholic-husband thing.  And it is the audience we both feel a connection to and a desire to support.  We have been there!
            Boy, have we been there.
            And so when someone “new” to this fucked-up club reaches out to one of us, we want to be that solace in the middle of the night, that voice that says, 
            “No, you're not crazy.”
            “Yes, there is someone here.”
            “But how do we do both,” Linda asked me. “How do we move away from the alcoholic-husband thing while still being a source of support and information for women married to alcoholics?”
            “I don't know,” I said.
            “But I'll go first.”
            (And I'll write the post warning/warming up your readers to the idea.)
            I started with creating a new website,
            Linda started by allowing me to write this post.
            That's as far as we both have gotten but as we ease our way down this new path, we hope you'll find the same support, information and sense of camaraderie you've come to expect, even if we're not talking about drunken husbands.

Saturday, November 2, 2019

Welcome to Tabitha and Wren

Since I announced my departure from the alcoholism world, everyone has been fantastic. I’ve received lots of e-mails congratulating me and encouraging me to move on with my life. There have been a few that have related a sense of loss that I may not be posting as much as I had in the past. I’m very sorry that I will, indeed, be posting less. But… those of you who are long term followers will understand that… I have a plan! I always have a plan.

I’d like to announce a new member of Team Linda! Please welcome… Tabitha!

I received an e-mail from Tabitha expressing an interest in doing a guest post. After a lengthy telephone call, we came up with an idea that I believe ALL my readers will appreciate. Tabitha will be writing for the blog on a regular basis. She has been writing for years but has not had an outlet for her journalist work. She has done research on alcoholism and compiled a LOT of information. She, like me, sees the value in finding humor in stressful situations.

And another new contributor is Wren Waters of Quiet Raging Waters blog. Wren has published several books. Her point of view is that of a spouse who is trying to find a way to leave her alcoholic husband.

I have known Wren for many years and we have shared experiences, strength and ideas. We have very different writing styles which should add some variety to Immortal Alcoholic blog postings.

Help me welcome Tabitha and Wren to the world of the Immortal Alcoholic. Please post your comments, thoughts, reactions, suggestions and let’s all show both ladies how much we appreciate them for taking on this responsibility.

UPDATE on Linda…

I’ve had a lot of interest in my resume and had a number of job interviews. I feel very positive about getting a job offer in the next week or so. I will be back to doing title examining from my home office. I did a couple of practice exams and realize that it’s knowledge that still have stored away in that gray matter in my head – called a brain!

My Florida move is scheduled for the end of January – if I am firmly ensconced in new employment. Even being employed full time, I’ll still have time to put my toes in the sand and soak up some happy sunshine.

In short, everything is progressing nicely. I’m happy and determined to go forward without abandoning all my loyal readers.

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Just another addiction

It is possible to be addicted to anything. I’m addicted to The Walking Dead, baked potatoes, my morning coffee, and talking on the phone. That’s just where the list starts. There’s so much more.

When I was taking care of Riley, I felt trapped. I longed to have my old life back. You know – that life where I earned money, met with my friends, dated men and could just up and go on a vaca whenever I felt the desire? That WAS my life. I thought that when Riley was gone everything would automatically go back to normal – back to the life I had before.

When Riley was alive and sick, I knew exactly what I was supposed to do. My days were mapped out for me by necessity. I began doing the alcoholism support work as a means of staying sane within all the insanity. I felt I was accomplishing something worthwhile. I was connected to people who were walking in my path and it felt good to have company.

It’s been two years since Riley’s death. The big question is – if I am free to do whatever I want, why can’t I figure out what it is that I actually want. It was pointed out to me, in the gentlest of manners, that I don’t seem to be able to decide what it is I want to do when I grow up. My response was that I didn’t think I had to grow up. But he was right.

I keep trying to continue to help everyone I can. But, it is not serving me well. It was a shocker to discover that I was in worse shape financially, socially, and physically than I was when Riley was alive. I believe I have become addicted to alcoholism. Not the booze, but the associated chaos that surrounds it. I’m addicted to trying to take care of everyone who asks me for help. I’m still not in the process of living my life. Instead I’m living for the caregiving addiction.

When one of my followers/clients says to me “I don’t need you anymore” I am elated because it means I’ve done my job. This person can now move on and put all that alcohol stuff behind them. But how do I get to that point?

I don’t need you anymore. I’m very sorry if you feel I’m abandoning you. But I need to move on and have a life that doesn’t include so much alcoholism. And just like an addict, I will start out by trying to “cut back” and not go cold turkey. I’ll still do some coaching. Maybe I’ll write a blog piece every once in a while. And I have a few more alcoholism books to finish but I can do them at my own pace. As an editor once told me – there will always be some project that you will not finish.

This is a decision that I am making with a clear mind and for the first time in a very long time --- I’m comfortable with my decision. I don’t feel all wishy-washy about it. Riley is my past and that’s where I want him to stay.

What am I going to do, you ask? I’m going to go back to work at a real job. If you know anyone who needs a very experienced Real Estate Title Examiner who works from home – please let me know. I have some books I want to write and none of them have to do with addiction. I’m taking care of myself physically and now I need to take care of myself mentally.

Over the past ten years, I have met some truly wonderful people who while be in my life for the rest of my life. I’m so fortunate to have met you. I’ve had my share of haters as well, but they are everywhere. I was strong and never let the haters deter me from my objective. That objective was to give you a sense of hope and a dose of reality. I think I was successful.

When you miss me you can always come to this blog. All my books are available on Amazon. You can “friend” me on FaceBook on my personal page so you can see what mischief I’m up to now. Thank you for your support, comments, and return visits.

Most of all, thank you for always being there when I needed someone to need me. I wish you the calmness I feel at this moment.

Later -- Linda

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Caregiving on alcoholic father

GUEST POST by Alan Oakman

Alan is an online STEM tutor, teaching K-12 students. His love for learning new things as he traverses the world of caregiving has prompted him to start blogging. Apart from being a science geek, Alan loves jazz music and occasionally plays the guitar.   You can follow his blog and he is on twitter too. He is also the caregiver to his alcoholic father.

Being a Caregiver:
Reflecting on Supporting an Alcoholic Father in Old Age

A loving nuclear family in the beginning. Father drinks socially but loves his family and provides for them. Father drinks a little more and stays out late but still loves his family. Father stays out a lot and comes home drunk and, in that unreliable state, professes his love for the family, but never shows up in real needs. 

Many stories of alcoholic parentage have this template with customized variations. The tragedy is doubled when a child grows up in an alcoholic home where both parents are more dedicated to the bottle than him/her. What this childhood journey doesn’t mention is the father in old age needing support and emotional caregiving. 

Majority of the available literature on alcoholism focuses on the period when a child is dependent on the parent and the negative repercussions of psychologically, emotionally, and financially depending on an absentee father. More work is needed to understand the scenario when a once-dependent child becomes the caretaker of the now dependent parent.

The Highs: Feeling of Home

When my father was absent in my childhood, it was an unconscious thought pattern formation that there were other things that were definitely more important to him than me. I did not necessarily dwell on feelings of abandonment as much as navigating through life without his support and care. Therefore, when the possibility of taking care of him appeared in my adulthood, I was frankly thrilled. 

The notion of creating a home together was founded on the concept of making up for lost time and connection. Emotionally, the responsibilities did not take up too much time and had a breezy manner to it. I was also over enthused to fill the gaps in my memory with stories of when he was away. He told engaging stories about his job and his trips that kept him away. While his health was not what it used to be, he was functional and did not require focused palliative care. The experience was one of re-connection.

The Lows: Feeling the Need to Cut Off and Live My Life

The shadow side of this re-connection arose as we spent every Tuesday taking a leisurely walk across the park. In all this, two episodes of disconnectedness were starkly noticeable. Firstly, it was like befriending a new person and I am not too social. Further, it was like making friends with someone you have not confronted for their bad behavior. I attempted to bury these feelings as it was very evident that, emotionally, he was in a horrid place. He felt lonely and hopeless along with encountering the truth that time brings along- everyone ages and the body does not remain invincible. 

The second reason for episodes of disconnectedness was the fact that he did not believe he had done anything particularly wrong. He did think that he used to enjoy a drink but doesn’t see it as a cause for his absenteeism as a parent. It was difficult for me to even listen to the complete monologue, much less accept it without questioning. I had to cut short the walk on that day and process this new information. I felt cheated as I discovered that I had unconsciously assumed that my father had reconnected due to guilt. I had assumed that he was not apologizing overtly only because of the certain unyielding predisposition of his generation. To learn that this apology was not even covertly intended or formed was definitely a shock.   

The In-Betweens: Learnings and Re-Learnings; Doings and Un-doings

Giving emotional care and support to a former-alcoholic parent is a mixed bag and more difficult than I was prepared for. However, these coexisting feelings of home-making & belonging and disconnectedness & dread made me reflect on my choices. 
  1. Emotional Well-Being : It is common knowledge that children of alcoholic parents have a troubled relationship with authority and assertiveness. These are only a few of the behavioral concerns that have been studied as a result of growing up around alcohol abuse. With this knowledge, I found it important to accept that drawing boundaries is very important, especially with the person who had caused much of this. I demanded an apology from my father and explained to him how shirking his responsibility regarding the past was unforgivable. It has led to a much healthier relationship between us currently.
  2. Consciousness: Alcohol, infamously, is one of the most available and abused substances in all age groups. The easy availability and legally permissible status makes it the most popular, therefore harmful, substance in college too (see the chapter on ‘Consciousness’ in Psych 5: An Introductory Psychology Book). It can become difficult to mindfully engage with alcohol in a measured manner due to its sheer availability. It is an important part of learning for me to understand sobriety and practise mindful Buddhism. These are practices that I adopt in the knowledge that I might be genetically predisposed to alcoholism.
  3. Parenting: One doesn’t have to be an alcoholic to be an absentee parent. I have notions of the manner in which I should behave to be a parent who is present in my children’s lives. It is also important to see that I am not necessarily dependent on them in my old age. It would be an aim to bring up my kids in a way that makes them come, meet their old man out of their own will. 
In conclusion, my unfortunate experience has helped me understand the mixed nature of being a caregiver to an absentee, alcoholic father. In addition to compassion, I have learnt to accept the conflicting emotions of anger and overwhelming love that associates itself to my new caregiving role. It also has been an educative journey that molds my future and my relationship with my loved ones.

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

The wind began to switch...

Every year I post my rendition of how living in a house with an alcoholic is similar to Dorothy's house in the Wizard of Oz. Last week was the anniversary of the premiere of that movie, so I believe it is time to repost. It's hurricane, tornadoes and cyclones... oh my... we're not in Kansas anymore!

This is a re-post so please keep that in mind as you read about Riley and I waiting out a tornado.

Tornado warning… (5/3/2011)

When the Emergency Broadcast came over the television announcing that we were under a Tornado Warning, I gathered my stuff – blankets, pillows, laptop, water, etc – and put it in a secure place in my bathroom. I was ready.

Riley was in his rocking chair watching his usual NCIS. I told him we needed to get his bathroom ready in case the worst came about. He just said – “Don’t worry, I’ll be fine.” And being the good little caretaker that I am – I stocked his bathroom. Both the bathrooms are small and there is really only room for one person in each.

As the night wore on, I settled in and listened. Wind, rain, hail, more rain, quiet, wind and more wind – but there was no rumble. I was waiting for the rumble sound of an oncoming train. It never happened – and I was thankful.

As I was waiting, I could feel the house swaying with the wind. We have a brick rancher – solid as possibly could be – but the wind was so strong it was moving the house. I thought of the three little pigs who built their last house of bricks. What a smart thing to do.

In spite of the three little pigs’ wise decision to use brick in the construction – some lyrics kept running through my head -- but they weren’t verses about the pigs’ quest for a secure dwelling. Instead, I was hearing in my head the lyrics to a song from The Wizard of Oz.

The wind began to switch – the house to pitch and suddenly the hinges started to unhitch.

Life with an alcoholic is much the same as a house in the middle of a tornado. This first verse could well define what it is like to watch the beginning of an alcoholic downfall. Things are unsettled, the family never feels secure and things start to fall apart.

Just then the Witch – to satisfy an itch went flying on her broomstick, thumbing for a hitch.

The alcoholic (the Witch) needs to satisfy the craving for alcohol and so he/she seeks it out. Sometimes they ask others to help them obtain the alcohol – as in hitching a ride to the liquor store.

And oh, what happened then was rich.

I think if we substitute the word “sad” for the word “rich,” this would be exactly correct. Because what happens after the alcoholic gets the booze is rich with sadness.

The house began to pitch. The kitchen took a slitch.

Things become increasingly upsetting in the alcoholic household as the drinking continues.

It landed on the Wicked Witch in the middle of a ditch, which was not a healthy situation for the Wicked Witch.

The consequences of the alcoholic’s actions cause him/her to land in unpleasant situations. Eventually the health of the alcoholic deteriorates and puts the alcoholic’s life in danger.

Who began to twitch and was reduced to just a stitch of what was once the Wicked Witch.

The person who was once a vital, productive, happy member of the community is reduced to becoming a mere servant of alcohol. At that point, the entire family is not in Kansas anymore, but rather in some uninhabitable place – like Antarctica. No matter how many times you click your heels, those ruby red slippers are not going to help you now.

I’m told by fellow country dwellers that this is unusual weather for this time of year. Funny, in Linda and Riley World – living in a tornado is a way of life.