Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Linda Doyne, CPRSS/E


Over the past few months I’ve been preparing for the national certification exam for Peer Recovery Support Specialist. I’ve been doing coaching for loved ones of alcoholics for seven years. I didn’t start out to be a recovery coach, I was just answering questions and providing a listening ear. I didn’t charge anyone anything. I did it because someone needed me and I wanted to help.

After Riley’s death, I needed to supplement my income, so I began charging for the coaching services. I turned coaching into a business. Still, I did not charge the rates that other coaches charge, which can sometimes be as much as $150/hour. I wanted to be accessible and reasonable so I started my rates at $30/hour. I also never turned anyone away who could not afford my services.

Over the years, I tried to become certified, but the requirement was that the prospective recovery specialist had to be a recovering substance abuse person. I didn’t fit the criteria and so was not able to become certified. However, I was told by my attorney I could still practice coaching but I had to issue a disclaimer before any coaching sessions. That wasn’t a problem and that’s exactly what I did.

The laws have changed and now you don’t have to be a recovering substance abuser to become a certified peer recovery support specialist. There has been a big push in the mental health industry to make the ones who have suffered collateral damage into support specialists. We, the spouses, parents, siblings, and friends of addicted persons can become certified and reach out to those who are struggling with the very same issues that we have encountered. We can get jobs with mental health agencies and professionals and actually earn a living helping others to survive.

There’s a lot that goes into becoming certified. The candidates must complete 500 hours of supervised coaching with a licensed professional. Then they must complete a 40-hour classroom training program. An exam is given and upon successful completion they receive the title of “Certified Peer Support Specialist.”

I have completed my 500 hours of supervised coaching and my 40 hour classroom training. I’m waiting for the next exam date for my official title. For me, there will be a total of three exams – state, national and international. While I’m waiting for the exam dates, I am officially a “Certified Peer Support Specialist / Eligible”. Once I have passed the exam, the word “Eligible” will be dropped from my title.

The examination will be in late July or early August. Until that time, I will be continuing to charge my usual $30/hour rate. As of September 1st, the rates will increase to $50/hour. Anyone who books an appointment, even if the appointment occurs in September, will be charged the $30/hour. But the appointment must be booked prior to September 1st. I still will be offering a sliding scale for those who are unable to meet the full rate.

E-mail me at LindasFrontPorch@outlook.com with the word "coaching" in the subject line. Or go to http://www.lindabarteedoyne.com/coach.php to book your appointment and pay the fee.

If you are interested in becoming a Peer Recovery Support Specialist, contact your local mental health agency or state’s Department of Substance Abuse.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

A regular person


One of my coaching clients asked me, “How do I transition from being a caregiver to a regular person?” I had to stop myself from replying because I couldn’t wrap my mind around the phrase “a regular person”. I wrote her back and asked, “What’s a regular person?” She didn’t answer me, so I hope she is maintaining her awesome sense of humor.

The best way I can answer her question is to tell her to take baby steps. It’s a slow, learning, process. If you’ve been a caregiver for many years, the role has most likely defined who you are as a person. Once having been a caregiver, expect to naturally gravitate to taking care of others because it is what you know. It feels like a sense of accomplishment each day that you manage to keep your caregiving subject alive.

I remember several times when I would get up in the morning and sneak to the edge of Riley’s door and peak in to see if he was still breathing. I tried not to let him know I was near so I could go have my coffee before commencing my day with him. Each time I would see that he was in fact breathing or that he was awake, I would think to myself “Well… that’s good… I didn’t screw up so bad that my caregiving killed him overnight.” Then I would almost immediately feel this sense of accomplishment because I got him through another day. I was a success for the previous day. The day ahead was always one of uncertainty, so I reveled in temporary success.

Caregiving also gives us the illusion of being in control. While knowing we can’t control the alcoholic, we can control what we do. When the time comes when the alcoholic is bedridden or can’t physically take care of his/her own body, we step in and control what the alcoholic can’t managed. It’s not being co-dependent, but rather a humanitarian gesture. Gradually that control becomes a way of living our life. Caregiver are defined by the caregiving and gives purpose. When it goes on for very long periods of time, the caregiver will often lose their own identity and the whole purpose in life will be to take care of the alcoholic.

Even if the alcoholic continues to require the services of a caregiver, the caregiver step out of the role and have a life of their own. At first it won’t feel comfortable. There will be feelings of guilt and uneasiness about not focusing on the alcoholic. But with each step, the next step will be easier.

I suggest starting with lunch with a friend, a movie, or shopping for something personal. Take a few hours to yourself doing something that’s only for you. After doing that a few times, move on to a whole day out of the house and away from the alcoholic. Before you know it, you may be going to work or taking a weekend trip. If money is an issue, there are many things that don’t require a lot of cash – the library, a walk at a local park, join a little theater group, or take a class.

There is a website, www.meetup.com, that lists different activities, groups, and other opportunities to meet new people and do new and interesting things. There is something for everyone of all ages. If you’re in doubt about what you want to do, try checking out this site and explore stepping out of the caregiver box.

Now that Riley is gone, I find that I'm often trying to solve other peoples issues in their lives. When a friend tells me of a problem, I have a tendency to try to help them resolve the issue. Sometimes I am successful and other times, well... not so much. It's a hangover from caregiving providing me with a purpose. If I help someone -- anyone -- I have a purpose. I fail to see that I have a purpose without other people. I am my own purpose. My happiness is my purpose. It's hard to shift gears when it's been a way of life.

And so, it has been difficult for me to stop being a caregiver and start being an individual. It’s been nearly two years since Riley’s death and I’m just now starting to think of myself as an individual and not as Riley’s wife and soul support. I just got a part-time job where I’m interacting with people for four hours a day.

This fall I’ll be moving to Florida where I’ll be meeting up with old friends and making new ones. I’m going to ride a motorcycle for the first time in more than 20 years. I’ll learn to shoot a gun. I’m going to a costume festival parade during Halloween. There will be dinner parties. I’ll wear a big floppy hat while I lay on the beach. My cousin will join me for excursions to art galleries and museums. I’m going to zip line over an alligator pond. I’ll sing very off-key karaoke songs. I’m going to laugh. I won’t worry about what time I get home, if I get home at all, after a night out. I’m going to live my life.

A very special person said to me, “Your husband is dead. You’ve been responsible your entire life. It’s time to be irresponsible. Drink the drink, take the trip. It’s your time.”

I’ve been taking baby steps and now I want to leap forward into a new me which is really a version of the “me” from before Riley.

Take a chance. Take a step. Eat the cake and live your life.

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Oxygen mask...


Have you ever listened to the flight attendant give safety instructions just before an airplane takes off into the wild blue yonder? The instruction is to put your oxygen mask on BEFORE you make sure the kids mask is on their sweet little faces. The purpose for this is for the adult to be alert and aware enough to tend to the youngsters needs. After all, if you can’t breathe, you can’t help the kids breathe. Makes sense to me.

You can say the same thing about taking care of other family members when there is an alcoholic in the midst. If you can’t think clearly and make logical, sane, choices how can you help others make good choices? In a room full of crazy people, there has to one who is the least crazy to lead the pack.

Alcoholics, by their very nature, will create chaos. They don’t intend to do it, but they do. They’re brain’s frontal lobe, which houses our ability to make rational decisions, does not work in the manner that it was intended. In short, they are brain-damaged.

Typically, the most mature and rational of a family will take on the role of head of the family. Whoever that person is, has to have what the alcoholic does not have – a brain that works correctly. The brain is like a machine that needs certain things to keep it running smoothly.

Much like getting a tune-up for your car the brain needs periodic “tune-ups” in the form of rest and relaxation. A constant onslaught of crisis type situations without much of a break in between can wear us down and cause us to make hasty, sometimes unwise, decisions. The result is a condition very similar to PTSD. Sometimes it’s necessary to walk away from the alcoholic chaos for a time to regain your focus.

A healthy diet is also something that the brain needs. Food is our fuel and although fast food, sweets and other goodies taste great, they are not always what we need to keep us properly fueled up and ready to think.

Sometimes the perfect thing for our brains is a little laughter. Constantly focusing on the negative will create a negative attitude in other parts of your life. Stay positive. Stay objective. Keep your sense of humor.

All of those things are part of the oxygen mask that you must place over your face and breathe deep in order to be able to help the other, possibly less resilient, members of the family. If you are seeing your way through any stressful situation, put your oxygen mask on first. Take care of yourself first. Only then can you help anyone else.

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Guest Post -- Nova Recovery Center


Dear Readers:

Following is a guest post from the Nova Recovery Center. In one week it will be transferred over the the Just for Alcoholic's Page. They will also be listed on the Resource Page. --- Linda

Helping a loved one find the proper care they need to recover from addiction can feel like a daunting task, especially if you’ve never been faced with the challenge before. How do you know what type of treatment is right for your loved one? How do you determine your health insurance coverage for rehab? And how do you even get your loved one to agree to go to treatment in the first place?

These are all common questions that many people face as they begin their search for addiction treatment. At Nova Recovery Center, we understand these concerns because many of our staff members, and even our CEO and founder, have been there before. We understand the toll addiction takes on family and friends because we’ve seen it firsthand.

Because we know the struggle, we make it as stress-free and as easy as possible to ensure that our treatment programs are the right fit for you. And if they’re not, we’re happy to provide a referral elsewhere.

At Nova, we offer several individually-tailored programs that, together, comprise a robust addiction treatment regimen designed to carry clients through the entire treatment process, from addiction to sobriety. Our programs include:

       Inpatient drug and alcohol detox
       Residential drug rehab
       IOP (Intensive Outpatient Program)
       One-on-one peer-led support program
       Sober living

 Unlike some other rehab centers, we focus on treating the whole person, not just the symptoms of addiction. We work diligently to provide the highest quality addiction treatment services and the following characteristics of our care set us apart from the competition:

       Family program - Loved ones of clients are invited to attend our intensive three-day family program that is designed help family members understand the addiction and recovery processes, initiate healing, and learn how to move forward in their own lives. Our staff uses educational lectures, behavioral therapy, and group activities to facilitate discussion and help families develop healthy communication and boundary-setting. A Nova representative will also travel off-campus with participating family members to help them locate community support group meetings like Al-Anon.
       90-day residential rehab program - Our long-term residential addiction treatment program provides extended individualized care to ensure that clients have the time they need to fully heal and learn how to live a life that is free from addiction.
       A full continuum of care - We offer several levels of addiction treatment that guides and carries clients through the full treatment process, including detox, residential rehab, IOP, sober living, and peer-led individual support.
       12-step immersion - Our treatment program is founded on evidence-based treatment methods like individual and group therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, and 12-step facilitation therapy.
       Focus on chronic relapse - We work closely with clients to help them learn how to recognize the warning signs of emotional, mental, and physical relapse, mitigate risk and manage lapses for lasting, long-term recovery.

If you’re ready to enroll a loved one, the staff at Nova Recovery Center is here to walk through the process with you. Contact us today to get started.

Monday, April 15, 2019

Alcohol and Memory Loss


During end-stage alcoholism there is a disease, Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome, which causes the alcoholic to lose the ability to remember people, places and things from their past. The alcohol has soaked the brain with toxins to the point where the brain can no longer function.

There is also a more subtle condition involving alcohol consumption and memory loss. This can take place with regularly drinking as few as three drinks a day. This consumption can result in a blackout type of amnesia. However, there are two types of blackouts, the en-bloc and the fragmentary episode.

During an en-bloc episode the person will forget everything they did during the time they are drinking. It’s is a complete memory loss over a particular time interval during intoxication. If a drinker goes on a two-week bender, the amnesia will encompass the whole two-weeks. These memories will not come back or be recalled.

A fragmentary episode is not as serious and only causes a loss of certain events while retaining some of the memory of that event. This helps the drinker remember the good times while forgetting the bad times during a drinking episode. Even when events are remembered, they are most likely not remembered as they actually happened in reality. Their memories are chemically altered. Unlike the en-bloc memory loss, cues or reminders can be used to recall some or most of the memories during the fragmentary episode.

Long-term alcohol use, even when controlled as two or three drinks during an evening, can create a situation whereby the brain is unable to create new memories. Consider that the phrase “living in the moment” being taken to a whole extreme level.

In a report from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism there are other factors that have an effect on the memory of the drinker:

1.      How early in life the person started drinking;
2.      Family history of alcoholism;
3.      Gender;
4.      Overall health and constitution;
5.      Social and learning factors such as education.

The Alzheimer’s Association describes the long-term alcohol use amnesia, called Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome as a condition of:

1.      Gaps in long-term memory;
2.      Inability to remember recent events;
3.      Lack of awareness that there are problems with memory;
4.      Confabulation or making up information that has been forgotten.

In the case of confabulation, the person is not exactly lying. He/she believes that the made-up memories are real.

Other accompanying personality traits for a person suffering for any memory loss is being easy to anger, expressing agitation, confusion. Most often all these factors result in a state of depression.

If the alcoholic in your life says to you that they don’t remember an event, saying or doing a specific thing, it is most like the absolute truth. So, when you are called a derogatory name, it will be devastating to you, but for the alcoholic it will be as though it never happened. If you can’t remember something you can’t feel remorse for having said or done whatever that “thing” is. It just doesn’t exist.

It is heartbreaking to realize that you have been living as a part of couple and the other half of that same couple considers you as one step away from being a stranger. It’s OK. You can feel all the hurt that you would naturally feel, but it won’t help you to dwell on those emotions. Grieve. Cherish the memories that he/she does not have. What you do about it is up to you. But, always know what you are walking into, or out of, before making any decision.

Oh… I think I forgot where I was going with this….



Thursday, April 11, 2019

The Immortal Life of Riley


NOW AVAILABLE!


The Immortal Life of Riley

Sequel to the

Immortal Alcoholic’s Wife



               
The Immortal Alcoholic’s Wife told the tale of Linda’s journey from childhood to care giving her end-stage alcoholic husband, Riley. It includes medical explanations and descriptions of what to expect if you become a care giver.
            In The Immortal Life of Riley, you will see how Riley was a good man who loved his Navy career, but he had a bad addiction. You will learn in this book all the many factors that may have contributed to his becoming an alcoholic. You will discover Riley as a real person who had a real problem.
            You can buy your copy of The Immortal Life of Riley here:


For all books by Linda Bartee Doyne:


Monday, March 25, 2019

What's your poison?


“At least he’s not doing drugs.” I hear that phrase all the time and my internal response is “WHAT?” Folks, alcohol IS a drug. It is very dangerous because it is a LEGAL drug. There are NO limits to the amount you can buy at any one time. You don’t need a prescription or doctor’s consent to get a supply. It’s readily available and no one is going to go to jail for selling it to you unless you are under age.

Alcohol is worse than a drug because it is, chemically speaking, poison. The human body can process only one unit of alcohol per hour, drinking more than the one unit will cause some organs to shut down. Over an extended period of time, the same organs will become weaker and eventually just give up.

There is nothing better about drinking alcohol than there is any other drug. They are all life-threatening crap shoots that can kill you when you least expect it.

Some people say an addict is an addict no matter what the drug. That statement is true. However, addiction to alcohol, just like addiction to any other drug, has its own set of complications, manifestations, and traits. I don’t do coaching for families of drug addicts because I don’t have that first-hand experience that’s unique to drug abusers.

Yes. An addict is an addict. But… in many ways the process of becoming an addict is different. Alcoholism is a slow-growing disease which in its infancy is acceptable to most of society. It isn’t until the alcohol takes over the moral and logical functions of the brain on a high frequency that society steps back and says “Whoa! Maybe you better slow down there fella!” By then it’s usually too late because the alcoholic’s brain is, metaphorically, inside a booze-filled bottle and the sound waves can’t reach his ears.

I, personally, found no comfort in the fact that Riley was not using illegal drugs. I did not let out a sigh of relief when I discovered his drug of choice was vodka rather than heroin. When I finally accepted the fact that my husband was an alcoholic, I was devastated by the fact that I was losing my husband to this horrible poison that was not classified as a drug. I felt helpless.

Someone mentioned to me recently that we should make alcoholic illegal. I reminded her that we have already tried a thing called “prohibition” but it didn’t turn out so well. I offered another idea.
What if… when you reach the legal drinking age in your state, you must take an exam about alcohol and alcoholism. Upon successful completion of the exam, you will receive a “license to drink.” You must show your license when purchasing liquor. If you have a DUI, your license information goes into a data base and when you present your license it will come back as rejected. Therefore, you cannot buy booze for whatever time period the court has mandated.

Of course, if someone wants to drink, they will find a way. Someone else will buy it for them or they will go to a different state. There are always detours around road-blocks. BUT, it just might slow things down a bit and that might be a good thing.

It’s a novel idea. But the reality is that the alcohol industry represents big money. Big money shouldn’t but CAN control our lawmakers. The likelihood of such a law or program ever coming into existence is highly unlikely. It’s a dream -- a fantasy.

I have other fantasies… like scientists would find a way to make alcohol less damaging to the body while providing the same euphoric effect. What about creating a vaccine for alcoholism? Maybe societies attitude toward celebration with libations could change. But then… I would also like to have world peace.

Friday, March 15, 2019

Congratulations Neal!


I got a message the other day that Neal from the documentary “Risky Drinking” is celebrating FOUR years of sobriety! He is working and living a good life. He is happy. Unfortunately, his marriage did not survive the disease. But, as with many alcoholic marriages, they have found a way to care about each other at long distance. Sometimes large sacrifices must be made in order to get and keep a place of sanity.

I remember the day when I told Riley I was leaving him. I had left him many times before but this was different. I had thought and planned carefully what I was going to say. I made plans and knew exactly how I would make my exit. My ducks were in a row by the time I talked to him.

He came in the front door after having been gone for several days. I didn’t know exactly where he had been but I did know it was someplace that I wouldn’t like and with someone I also wouldn’t like. By that time, it really didn’t matter because there wasn’t much of a marriage anyway. I stopped expecting him to be where he was supposed to be when he was supposed to be there.

There so many factors that led up to the exit talk. There was my car being repo’d from the result of having a female friend forge my signature on loan documents. He put our 12-year-old daughter in a position of having to drive 30 miles on a busy interstate in order to get both of them home because he was too drunk to drive. He told her to keep it a secret from me and she did. I was admitted to the hospital and no one could find him. I was discharged several days later and he never knew I was hospitalized. The final straw was receiving a foreclosure notice on our home. He had retired from the Navy without telling me and was pocketing his entire retirement pay.

Riley was an alcoholic. All the above actions were a side-effect of the alcoholism controlling his brain. If I were to name a co-respondent in my divorce, it would have been the Aristocrat Vodka. Maybe I could have sued for “alienation of affection.”

On that day… when I told Riley of my plans to continue my life without him… he was shocked. He couldn’t understand why I would do such a thing. He protested. He cried. He asked if there was anything he could do. I was calm. I told him directly what I was going to do and how I was going to do it. After a long while, he came to me and asked if there was anything he could do to help make the transition easier. I told him what I needed and he agreed to help me leave.

I did not divorce Riley. After so many years of marriage and going through the trials of being a military wife, I felt that a divorce would not be in anyone’s best interest. I knew that eventually he would need some help and I didn’t want my children to be put in that position. I also didn’t want to jeopardize my well-earned military benefits.

Riley didn’t want a divorce either. He liked being married because it gave him a sense of security for his future. It also gave him an out when it came to being involved with other women. He could not marry them because he was already married. It worked for him.

Although we were separate, we were still, in many ways, still together. We talked every couple of weeks and if we were in the same town, we would have dinner together. Christmas was usually spent together as a family with our kids. We were separated, but we were still married at long distance.
Every couple with alcohol as a third party to their marriage comes to a kind of “impasse”. The eventually figure out what works and what doesn’t. They come to terms with either staying physically in the same house or moving out. They learn their limits and how to stay within them.

I believe in “til death do us part.” But which death is the question. The death of the person? The death of the marriage? The death of trust? The death of the person that once was? Each couple will decide when and what the “death” is in the marriage. Sometimes the alcohol chooses for us.


COACHING:
Appointments are available for coaching loved ones of alcoholics. Until April 1st  an interactive version of the “Workbook for Caretakers of End-Stage Alcoholics” will be included with each scheduled and paid appointment. Make your appointment by e-mailing LindasFrontPorch@outlook.com with the word “coaching” in the subject line. Choose from the available package options. Tell me your most convenient day and time and we will connect.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Dear President Trump


Have I been living under a rock? Well, no actually taking care of an alcoholic at end-stage can dull your sense of awareness concerning current or past events. You know there’s news worthy events happening, but sometimes focusing or remembering what’s happening in the real world is difficult.

I remember hearing about it. I can vaguely recall the events that followed. I’m talking about the alcohol-related death of President Trump’s brother, Freddy. Should I call him Freddy? That seems so familiar for our leader’s brother. Fred (that’s better) Trump Jr. died in 1981 at the very young age of 43.

Fred’s personality was a bit opposite of his younger brother, Donald who was serious and focused on achieving his ascending goal of success in the business world. Fred was a light-hearted and fun-loving airline pilot with a bigger-than-life personality.

For President Trump, observing his brother’s descent into the chaotic world of alcoholism was a learning experience. He learned that he didn’t desire the experience of life as an alcoholic.

There were five siblings in the Trump family, Robert, Elizabeth, Fred Jr., Donald and Maryanne. It was a privileged, powerful family and I wonder how, behind closed doors, they dealt with the brother who may have been a kind of “black sheep” of the family. Was it difficult for them to attend public functions as a family with the uncertainty of Fred’s alcoholic actions always threatening to crash the party? Did they gather together outside hearing distance to plan and plot a means to control their brother’s drinking?

On the outside, this family appears strong and powerful. But, alcoholism can weaken the fabric of the strongest unit and will often prove more powerful than any group of mere mortals. Were they their own support platform or did they seek help outside the family?

In my opinion, what happens within the folds of the Trump family is none of the public’s business even if one of the family members is the most powerful person in the free world. Just because President Trump is our president doesn’t mean he is obligated to tell us of the tears he shed over being powerless to help his big brother climb out of the bottle. Still… wouldn’t we all want to know? Its human nature to want to see the difficult hurdles placed on the route to success.

I suspect that the Trump family is just like any other family who with a loved one in the clutches of alcoholism. Just like the rest of us, I’m sure they cried a river of tears, begged, pleaded and manipulated every chance they got to try to get the alcoholic in detox, rehab or any program that would help him heal. They have probably shared our frustrations and experienced the same feelings of guilt.

Alcoholism doesn’t care how much money you have, your ability to pilot yourself around the world, or if you can drop a nuclear missile on another country. Alcoholism raises its middle finger and tells you to go take a giant leap off the tallest building in your portfolio. The pain is the same.

President Trump may lead the world but just like everyone one of us who follow this blog, he probably feels the same longing for a different outcome for his alcoholic loved one.
I don’t care if you are PRO or ANTI Trump. I don’t care if you are conservative or liberal, Republican or Democrat. When you are a member of a family ravaged by alcoholism, you are a part of the same demographic as all the other families in that situation. Everything else is completely separate and possibly secondary.

Dear President Trump, please know that I understand where you’ve been because my Dollar Store Flip Flops have walked in the same path as your Allen Edmonds Oxfords.


COACHING: 

The Immortal Alcoholic’s Wife offers coaching for collaterally damaged loved ones of an alcoholic. Please e-mail LindasFrontPorch@outlook.com for more details.

Thursday, March 7, 2019

But... I love him...


I hear a lot about love while coaching spouses of alcoholics. There is always a lot of talk back and forth about the dis-deeds and wrong-doings of the alcoholic. The spouse knows its alcoholic behavior but discounts the actions as through the alcoholic had control or the ability to make logical decisions.

For the my writing convenience, I’m going to use the pronoun as male (him, his, etc.) so that I don’t have repeat the same words for the female partner. So I will refer to the spouse as the groom, husband, father but I mean for it to hold true for bride, wife, mother.

The alcoholic is damaged. The brain is damaged. Once the alcohol saturates the frontal lobe, all rhyme or reason goes out the window. Alcoholics are not rational people and are incapable of using a normal logical thought process to make decisions. They are changed from the toxins.  They are like the Mr. Hyde to the Dr. Jekyll, so to speak.

A lot of times, when I ask why they stay in the marriage or in the home, the response is “I love him.”

Who? Who is it that you love? Where is that person? Surely it’s not the one living in your home and claims to be mate. That person... the one you exchanged vows with… no longer exists. The person you said you will stay married to in good times and bad, is not the one you claim to “love” in the present moment. The person receiving your reassuring words of forever fidelity, has left the building and doesn’t remember what any of those vows were all about.

The person you married before the alcoholic behavior moved in and set up residence, meant every single loving word he said. He wanted to be a good husband and father. But, when the alcohol took over the persona, he stopped caring about anything having remotely to do with a marriage or partnership. It’s not the fault of that person who stood with you and promised to be with you forever. He meant well. He loved. He cared. But, the alcoholic is not “him”. The alcoholic cares about the alcohol. Alcohol is the new partner, mistress, lover.

You can’t fight this new entity in your loved one’s life. You can’t get rid of it. It will only leave when your husband has decided it is time for it to go. Even if he goes to rehab and denounces that mistress, he will never come back to you in totality. The focus will become his sobriety making the sobriety his new mistress.

If you decide to stay in your marriage, you must understand what you are going to encounter. You must understand that whatever method you used to “help” your husband before alcohol, will not work now that alcohol is in control. No ultimatum, no threat, no action, is going to give the result of a cessation of the drinking. Only when the husband decides to quit, will it happen. Even then he may not have the strength to take the action to stop.

There’s nothing wrong with loving your spouse. There’s nothing wrong with staying because you love someone. But staying because you love him and expect him to be the same man you married, is not realistic. If you stay you will have to make adjustments. You will have to accept that he is not the same person. It will be hard but not impossible.

I don’t tell anyone whether they should stay or go. It’s not my decision to make. However, I make an exception when there is physical violence in the home. There is never a good reason to stay if you are being abused. It’s dangerous because you don’t know how far the alcohol will allow the abuser to go. Leave and go to a safe place. If you can and feel you have the time, prepare for your exit. But never stay during a physical confrontation. Get out. Get out right then and there. Your life is too important to take the chance of losing it.

And, if you say “But I love him” while someone is pounding your face to a pulp… remember that is not the way the man you love would treat you. Your abuser is a stranger – treat him like any other stranger who assaults you. Fight back. The minute you can, call the cops and press charges. Let him go to jail so the situation can calm down. While he is gone, make your plans to either keep him away or get out of Dodge.

You are not having him arrested to punish him. You are doing what you have to do to give yourself some time to figure out what you are going to do. Whatever you do, don't do nothing. Nothing will put you right back into the same face pounding that you escaped.

Your life is just as valuable as his. Take care of yourself by protecting yourself.

If you need help in figuring out how to get out, need a sounding board, or just a non-judgmental listener, take advantage of my Coaching Programs. E-mail LindasFrontPorch@outlook.com for more information. You're not alone.