Living with Alcoholism
Living with Alcoholism force us to live “in an amusement park, always on a roller coaster!’ Whether you are one or are married to one, ALCOHOL DESTROYS LIVES. Alcohol has no nutritional value, adds many calories, and has no benefit to your perfectly made, healthy self. We are ingesting poison, plain and simple.
Our Lives with Alcoholism for most of us begins at age 21. After age 21, it’s no longer illegal. That’s an attraction to many, even though most of us never abide by the law.
Living with Alcoholism What is the benefit?
Dr. Phil is fond of saying: “How is that working for you?” He also asks whenever you have chosen to do something questionable “What is the benefit to you?”
We are fond of saying it’s about
- The buzz;
- Loosening of insecurities at social gatherings;
- Being sociable;
- Because everyone else is drinking;
- It’s required if considered a foodie or “gourmand.”
Living with Alcoholism What are the negatives?
- The cost.
- The negative circumstances that may compromise your social. professional reputation, breakdown of the family.
- The inability to safely drive.
- The negative changes to our personalities, even after just one drink.
As Baby Boomers, drinking was allowed at age 18 in North Carolina nicely aligning with our freshman year of college. Fraternities and sororities were famous for their bashes; many of my friends did not survive the unwanted sex at these events that resulted in rushed, short-lived marriages. When did you ever read that in the newspapers?
After graduation, we transitioned to the corporate world. Many of us gravitated to metropolitan cities where easy sex and alcoholic lunches were the norm. And, in Atlanta, if it happened to rain at the end of the workday, we hit the bars again rather than fight congested traffic. Promiscuous sex, alcohol and the pill were all complicit, I readily admit. Marriages dissolved; people moved on or away; many re-coupled with people they met at — where else? Happy Hour! Every bar in Atlanta had “Happy Hour” where drinks were two for the price of one. Atlanta seemed to give birth to chain bars that became community centers for Boomers.
So, now, we are facing marriage number two, or in my case, number three. In the hospitality industry, where alcohol is as common as a glass of milk, who do you think runs all those bars, restaurants and hotels? Ask most managers/owners/chefs and they all admit alcoholism is part of their lives. The hours, the constant state of problem solving and drama, the low pay, the absence of family time and support all feed into that dependency for alcoholic relief.
And, what’s a good meal or experience without alcohol? How can any professional in the hospitality business promote and sell alcohol (which always earns the highest profit) without knowing the taste? A perfect Catch 22!
Marrying the Alcoholic
They are fun. Everyone loves being around an alcoholic for the first, second, even the third drink. But once the fourth is consumed within less than two hours, there is some seriously poisonous things going on in our bodies. We should not, and cannot absorb that much alcohol ever at one sitting. But, for an alcoholic, they are just getting started.!
Living with Alcoholism A Personal Story
I told a story in a former blog about meeting my best friend and some of her co-workers for one of those “Happy Hour” events. I did not know I was pregnant because we rarely know in the first few weeks. But the baby pinto bean knows. My forth drink within two hours was my tipping point, and I made a hasty retreat knowing I was not feeling well. I managed to make the drive (totally drunk!) safely to my other best friend’s house about five miles away. I walked in the front door, stated I wasn’t feeling so good, promptly rushed to their bathroom and heaved for at least ten minutes. Naturally, I felt better afterwards, but definitely was not sober enough to drive forty-five miles to my home. Sadly, I got back into my car and did just that. More sadly, I was in the hospital two days later with a ruptured Fallopian tube and miscarriage. I almost bled to death before my OBGYN diagnosed and rushed me into surgery. This is a story you have never heard anyone tell, I believe, because few people, or doctors, for that matter, have ever made the connection between a tubal pregnancy, binge drinking and miscarriage.
I married an Alcoholic
Alcoholics are fun, the ultimate life of the party. They are often good looking, sociable, easy to fall for because the charm just oozes off them! Add to that Latin good looks, sexy accent, and ability to romance like someone straight out of the movies (think Desi Arnaz and Fernando Lamas) — no one I ever met could resist my husband’s charm. I considered myself the luckiest woman in the world to win him over all those dozens and dozens of other women, and his former wife!
The Truth about Marrying the Alcoholic
Depending when someone begins serious drinking (excessive drinking to the blackout stage) that person’s brain and emotional development ceases to grow any further. For my husband, who began drinking in the Army, that was age eighteen. Another one of my husband’s “most adorable” traits? His boyish attitude about life! It was so cute! So endearing! Always effervescent it was also the number one characteristic that got him hired to manage all those restaurants or clubs! So charming! Never a care in his head – never brought down by anything. Ultimately, a serious default when married with children.
Living with Alcoholism What it takes to survive
I must become the parent,to my spouse and my child. I must keep a steady job.
Sitting up all those nights that he does not come home until 3:30 am, after binge drinking often with another woman. This is expensive, and not budget friendly.
Realizing that alcohol absorption remains in the system beyond 24 hours into the next day. No amount of sleep and coffee cancels out excessive alcohol consumption: not enough to drive; not enough to work, unless you run a restaurant. And if a day off is conveniently available, the danger of that alcoholic driving with your child and his friends while still technically drunk is very real.
The alcoholic does not want to get well. The alcoholic does not consider himself to be sick. Many “experts” want us to believe alcoholism is a disease, just like cancer, we should treat and empathize accordingly. And, yes, alcoholism runs in the family. But, the truth is, decades of alcohol consumption causes a neurological, biological, emotional breakdown of the body from the constant poison. We would not deliberately pour poison down our throats – decades of alcohol consumption is just as lethal. It causes:
- The deterioration of the kidneys, liver, pancreas, bladder, heart because they cannot function with so much poison. Their job is to filter poisons out of the body but cannot with excessive consumption.
- The deterioration of the brain and nerves as they become numb and and eventiually die off.
- The deterioration of the muscles and skeletal system because alcohol consumption blocks absorption of vitamins and minerals from eating healthy foods.
A man I know is currently age seventy-two, cannot move without pain in his back and both legs. His memory is diminished. He makes no attempt to do anything every day except sit in his lounger and watch TV. He still smokes, drinks daily, and eats processed food. He used to be an accomplished musician, entertaining with his own band for several decades, but of course, that always included consuming alcohol for “creativity.”
At the end
Elizabeth Vargas bravely opened up to her colleague, Diane Sawyer, last year about her alcoholism on “20/20.” She emphasized repeatedly that she never saw herself as an alcoholic, just a “social drinker.” But upon reaching mid-life (late 30’s) social drinking meant blackouts even in the presence of her two young children. Clean and sober today, her story and subsequent book should be must reading for all family members of an alcoholic, especially spouses.
Living with Alcoholism and The Happy Ending
Nope. There is not one.
However, I can share a Happier than before Story. Many years back I read an article about the dependency triangle between alcohol, smoking, and junk food. My husband was excessive with all three. The article said research proved removing or stopping one of the three would increase the dependency of the other two. My husband first cut out smoking when our son was born, but the junk food and drinking increased. He then tried to eliminate junk food because our son and I had become vegetarians, but the drinking got far worse. He now is known as a “dry alcoholic,” able to abstain most of the time but remains always vulnerable to the temptation of a drink. Now that his system is fueled by a vegetarian lifestyle, natural supplements, yoga and acupuncture, he is a healthy, robust 78-year-old who everyone swears looks to be in his fifties. If fact, he looks better because he is much trimmer. His body no longer tolerates any alcohol poison as just four ounces can push him into that ugly, abusive rage we all hate.
My best friend, who is married to the musician I described above, and I have taken to calling our marriages “life in an amusement park,” and dealing with alcoholism is like riding a roller coaster: with each fall into the pit of alcoholic trauma, there follows regret, recognition, admittance of the problem, followed by promises and an almost angelic disposition . . . taking us up to that highest point of the roller coaster ride . . . because we believe, once again, maybe, this may finally be IT: THIS TIME WILL BE DIFFERENT . . . until . . . we are plunged down again to the depth of reality: another rush to disaster, AGAIN.
WHEN TO GET OUT coming next.
“A calm and modest life brings more happiness than the pursuit of success combined with constant restlessness. Where there’s a will, there’s a way.”
Albert Einstein, 1922, after winning the Noble Prize in Physics