'I Am Not an Alcoholic!'
There is a saying around the rooms of recovery that some alcoholics never find help "in this lifetime." In other words, they never get to the point of reaching out for help and they continue drinking all the way to the grave, all the while denying they have a problem.
For friends and family members, watching someone drink themselves to death is a lonely, frustrating and devastating experience, as D.J. describes below in this painful tale of his mother's final days.
D.J.'s Recovery Story
On the night before Christmas there was great sorrow in my home. My mother passed away at the age of 60. She didn't have cancer. No heart attack. She didn't get in a bad car accident nor was she shot. There were no heroics that put her in harm's way nor was there someone else's wrong-doing that brought her to her demise.
In her eyes, her life became of less value as she grew older.
Her children moved away and she didn't see her grandchildren as much as she had liked. She did have a loving husband, but it wasn't enough to give her a sense of worth. She became very depressed.
A Friend Who Lied to Her
She made a friend that would help her through these times. This friend took advantage of her and lied to her. He made her believe that he was the only thing that mattered. He made her believe that her life was worthless without him. He told her that I was a bad son and told her to cut me out of her life. He told her to cut her only sister out of her life and the majority of her friends. He told her to lie to her husband in order to continue their relationship. He made her desperate for him.
This so-called friend was alcohol.
20 Days Comatose
On Thanksgiving night, my mother ate her final meal and drank vodka at a constant pace until December 4 when the people who loved her most found her to be in a grave state and called 911.
She spent 20 days in the hospital. She spent most of those days comatose. When she was awake she would ask people to bring her just a little vodka to take the edge off. I saw her on December 15 which was her 60th birthday. Instead of cake and presents she got a feeding tube from the doctor and some flowers from a son who she wasn't speaking to her because he asked her to stop drinking.
Instead of running to the store to buy her a last minute gift, on December 23, my father, my sister and I were faced with the decision to give her death with some morphine to help ease the pain. We were not offered anything for our pain. Instead, while visions of sugar plums danced in many heads around the world, we juggled broken hearts, planned services, and tried to stay strong for our children.
Alcoholism Can Destroy a Family
My mother was an amazing person at one time. She taught me that anything worth doing is worth doing to the best of your ability. She taught me how to play cribbage and she taught me how to make a great spaghetti sauce.
She also taught me how alcoholism can destroy a family.
Addiction Will Lie to Them
My mom is survived by her husband of 33 years, a son, a daughter, three step-daughters, and eight grandchildren that have a 40 percent chance of becoming alcoholics as well.
If you have someone that you love in your life that is struggling with some kind of addiction or depression, urge them to get help before it's too late. In the long run, they can only help themselves, but if we don't show them where their life is heading, their addictions will lie to them and tell them they are fine.
One of my mother's final words were. "I am not an alcoholic."
Support for Families
Sometimes family members cannot do anything to help the alcoholic in their lives, but they can get help and support for themselves. Living with an alcoholic can deeply affect others in the family in ways they may not even recognize. Learning as much as possible about alcoholism and how it can affect the entire family can help.