I am a big ol' dumbass. And that is just fine with me. I am sober and write about that a lot. Because I write about what I know. What I live. And the main and most important part of my life is sobriety. This in no way makes me an expert. Sobriety is something that each person has to choose. To want. To work for.
It's interesting that I hear from friends and family members just as often as I hear from addicts and alcoholics who want to get sober. This disease crushes entire families. And chances are there are strong enablers that are writing me and guilty of keeping an addict using. These enablers need help just as much as the sick person needs help. That is why there are family programs. That is why Al-Anon exists. But most people will say, no matter how desperate they are to get the addict clean, they will not do anything differently.
That is a problem. If the addict has no consequences except for disappointing people, why would they change? The enablers are just continuing the cycle as much as the addict is. Everyone has to take responsibility for themselves, and say, "ENOUGH." We have had enough of this bullshit and we won't watch you kill yourself.
People who love addicts want so desperately for them to change, and yet, they don't do a damn thing to change themselves. The attitude is one of, "I'm not the problem, the user is the problem." And to a large extent that is true.
What I know of my own personal experience is that when I was drinking, I thought I was only hurting myself. When in reality, I was like a bomb spreading shrapnel all around me. And I knew no matter what, that my parents would bail me out. Of everything. Until they didn't. UNTIL THEY STOPPED. My mom was the most courageous one it turns out in that she actually took a stand and went to Al-Anon. Did she want to? HELL NO. Did she think that her 27 year old daughter was going to die from drinking unless something drastic happened? Yes. YES YES YES. She read books and she spoke with counselors at rehabs and she prayed more than anyone has ever prayed, but mostly, she took action in the form of helping herself figure this all out.
She wasn't going to sit idly by and watch this disease take over her entire life as it had for a few years already. She knew she must DO SOMETHING DIFFERENTLY.
Nothing else worked for me. My mom got the courage to say, "ENOUGH. We cut you off until you make a choice to help yourself". It led to my last year drunk when I was homeless. And I applaud her effort every single day I am alive and sober. She risked EVERYTHING. She knew there was a chance I could die out there. But she also knew they were helping to kill me by continuing to let me live the way I was living. I needed to be DESPERATE. And she forced that on me.
What I see happening all the time is people so desperate to help their loved one that they become paralyzed in fear and actually make it worse by doing nothing.
Just like I tell addicts/alcoholics to go to AA, I say to people watching someone struggle, go to Al-Anon. Do something. Take control of your life when you have absolutely zero control over the addicts life. You didn't choose this. But you can choose something differently for YOURSELF. What have you got to lose? Nobody wants to go to AA. Nobody wants to go to Al-Anon. Nobody wants to be in this situation, but you are. So now what?
There is a need for these groups and camaraderie in order to heal. Some people find it in church. Some people think they don't need it at all. And to them, I say, I wish you all the best. I hope you find peace and happiness. Some people don't understand why the need to go "air your dirty laundry" with a group of strangers would ever help. I don't know why it does, but it does. Church didn't help me, but I know it helps many and I say, whatever is helping you make positive change in your life, please do it. I just know that trying to deal with misery on your own is a losing battle. Therapy, meetings, church groups, it all involves putting your dirty laundry out there to be lessened by a group setting. It helps to work through all the shit. Again, I don't know why it works, but it does. And let's face it, we can all use the help. I know I sure can. I was miserable when I kept everything in and tried to FIX IT myself. That's when I was a drunk. I had no answers and no hope. I had to get it all out. My husband doesn't quite understand the whole meeting thing either, but he is so grateful for it because it helps his wife be awesome and happy.
There are things we can ALL do to make our lives better. It took me up against a fucking brick wall of misery and desperation to change. I know many of you are there too. I only know and share my story, so please don't think I am saying this is "HOW YOU DO ALL OF THIS". I only know what happened to me. And I am so very grateful for all of it. Every single part of it. For all of you struggling either yourself or with a family member, DO SOMETHING FOR YOURSELF. DO SOMETHING DIFFERENTLY. Please. Please try it. You can always go back to living the way you've been living if it's working so well.
I so get this...and I'm working very hard on stepping away from being an enabler, which is one the hardest things I've ever done in my life. xoxoReplyDelete
it is SO hard. We just want to love.Delete
When I was a teenager, a smart teacher spotted what was going on in my family and arranged for me to be pulled out of 1 class a week for Al-Ateen meetings. Those meetings helped me to understand the crazy dynamics in my family and kept me sane. Most of all they helped me know that no matter how much it may have seemed like it at times 1. I was not alone and 2. It was not my fault. I cannot express enough how grateful I am for that.ReplyDelete
I'm so glad you utilized it. So glad. xoxoDelete
How awesome is it that a teacher cared enough to recognize it. What a miracle that after recognizing it, she showed you a solution.Delete
God works in wonderful ways.
Pain has been the great motivator in my life. If I'm not careful, I get set in my ways and think I can handle it all. Then I get in a funk and then stuck in a rut. Next comes a case of the fuck-its and the mental relapse has begun.ReplyDelete
My dad's a "normie" (what we drunks lovingly call non-drunks -- just in case not all of your readers know that) and used to say, "If you sit around with depressed people and talk about how depressing life is, you're only going to get more depressed. How can sitting around talking about how much you want to drink help anything?" I explained to him that very little of what We talk about actually deals with alcohol. I told him my THINKING is what is messed up, so I hang out with people who are getting better. We teach each other how to work around our craziness and have a great life. He doesn't question it any more.
Your mom joins this list of amazing moms I knew in Al-Anon when I went. I can't imagine the strength it takes to know that your child could very well die if you cut them off, but that may be the ONLY way to save them. That choice is unfathomable to me.
I heard a speaker say that "Alcoholics Anonymous is the only treatment for a fatal disease that leaves the sufferer in better condition than before the disease was contracted." I love that. My G.O.D. is my Group of Drunks that gives me Good, Orderly Direction for Getting Over Drunkenness so I can Go Out Daily and have a great life! Maybe a little cheesy, but it works for me. :-)
Like they say in some of the groups around here: Give us a try. If you don't find what you need, we'll gladly refund all of your misery until you're ready to try again.
Smooches to you!
you are so chock full o'wisdom lady! we refund your misery is about my favorite! love you!Delete
So inspirational :)Delete
I love you. But you already knew that. And now you've got me crying, thinking about everything that I went through with my ex-husband. Speaking as someone who watched a loved one die from alcoholism, I can vouch for every word that you have typed here.ReplyDelete
You are my hero. Seriously. You are. I admire you so much, not just for getting sober but for being willing to talk about it without sugarcoating it.
shit. Now I'm crying.Delete
I don't have an account on anything that is available so I used annonymous. You may know me as Ruth on fb. I am enabler and more recently a drunk. I did everything for my son, rehab after rehab, always digging him out of trouble, but I never stopped. He got very sick with pancreatitis and quit drinking, but quickly got addicted to whatever drugs they gave him. Finally it was phentenal (sp?) He was on MEGA dose patches that he would come to lick the medicine off of the patches. One month dose would last a week. He was always following me out to the garage where I was smoking and beg me crying and crying that he was in pain. I gave in because I couldn't stand what he was doing to me. Long story even longer (haha, still try to have a sense of humor) he had surgery to remove pancreas and 5 other things which I can't recall right now. They sent him home saying he was good to go. He passed away 2 days later of internal bleeding at the age of 30. We didn't think he would live til 30. He left behind a beautiful daughter who was 10 at the time. Anyway your mom is awesome for what she did and you are equally awesome. I hope to be.....no never mind, I'm not ready yet. But someday.ReplyDelete
I am so incredibly sorry to hear all this Ruth. It is absolutely devastating what this does to people. Keep that tiny bit of humor you have and when you are ready to get sober, we are here. Much love to you.Delete
I just shared your BLOG with my family (Aunt, Uncle, Cousins and some family of choice). We have recently had to confront another cousin's substance abuse problem. It is heartbreaking but unfortunately he is just not desperate. I think he too is going to have to experience homelessness - I hope he makes it. Love him very much - so much - we can't help him continue his using.ReplyDelete
Great BLOG lady!!
oh I'm sorry you are going through this. I hope something changes with your family quickly! all the best to yoU! xoxoDelete
I think this post was written for me...well at least it felt like it. My hubby kicked his drug of choice 4 years ago this month, only after I had the courage to move out(while pregnant with our first child). It was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. I went to Naranon meetings for a while, but was very put off by the bitterness the families had towards thier addicts (even those in recovery). Now five years and two children later, I find myself back in the enabler role as he continues to drink and chooses not to see what it does to our family. Only now do I understand the bitterness that once shocked me. I only wish I could share this on my blog, but family and friends read it and this is our dirty little secret. Thank you for being you and for sharing your journey. I only recently found you, but love, love, love your blog!ReplyDelete
It's hard not to be bitter when you live through this bullshit for so long. Hang on sweetest heart. I hope you find some relief soon. xoxoxoDelete
My first husband was (is?) an alcoholic. I finally had to say enough and leave with the kids as there was nothing left to do. It was one of the most difficult things I have ever done because I still loved the person but could not live with him any longer nor expect the kids to grow up with him. As far as I know he is still drinking and his very elderly father is now taking care of him. That was many years ago. Fast forward to today and my youngest step-daughter is an addict. Her mom is also an addict. I knew what I had to do as I watched her spiral down but unfortunately, her parents were not of the same mind and continue to save her from everything. I know deep inside she wants a better life but until she is forced to stand up for herself, I know she never has to try. Another great post.ReplyDelete
Hi my lovely Dumpster Girl. I rarely remember to comment on here, but usually figure it'll be a moot point, as I see you 87 times a day and rarely do I ever have a thought that goes unexpressed to you (much to YOUR chagrin, I'm sure!). but I do want to tell you that I've shared your blog, and particularly links to this page many times. I so love your fearlessness to talk about not only the "hard stuff" but literally anything with anyone if you think it will help them in any way. As I'm sure you know, this particular one speaks volumes to me and smacks me upside the head, and feels like it was written just for me (though I know it wasn't -- but that's just how good you are at this!). Love you.ReplyDelete
Thanks for reposting this today. I have a son who had a mental breakdown and has now been diagnosed with a mood disorder. He is 15. He has been in and out of the hospital for a year and is now in a residential school program. He started July 9 and almost every day since then I get a FB message or a text begging me to live back at home. He has been coming home on weekends but last weekend was so hard and he cut himself that we have decided he will have to stay at school on weekends now. He has been given every opportunity for help but he ultimately has to take it and run with it. I applaud your mom because I KNOW how hard it is. I have 3 other kids in the house and I have to take care of them too. I love to read your posts because it reminds me that "this too shall pass" and there is hope. So thank you you are in inspiration to many and we are lucky that you share your story.ReplyDelete
This makes me so sad. I have a good friend who became an addict in her mid 20s. She lost her kids and everything else she owns. I would love to help her, but her family puts the drugs right back in her face the second she is clean and she goes right back to them. They are all drug addicts and alcoholics too. There isn't one sober person in her family. I don't see a way out for her, and I know she will lose this battle because she will not stay away from them. All I can do at this point is make sure her children don't follow in her footsteps. I'm so glad you were able to get clean. We need more people like you (and your mother) in this world.ReplyDelete
Katy, this couldn't have come at a better time. I am going to share this with my mom. She just found out my youngest brother is shooting up. On top of that, my other brother is also an active addict. Yet, she keeps enabling them to do these things. I am the only one who has cut off my brothers due to their usage. My mother remains their biggest champion. She knows she should stop enabling them, but she won't. I cry and I scream. I feel helpless in watching them spiral out of control. I hope like you, they can overcome their addiction. Again, thank you for sharing your thoughts!ReplyDelete
I am new to this blog, and I really feel like I found it for a reason. More appropriately, I found you. Nearly every person in my family is or has been an addict. All three of my sisters, my mother, all seven of my living aunts, all three of my living uncles, all but a handful of my over fifty first cousins. But I, just recently... after struggling with infertility and choosing sobriety myself... have found the strength to cut them off. To stop enabling them. And through the separation, I've come to realize that this can be done while still possessing true love for those who continue to disappoint me. The cycle of addiction and all of it's tentacles run deep in me, but it is through reading this post and identifying with your strength that I feel empowered. Thank you for sharing your story, it has brought me the clarity I was so badly seeking.ReplyDelete
Katy, this right here is good stuff and I'm going to share it with a ton of people! xoReplyDelete
I so needed this read this morning....I just walked away from someone who I dearly love because I could not stay and watch him kill himself....it was the hardest thing I had ever done. Now 14 hours away from him...the pain, worry and wonder "what is he doing...how is he feeling" is not as strong as it was. I am rambling now, but, just thank you for this. Thank you ! bzReplyDelete
I was an enabler for 8 years to my soon to be ex-husband. I finally left with my 2 children this past May after finding out on top of being a jobless alcoholic that he was mistreating my children. I've been thru the hospitalizations 5 to be exact and a DUI I stood by and tried to help and try to force him into sobriety. I know now that unless he wants the help and is ready for help there is nothing I can do. Reading your blog gives a semblance of hope that one day he will get help and maybe be involved with the children to a degree. Katy you are an amazing, Thank youReplyDelete