Sobering

“Sober means I’m not getting drunk. I have a glass of wine or a beer now and again. So what? It was never my intention to stop drinking forever.”

These words were hurled to me as I confronted my favorite addict after I found a poorly hidden empty bottle of wine. They claimed they were 75 days “sober.” And by their definition, perhaps. But for a known binge drinker, I doubt that’s the case. I’d also like to mention all this drinking was done in secret – as was their addiction; their family was oblivious, because they would have gotten upset. And rightly so.

The addict then proceeded to make me sound like I was the crazy one. A master manipulator, there was no confession of wrongdoing or relapse. It was in-your-face defiance with their version of sober. The bait and switch made me feel cheated, hoodwinked, and the structure of trust came crashing down; that will have to be rebuilt. Again.

I liken it to having an affair on my husband with a guy named John (this is for comparison only, I’ve never cheated on my husband). An event caused me to confess, with tears, that I was ending the affair, profoundly sorry for the pain I caused, and I was again faithful to my husband. And so the marriage rebuilds. Then, my husband comes home after work several months later to find another man’s coat had fallen between the couch and the end table. His heart races as he asks me who’s it is.

“Oh, it’s John’s,” I’d say. “He came over today to watch a movie with me. We’re not sleeping together anymore, we just hang out, go to lunch and stuff, and have been for awhile, I just didn’t tell you because you’d freak out about it. I said I would stop sleeping with him, which I have, not that I would never see him again. John and I have a friendship that goes way back and he’s so interesting and nice to have around! What’s so bad about me having a friend over? It’s not a big deal!”

My husband would not think this was okay. No reasonable spouse would think, hey she’s right, I’m totally overreacting! I’m sure something would happen down the road, regardless of my good intentions, and I’d wind up back in bed with John: past behavior is an indicator of future behavior, like credit scores. My husband’s anger would boil over and he would give me an ultimatum: John or him.

I would be angry back, saying it’s unfair just because I spent the past few years sleeping with John and now that I’ve mended my ways, everything is fine, and trust should be restored.

Yet this is the argument I’m having over 2 carbon atoms with a hydroxyl group hanging off of it – alcohol.

There will come a day in the not too distant future where a line will be drawn with that ultimatum: family or alcohol. Personally I’d choose alcohol: it has no accountability.
The entire premise for my addict’s continued use of alcohol all revolves around them and their wants and needs. The fact that their use is destroying their family does not register.

Perhaps that is the most heartbreaking part of this whole painful situation.

I covet your prayers at this time.

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April: Live with Confidence

One of the perks of living with Generalized Anxiety Disorder is that you second guess EVERYTHING. Whether I am buying a house, a pair of socks, treating a patient, or making a life altering decision, my brain whispers, “Are you sure? What if you’re wrong? What if the exact opposite is true/better? How will you know? You need to think/pray/freak out more about this.” I am paralyzed by indecision and worry that my choice is wrong, either fundamentally or factually.

This month is going to require some confidence.

Heck, my entire life could use some confidence.

I’m closing on my 3rd house this month.  Yup – for those of you keeping score at home – I have owned more houses than cars (3:1). I have decisions to make about paint, decor, and where the silverware drawer is going to be in the kitchen. I have cleaning projects, landscape projects, and painting projects all lined up; most of them will be put on hold until I can unload my current property to conserve money. This is my new home, I have to own it and the decisions that come with it.

The loved one with an alcohol addiction combined with a new house that I’m 85% sure I like has been a bit more than I expected to be dealing with at this point. Nonetheless, the Lord shall provide.

I found this book about making decisions with a Christian-centric mindset, and it was like a breath of fresh air for me.  The basic principle was, “What does God think about non-moral decisions? How do I know God’s will for my life?” Mr. DeYoung proposes just to do something, much akin to throwing spaghetti against the wall to see if it will stick – the fleeces we depend on are more out of our culture than the Bible. The Bible has much to say about living, but does not specifically address major life decisions such as, should I marry this person?  Should I buy this car? Obviously, seeking the Lord in all things, but sometimes He doesn’t give a clear answer. And so we act. The Lord will provide.

What does living with confidence look like? I’m not sure yet.

I need to pray about that some more.

Another turn

It has recently come to light that there is an addict in my inner circle.

She excels at her job.  She drives a luxury vehicle.  Her husband is a great guy and treats her like a queen.  She takes lavish vacations. She’s an extrovert who’s always been the life of the party – I’ve known her practically my entire life.  She’s my foil, the mirror image of my personality.  I often wish I had the balls she has.

She also shoots up with narcotics, and when that was in short supply, downing as much alcohol as she could.  And has been doing so for quite some time.

It all came to a head when her narcotic source turned her in.

Currently, she is in a posh rehab facility and jobless.  I was one of the last to know, as per usual.  I’m not much for crying, but I got so emotional on the phone with her.  I had to see her, so I took a couple of days off work to visit her.  Not seeing her was not an option.

I went to a counseling appointment with her.  She’s the same sober – perhaps a bit more in touch with reality and not always complaining about how tired she was or napping (which now I can attribute to her in between doses).  She was so good at hiding her addiction that her husband had no idea.  She is learning how to stay sober and they are giving her the tools she needs to succeed in her sobriety once she leaves the comforts of rehab.  I had a good visit with her and learned a lot by going to my first AA meeting at the facility.  I was struck by the humanity.

It also hit me like a ton of bricks.  Based on what I learned through her and the meetings, I strongly feel that there is another addict in my circle, one who’s behaviors mimic her’s – the drug is alcohol.  There’s been some mild confrontation – a breakthrough here and there – but ultimately what I believe is an addiction.  I shared these thoughts with my suspected addict and got silence.  Next steps?  Abstinence or counseling.  Neither of which I believe they will go for – but in lieu of trying to change someone’s behavior, I have decided to change mine and leave the presence of this supposed addict when they’re on a “high.”

As someone who has never dealt with addiction, I am in uncharted territory, which happens to be underwater and I’m not a very good at keeping my eyes open while swimming.

Here’s to the salty water not stinging too much.