Sunday, September 14, 2014

Dead brain cells...

One of my OARS Group members posted about a blog she had come across that helped her with her feelings of guilt over her husband’s alcoholism. I followed the link and found this terrific blog post (written by “Charlie”) that I felt I needed to share with all my readers.

You might want to check it out and read some of Charlie’s other posts as well. I will certainly be following him.

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We had an update on Riley’s MRI results that were ordered by the neurologist. It was explained to us that Riley has the physical body of an 85 year old man even though he is only 75 years old. He is diagnosed with “moderate brain atrophy”. But, don’t let the “moderate” fool you. As we age our brains do atrophy – how much depends on many factors. Let’s say that Riley had never used any alcohol, then normal atrophy would probably be minimal, but Riley has an alcohol abused brain with moderate atrophy for an 85 year old man. And… it is continuing to atrophy. This means he “officially,” medically, has been diagnosed with dementia and it will become worse as he continues to travel in this world. There is something reassuring that the debate on his mental health (does he or doesn’t he have dementia) will no longer be an issue.

In my research I found that it really doesn’t take much alcohol (2 to 4 drinks a day) to increase the percentage of atrophy in our brains as we age. I remember back in the day, that we used to joke about “killing some brain cells” as we open another bottle of wine. I don’t think any of us realized then what harm we were actually doing to our future health. We were young and probably would not have changed even if we knew.

There are things that we can do throughout the years to help our brain be healthier. If we exercise our thought processes it’s like exercising our bodies. Things like crossword or word puzzles and taking those quizzes, reading and even those argumentative debates can help keep your mind sharp. Of course, it also helps if you have a balanced diet and limit your intake of unhealthy substances like alcohol.

We finally have a blissfully appointment free week – with the exception of a dentist appointment for me. I thought this was the week we would get all the “official” results from all the tests and a decision on the treatment plan for Riley’s cancer. But, some things got changed around and now the week of the 22nd will be the week for all that. I want to enjoy and take advantage of this week by taking things slow and easy. Hopefully I won’t have to do a lot of driving or running errands. I can get some housekeeping things done and manage to get some cooking done. Oh, yeah, and I’m hoping for a little rest.

The one thing I will be continuing with is my pursuit of finding alcoholics who are willing to be filmed for the upcoming documentary. Actually, it won’t be premiered until January 2016, but we are in the process of gathering stories now. If you are an actively drinking alcoholic, I’d love to hear your story of how you have come to be in the position you are in. How you survive each day? If you have a job, how do you “hold it together” and get through the day without a negative incident? If you have suffered consequences from your drinking, what were they and how did you resolve the consequences? Imagine the benefit that can be gained for the audience and possibly for you by bringing the issues of being a practicing alcoholic into the light. Maybe you can show that it is possible to be a heavy-drinker and still maintain a sound, productive life. E-mail me if you are thinking about participating and we can connect you with the producers who can answer all your questions.

The main thing I’m not able to do is the biggest project on my table and I’m still feeling a bit of resentment over having to postpone my seminars sessions. But I’ll work through it by getting some of the prep stuff done. I have centerpieces to make, door prizes to gather, welcome bags to stuff, and PowerPoint presentations to compose. By the time I’m able to go forward with the seminars, all the little time-consuming things will already be done and have a choice of topics all set to go.

When I re-start the seminars, I’m considering beginning in the Washington DC area sometime in December (if possible) and focus on the topic of surviving the holidays. I can’t think of any time of the year that is more stressful on the loved ones of alcoholics than the holiday season. Alcohol flows like the waterfalls at Yosemite. It’s as though people don’t know how to have a party or a dinner or even a kid’s party without rum laced eggnog or bourbon soaked cookies. I remember my mother once getting tipsy from the bourbon balls she made for my deployed Riley. It was certainly a very rare occasion.

Normally, Riley and I live a quiet, simple existence out here in the country. However, I’m told that things won’t be so quiet once Riley starts chemo/radiation. I’m not really sure what to expect. I know he will most likely be very sick and weak. But, that’s about all I’ve been told. I have already asked for hospice to come out and evaluate our prospective needs. But, really, I’m in a wait-and-see mode.


My plan is to keep you posted and possibly get Riley to agree to some more videos of him as he goes on this cancer journey.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Colo/rectal cancer facts...

Since Riley was diagnosed with colo/rectal cancer, I have been busy doing research. I find that information is given to us in the doctor’s offices is very slow and methodical. They don’t want to tell us too much too soon. The doctors say it is because they are not yet 100% sure of this or that. They do know it is cancer, but they want another test and then another test. Riley was diagnosed in early July and we are still waiting for some kind of treatment plan.

What we know for sure so far is this: Riley has a tumor in his rectum that is of 99.9% certainty that it is cancer. The tumor – which we have named “Tommy” – has spread to at least one lymph node. Since our last appointment with the cancer doctor, Riley has noticed an increase in the size of the lump in his groin. Tommy is growing.

On Monday Riley is having biopsy surgery of the Tommy occupied lymph node. The surgeons will either remove the lymph node or they will simply take a sample of Tommy. It will then be analyzed in the lab for 100% confirmation that Tommy is malignant. It is the personal opinions of all the various doctors involved that Tommy is a very bad guy.

The treatment plan (assuming that Tommy is malignant) is based on many factors:
  1. Riley’s general health – Riley’s frequent near-fatal detoxes and damage caused by alcohol abuse have left him in poor physical health.
  2. Riley’s general attitude – Riley believes if he gets treatment (whatever it is), he can then go back to drinking. He doesn’t seem to understand (or care) that the two issues are not related. The treatment will not restore him to perfect physical health allowing him to begin the destruction again. The treatment may cure him of cancer but will not repair his brain atrophy or the damage to his heart. In fact, the treatment may make those ailments worse. Chemo and radiation is so invasive and harsh that it could be the cure that kills him.
  3. Riley’s choice of plans – Riley doesn’t want any surgery that will cause him to lose bowel control. He wants chemo and radiation.

While Riley’s issues/wants will be taken into consideration, there is a distinct possibility that NO treatment will be offered to him due to the “cure can kill” being too risky. If the powers that be think the percentage of possibility of death is at a certain point – they will simply let Tommy take his course in overtaking Riley’s body. No treatment at all may mean a better quality of life for a much longer period of time. You can find an excellent description of the treatment options here: http://www.colorectal-cancer.ca/en/anal-cancer/treatment-options/

As is my basic personality – I needed to consult Doctor Google and find facts that could be useful, if not to me, than to my readers in learning about this cancer who seems to like people who are either practicing alcoholics or those who may have been in recovery for any amount of time. The bottom line is cancer likes alcoholics. If a self-imposed death sentence via alcoholic isn’t successful, there is another opportunity waiting in the wings.

In my research I found a chart that shows that colo/rectal cancer is the third most often diagnosed cancer in men. Of the men who have colo/rectal cancer, more than half had abused alcohol over a long period of time. Even moderate alcohol (a lifetime average of 2 to 4 alcoholic drinks per day) use can cause a pre-disposition towards colo/rectal cancer.

Some of the reasons cited for this increase in cancer in alcoholics is explained in a very difficult to read medical journal type document. I’ve tried to re-write it so us normal folks can understand. It’s something like this:
  1. Alcohol produces acetaldehyde  which is a carcinogen (cancer causing substance) for more information on this see http://health.howstuffworks.com/wellness/drugs-alcohol/hangover4.htm; also see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alcohol_and_cancer
  2. Because alcohol can also be used as a solvent (cleaner that dissolves crude), it enhances the ability for other carcinogenic molecules to inter the mucosal cells (tissues)
  3. Alcoholics generally have diets low in essential nutrients which weakens the immune system and makes the tissues of the body more susceptible to carcinogens.  http://www.cancer.org/cancer/news/expertvoices/post/2013/06/26/does-drinking-alcohol-increase-the-risk-of-cancer.aspx

 That’s what I’ve learned so far. There is so much information out there, that it is sometimes difficult to sort through it all and put into layman terms. The bottom line is that if you drink alcohol, you are far more susceptible to cancer than you would be if you did NOT drink alcohol.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Survival or Recovery Month -- September

Here we are again – September. It happens every year. September is Recovery Month according to SAMHSA – Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. It’s the 25th year that this organization has promoted the benefits of prevention, treatment and recovery for mental and substance use disorders.

When I first started writing the blog, I had already done months’ worth of research in order to get answers that were written in a format that I could understand. It didn’t happen overnight. I recall how I came upon each subject for research in The Immortal Alcoholic’s Wife.

However, there was a topic that I just couldn’t get my head around. The idea of recovery for the people who care about the alcoholic seemed to escape me. In my mind the only way for a spouse to recover from all that nonsense was to just get a divorce – leave him/her – kick ‘em to the curb! But there are also parents and children and friends and partners and co-works… the list goes on. What would be the answer to recovery for everyone?

As time went on, I discovered that the families and friends may need recovery just as much as the alcoholic. That’s why Al-Anon was created. It was to provide courage, strength and hope to the families and friends of alcoholics. There are 12 steps and 12 traditions that provide the handrails up the recovery ladder. Al-Anon provides a wonderful place for those just starting out in the realization and acceptance of being involved with an alcoholic.

But for me, the concept of recovery goes far deeper. There are so many of us that cannot or will not dump the alcoholic for some reason or another. Often when the alcoholic becomes end-stage separating from the alcoholic becomes just as problematic as the drinking itself. Everyone must make their own decision on leaving, staying, or whatever. For those people – the caretakers of end-stage alcoholics – recovery is most important. Maybe even not just the end-stagers, but all-stagers remaining in the situation.

Instead of the word “recovery” I like the word “survival”. How does the family or friend SURVIVE when in this impossible, nonsensical, frustrating situation? I sum it up with several words. KNOWLEDGE. SUPPORT. HEALTH. PASSION. LAUGHTER. SMILE.

KNOWLEDGE – As the alcoholic succumbs to different illnesses and conditions through the stages of the disease, do your research and learn everything you can about the physical biology that going on inside that alcoholic body. Also, learn about your legal standing, the workings of the hospital and hospice, know absolutely everything about your health insurance. Don’t just depend on an answer from a friend of a friend who once shook hands with someone who may have drank too much at a party… Find out for yourself through internet research, the library, speaking with a professional. Knowledge is the key to survival – I’ve said it a million times. Make all decisions based on knowledge that you know to be a fact.

SUPPORT – No matter how much research you do, there’s nothing like confirmation from someone who has been in your shoes. An exchange of ideas and experiences can be a life preserver in the midst of a super storm. Don’t just stick with only one support program because there are many out there. So if one doesn’t work, check it off your list and move on. Something will fit and you will be grateful to have found it. I offer OARS F&F Group on Facebook and at www.OARSFFGROUP.ning.com. Both sites are private. You must e-mail me to be sent an invitation to either group.

HEALTH – While you may be consumed with the health issues of the alcoholic, don’t forget that you may have your own health issues that need attending. You can’t take care of anyone else if you are too run down to take care of yourself. Get your check-ups. Take your medication and stay as physically fit as you possibly can. You will need all your strength to survive the chaos.

PASSION – Find your passion in life. Do you like bird-watching? Are you a writer? Is cooking your thing? Whatever it is, find it and do it. Don’t let anything the alcoholic is currently messing with stop you from enjoying the satisfaction of doing something you really want to do. While being involved in the activity you will most likely meet other people who also enjoy your passion. Having friends who are uninvolved with alcoholism is often a breath of fresh air when you feel your head is surrounded by the smog of drunkenness. Don’t deny yourself some normalcy. Those who are really – I mean REALLY – lucky can turn their passion into a new money-making venture. I’ve heard that if you make money doing what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life. How awesome would that be?

LAUGHTER – Laughter truly is often the very best medicine. So you’ve been crying for days and the depression hole is so deep that you can’t even see the light from the top. STOP whatever it is you are doing and just laugh. Laugh at a comedy on TV; the squirrels playing in the yard; the crazy thought you just had; something some uninformed know-it-all said to you yesterday; the outfit you threw on this morning. It doesn’t matter what you laugh at or even if it is funny or not, just laugh anyway. Laughing fills your lungs with oxygen which makes your brain function in a clearer manner. It makes you feel physically more refreshed. It’s not just about attitude – it’s an exercise for good health.

SMILE – I have found that I smile at everyone I possibly can and I feel a bit calmer inside. I like to believe that I’m helping someone else by sharing that smile. When I wake up in the morning, no matter how I feel about another day, I always say “Gooood Morning!” and I say it with a giant smile. Even though my day may go rapidly downhill, I have started out on a good note. My mother used to tell me that if you smile, people will either think you are a happy person or wonder what you have been up to. I like both of those reactions.

In this month of recovery, I think we can all benefit from surviving whatever it is that is causing stress. Survive from being a caretaker of an alcoholic. Survive from the stress of having an alcoholic boss. And when you are on the survival road… don’t forget to smile!



ONLY 25 days until the Twelve Stages of Alcoholism Seminar in Raleigh on 9/27/2014. See the sidebar for getting tickets. This falls under the ALL the categories I listed above – KNOWLEDGE, SUPPORT, HEALTH, PASSION, LAUGHTER and SMILE – join us to see what it’s all about!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Chose your poison... alcohol or cancer

I sat down yesterday to write a post about colorectal cancer. I’ve done a bit of research and found a few things that I wanted to share, but not really as much as I would have liked. I have been very distracted by Riley’s behavior and the opportunity to concentrate on writing or videoing has been elusive.

So far I’ve discovered that colon and/or rectal cancer seems to be the cancer of choice for the alcoholic’s body. The chance for survival is dependent on how quickly the cancer is caught. Since it’s hard to know exactly “when” the cancer started, the scale for survival rates is determined by using the stage of the cancer.

Over the past six weeks, Riley has been poked, prodded, scanned, vampire-ized, measured, and violated in very unpleasant manners. We still have not been told that the butt tumor (which we have named Tommy) is, in fact, malignant. We know its cancer and that Tommy is growing. We know there is a suspicious something in his groin lymph node – but not one doctor wants to say that lymph node issue is a part of Tommy’s mischievousness. We are told that we must wait for the biopsy on September 8th.

Anyone who knows me knows that is not good enough for me. While in the oncologist office, I said “This is my theory that I’ve surmised from Drs. Google and Wikipedia. Riley most likely has Stage IIIA colorectal cancer classified as such because it has spread to at least one of his lymph nodes. With treatment he has about a 53% chance of surviving.” The doctor’s response was that, in her opinion, I was correct but could not be 100% confident until we get the results of the biopsy.

This is where things get interesting – or – absurd depending on your point of view. Riley states that he does not want surgery if it means he will have to wear a poop bag. He would rather have chemo/radiation therapy. That’s understandable logic. Then Riley continues by saying “I want to have chemo and radiation so that the cancer will be gone in a couple of weeks and I can go back to drinking.” The doc and I look at each other. She is without words. My hands touch my forehead and then slide down my face as though I’m trying to wipe away the confusion.

(I need to explain that I was contemplating giving Riley metered glasses of wine over long spans of time. However, after the first couple of glasses (2 glasses at dinner every three weeks) his behavior became hostile and I stopped allowing any alcohol at all. So he is booze free knowing that no more is on the way. I believe letting him have monitored wine was a mistake on my part – which I have corrected.)

Back to the doctor who is trying to think of a response to Riley. It was a long pregnant pause. She comes back with something about it takes a lot longer than a few weeks for the treatment to work. She also reminds him that the drinking will kill him just as quickly as the cancer. At the present time, it has not been determined if he is healthy enough for treatment at all.

I chimed in and tried to explain that chemo/radiation will not, cannot, fix all the damage that was done to his body by excessive alcohol abuse. That he is still on the brink of another heart attack, stroke and that it appears his brain is still atrophying. I also point out to him that as long as he lives with me, he will not be drinking. Uh… ohh, I’ve left the door open on that one.

Riley: I’m going to have the treatment, get well, move out and drink myself to death. I’d rather die of drunkenness than die of cancer.

Doc: Well, Mr. Riley, with that attitude I’m worried that treatment will be wasted on you and that you will not be a good candidate. It is possible we will not treat your cancer. Turning to me – Is this the way things are at your house all the time? Do you have any help?

Linda: Yes. This is the way things are all the time. No. I don’t have any help.

Riley: She hired a housekeeper to come in one day a week, but now the housekeeper only helps Linda because she turned her into a friend.

Linda: What? No… let’s move on. The bottom line is no decision has been made because not all the tests are completed. Correct?

Doc (relieved that she didn’t have to respond to Riley): Correct.

So, while I wanted to post about everything I can find about Colorectal Cancer, the frustration and confusion has taken hold and I’m fighting the urge to run for my life. I cannot image this situation getting any easier as Tommy grows and Riley’s anger rises to a crescendo.

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PS -- Don't forget to get your tickets for the Twelve Stages of Alcoholism Seminar in Raleigh, NC on September 27th. Go to www.lindasfrontporch.com or http://immortalalcoholic.blogspot.com/2014/07/fun-with-alcoholism.html.


Thursday, August 21, 2014

Show us your disease!

Our search for candidates for the major television network documentary production is still continuing. We have several great stories, but there is so much more to tell. I'm reaching out to all my readers who may be willing to share your story in all this alcoholic chaos. The alcoholic in your life must be willing to consent to at least an interview in the videotaping.

Drop me an e-mail (LDoyne@live.com) and briefly tell me about your story. Please provide a phone number and the best times for a phone call with me and possibly the producer. If you have already provided your story and want to be re-considered, please don't hesitate to let me know.

This documentary is a giant step in changing how people view those of us who care take an end-stage alcoholic. It's not always about "co-dependency" or "enabling" but rather about seeing the alcoholic as a person with a disease. If alcoholism truly is a disease -- then let the world see that illness through the experiences of those closest to the person who is sick as well as the one living inside the disease.

If you are an alcoholic and want your story to be told -- please e-mail me immediately. We need brave alcoholics who are still drinking to tell what their life is like. No criticism, no judgment, no urging you to stop or go into rehab -- just tell us like it is and we will respect your point of view.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Repost: Crazy is as crazy does...

In light of the cancer craziness that is going on -- I thought it might be good to revisit a previous post about Riley's immortality and the craziness of it all. I wonder if I'll be faced with this again. The post below was originally published in December 2012. It describes how an alcoholic can still display signs of "craziness" even in sobriety.

Riley has been "less crazy" over the past few months. I'm wondering if the thought or reality of some of the restrictions that will be induced by chemo/radiation/etc is going to drive him back to that crazy place.

December 2012

Just because the alcoholic in your life is sober for the moment, do not assume that everything is back to normal. Be aware. Sobriety doesn’t always equate to normality.



Riley has not had even a sip of anything alcoholic since May 4, 2012 when he had a near fatal heart attack. He’s not supposed to be alive right now. According to numerous doctors, nurses, social workers, etc. he was so close to death during his last hospital stay I was coerced into trying to “get on with my own life.” Believe me, I welcomed the suggestion. But, deep down inside I knew I had been here before and not to completely trust what they were telling me. I went forward, but with guarded trepidation.
I gave away some of his clothing and books. I melded his file folders into mine. I got rid of the old computer monitor that originated in the 80’s. I threw away the very old worn tennis shoes and saved the new ones. His mattress and most of his other bedding, along with his area rug, were sent to the dump because they were so covered in human excrement. It was a step in going forward as I had been advised.
On August 4th I was told the ones who advised me to assume and prepare for his imminent death had been wrong. The situation had changed and I was to take him home and care for him as best I could under the circumstances. I was given vague instructions as I loaded him into my van. This was to become another segment in my journey through this adventure in the world of insanity.
Almost four months later, Riley is walking without assistance from me, but rather with a walker and, sometimes, a cane. He is able to shower by himself and feed himself. He can wash dishes and clean out the refrigerator (well… sort of…). He takes great pride in going around and making sure all the clocks are set correctly in accordance with the time displayed on the cable network channel. The highlight of his day is making lists – grocery lists, to-do lists, phone call lists, etc. When outsiders are around he can communicate with them logically for about 30 minutes. Most of his stories are never real, but they don’t know that.
I know it doesn’t sound so bad does it – or is it? There is an aspect to all this that most people wouldn’t even notice if they did not live with him. Even his doctors are starting to say that he is competent. He knows the date, the president’s name and can remember a list of numbers for a short period of time. In fact, he may even be capable of living on his own. How I wish that were true.
My day starts every morning with a cup of coffee which is gratefully made by Riley. It is between 4 AM and 5:30 AM. Each day I try to only engage Riley in conversations that I think will not create any conflict. I try to suggest projects for the day within his means of ability. I ask what he wants for dinner. Simple little diatribes to start the day. But, things always seem to take a turn for the worst.
Riley will ask me why I have decided to paint the kitchen in certain colors when those colors were never even mentioned in the plans. He will ask me why I don’t do this or that and I will have to repeat everything concerning the subject over again every morning for numerous mornings in a row. He will ask me when he is getting his computer back and when I tell him he can’t have the computer back – he tells me he’s leaving as soon as he is done with his coffee. I try to reason with him that the computer is off limits because of his being visited by police officials concerning his illegal porn usage. He doesn’t remember it and so believes I’m lying about it ever happening.
A peaceful morning almost invariably turns into a frustrating round of trying to make sense of it all for Riley’s sake. He may be able to remember that string of numbers, but he can’t remember anything about yesterday. He does not believe he ever had a heart attack and thinks I just put him into a nursing home because I was tired of him. He wants me to tell him how many days until he can start drinking again. He wants to know when he can drive. And mostly, he wants to know when I’m going to get out of his life.
Riley has turned into a mean old man. He dislikes the grandchildren’s dog, kids, friends and anything else he relates to them. He becomes angry with me and the world at the drop of a hat. If I don’t share his interest in the latest news story, he claims I’m not concerned about political issues. He must recount to me every episode of every NCIS he has watched that day. If I mention that I’ve seen all of them more than once, he replies that can’t be true because he’d never seem that episode before. In Riley’s mind, I’m a lying, conniving, underhanded, prison warden who revels in making him miserable. He doesn’t hesitate to tell me so every chance he can.
I’ve heard that insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. Somehow I think that if I just keep explaining things to Riley that eventually he will see that I’m not the bad guy and grow to accept his circumstances. The only person I’m hurting is me. The only really crazy person in the room is me. I know better. But, my instincts are to try to answer his questions with honest answers. Try to give viable explanations without being cruel. I’m reaching the end of my ability to keep going in this manner.
Riley has new projects assigned to him now. I suggest he go for a walk around the block since we now live where there are blocks instead of pastures. I suggest he go with me to the grocery store. I’ve shown him how to use the washer and dryer, although each week we have to repeat the lesson. I don’t dial his brother’s phone number for him anymore. In short, I’m forcing him to try to be more self-reliant. Maybe by doing so, he will eventually REALLY be ready to live on his own with just an occasional visit by a family member to check up on him.
Of course, the minute he is in his own place, he will be drinking alcohol. If he has his car, he will drive drunk. His health will fail rapidly and his days of immortality may be over. This is where my moral compass kicks in. I must get rid of the car before he moves out. And I have to turn a blind eye to whatever he is doing during his downfall. It feels like I’m killing him.
There is no great love lost between us, yet I still feel a responsibility. And then, there is forever the issue of not wanting my daughter to pick him up, dust him off and destroy her life. The question is… by the time she scoops him up to take care of him, will he be so far gone that he will not be too destructive to her sanity. 

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

I drink because I'm depressed, I'm depressed because I drink...

About a month ago, one of the greatest actors in our time, Robin Williams, admitted himself into the Hazelden Addiction Center in Lindstrom, MN. He had publicly announced that he was an alcoholic back in 2006. It is unclear, so far, if Mr. Williams, had been drinking recently.

In my opinion, alcohol is a chameleon. It is disguised to be the thing you need, when in fact it is exactly what you DON’T need. The advertising says liquor creates fun when in fact it creates chaos.

In my youth, I remember going out with a group of friends with drinking as the means to “lighten up” and “enjoy the moment.” The next morning, I did NOT enjoy that moment hanging my head over the toilet.

I hear young people now who are very excited about the idea of going out and getting so drunk they can’t walk – “I’m going out and I’m going to get sooooo drunk…” Then you hear about the fights, hook-ups, and general bad behavior nonsense and I have to ask myself, why was that was so much fun?

Later on, if I had a tough day at work, I’d open a bottle of wine and have a few glasses just to take away some of the stress. All the wine usually did was make me open up about my stressful day and re-live it over again. Guess what? The stress was right there in my office when I returned to work.

Our society drinks alcohol. It is a fact that cannot be disputed. We are a society that uses alcohol to celebrate happy times and alleviate the pain of bad times. In my opinion, our society creates situations that generate alcoholics and then we shun them as though they are less human than those of us who are not afflicted with alcoholism. Alcoholics must hide the fact that they are alcohol dependent because they do not want to be labeled as being something as distasteful as an alcoholic. Of course, that’s just my opinion.

Robin Williams was depressed, or at least that’s what the news media is telling us. I believe it. I have no reason not to believe it. However, I wasn't at his house when he died and I have no first-hand knowledge of what actually happened. I only know what the publicity agents want me to know.

What I do know is this: Depressed people often mistakenly turn to alcohol to give them that “pick me up” that they need because the hype is that it will make them feel better. It is not unusual that people mask or medicate their depression with alcohol. However, alcohol is a depressant and the more alcohol consumed, the more intense the depression. The alcohol takes over and the voluntary action of drinking to medicate turns into drinking to feed the alcohol addiction which is making the depression worse. It becomes a descending spiral that leads to many physical complications generating the need to mask other pains from such things as liver failure, coronary heart disease, brain damage, etc. The alcohol now has complete control over the depressed person and adds the gift of poor physical health.

The only way out is through some form of rehab/recovery program. However, if the program only treats the alcoholism and not the depression, the chance of relapse is strong. In my opinion (again), when an alcoholic is admitted for detox and follows with rehab, the rehab portion should be in conjunction with intensive psychological therapy to get to the root of the depression. Without the treatment of the depression it is like removing only half of a cancerous tumor. The tumor just continues to grow and eventually kill the patient.

The first movie that made me fall in love with Robin Williams was Good Morning, Viet Nam! Many of my friends had fought in that war and since Mr. Williams was close to my age, and I had married a Viet Nam vet with PTSD issues, this movie was very relevant to me.


Having had my own life threatened as author of this blog, I understand why celebrities sequester themselves from the prying eyes of the public. There is a danger in notoriety. It’s too bad that celebrities must hide their anguish and put up a brave front for fear of letting all of us “fans” down.  If I could say something to Robin Williams before he did whatever he did that caused him to leave us, it would be: “Thank you for the laughter you bring into my life. If you ever need someone to help you remember that your life is worth living, you can call on me.” I doubt he would have called… but I would have left that door open not because he’s a celebrity, but because he is a human being.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

FREE tickets!!

Do you want to go to the Raleigh seminar in September? Are your funds low and because of that you think you will have to miss all the great info and fun? Here's how you can go for FREE:

Send me an e-mail (LDoyne@Live.com) with the names of ten people that you have signed up for a reservation. When all ten people have paid for their tickets -- I'll send you a FREE ticket!!

But wait -- it gets even better -- Sign up 25 people and you get a FREE ticket AND also get a room for the night before the seminar with includes "Breakfast with Linda"!

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Want to go to a seminar, but not in Raleigh? Choose one of these cities:

  1. Washington DC -- October
  2. Lake Worth, FL -- November
  3. Columbus, OH -- December
Send me an e-mail and let me know that you are interested in attending in that city. I'll put you on the mailing list and send you details when they become available. Once the hotel site is confirmed, you will have the same opportunity for a FREE ticket as the attendees at the Raleigh seminar.

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Want to go to a seminar in a city that is not listed? Send me an e-mail with the name of the city that you want on the list and I'll add it. If I get tentative commitments from 20 people, I'll move your city closer to the top of the list.


Monday, July 28, 2014

The Immortal Alcoholic: Fun with alcoholism?

The Immortal Alcoholic: Fun with alcoholism?: One of my goals after creating the OARS F&F Group (Our Alcoholism Resource and Support for Family and Friends) was that eventually I&#39...

Fun with alcoholism?

One of my goals after creating the OARS F&F Group (Our Alcoholism Resource and Support for Family and Friends) was that eventually I'd be creating live support groups all over the country and maybe even the world. I know, I know, that's a lofty goal. In light of the realization that creating live groups is a bit premature, I've decided to do something that is kinda the next best thing.

On September 27th, 2014, I will host a seminar on the subject of alcoholism. The topic will be the Twelve Stages of Alcoholism as seen through the eyes of a spouse who has seen her husband's transformation from heavy drinker to end-stage alcoholic. While giving my presentation, I will ask for audience interaction and participation. Instead of me standing at a podium and spewing out an endless stream of words, I'll be asking for the audience for input. Some people would rather keep their mouth shut while others may be anxious to join in -- speaking up is not a requirement -- but it will be an option.

The day will not just be about alcoholism. I'll be joined by an instructor of Zentangle. This will be a first encounter for me with Zentangle -- which is, as I understand it, a way to achieve a semi-meditative state through scribbles and writing. I've seen some Zentangle work and it is beautiful. When I asked Barby, the instructor, to explain Zentangle to me, she said writing a repetition of shapes and/or letters can help the mind relax and become open to rest. When she explained that, I thought -- I'd love a way to just stop thinking about "things" for even a few minutes. I invited her to join me in this seminar and I'm so happy that she agreed. Materials for this exercise is included in the price of the seminar.

I went to a caregivers seminar once and there was a "Laughter Yoga" session. I was so very impressed that I learned to do some of the exercises myself. It's not really exercise like sweat and raised heart rate. It's more like learning to laugh at things that hold absolutely no humor at all. Throughout the seminar I may sprinkle in some of that laughter yoga just to take a break from the seriousness of the subject.

What would a day at a seminar be without some awesome grub!! Lunch will be included. It will be a sandwich and salad buffet.

If that isn't enough to entice you make reservations -- I will be encouraging networking by not serving dessert until the networking portion begins. Enjoying cookies and brownies while meeting new people gives an opener for conversation. Networking may connect you with someone who is in a similar situation and create an opening for mutual support.

Let's not forget about the door prizes!! There will be several just waiting for you to claim if your name is pulled from the hat. There will also be something special for the person who traveled the farthest; the driver of the carpool that transported the most attendees; and there will be another drawing from the people who stayed at the hotel. Don't worry if your name isn't pulled -- everyone will receive a gift bag when they stop at the seminar registration table before the event.

But wait!!! The hotel has reserved a block of rooms at a discounted rate just for this seminar. If you spend the night before at the hotel, you can have breakfast with Linda at the hotel breakfast bar. This is just a casual meeting without an agenda and a chance to see exactly who The Immortal Alcoholic's Wife really is behind the words and videos.

This event will be in Raleigh/Durham, NC, at the Comfort Suites Raleigh/Durham Airport at 5219 Page Road, Durham, NC 27703. To book a room, call 919-314-1200 and ask for the Linda's Front Porch rate.

The next seminars will be in Washington DC, Lake Worth, FL, Columbus, OH in that order. These are the cities where followers have asked me to hold an event. If you want a seminar in your area, leave a comment and I'll put that city on the calendar.

Order your tickets now for the Raleigh/Durham seminar at the early bird rate of $40. After August 15th they will increase to $45.  Because no one likes going to something alone -- Special bring a friend rate -- purchase one ticket at full price and get the second for $25. (Only one $25 ticket per full price ticket). How to get your tickets?:

Send an e-mail with SEMINAR in the subject line to 
LDoyne@live.com with your name, address and e-mail address prior to payment.
Be sure to include the info for the friend if using the "bring a friend" rate.
I'll respond with your total cost payable via PayPal or check.

Credit Card through PayPal; PayPal account: LDoyne@live.com

Checks -- Payable to Linda Doyne, mailed to 227 Foreman Lane, Belhaven, NC 27810
(Checks must arrive before September 15th to allow time for them to clear the bank.)

At the door without prior reservation- $50 cash, check or credit card. 

I hope to see many of my North Carolina readers and maybe even some from Virginia or South Carolina at this informative and fun event. Mark your calendar for September 27th, 2014 and get your tickets now!