Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Comments posting...

I signed up for Google+ Circles which includes comments from this blog. I didn't realize that in order for my readers to comment, they must sign up for Google+. That complicates things because I know many of you don't want to do that. You may easily post comments on the new Linda's Front Porch site. Simply go to the site and click on "The Immortal Alcoholic Blog", you will find a "comment" section under each post. Please post any replies there.

Everything I post on this blog is now being simultaneously posted on Linda's Front Porch, www.lindasfrontporch.com. Plus there are extra things of a more personal nature in Linda's life on that site.  Please be sure to check that site if you are wanting to comment.

Thank you...

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Learn to be happy...




Comments to Kelly Flint -- Please post your comments to Kelly on www.lindasfrontporch.com under Immortal Alcoholic Blog and subtitle, Kelly's Korner.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

A brand new website

Your are formally invited
To view my new website
Provide your opinions…
See the special surprise…

Give me feedback.

After nearly 800,000 hits and over four years, I felt it was time to change things up a bit.  I found I was putting things in several different places on the web. There was two websites for support groups, one for the blog, one for writing... it just seemed all confusing and difficult to keep up. So I created a place that has everything in one spot. 

It isn't totally done yet but the majority is up and running. I'll be making changes and smoothing out the rough edges over the next few months or so. This site will continue and I have no plans to take it down. However, there are more things on the new site and I'm sure you don't want to miss anything.

Please take a look and tell me what you think either on this site or the new one.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Answers from Riley...

In order to film Riley, I had to use my hand-held camera so the quality is not that great. But, you will see him and hear his answers. In the interest of keeping him focused, I had to cut some of the questions down into more manageable segments. The written transcript is below.




Addy –
Do you realize that you have hurt yourself and the family by excessive drinking?
Yes. More, I think my family and those around me rather than myself.

If you could go back and change things, would you?
No.

HyperCryptical –
When did you know alcohol had become your master?
I don't think it has ever become my master.

Gerry –
Do you consider yourself mentally impaired?
Yes, but not because of the alcohol.

Did Linda’s devotion to you ever motivate you to quit drinking?
Yes, when I was in the service, early on, but not so much later.

Do you think you might ever be capable of quitting drinking completely?
No, not at this point.

Angry Alcoholics –
What kind of person do you think you would have been if you had never tasted alcohol?
Very dull.

What would you have done with your life?
Something dull, probably not spend 25 years on submarines. I would be very much like my father.

What would you be doing now?
I have no idea, but I would probably be dead now.

What were your dreams?
Mine? I think there is no burden greater than a great expectation. I didn't have any dreams for myself as I was expected to.

What advice would you give to a man who feels he is not an alcoholic, but who is drinking three quarters of a bottle of gen a day, starting every morning and sipping throughout the day?
Try to quit.

How would you wake up his family that he’s in trouble?
It is very difficult to wake up the family as quoted by you. I'm not sure that I could. The family and associates have a tendency to tip toe around the elephant in the room.

Kendra –
What makes you feel grounded?
Now -- this house and Linda.

What makes you feel at peace with yourself and your God or creator?
I seldom do.

Do you feel a sense of accomplishment about your time on this earth?
No I don't.

Mike –
Do you realize that you have a drinking problem?
My joking response to that is: Yes, that I don't get enough. I don't think that I have a problem with it.

Why did you begin to drink?
It was the thing to do.

Why do you want to continue when you realize it is killing you?
Because it was the thing to do.

Trisha E –
Was there something painful that made you turn to alcohol for relief?
No, not initially.

Were you ever able to work thru the circumstance at the heart of the alcoholism in any of your rehab, counseling or AA sessions?
No, not really.

Zowie –
Without alcohol in the picture, what gives your life the most meaning?

Little or nothing right now.

What are your greatest joys?
Waking up every morning.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Just say yes...

Riley in Detox after Heart Attack 2012

I do not like feeling that I'm "hounding" anyone about anything, so if I am pushing the limit -- please forgive me.

There was once a man (actually I’m sure there’s been more than just one) who went to the hospital emergency room and said “I’m really sick and I think I need to detox from alcohol.” The polite nurse takes his vitals and sends him back to a curtained area. The doctor comes and states that they have no beds for patients who are there for detox. He tells the man to return if he is still in pain after detox. He hands him a referral to the rehab hospital up the street who will only take fully insured patients. The man walks out the door, goes home, calls a friend and together they try to get through the night. It’s Sunday and there are no package stores open and the man has no alcohol in the house and doesn't even have enough cash for beer or cheap wine. Two days later the man is dead.

Could this be you? Could this be someone you love? Do you know and understand that the scenario is not just a fictional imagining. This takes place in hospitals all over the world. It’s a disgrace that someone who needs medical attention cannot get it because they are addicted to alcohol. It should not matter if in that moment the alcoholic wants to go to rehab or not. What matters is facing the immediate issue at that exact point in time.

So how can we get our hospitals and medical professionals to change? How do we make them understand that end-stage alcoholism is not always the end of the line with proper medical care? How can we force them to treat people even if they deem the alcoholic as a lost cause? After all, if someone attempts suicide, aren't they admitted to the hospital with every attempt made to keep them from failing at their primary objective? Why should alcoholics be treated any differently?

What we can do is draw attention to the need of medically supervised detox in the hospital environment. We can force the world to see clearly what alcoholism detox really looks like. We can make it real by bringing real people and showing real detox. Movies and movie stars are just fiction and can easily be dismissed by the statement – “Oh, it’s just a movie.” It’s easily forgotten. But real faces and real stories are difficult to erase from the memory. Our real stars are the alcoholics themselves.

If any of you have an actively drinking alcoholic and you believe a hospital stay (for any reason) is in the very near future, please contact me. We want to show what detox is REALLY like for someone who has been drinking non-stop for many years. The detox could follow a medical event while at the hospital. (We all know the best to get hospital detox is to go in for some other life endangering issue.) The idea is to get it on film and show the complications, effects and issues medically of excessive drinking.

I truly believe that how the world sees alcoholism will never be seen realistically until people like us make it real to everyone. How can we change how the hospital admits people for detox until we show how important it is to be IN the hospital during detox?

If your alcoholic is complaining of whatever, start asking if he/she would agree to helping us make others see the importance of getting medical help whether they are drinking or not. Drinking is not the issue -- the ability to have medially supervised detox is the issue. Explain to them that they can help make a big change in how others see drinking.

Of course, we all know that the hope is they will detox and decide on rehab. But that's not a requirement for this program. No intervention, no judgment, no criticism, no one trying to get them to change.

We've all heard them say NO before. So if they say no, it won't injure our ears at all. But if they say YES then they just might be saving the life of an unknown person. They just might be the start of a change in how alcoholics get the help they need just to stay alive.

If you are an alcoholic and you don't want people to say you've wasted your life on booze, then let your life stand for a courageous attempt to change the way things are done. Let your life stand for making the start of the world sit up and take notice. Be the Rosa Parks of drinking -- stay on the bus, but change up the world's seating arrangement.

Please contact me for more info and to let me know of that one person may be willing to yes. If you would like to speak to one of the producers of this hard-hitting documentary, I can make that happen.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Riley speaks!!!

At the request of one of my followers, I offered Riley the opportunity to do a video post with me. He agreed but didn't know what he would say. I asked if would just like to answer questions from the followers and he said that is what he would prefer.

Please send me questions you would like to ask Riley. When I have enough questions together (hopefully by the end of next week) I will video him while I ask him your questions and he answers. Send your questions as a comment to this post so everyone can see what questions are being asked. Hopefully that way, we will not have a lot of repetition of questions. If for some reason you cannot comment, e-mail them to me at LDoyne@live.com.

For those of you who prefer the written blog to the video, I will do my best to transcribe his answers and post them as a written post as well.

Friday, May 23, 2014

How's Riley doing?

First ever video post... unedited... straight off my video cam...

video

Would you like more video posts? Or was one quite enough?

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Special...

I've completed my first week of Skype coaching sessions and I believe it has been a great success. It doesn't really feel like coaching, most people just want to have someone listen and understand. That's what I do.

Everyone knows that holidays are very stressful when there is an alcoholic involved. Or maybe your alcoholic is no longer in the picture but you are missing that person more on a holiday. I am here and I'll be available the entire weekend -- Friday thru Monday to Skype with you or chat on the phone.

I'll continue my special rate of $10 per 30 minutes for the entire holiday period. Just e-mail me at FrontPorchConnection@mail.com and let me know what time works best for you. Join me on my porch... have a glass of lemonade and we'll see if we can make some sense out of the chaos.

Linda

Saturday, May 17, 2014

The end questions...

How long until?   How will I know?   What can I do?

More than any other questions – these are the ones that seem to plague my readers more than any others. What are the answers? There is no cut and dry equation that leads to exact answers to specific questions. There is no secret algebraic formula in the journey through alcoholism. There is no map with pushpin indicators as to the road stopping anywhere. Alcoholism is a crap shoot as to specifics. It’s a spin of the roulette wheel because no one is certain when it will stop.

There are charts that can give us an idea for a specific moment in time. But, that is the key “specific moment in time.” When Riley was at the “end”, I kept extensive records on either his decline or progress, whichever the case may be at that time. I created and used faithfully, The Workbook for Caretakers of End-Stage Alcoholics. I used every bit of information I could get to keep the book updated. I calculated his MELD and Child-Pugh Scores every time I got the results of his blood tests. I dutifully gave all my information to the medical doctors who were trying to keep him alive. And yet, he ended up in hospice after a major heart attack and stroke. Hospice was short lived because – as we all know – Riley is the Immortal Alcoholic.

How long? The difference that was made by keeping records and doing the charts was that I was prepared. The MELD and Child-Pugh Scores told me an approximation of how long he might live if nothing changed. That is if he drank the same amount consistently and made no improvements to his situation. For the most part the scores were right on point. If you want to know how long, my answer is to learn to use the MELD and Child-Pugh Scores. That can usually tell you if the time limits are in the years or the months.

If you ask a medical person the answer you will receive will probably sound like a sermon from the pulpit – especially here in the south. You will hear, “No one know how long a person will remain on this earth. Only God can say for sure.” Even though some doctors consider themselves “God”, they do not like to give even an approximation of time left. I believe it is possible for them to give a “ball park” in terms of months or days, etc., but then I’m not a doctor. I’m just a survivor who has seen the alcoholic’s immortality in action.
Some alcoholics, like Riley, seem to be blessed with more lives than a cat while others go quickly and without a lot of warning, like my son. There doesn’t seem to be a lot of middle ground as far as I have seen and heard. When a person starts drinking in excess that roulette wheel starts turning and no one really knows where it will stop.

How will I know? This isn’t so hard to answer because there are visual signs that tell us to beware. The color of the alcoholic’s skin and eyes will be more yellowish. He will sleep most of the time and the time when he is not asleep, he will have a drink in his hand. He may vomit blood or have bloody diarrhea. He will have tremors which increase as his drinking lessens. He may hallucinate or have night terrors. Paranoia may become his friend as his in-the-flesh friends fade away along with any hope for employment. There are more details and explanations in page on Stages of an Alcoholic Life.

What can you do? What you can do is dependent on what you want the outcome to be. Some caretakers want to hold on to the alcoholic’s life with both hands and feet. They want to keep them alive so they can pray for a different ending – an ending that includes a continuing life of sobriety, family and true love. Those endings do happen – not as much as we would all like them to happen, but they are possible. There are lots of side-effects to trying to obtain the utopian ending including the deterioration of the health of the caretaker. So the alcoholic may survive while the caretaker may not. If the caretaker can remember to take heed of their own well-being while nursing the alcoholic into sobriety – there is an opportunity for them both to share a long and blissful sober life.

The reality is that most alcoholics and their caretakers never get to the point where they can share much of anything except an argument. But, if you have chosen (somewhere in the far distant past) to stand firm by your alcoholic’s side, it is the caretaker who must decide how long they want to keep the circus open. While the caretaker can go the route of attempting to get medical care for a chance at survival, they can also attempt to get medical care for a chance at hospice. I believe most caretakers have a unique instinct about when the route goes from one point to the other.

In either case, what the caretaker can do is almost nothing once all the medical / detox / rehab options have been exhausted. Again I believe the caretaker will have a little voice in their head telling them when to step back. At that point the focus should shift to getting affairs of the alcoholic in order.  Get a General Power of Attorney and a Medical Power of Attorney; Living Will and Advance Directive; a Last Will and Testament; and possibly a DNR. Keep all these documents together in a safe place. I keep Riley’s in the back pocket of the workbook.

I remember asking my son’s doctor – what I can do to help. His answer was not satisfactory to me. He said “NOTHING” – there was nothing I could or should do. All I could do was wait. For a mother, I felt there must be something I could do – some little something that would keep him with me for even a day longer. There was nothing I could do because he was gone within 24 hours of asking the doctor how I could help. I didn’t make that decision because I would have done anything I could to keep him alive. His roulette wheel didn’t land in a positive place for me.

I take care of Riley just as I would any other elderly sick person who cannot take care of himself. He does not drink because there is no booze available to him. He has made it clear that he would be drunk if he had the opportunity. I made a choice the last time I called 911. I choose to give him a chance to survive. At this very moment (because it could change in a heart-beat), I do not regret that I made that call. I can live with myself. Today, and today only, I do not know how long Riley will last and I don’t know how to determine how close he is to the end. That is only because there is no alcohol involved.


At the end of all this the answers to the questions are all – it depends, I’m not sure; I don’t know. All I can suggest is use relatively rational logic and the tools, i.e., the MELD and Child-Pugh Scores, the workbook (either mine or make up your own); and you’ll be better prepared no matter what the answer.