Aloneness of an Alcoholic

How fast time goes. I was last talking about making it through the holidays. Now winter is starting to show us that it's here. Living in Rochester, MA, down by the Cape Cod area, we have been lucky with no "real "storms"...until the past week and more coming Monday! Until then, we only had dusting of snow, some ice, but no need to be plowed out. After all, it's winter!

Every year at this time, I can't help but think and feel for the homeless, the alcoholic and drug users all suffering away from home and living outside. Yes, a lot of them are living this way by their choice, but how is it in the USA or any country that people have nowhere to go for shelter? I wonder how they even survive.

If God had blessed me with a fortune, I'd love to have locations built for these poor people. So many of us take our money, homes, family, cars, the ability to put food on the table, and live the American dream for granted. I wonder how the ones who have lost this security and love from family feel fighting their alcohol or drug addictions alone?

I remember my daughter, Lori, having all the above until she had been kicked out to "get her act together" as we thought she needed back then for her to reach rock bottom and ask for professionals with her illness. Never hearing from her, had my nerves in knots during the freezing cold in February of 2006. The year she died in November. It was then that we got a call from her so-called girlfriend telling us that she gave Lori an apartment with the promise of paying her rent when she got a job, and she wasn't. The girl wanted to call the cops to get her out.

Al and I took a ride to pick her up when her friend was going out for the night with her family and gave us her address to pick Lori up. We knocked on the door a few times with no answer. We opened the door to a world that I only heard about from people, saw on television or heard on the radio.

We walked into the so-called living room with no carpet or furniture, except a rocking chair, Lori's broken-down TV set, and a pillow thrown on the wooden floor for her to sleep. Making our way into the kitchen, we found no food or drink in the refrigerator or cabinets. NOTHING!

But the worse was having an icy, cold, feeling hit our face and body when we walked into the apartment. The heat was turned off with the hopes of forcing Lori to leave on her own. How can a so-call friend do that to someone? It's against the law in the first place. My respect for her disappeared knowing she had no guilt doing this to my daughter or any person.

Lori had nothing and no held onto pride instead of having called family to help her. Her belongings of clothing were all placed in one large, black, trash bag.

We opened a door off the living room to enter a bedroom with two twin beds, which we assumed were her friend's daughter's room. The first to hit me was the blast of hot air from the heat in their side of the home. Going down the stairs, we found Lori sitting on a couch, drinking; I gathered liquor from her glassy eyes.

She light-up with excitement when she saw us both as we informed her we were taking her home with us. We gathered the little left in her life into the car. Al drove hers with Lori in it, and I followed with tears seeing where her life had come.

Once we got home, we placed her belongings in the sunroom and sat in the living room on the couch to watch television. No one discussed what had happened in her life or where she has been since leaving home. We acted like normal people who had grown up in an alcoholic family. Discussions were pushed under the rug and we acted like nothing bothered us.

She came over to me and pushed her back up against my chest, and I placed my arms around her to pull her in closer. I smelled liquor on her breath and didn't care; she was home.

Lori said, "If you only knew, Mom, how good it feels with you holding me." Words that will stay in my heart and mind until I die.

I choked back tears wondering how many months went by with her desire for my arms around her or anyones from the family. Little did I know that would be the last time that I would hold my daughter in my arms. Thirty-nine years of age, and yet a child being held. She had been in three alcohol rehabs and was still in denial. Fearing to die like her father, she traveled down the same path.

Pride and the need for drinking kept her away from reaching out to us. I ran my fingers through her long, curly, jet-black hair that was tangled and once beautiful. What had this poor lost soul been going through was the only thing on my mind.

I then told her to go upstairs and take a hot bath. After I gave her a pair of my winter pajamas, I filled the tub.

"Take your time and relax," I said to her.

I went into the spare bedroom and setup a picture of her son and daughter on the nightstand and turned the electric blanket on to warm her cold body.

Entering the room, she saw her kid's pictures, and smiled, "Mom, you put the kids pictures here!"

I told her those were the two reasons to get back on her feet. Getting under the covers, her remark was, "Oh, it's so warm!" as she pulled the covers up to her neck.

Each night, Al and I had slept with our electric blanket on and had food on the table and our heat turned on, while Lori was lost in a world of alcoholism. Nothing could have been more painful for me to witness. This was not the life I gave her as she grew up.

I wrote about this scene in my sequel, Please, God, Not Two: This Killer Called Alcoholism. The scenes that are kept behind closed doors are a reality in the memoir of alcoholic families. The truth on the pain and emotions that reach every member of the unit.

If you have a loved one roaming the streets, trying to put their life together, do everything in your power to help them. They may be beyond having the strength to do anything to help themselves.

Yes, these are my thoughts every winter when it arrives and I realize the poor, lost souls will be out in the cold with nowhere to go or be behind closed doors with the warmth of family. We need to open our hearts up to the alcoholic and drug addicts. They were good people before the demon of alcoholism reached them.

I realize that sometimes family members have lost hope and belief that their sick one will seek recovery, and you give up on them ourselves. Don't! This way, if God calls them home, you will know in your heart you did everything to help them. And more importantly, they would have known you loved them. Actions speak louder than words to them! You can tell them you love them as much as you want, but showing them in action is a gift.

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