I have always believed that the professionals need to find out "Why" the substance abusers use; not concentrating on trying to cure them of their alcohol, drug or precription habits.
Looking back to when I had been blessed with my husband, Richard (who we called Richie), and my daughter, Lori, being in my life, I remember the people they were before this horrible alcohol abuse kept them from being happy, as they once were.
Both of them had pain from their past and I didn't see it or tried. I looked at the "problem" with their drinking; the blackouts, yelling or fights. My life was upside down from the effects of their actions, and I had been struggling to get my normal life back, when I should have stopped and looked at how to help them get their lives back, get them into recovery (which they had in time).
I should have sat down in a peaceful atmosphere and talked to them--no, I take that back. I should have listened to their hurt and pain. We don't learn anything from doing all the talking.
I should have talked to Lori and Debbie after their father died in the beginning with our quiet time about my life with their father's drinking coming into our family and what happened when they were babies listening to the fights and confusion. If I had, maybe, just maybe, Lori would have understood why she grew up with fear and no security in her life.
As for Richie, I should have made demands as soon as I realized there was a drinking problem. How do you know it's a problem? When it causes problems. Instead, I could have gotten the highest award for being an enabler. There was the covering up with family that there was even a problem, not talking to Richie about it the day after a blackout, instead I went into the silent treatment.
But the healthiest action should have been demanding getting professional help. If the answer, which it was, had been no, than I should have kicked him out until he did. I gave him no choice and excepted his actions day after day, year after year. When in the meantime, my daughters suffered. As parents, it's up to us to protect our children, not the other parent using.
I didn't make him drink, but I helped bring him deeper into his problem. We didn't know Lori had a problem until she was thirty-seven and she died at thirty-nine. See doing something about the problem, even if they never recover, is from love and helps them look at their problem and maybe desire the want to stop their merry-go-round of bouts.
Richie came from a family of drinkers..another reason I believe this disease can be hereditary for some users. Others start by following the crowd, too many parties with heavy drinking, wanting to fit in with friends, have past hurts they are trying to bury, instead of facing them head-on, losing someone they love from death or a breakup. The list can go on. Instead of trying to get closer to Richie and trying to understand him, I pulled away from anger, fear, and abuse. One huge mistake, I didn't reach out for help for myself until ten years went by and the demon had a tight grip on him. I didn't turn to parents who might have helped us.
As for Lori, after I lost Richie to cirrhosis of the liver, I didn't take the time to see the pain she had been in with her life. I was now alone as a parent trying to act like a dad also instead of sitting down with both Lori and Debbie and talking about the loss of their father. We buried our heads in the sand. I was the adult, I should have started the talk and had us all listen to each other's pain.
I had no education on addiction. I came from a happy, close family. I was young myself with no idea what this disease was or how it could hurt the whole family. Looking back, if did have the knowledge maybe the problem would have been handled differently.
Listen to your loved one!! That's the beginning and my most important advice. Don't give up on them.
Lori loved and hurt losing her father (more than I had realized). Her drinking caused her to lose her job, home, car, kids, and her pride!
Am I punishing myself...as people say I do? No, I see the signs after their deaths of things I could have done to maybe help the situation. It's the maybe, should have, could have that kill us when they die. I want to open your eyes to what you maybe able to do to save your loved one, instead of going to a cemetery on holidays to see them.
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