Alcoholism is a disease that affects millions of people along with heart problems, diabetes, cancer, and drug addiction. We hear and read about different diseases that kill people every day and how they leave broken-hearted families behind.
Who is considered an alcoholic and what are they like in behavior? We all have our own personal conception about what a person has to do in order to be considered an alcoholic. Usually, they’re labeled as habitual drunks.
Most of us picture an alcoholic as a person, curled-up and passed out among the over-turned garbage cans and found on a hidden side-street between buildings or someone under a torn, grimy blanket sleeping on a park bench with a newspaper over their face and wearing ragged, filthy clothes looking as though they needed a hot, sudsy shower. In fact, a large percentage of the public automatically assumes it’s a man in this condition having the problem. Today, we realize that a woman could be the alcoholic in these situations. As the years pass, there is no special gender.
Our intellects come to the understanding and conclusion that the drinker has absolutely no desire to find a job or no wish to mingle with and contribute to society. We insist that many of them are living off the welfare system with no intention of bettering themselves. When we come in contact with the drinker, many of us lose patience with them or omit them completely in our conversations and social circles.
It’s more comfortable for us to pretend that they don’t exist. In other words, they’re not getting their act together to think and do things the way we believe they should. Because our own lives are structured and orderly, we believe that we’re better than the alcoholic. We forget how blessed our families are to have jobs that pay well, three good meals a day on the table, independent lives, and the freedom to come and go as we like. This concept is what most people consider to be a healthy American life under normal living conditions.
The reality of an alcoholic’s life won’t hit us until we come in direct contact with a family member, friend, or a close acquaintance who’s struggling to combat this disease. Then we develop the need to understand fully and to gain the knowledge of what alcohol is doing to the alcoholic and the people around them.
Once the abuser’s actions start to affect our lives, we suddenly sit-up and open our eyes to what’s happening to the individual. The desire to help them is there because we love the person and can see that the disease has changed his or her personality, morals, and ambitions. The devastating fact hits us that alcohol is slowly killing our loved one.
The alcoholics themselves can become acutely aware that they are drowning in drink and still don’t feel the need or have the willpower to get help. For them, the battle to give up liquor has too many side effects, and it’s too hard to combat the habit, especially if this life-style has been going on for years.
It’s a struggle every day for an alcoholic to just get out of bed. Many spend their days sleeping. They skip meals because their appetite has disappeared, thereby causing more damage to their health because their bodies breakdown from lack of proper nutrition to keep them stable.
Many alcoholics who have tried to fight the disease don’t relish the unpleasant physical effects of going without a drink; instead, they give in and turn back to drinking. In their mind, taking a drink is the only way to stop the effects of withdrawal. They fear going to any public place, and the drinking imprisons them in their own home behind closed doors.
Their lives and minds are constantly in a confused state. Alcoholics live in uncertainty that immobilizes them. They find it hard to do anything for themselves or their families. All confidence disappears. They make up all kinds of stories in order to avoid doing anything that makes them uncomfortable.
Doctors’ appointments are canceled because they fear what they may be told. Family events are ignored so they don’t have to hear about their behavior or their broken promises. They live in denial that they have any problem at all and believe they can stop drinking at any time.
Part 2 with next posting. Can’t wait? Order the book below.
Review from a reader:
Truth in every page
I couldn’t put this book down. I have been unable to read a complete book for the last 8 years and this one I couldn’t put down. Not only is it an easy read but anyone who has been in an alcoholic marriage will find comfort in this. This is not a self help book but it gives you the realization that someone else has felt exactly what you felt and you were not crazy.
Here is an actual abusive scene in my memoir Someone Stop This Merry-Go-Round: An Alcoholic Family in Crisis. Looking back, I wonder how I ever stayed in a relationship that sick. Why didn't I take action before Richie's habit led into blackouts? I had to be more sick. Our poor daughters were forced into listening and being frightened by scenes from parents fighting.
Here is the scene:
Richie wasn’t home, and I decided to write a letter to my girlfriend. I enjoyed the peace of not having to worry about anyone except myself. It got close to eleven, and my eyes became heavy. I was too tired to wait up for the news on television, and much to my surprise, I heard Richie’s van pull in. I was relieved and thought, Thank God, it’s only eleven o’clock so he can’t be too drunk.
I heard him come in and walk into the kitchen, only to go out again. My curiosity got to me so I went into the kitchen without turning any lights on in the house, and I looked down in the driveway. The light was on inside his van, and I saw him sitting in the driver’s seat putting a tall Vodka bottle to his mouth. I stood in disbelief as I watched him drink half of it in one gulp then he pulled out of the yard. I had no idea where he went.
I went back to bed, but sleep was the last thing on my mind. Now, I feared him coming back home. How foolish of me staying there or not warning the police of his drinking and him coming home. In half an hour, the van pulled back into the yard. The sound of the key opening the door made my heart pound. I lay still, not moving a muscle, hoping for him to ignore me. That wish quickly faded.
“Hey, wake up,” he said, shaking my shoulder vigorously. I could smell the liquor. “Why aren’t the kids in bed?”
“They’re sleeping over at friends.” I hated to tell him we were alone, but I knew he must have searched their rooms.
“Good. Get up. I want to talk.”
“What’s the matter?” I was talking calmly, but I was both afraid and angry.
“Just get up,” he said walking into the living room.
I wanted to push him against the wall and knock him out. Instead, as always, I figured not arguing would keep him calm. You’d think I would have realized by now that he was looking for a fight.
“Why aren’t the kids here?”
“What do you mean?”
“Why aren’t they home?” he questioned in an angry voice. I suddenly noticed him swaying.
“They have a right to go out. What’s wrong with you?” I knew this was another moment that I should walk lightly to pacify him, but I was so angry inside that I could feel myself shaking, wanting to swing at him.
“Where’s my supper?”
“I don’t make suppers at this hour. You’re a big boy. You could have eaten while you were out.”
Suddenly, he grabbed my hair and pulled me down to my knees near the armchair.
“What are you doing?” I screamed trying to get my hair out of his fingers.
“I’ll teach you.” He was so close to my face that I could feel his hot, liquor-soaked breath on me. His eyes were bloodshot, and his stale breath turned my stomach.
“Stop, Richie. You don’t know what you’re doing,” I pleaded. I panicked, realizing that he was in a blackout. There was no reasoning with him. Knowing that the girls were gone gave him the opening to vent his anger with no reason to stop. They weren’t home to hear it.
“You don’t want to get my supper?” he said wobbling, with a death grip on my hair. It felt like every root came loose from my scalp.
He started to bang my head against the armchair repeatedly. My head felt like it exploded; my stomach churned and I felt nausea well up in my throat. My surroundings became fuzzy. His voice seemed far off, and I was on the verge of passing out. Words couldn’t come out of my mouth. I felt like a rag doll being thrown back and forth.
Suddenly, he let go of me and I fell down onto the rug. “Get up!” he yelled.
Instead of waiting for me to lift myself up, he left me there. He turned and went into the bedroom, mumbling, “That’ll teach you.”
I was stunned and unable to move. The pain shot up into my head, and I couldn’t function. I was shocked that he physically hurt me so badly. Years ago, he wouldn’t have hurt a fly. My fear rose, knowing that he was now capable of killing me. I caused this by staying in this relationship.
No one really believes that the once loving, shy, polite person will turn to the point of violence. We, as family members, help the alcoholic get to this point. Innocently, we keep on protecting them by keeping our family lives behind closed doors, silently living in fear, confusion and abuse. This action give the alcoholic all the freedom in the world to continue their drinking since we clear the path for them with no explaining to do to family members, friends or themselves.
We think making demands for the alcoholic to get help or kicking them out, is not showing love. How wrong you are. The actions are showing love. The alcoholic won't believe you do at the moment, but as time goes on and they get help, they will see it. Let them face where they are heading. I had allowed ten years go by until the yelling, arguing, fighting, and maybe a small push, turned into this scene.
To add to the enabling, I would wake up from scenes like this and not confront Richie with his problem. We don't realize that the person in the blackout has no idea whatsoever in the morning that something bad even happened. Why? because we are in denial as much as the alcoholic and bury the incident under the rug. That is why you can get killed.
You love the alcoholic? Then make demands AS SOON AS you realize this is not normal drinking. I've been asked so many times, "When do you know their drinking is a problem?"
I answer.... "When it causes problems!"
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How many addicted start out with hope and belief that they can fight their addiction and then lose all hope from stress, the urge to drink again and the awful feelings that you must struggle through to head for or reach recovery? Hope makes you feel that you will reach your goal, while hopelessness, means you lose all confidence that you can do it. So what do you do? You take the comfortable action; you quit. I think you don’t realize that a high percentage of addicts are fighting the same battle. It’s normal to experience these feelings. Don’t be so hard on yourself. It took years to get where you are now so it will take years to recover, and a lifetime of wanting to fall back.
What you want is instant or fast results with no hills to climb. Anything in life, even not being addicted to alcohol or drugs, is a battle to reach with changes. Everyone likes to stay with things that we are familiar with, and friends who … we thought liked us, even if falling back puts us in the same nightmare. What you are fighting is fear. No one likes that road of the unknown. Once you make it, you will come to realize that you had nothing to fear but yourself. The help is there with the professionals, you were just fighting your bodies wanting that drug or drink. It’s our insides and minds that are our enemies.
You have to give 100% going into a detox center, counseling, doctors or centers to stay until you dry out. If not, you will not make the life without using. My daughter, Lori, went three times into rehabs, and we know deep down that she wanted to give her habit up, but she didn’t want the fight. She feared opening up, believe it or not, even crying, so she kept the garbage deep down inside her instead of reaching for the stars.
You need to start looking at who you really are without a drink. Maybe you forgot that person. Yes, not perfect, but you were happy doing things with family and friends. Events that were without the struggle of explaining to others why you failed yourself and them with broken promises. You desired being with friends with the same habit so no one thought your actions were wrong.
Once you step away from your routine, you will come to see that your daily lives where filled with abuse, fear and confusion. No one wants to live like that once you walk away from that life. “One Day at a Time” is a good statement. When you think of the work ahead of you, you freeze. It’s like a person needing to lose 200 pounds. They look at the whole picture of all that weight instead of saying I will lose 2 pounds per week. Why not? What’s your hurry? At least you are going in the right direction.
Look at yourself every single day in the mirror and say, “I deserve to be happy.” Lower your pride and tell family that you need their support more than life itself. Let them realize while you are struggling this battle not to pressure you with “You’ll never do it.” You don’t need the questions and having to explain to everyone why you went on this road. Tell them to let you handle this your way with the professionals without coming home to a family bringing up the past with your actions or how you hurt them. Once you feel comfortable to open up, and I’m sure it will take months, think seriously about having family counseling, even if you say things that someone did that hurt you. They may not even know you suffered from something they did to you.
Counseling will help you to learn to forgive yourself and others who hurt you. If you can’t forgive, you stay stuck. Don’t let another person, who might have been more sick than you, stop you from being happy again. Forgiving does not mean the person was right, it means you want to move forward. Guilt you carry from actions in the past, may not be your fault. Others might have done things to you that was caused from their sickness.
Talk to professionals on what “caused” you to become an alcoholic or drug addict more than the disease. You need to get that garbage out of you or holding the pain deep within you, will keep you from facing the hurt from the past. Cry..Cry..Cry without any guilt whether you are a man or woman. That is why God gave us tears. Tears heal, tears help you to let go, tears takes tons of pressure off you so you can go on and talk about what caused those tears.
And most of all, give it up to God. He waits every single day for you to reach out to him. He gives you choices and you make them; good or bad. You are never alone with Him. Get to a church or anywhere you pray and put your life into His hands. Believe, have faith, have hope, forgive when you fall back and get up without saying you can’t do the steps to recover. Hang out with the people who want the same as you…recovery.
I ask myself this many times, especially in a crisis. Faith means different things to many people. It’s a belief, trust, confidence, creditability, and sometimes, hope that pulls you through a situation. These feelings make you loyal and devoted to your understanding or assumption that you are right. We want something to hold on to so we can get over the problem we are facing.
They say the topics of politics and religion should not be discussed because they cause many disagreements that lead to arguing, fights, or worse, killings. I think we get our strong positions with faith by how we are brought up by our parents. They pass-down their judgment on what and how they were taught on a topic by our grandparents. The cycle continues down into each generation.
Imagine if we were brought up to see no difference with a person of a different race or culture than us. What a world we would have. Wars are not between military men and women fighting, it’s the governments in each country that bring us into one.
Atheists believe there is no God, some people believe in miracles while others believe that a problem had been resolved came from a scientific result. To save time with disagreements, I guess you could say that no one is right or wrong, because it is what you believe yourself to be true.
I have to admit our family is Catholic and my father made sure we all went to church on Sunday morning either with our without him. No excuses were accepted, unless you had a fever and were sick in bed. Since I was thirteen, I loved going to Mass. In my days, the church doors were always kept open.
I would have to pass our church to meet my friends for our walk to an ice cream place after supper..our homework had to be completed. Never did I go by without entering the church, walked down the aisle, and sat for a few moments in a pew facing the statues of Jesus, Mary and Joseph. The peace is hard to explain, but I cherished those moments. We never went by a church in a car without blessing ourselves with the sign of the cross.
Now being grownup, I thank my father for his firm hand in making us go. What would I do if I had no faith? Would I have any morals, be kind to another person, pray for someone, or believe that there is no life after death? I’d wonder why we were put on earth and for what reason?
My faith had been strong when I tried to hold on to my marriage with an alcoholic. Not having the knowledge that the alcoholic had to change themselves, I tried for 14 years trying to find ways to make him stop. From the stress, I had a small breakdown and blamed God for our suffering because he wasn’t helping us.
What I didn’t face was that God gives us choices; Richie’s had been to stop drinking or stay with the decision to keep abusing his body, and my choice was to keep living with the confusion, fear, and abuse or do something about it. Now, I realize that I had pushed myself mentally and physically beyond what my body could take without seeing any results and staying in a very unhealthy environment for me and my daughters. (Story in Someone Stop This Merry-Go-Round: An Alcoholic Family in Crisis)
My faith came alive in 1990 when I watched my father, Brigadier General, Albert L. Gramm, dying of cancer at eighty-years old. He had been one of the commanding officers of the 26th Yankee Division during WWII, fighting in Metz, Lorraine and the Battle of the Bulge. He promised Our Blessed Mother if she brought him home safely to his family, he would say the rosary until he died. He had been struggling to concentrate on the prayer near the end. My family said them for him and it was the first time, I learned the rosary. I say them daily. I watched the devotion of my father and his love for the Virgin Mary, I realized I wanted God back in my life. Without Him, my life was in turmoil. It brought me to the realization that we are all going to die. Jesus said, “If you believe in me, you will live.” (Story in A Spiritual Renewal: A Journey to Medjugorje)
Three miracles happened to me after my father’s death. One of them occurred when I was packing to go to the hospital for surgery. Out of nowhere, I heard “inside” my head a voice that said, “Don’t be Afraid, I’ll be with you!” A warm feeling entered my head from outside, traveled through like lightening to the end of my toes to my fingers. Instantly, peace came over me. If someone said they experienced this, I would have laughed my head off. “Oh, Yeah!!”
I was afraid to tell Al, thinking he would send me to the Funny Farm. It was two months later, when I watched a show on spiritual miracles. During WWII, a soldier was in a tank and was petrified that he was going to die. A voice said to him, “Don’t be afraid. You will not die.” He had explained the same peace that came over him after the same vibrations went through his body that I had happen. It was then that I shared my miracle with Al. ( Story in A Spiritual Renewal a Journey to Medjugorje)
Faith can pull many through the death of a loved one. The six visionaries at Medjugorje said Our Lady calls each person herself when you take a trip to this remote village in Bosnia where she is still appearing each day since 1981. It’s there where I felt a sampler of heaven when I took a ten day pilgrimage to this location. I believe The Blessed Mother gave me the strength to go through Lori’s death and had planned on me to write about my life and loss and started me on the journey with my talks on spiritual changes and alcohol abuse.
When I go to any church, I notice all the different statues of Jesus on the cross. I find it odd that not one shows him with the true pain that He went through. He looks clean with nails in His hands and feet. I saw reality in Medjugorje when I went to the Oasis of Peace. This tiny chapel had a full-size statue of a man..Jesus.
Yes, we forget he was a human like us. They had hair on his body, with blood coming down His face dripping off his toes from the crown of thorns dug deep into his skull. The five thousand and some cuts on his body (told to St. Bridget during an apparition) showed the scorning. He had one gash so large that his beating took a chunk of flesh out of his shoulder down to his bare bone. He had to carry the cross with His unbearable pain. I wanted to wrap the statue up and take it to every land for people of all faiths to see what He actually went through for us.
Why? because he died for our sins so that we can have life after death. Jesus was a Man who was nothing but love and full of mercy who died so we can live and look at how many of us are living! Sin and crimes are pushed aside like they are normal ways to handle our problems.
Faith is what gets me through my days that are good or bad. I can’t picture waking up without prayer and not thanking God for the day ahead of me. I go to bed at night thanking him for my gifts he gave me, whether it’s from seeing a loved one, having me meet a new person where we touched each other’s heart, money to buy the food for the family, or anything else good that came my way. Even a bad day is a gift so I can learn from what I did or didn’t do right.
Faith is a gift from God if we open our hearts. The problem with being human is we want to see or feel the gifts and blessings we get during the day. Our Lady told the visionaries that people would not believe the graces God has for each of us but we don’t ask for them.
Our Lady told the visionaries that a Mass said for the dead is the greatest action to get that person closer to heaven. Sitting in Adoration in a chapel with God present is one of the highest graces bestowed on us. Prayer will end wars and no one thinks of what can save our world.
Faith and believing will never make us feel alone.
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It’s been a year of hearing loses from our family members who drank or had been on heroin. How sad. Cousins and friends crying to me with the pain of loss. It’s still hard to bring them comfort when it’s been eight years since Lori died from her drinking, and I still hurt and cry. None of us really get over the pain with losing anyone we loved. We go on because that is what we have to do to survive. Going into a corner and not coming out is not what the dying want us to do. They are at peace. We are the ones left with the empty gap and hole that will never be filled.
I think what they are really looking for is just someone to listen. I feel that way a lot. I need someone to vent to so the heavy guilt of what I didn’t do or did wrong will become lighter, even if I did the best to help at the time. We all have no answers or the knowledge to tell another that this will make them feel good again.
When will the count from the dying go down around the world from alcohol and drug abuse? How did we get to the point that drug dealers were not stopped in the beginning, people had the means to market the drugs, drinks given to the minors, allowing wild home parties, college kids thinking this is cool, and the list can go on. We can’t watch our kids every moment and we believe where they say they are going or with whom.
I have heard people say, “What kind of parents did they have?” Good ones! What our kids do, does not mean we were bad parents. Once they go out the door, we trust them. I had to bring my two daughters up by myself while living with an alcoholic husband and after his death. I did the best I could with three jobs to support the house for them to stay in a familiar place. I didn’t want them to suffer from their parent’s mistakes. I have to live looking back at my opportunities that I feel I missed at certain times to talk more often to Lori. Not knowing until she was thirty-seven that she was an alcoholic and fighting bulimia, let a lot of her years go by with her drinking and getting deeper into the problem. Two years of three alcoholic stays in rehabs did nothing for her, and we watched her die taking her off life-support. What pain for a family.
A useless death. A child that had love, a home, marriage, two kids, and she grew up with hanging out with the kids thinking drinking was fun. Her one remark to me was, “Mom, you may think I am crazy, but the best time of my life was during my drinking days.” I believe to her it was, but Lori didn’t realize, even after she had watched her dad die in a hospital bed from his teenage years of drinking, that she was on the same road. She feared dying like him and did without fighting for life.
We do the best we can. This is such a different world than the one I was brought up in with my growing years. Years where school was fun going to, having friends and getting a good education. So many kids go to school and party while the pockets of parents become empty trying to help them. It’s a world of drink, drugs, parties and going crazy!
Growing up, we had a mother that greeted us coming home from school. Today, both have to work and the kids have no guidance. I am not blaming them. To survive in this world financially, you need two jobs. Parents back then had respect from their kids. They knew how far they could and couldn’t go. Kids saw authority in police, teachers or anyone they came in contact with, even relatives. Aunts, uncles and parents are now called by their first names. Nothing seems to scare our kids. Why? because to me the law changed with telling parents how to discipline their kids. It’s good when actual beatings occur, but the normal way of bringing kids up today stopped. Children have the run and control of the parents. Schools stopped having prayer because of “one” person, they have stopped handle kids that are out-of-hand, because the parents might get upset. Back in my days, we feared the teacher telling our parents more than the punishment.
We have violent and angry people showing it by committing so much crime. Tearing a town apart with any reason that upsets them, and they get away with it. We give too much to our kids. Instead of wanting, desiring and concentrating on doing something with their lives, they want the parents to give and give. Kids get out of school and sit in front of a television set, play games, or whatever entertains them, and expect to live at home and have parents support them the rest of their lives. I feel for parents who have kids with no motivation.
I have no answers to this. You fear knowing your child is going down this path and panic when you see nothing is opening their eyes to where they are heading. Very few go into substance abuse recovery programs and get out of denial to get better. I believe doctors and counselors should study more why they are using more than the disease. Things from the past may have turned their lives upside down and they bury the pain and abuse deep within them and act out by drinking to drown their past.
I believe we need to start at the early age in grammar school. You think not? Read What is and isn’t Working for the Alcoholic and Addict and learn how five and seven year old kids started with their drinking. It is a book for family (with advice on enabling) doctors, counselor, society and other addicts to learn what 34 alcoholic and drug addicts from all walks of life and the US and Canada believe is and hasn’t worked in recovery.
Books are available in paperback and Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=alberta+sequeiraAlberta
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A Spiritual Renewal written for a reason
OCTOBER 10, 2014
My first book is A Spiritual Renewal: A Journey To Medjugorje, is a memoir about love, faith and miracles. This book is a heart-felt story of my life with my father, Brigadier General, Albert L. Gramm, who had been one of the commanding officers of the 26th Yankee Division during WWII fighting in some of the famous battles like Metz, Lorraine and The Battle of the Bulge.
In 1990, I started to realize while he was dying of cancer that I never took the time to know this great man. I watched him struggling to say his rosaries everyday, but he couldn’t concentrate. Our family took over for him and I came to learn he had promised Our Lady that if he had come home safely to his family, he would say them everyday; a promised that had never been broken. That had been my first time learning that blessed prayer and still continue to this day.
He had wanted to go to Medjugorje, a tiny, remote village in Bosnia where The Blessed Mother has been appearing to six visionaries every day since 1981, starting when they were ten to sixteen years old. He was hoping for a miracle, but was too sick.
The visionaries are receiving ten secrets from Our Lady, and when they receive all of them a priest, who they have chosen, will slowly announce them. There are two visionaries with only one more secret to receive.
Witnessing my father’s faith with the rosary and having had three miracles that had happened to me, brought me to this holy town that changed my life. I call Medjugorje “A Sampler of Heaven.” I brought God back into my life. That ten day pilgrimage directed me down the path to share this story and my other books on my life living with an alcoholic husband.
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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Funny how stages come in our lives and we try to bend to the changes. I was on top with posting on my blogs faithfully twice a week, and trying to find time to answer so many comments, but keeping up with repairs and updates to our home since May of 2014, set me back with my normal routine.
Our house has all the final updates and we will try in March of 2015 to up a FOR SALE up again. Getting to check up and write in my blogs was almost impossible running behind the contractors with washing plaster and paint off the walls, woodwork and floors. The dust that traveled from one room to another on the bottom and top floors to my “once cleaned” blinds, windows and curtains, had to be repeated for the third time. I also pitched in to paint two bedrooms, two closets, and a list of other things that I had done during my “younger” years with keeping our home clean and shinny.
I think we are starting to see daylight. By that I mean the articles that we could not find are starting to show up from under the clutter. I can’t wait to smell and feel the Spring in the air so we can open the windows. Now that our home has so many beautiful changes with taking down the popcorn ceilings, wallpaper, new septic system, all new painted walls, and more, I question, “Should we leave?” I have started to question myself. Almost like an addict, “Can I really do these steps to recover?”
Coming to this late stage of our life, makes me realize how changes can be scary….like the ones for addicts. It’s easy to throw out advice until you have changes to make yourself. It’s not easy for anyone in any situation to turn your life around to a new path. There is security in our hearts with keeping the old things and doing them the same way.
But is it really? Is it growth? Is it healthy? Keeping the same friends who do the wrong things as you with getting drunk or over-dosing with drugs, isn’t the way to live longer or stay mentally healthy. The more you use, the faster your brain cells leave and don’t return. You forget things faster and make unhealthy decisions with your life, family, or just living the way God wants us to enjoy things.
Today, after trying to help all of you through the years about making changes, I have to look at my life and Al’s as doing the same. This beautiful 4+ acres of property with a home wrapped with a farmer’s porch, outside shower, privacy in the yard, and all our memories have to be looked at as a wonderful time of our life, but to travel down the new road. We are both heart patients and pushing ourselves with keeping up with land that is too much for us can cause one of us to leave this world sooner than we planned.
I have to face the unknown as I tell you to do. How often have I said, “Thinking about the changes scare you, but once you start going forward, the fear slowly disappears.” So….I am going to do the same. Put the changes in God’s hands and pray He is leading Al and I onto a better and more comfortable life. Our days of keeping up with this huge property and house has passed it’s days with us. We need to go forward, sell, and move into a smaller place that is enough to make our lives easier and time for more fun with socializing and traveling.
Lets make these changes together. Keep me informed how yours are going and I’ll do the same. Moving may not be an exciting topic for you to read about, but everything in life usually falls into the same actions of changes in our life. Who knows, all of us can come out with a new adventure with doing exciting things, making new friends and getting our life back in order with no problems facing us as soon as we open our eyes.
Now Al & I need a good agent and a buyer who can enjoy this home and property with woods for their kids to grow up in running through the land making forts or whatever. Rochester, Massachusetts is a wonderful place for a family.
Alberta’s books are available at http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=alberta+sequeiraAlberta Alberta
I am a little ahead of time with calling 2014 over when we have a few weeks left. I don't want to get busy with Christmas, New Years, and the running around with selling our home, to forget to thank all my followers and readers of my books. Without all of you, my name, writing, and message would not be known. If I touched a few hearts out of the year, God's been good to the both of us.
It's not too late to purchase my books to throw into a Christmas gift as a personal touch. They are all in paperback and Kindle. It will give hours of enjoyment with reading A Spiritual Renewal: A Journey to Medjugorje. Remember this book is also for the men to read about my dad, Brigadier General, Albert L. Gramm, and his military life fighting in WWII in Metz, Lorraine and The Battle of the Bulge. A great book for the Vets. God willing, someone reading my books on Alcohol Abuse, will find hope to keep heading toward sobriety.
If you can't talk to a loved one about their addiction, purchase What is and isn't Working for the Alcoholic and Addict and let the 34 alcoholics and drug users in the book do the work to reach them through their stories on how they recovered. I'm sure one out of the thirty-four will connect to them. The contributors also write what they believe family members should do to help them, so this is a family book for all.
Don't by-pass Someone Stop This Merry-Go-Round and its sequel Please, God, Not Two. They are more on lessons than memoirs. The first book touches on how our enabling only brings the substance abuser deeper into their addiction. Learn what I did wrong and would change today with handling addiction. The sequel has sections with my private talks behind closed doors to the addicted. Learn why we need to keep fighting to save our family member.
Have a healthy and happy Christmas and celebration of New Years with staying sober if you are addicted. For those who are family members and struggling yourself from the stress, take time to relax and show your love by listening to the addicted when they reach out to you and wrap your arms around them. I wish that was possible for me to do with Richie and Lori. Don't take each other for granted. Show the love, not tell it.
I would love the gift for Christmas by having you write a review on my books on Amazon. It means more to me than any of you know.
Thank you for the year of support.
Books are available at http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=alberta+sequeiraAlberta
In a world surrounded with wars, government and schools taking God's name out of documents and speeches, violent crimes, empty churches, respect for marriages fading, babies out of wedlock, abortions, miracles being pushed aside by science, over-whelming death rate from alcohol and drug addiction, families with separations, we have to come to the realization that we are all being tested.
For those who still believe in miracles, daily apparitions since 1981 and up to today with six visionaries in Medjugorje in Bosnia, faith is easy to hold onto with devoted confidence in God.
I wrote A Spiritual Renewal: A Journey to Medjugorje, not only for the believers but more strongly for the unbelievers or for the person who has lost their faith and the path to God and The Blessed Mother. The description of this memoir is told beautifully by a review from Wilson.
If you want a book to refresh your faith in people, family and getting back to prayer and staying tight to the truth of a merciful and loving God, this is your book.
Wilson R. reviewed A Spiritual Renewal
When I first began reading A Spiritual Renewal, I had to stop after the first few chapters and put the book aside. Was there a problem with the writing or the content? No, on the contrary; the writing was so well done, the description so vivid that I was taken back to my mother's passing from cancer a few months previous. Sequeira has a wonderful talent for making the reader feel like they are right there in the scene...it was just too soon for me to be that close to so much sadness.
I returned to the book and found I couldn't stop reading. Sequeira introduces her family, the entire Gramm clan. Chapters focus on the relationship with her father, Brigadier General, Albert Gramm Sr. as she realizes she doesn't know him as well as she would like. He was a quiet man who kept his emotions to himself, making it difficult for her to get close to him. Albert Gramm was the patriarch of the family; he took care of his wife, children, and watched out for the neighborhood as well. He was greatly admired by the men who served with him in WWII with the 26th Yankee Division. He had great faith in God and he believed in miracles.
Watching Mr. Gramm become weaker as cancer destroyed his body was traumatic for the entire family. Alberta remained with her father, talking to him, massaging his muscles and giving him his pain meds for two weeks. Again, I felt like I was right there as Mr. Gramm fought to hold onto life as his grown children struggled to accept the fact that he was dying. Through it all, Mr. Gramm's faith was unshakable and he truly believed a miracle would occur and he would survive. Gramm's religious conviction was a great help to Alberta as she gradually accepted his passing and began to find her way back to prayer and her own neglected faith.
The memory of a family conversation about a village in Bosnia called Medjugorje would not leave Alberta. The obscure village a world away was said to be where six visionaries had daily visits from Our Lady. Alberta collects all the information about the apparitions and the village from local bookstores and dreams of visiting. Traveling to Medjugorje seemed impossible as she had a paralyzing fear of flying, a nagging heart problem, and other health issues. With help from a new friend, Alberta finally gains the courage to plan the trip. The problems would slow her progress but could not stop the fact that she felt that Our Lady had "called" her to Medjugorje.
The visit to Medjugorje can be called a spiritual awakening. Medjugorje is a place where believers need not make apologies for their love of God, for their need to have Jesus in their heart, and for praying. Alberta for so long has left prayer out of her busy life. In Medjugorje there is nothing to distract one from Jesus and His mother's teachings. Alberta meets four of the six visionaries, is present for two apparitions and makes a triumphant hike to the top of Cross Mountain in the middle of a frightening heart fibrillation.
Non-believers might find the book a bit preachy. For believers, especially those who have strayed from their faith, this book could be the key needed to open a door to a journey back to God. In a world that is learning how not to believe, disillusioned by church scandals, distracted by TV, the Internet, and a busy lifestyle, A Spiritual Renewal could be just what is needed to get those from all spiritual viewpoints back on track. Highly Recommended.
Amazon in paperback and Kindle: Purchase: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=alberta+sequeira
Don’t think of Thanksgiving as not being a so-call holiday like Christmas and New Years without any fear of over-drinking. Any event with groups of friends or family gatherings is dangerous to an alcoholic. These events are your big tests. Some addicts make themselves stay away from the temptation to survive the day.
Try going to an AA meeting or spend the day with a group of substance abusers who are also trying to stay sober. Start your own Thanksgiving parties with the ones serious about sobriety and have everyone bring the meal or snacks? Don’t find excuses or believe you can handle being around the drinks being passed out and will have no problem avoiding taking that first one. Why put yourself in that danger?
Find Strength: Spend the morning in church praying for God to help you get through the day. Get upfront without any embarrassment with the people that you can not have one drink and would appreciate them respecting your wish. You don’t want to hear, “Oh, one won’t hurt you!” Demand they don’t offer any to you. If the drinking is too much for you, leave.
There is no reason to spend the day alone. That only adds to the depression and will add to the excuse to get a drink. Remember, you're goal is to head for sobriety and not death behind a wheel from drinking or causing someone else’s. Go to a movie. Go anywhere but near that drink.
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