Journey's blog

The damage from enabling

An Excerpt from Chapter Twenty-Two of
Someone Stop This Merry-Go-Round; An Alcoholic Family in Crisis

Trying to Hold Us Together

(a reaction to Richie's drinking the night before)

The next morning Richie got up and acted as if nothing had happened. Instead of sitting down and talking calmly about the previous night, we ignored it. He took his coffee and headed down the stairs to his shop. By afternoon he was on his way delivering the television sets that were repaired. I sat, emotionally drained, with no energy to do anything.

Later that evening, he came straight home after his deliveries. I didn’t bring up the fight, because it would have led into another night of stress. I tried to hide my anger in front of the kids, but my insides were racing.

He was home for supper, and we sat in silence, except when we talked to the girls. The silent tension was just as bad as an argument. The strain between us was so thick you could have cut it with a knife. I couldn’t find anything nice to talk about because I was still fuming. I became an expert at holding my hurt and resentment in to keep peace within the house. My first concern was to not let Debbie and Lori feel the hostility between us. I wasn’t facing the reality that they were aware something wasn’t right with Mommy and Daddy because we were always upset.

Alberta- This seems to be an every day event for alcoholic famlies. Why do we keep enabling only bringing the alcoholic deeper into their addiction?  Why don't we just demand getting out of denial and protecting our children from all the confusion and fear?

How People Look at Alcoholics

 This is the Introduction to my memoir Someone Stop This Merry-Go-Round; An Alcholic Family in Crisis.

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. Rarely does it enter our minds that a woman could be the alcoholic in these situations.

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 break down 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 cancelled 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.

Getting sober for an alcoholic means they’ll have to take the giant step of signing themselves into a detoxification center. There, they’ll experience what they feared: the shakes, being confined, and taking medicine that will make them feel worse before they get better. They’re subjected to answering personal, embarrassing questions and being cooped-up in a single room with strangers, whom they consider to be sicker than they are.

After weeks or months of drying out, they’re pushed into the outside world again to face the same problems that brought them there. Depending on circumstances, they’ll have to confront the people that they hurt, deal with job hunting, and return to having the responsibility of making family decisions. Some become paranoid, thinking that everyone is judging them and watching their every move to see if they slip. Some probably are being watched because the whole family becomes sick and confused from the disease.

If they don’t continue to seek professional counseling after being rehabilitated, join an AA group, or find a sponsor, most alcoholics go right back to the bottle, which is always there to comfort them with no condemnation.

Going back to drinking, or falling off the wagon as the expression goes, doesn’t mean that they want to—it means they’re sick. Alcoholism is a disease that is highly hereditary. It would be so much easier if drinking could be cured by simply taking a pill. The first step to recovery for the alcoholic is for him or her to want the help. No one can help them if they don’t want to be helped.

Alcoholics have the same wants and dreams as the rest of us. There was a time when they held a job, had a marriage, brought up children, owned a home and a car, and had a social life with their friends and families. Now, they have become frightened, misplaced human beings who have lost their dignity.

Alcoholism doesn’t happen overnight. The reality of their lives being out-of-control came when catastrophes started to happen all around them. Some drinkers are fortunate to be able to keep their lives fairly normal, but others don’t realize it’s a problem until they lose everything.

Society needs to stop looking at the millions of alcoholics as bums or low-class individuals who don’t want to better themselves. They have a disease that can reach the point of no return.

If a person has been drinking for years and wants to stop, the body may have reached the point where it needs the drink. The body craves it; then there’s no stopping.

Someone Stop This Merry-Go-Round is based on the true story of my life living with and losing a husband to alcoholism. Slowly, our happy lives as a secure family started to fall to pieces at different stages. It seems completely incomprehensible to me now that I couldn’t see the signs of serious drinking from this uncontrollable disease.  The book can be bought on Amazon in paperback or Kindle.

Holding onto the Bottle!

By Alberta Sequeira

Change.  How many of us hate to disrupt our routines? This is the same for substance abusers.  My daughter, Lori, told me that the best times of her  life was when she had been drinking.

I truly believe to her and others doing the same, that is was fun at the time, but Lori died from that action and habit.  If it's not heredity, than look at just that; your actions and habit.

You don't do this alone.  You cling to the people you call friends doing the same drinking and taking drugs as you. Why not? This way you feel you are not doing anything wrong. After all, "My friends are doing the same," you say.

There comes a time you have to honestly step back and look at what you are doing; slowly killing yourself. Your organs, liver, kidneys, heart and others can't keep up with your abuse to your body.  It's like running a car with no oil thinking it will continue down that road forever, and it won't.

The hardest part getting sober is breaking away from your so called friends. They aren't friends. They are drinking buddies. Do you honestly think they care if you die?

I remember my ex-husband, Richie, staying out night after night after work to drink with his buddies.  When he died at forty-five years of age, no one who spent those moments with him showed up for his funeral.  They still sit at the bars.

You make your destiny.  You are responsible for your actions. This is your battle. No matter how much family or your sibbling love you, we can only support you.

So the next time you get a call to go to that wild party or meet someone in that dark alley to get drugs, think twice. It takes more of a person to admit they need help than to keep playing on the tracks until the train comes full force at you.

Addiction by guest blogger Carly

I have been away soaking up the wonderful, warm sun of California for two weeks. I was relaxed and enjoyed life with no rushing with deadlines or stress.  How we all need that gift.  I guess we have to make the time for it and stop talking about taking that special trip.  Life is too short to miss opportunities for ourselves.  

On my return and checking emails, I had a guest blogger who wanted to share her insight with addiction. I posted it on my blog and wanted to share this article with all of you.  I hope you enjoy the helpful hints with neglecting our own health while trying to support a substance abuser.

Here is the article written by my blog guest Carly Fierro.

Addiction Has Hit Your Family … Are You Prepared to Help?

The signs often hide in plain sight. Your loved one is moody. He’s lost interest in his favorite activities. He’s ignoring commitments to work and family. He looks sick or has gained or lost weight. Maybe things are missing from the house. Then suddenly, it becomes glaringly clear – your loved one is an addict.

During recovery, the addict has the toughest hurdles to climb, but families of addicts have to face their own unique set of challenges, most notably what to do to support their loved ones through the process of recovery. If someone you love is battling addiction, the following may make the upcoming journey a little easier.

Educate Yourselves

Recovery from addiction probably won’t be what you expect. Like many other life-changing experiences, only people who have gone through it know what it’s actually about. As a result, learning about the process from those who know about it firsthand will help light your path.

Read articles and blogs from counselors, family members and recovering addicts. Do research on the causes and effects of addiction on addicts and their families. Contact health professionals in your area and ask for their advice and insights. The more you know, the more prepared your family will be for the journey that lies ahead.

Provide Support and Assistance

The primary goal of an addict in recovery is battling the addiction, which leaves little time or energy to focus on other things like creating a safe and sober environment to live in afterwards. Your family can lift this burden by making preparations so the person in recovery can start anew.

Begin by ridding your home of alcohol and other habit-forming substances. Be conscious of behaviors that may have triggered past abuse and take steps to stop them. Also, be there to assist with your loved one’s additional needs. For example, if he works at a nearby fulfillment company, offer to drive him to work or look after his children while he’s there.

Take Care of Yourselves

You and your family will need to be there to take care of the recovering addict’s needs, but don’t forget to take care of your own as well. The process will be physically and emotionally draining for everyone, but resources are available that can help you cope.

Take care of yourself physically by exercising and eating a healthy diet. Many treatment programs offer counseling and support groups for friends and family; make the most of these groups, as other members are going through the same process. Finally, continue as much of your normal routine as possible to maintain greater stability.

Addiction affects not only the addict, but everyone around him, so be prepared for what’s coming. By educating yourselves, you and your family can go through the process with greater resilience, stability, and support.

Byline:  Carly Fierro is an aspiring writer who currently works for a fulfillment company. In her spare time she loves writing about anything and everything. She loves that blogging allows her to share her writing with people all over the world.

Professional Intervention

In 2004, I never heard of interventions for alcoholics and their families. Maybe it was out there but I never discovered the program. It wasn’t until after my daughter, Lori Cahill of North Dighton, Massachusetts, died in 2006 from her addiction that I came across the broadcast one night by accident scrolling through the channels.

I felt completely powerless over my daughter’s struggle to combat addiction after she had entered three alcoholic rehabilitation centers and came out to only return to her drinking friends and hiding behind closed doors at home with her habit. My fear of losing her was at the highest point since her father, Richard Lopes of North Dighton, died in 1985 at forty-five years of age from the same disease.

I later learned that in the 1960’s, Dr. Vernon Johnson, a minister and his parishioners developed techniques for families to use. They were not professionals. Now they have interventionists who have become professionalized.

There are so many avenues for the addicted and their families to work together to help a loved one before they go too deep into their habit and actions and die from it. Lori had entered the Butler Hospital in Providence, Rhode Island and twice at the Gosnold Rehabilitation Center in Falmouth, Massachusetts.

On November 22, 2006 at thirty-nine years of age, Lori died at the Charlton Memorial Hospital in Fall River, Massachusetts. How I wish the clocks could be turned back. Being told time after time that she had to reach rock bottom had us sending her on her own to come out of denial. Please refuse to believe in this belief.

I am reaching out to alcoholics and drug addicts to please get out of denial and over-come this disease that can very likely kill you if you continue down this path. Parents and loved ones, stop enabling them. You only bring them deeper into their addiction.

I am an Awareness Coach and can talk at your location privately or publicly to make you aware of the dangers of this health problem over-taking millions of lives, especially our children.    

Visit my blog for updates on substance abuse and email me at [email protected] for a quote.

Why is Forgiving so Hard?

Why do people find it hard to forgive themselves or others, especially alcoholics? When I talk to them at halfway homes or rehabilitation centers, most feel the same with the difficulty with forgiving.

My daughter, Lori, felt like she was the black sheep of the family and her sister, Debbie, was the perfect one because she wasn’t fighting addiction. So Lori separated herself from her family, which she loved, and felt worthless. She gave in to her declining health with her liver shutting down and being bulimic instead of taking the help that had been offered to her three times in a recovery program. It’s so sad that she had lost the strength and desire to fight the disease.   

If it’s not hereditary, which I believe it is, than it’s a choice to start on this path of using. Your siblings may chose not to get into the world of alcohol abuse or drugs.  It doesn't mean they are better than you. Have you thought of who you hang out with or where you go to for “fun?” We all know right from wrong so it might be that you just like the feeling of floating out of this world and going into fantasy with your life. But you have to return to reality.

Maybe you lost confidence with yourself and have the need to fit in with the crowd. Look at the crowd and see where they are heading. This world of substance abuse can kill you after years of using. Face what is bothering you and change it, even if you need a professional to help you. It takes more of a person to ask for help than to keep drowning with pain and not recovering from addiction.

Maybe your past is darkened by someone who hurt you. To heal from the past, you need to forgive. Forgiving doesn’t mean that the person in the wrong was right or that you have to associate with them. Forgiving heals “you” so you can move forward. Two things happen when you can’t forgive. Either the person who hurt you doesn’t know you are upset or they do and don’t care. Why give up a change to have a healthy life mentally because of someone like that? 

Forgiving is a way of putting the past behind you and entering the door of recovery. Visit my blog for updates on substance abuse.


Topics with Substance Abusers

I have had numerous people ask me what I talk about to alcoholics and drug addicts when I go to their locations behind closed doors. The first thing I want to do is give them hope and believe in themselves again. Somewhere beneath their habit and actions is the person, who not only enjoyed their families, but life itself. At this stage, getting clean and sober seems completely out of their reach.

I want them to hold their heads up high because they have nothing to be ashamed of being addicted to alcohol or drugs. They have a disease. In fact, it’s surprising when I hear that no one in the family has a problem with addiction. Probably eighty to ninety percent of students in most schools are on something.

The only shame with substance abusers is that most don’t have enough faith in themselves to fight for their sobriety. They give up. Too many have deep rooted problems from the past that they don’t want to deal with so they stay in a numb stage every day being drunk or they go out looking for the drug dealers.

I truly believe that when people feel lost, hopeless and alone that they need to turn back to prayer. Patients say, “Oh, I don’t know how to say the rosary or maybe a novena.”  I tell them that it’s okay because God already knows that.  He knows every single thing about each of us. If we don’t open our hearts to let Him, we won't feel His love and support.

I try to explain that prayer is just talking to God like I do to them. A simple prayer each morning can be “Please, God, help me get through the day with no using.” At night, even if it was the worse they ever had, to never end the day without thanking God because He is giving them another chance to get it right.

If any business, organization or substance abuse rehabilitation centers wants me to speak on “The Effect of Alcoholism on the Whole Family”, they can contact me for a quote at [email protected]. Visit my blog for updates on substance abuse.

An Author's Day

People met authors and think they are well on the road to wealth and fame. What they don’t realize is the fact that readers and organizations get our name out in the world.

How does an author’s day go?  I can only tell you about mine. First, I spend way too much time on the computer with my husband seeing my back for over eight hours. There is something wrong here; I’m supposed to be retired!

I try to keep the time down checking my three emails, a blog and a website.  I am now a blog writer twice a week for the Cape Cod Today, Plymouth Daily News and the Causehub for teenagers on alcohol abuse since I lost a husband and daughter to their addiction.

I spend numerous hours trying to get bookings for speaking engagements and book signings. Agents talk about how authors should get thick skin with receiving so many rejection letters when we send out our query letters to them but the same goes for contacting businesses. A high percent of locations don’t return your call even if they requested you to contact them or they completely forget who you are.

Managers, directors or counselors don’t want to pay authors or speakers for their time appearing at their location. They don’t stop to think that we have a back-bill waiting for the books we had to purchase ourselves for the event. Books don’t move; we can’t afford to keep giving free events.

Bless the authors who were at the right place, at the right time, with the right person to open doors for them. Being an author is a full-time job and so many get lost in the pile. It’s sad when so many writers have a strong message on how to make things better or help individuals find strength after a tragedy happened to them.

All these responsibilities during the day can actually stop me from getting to the next book I’m working on. With so many tasks, some of them have to get put on the back burner. 

So if you’re out shopping sometime and see an author who is book signing or giving a talk, stop and think of how they are trying to reach out to bring a reader a little time to themselves to relax with a good paperback book or a Kindle version. With our fast-paced, stressful life, we have forgotten to take time for ourselves. We are too much on the clock. People need to get into the characters and dream a little so their bodies and minds can forget about the stress and sometimes heartbreak in life.

An Author's Best Friend!

The best gift for an author is word of mouth from our readers who spread the news of our books that we present to the world. It’s an honor when they take the time to actually go on Amazon or Barnes and Noble and write an exciting review…which only makes other readers develop the interest to buy that one book because they take your word that it’s worth the money.
Some stories have a strong message to help people who are suffering in life from a tragedy or trying to find ways to resolve a problem. Authors become a support for readers to realize others have suffered like you. One small statement in that book can change your life to build up your courage to bring change. You’re not alone.
Other authors take the reader on a ride away from their daily stress. Maybe we bring laughter back into your life. It’s the wonder of standing in a character’s shoes and daydreaming for a few days while you turn a new page. Maybe you need a little romance to bring that spark back.

As an author, I hope paperback books never disappear, although, e-books are riding high with buyers who own Kindle, iPhones or other modern electronic devices. With a paperback, you can get the author’s personal signature on your book or cuddle up on the couch and enjoy a good read.

No matter whether it’s paperback or an e-book, we love your support and desire to follow us. More importantly, it’s a gift when a reader spreads the word that our book(s) would be on interest to someone else.

A Spiritual Renewal; A Journey to Medjugorje is in Kindle and due out any day in paperback. It’s a book to bring the faithful back home to God. Someone Stop This Merry-Go-Round; An Alcoholic Family in Crisis and its sequel Please, God, Not Two; This Killer Called Alcoholism is offered in both versions. Both book which contain many lessons for alcoholics, drug addicts and their families. Whichever one you buy, you will be amazed at the reality of alcoholism.

Keep the authors busy from your interest so we can work hard to bring you more enjoyment!  How many out there still enjoy a paperback book to hold in their hands?

Results of Dangerous Enabling

How could a once gentle, loving husband become violent from drinking?  He swore never to become like his mother or sister from their alcohol abuse.  Yet, the children of an alcoholic often go down the same path.

I wrote about our nightmarish episodes with Richie’s blackouts coming home in the early morning hours looking for a fight over anything or everything.

Here is an excerpt from Someone Stop This Merry-Go-Round; An Alcoholic Family in Crisis:

Suddenly, he grabbed my hair and pulled me down to my knees by the armchair.

“What are you doing?” I screamed trying to get my hair out of his fingers.

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 realizing that he was in a blackout. There was no reasoning with him.

He had 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. Instead of waiting for me to lift myself up, he left me there. He turned and went into the bedroom.

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. My fear rose, knowing that he was now capable of killing me.


How many of us put up with this kind of abuse?  Is it from fear of leaving, having no job to be able to support ourselves and the kids or is it from the life-threating belief that the kids need their father/mother?  Our children don’t need that kind of love.  It’s up to us as parents to protect them.

Read about my constant enabling that only pushed Richie deeper into his addiction in my memoir Someone Stop This Merry-Go-Round; An Alcoholic Family in Crisis through or Readmore Books in Taunton, Massachusetts.

Purchase through