Journey's blog

The Effect of Alcoholism on the Whole Family




       Tom Cirignano                                              Phil Paleologos                                     Alberta

February 6, 2014, I hosted a program for families at the Lakeville Library in Massachusetts. Two recovery alcoholics talked about how they got involved with alcohol that turned their lives upside down.

I had an hour to talk about how the family members suffer silently ourselves trying to deal with the confusion, fear, enabling, denial, and some of us, living with physical abuse. This video is worth watching. I hope it helps just one person.

Alberta Sequeira

Purchase What is and isn't Working for the Alcoholic and Addict at


Medjugorje: Events to Happen




Taken from the Overview from

Medjugorje is a tiny, remote village in Bosnia. 

Since 1981, in a small village in Bosnia-Hercegovina named Medjugorje, the Blessed Virgin Mary has been appearing and giving messages to the world. She tells us that God has sent Her to our world, and these years She is spending with us are a time of Grace granted by God. In Her own words She tells us, "I have come to tell the world that God exists. He is the fullness of life, and to enjoy this fullness and peace, you must return to God".

Our Lady's mission is one of peace. She has come to earth to reeducate us and to help us convert and recenter our lives back to God. Our Lady's role has always been one of guiding people to Her Son, Jesus. What an amazing opportunity we have before us! Our Lady's call to conversion is urgent, and we should respond with all our hearts.

Our Lady continues to give messages to six people from the village of Medjugorje: Ivan, Jakov, Marija, Mirjana, Vicka, and Ivanka. These six people (referred to as "visionaries") have received apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary since June 24, 1981. In addition to Her public messages, Our Lady is to give each of the six visionaries a total of ten "secrets" of happenings that will occur on earth in the near future. Some of the secrets pertain to the whole world while others concern the visionaries themselves or the local village. Only one of the secrets has so far been revealed by the visionaries. In the third secret Our Lady has promised to leave a supernatural, indestructible, and visible sign on the mountain where she first appeared. Our Lady said: "This sign will be given for the atheists. You faithful already have signs and you have become the sign for the atheists. You faithful must not wait for the sign before you convert; convert soon. This time is a time of grace for you. You can never thank God enough for His grace. The time is for deepening your faith, and for your conversion. When the sign comes, it will be too late for many."

When each of the six visionaries has received all ten "secrets", Our Lady will stop appearing to them on a daily basis. Currently, Marija, Vicka, and Ivan have received nine secrets, and Our Lady still appears to them every day, wherever they are, at 6:40pm. Mirjana, Jakov, and Ivanka have received all ten secrets, and Our Lady appears to them once per year for the rest of their lives. For Ivanka who received her 10th secret on May 7, 1985 it is on the anniversary of the apparitions, June 25 each year. For Jakov who received his 10th secret on September 12, 1998, it is on Christmas day each year. And for Mirjana who received her 10th secret on Christmas 1982, it is on her birthday, March 18 each year. Our Lady has also been appearing to Mirjana on the 2nd of each month since August 2, 1987 for the purpose of praying for all unbelievers. Mirjana tells us that it is very important that all of us pray for the unbelievers in the world, who are described as those who have not yet experienced God's love. No one knows when Our Lady will give the tenth secret to Marija, Ivan, and Vicka.

Once Our Lady has stopped appearing there will be three warnings given to the world. These warnings will be in the form of events on earth. They will occur within Mirjana's lifetime, and Mirjana will be a witness to them. Ten days before each of the warnings, she will advise the priest she chose for this task (Father Petar Ljubicic), who will then pray and fast with Mirjana for seven days. Then, three days before each warning is to take place, Fr. Petar will announce to the world what, where, and when the warning will take place. Fr. Petar has no choice, and must reveal each warning. After the first warning, the other two will follow in a rather short period of time. That interval will be a period of great grace and conversion. After the permanent, visible, supernatural, and indestructible sign appears on the mountain where Our Lady first appeared in Medjugorje, there will be little time for conversion. For that reason, the Blessed Virgin invites us to urgent conversion and reconciliation. The permanent sign will lead to many healings and conversions before the secrets become reality. According to Mirjana, the events predicted by the Blessed Virgin are near. By virtue of this experience, Mirjana proclaims to the world: 'Hurry, be converted; open your hearts to God.'

The ninth and tenth secrets are serious. They concern chastisement for the sins of the world. Punishment is inevitable, for we cannot expect the whole world to be converted. The punishment can be diminished by prayer and penance, but it cannot be eliminated. Mirjana says that one of the evils that threatened the world, the one contained in the seventh secret, has been averted, thanks to prayer and fasting. That is why the Blessed Virgin continues to encourage prayer and fasting: "You have forgotten that with prayer and fasting you can ward off wars, suspend natural laws."

In addition to this basic message, Mirjana related an apparition she had in 1982, which sheds some light on certain aspects of Church history. She spoke of an apparition in which satan appeared to her, and asked Mirjana to renounce Our Lady and to follow him. By doing so she could be happy in love and in life. He added that following Our Lady would only lead to suffering. Mrjana rejected him, and immediately Our Lady appeared and Satan disappeared. Then Our Lady gave Mirjana the following message:

"Excuse me for this, but you must realize that Satan exists. One day he appeared before the throne of God and asked permission to submit the Church to a period of trial. God gave him permission to try the Church for one century. This century is under the power of the devil; but when the secrets confided to you come to pass, his power will be destroyed. Even now he is beginning to lose his power and has become aggressive. He is destroying marriages, creating divisions among priests and is responsible for obsessions and murder. You must protect yourselves against these things through fasting and prayer, especially community prayer. Carry blessed objects with you. Put them in your house, and restore the use of holy water."

According to certain Catholic experts who have studied these apparitions, this message of Mirjana may shed light on the vision Pope Leo XIII had. According to them, it was after having had an apocalyptic vision of the future of the Church that Leo XIII introduced the prayer to Saint Michael, which priests used to recite after Mass up to the time of the Second Vatican Council. These experts say that the century of trials foreseen by Leo XIII is about to end.

Since the apparitions began in 1981, approximately 40 million people of all faiths, from all over the world, have visited Medjugorje and have left spiritually strengthened and renewed. Many bring back stories of miracles in the form of healings (of mind, body and spirit), supernatural visual signs, and deep conversions back to God. You owe it to yourself and your loved ones, to investigate with an open mind and heart the messages which are given to us by Our Lady of Medjugorje. I invite you to read these messages and decide for yourself how they will affect your life and that of your family.

Our Lady's messages are meant to be assembled like a mosaic. To understand the full meaning and depth of these messages, we need to study all of the messages She has given us over these last 33+ years. "By means of the messages, I wish to make a very beautiful mosaic in your hearts." (November 25, 1989). Our Lady has asked that we continually read, study, and meditate on the messages which She has given us. She said: "Little children, read every day the messages I gave you and transform them into life. I love you and this is why I call you to the way of salvation with God." (December 25, 1989).

The technique of teaching which Our Lady uses, reeducates us to be Christians. She accomplishes this by walking with us, and guiding us step by step, message by message. Today, many people think it is not important to be a Christian. Others want to live a superficial form of Christianity which is easier or more convenient than living a true Christian life. Our Lady wants to show us through Her messages the real face of Christianity. This is a long process because we as a society have strayed far from the truth and God and are slow to learn. This is true both in the Church and outside the Church. We have to accept being totally reeducated, little by little, by the Mother of God. The problem with mankind is not so much that people have bad intentions; there are plenty of good hearted people. The problem is that we sometimes don't see the truth; we are in darkness, and many of us are just blind. We do not realize that we have put ourselves into the hands of satan because we do not know how to tell the difference between right and wrong. Many of us become an image of satan without even knowing it.

I don't think that anyone could argue, regardless of religious orientation, that today's world is in a state of crisis. All one has to do is read the newspaper or watch television to be see how eroded the morals of our world have become. It is shocking to see and hear the examples of terrorism, inhumanity, cruelty, violence, abuse, drugs, war, crime, etc., etc. Much of the world has strayed far from a life centered around God and family. The answers which we need to redirect our life can be found by reading and living Our Lady's messages and Scripture.

"You are ready to commit sin, and to put yourselves in the hands of satan without reflecting." (May 25, 1987)

"Do not allow satan to gain control of your hearts, so you would be an image of satan and not of me." (January 30, 1986)

"Children, darkness reigns over the whole world. People are attracted by many things and they forget about the more important."

"Light won't reign in the world until people accept Jesus, until they live His words, which is the Word of the Gospel."

"Dear children, this is the reason for my presence among you for such a long time: to lead you on the path of Jesus. I want to save you and, through you, to save the whole world. Many people now live without faith; some don't even want to hear about Jesus, but they still want peace and satisfaction! Children, here is the reason why I need your prayer: prayer is the only way to save the human race." (July 30, 1987)

We must realize that Satan is real. He uses us for his own end and purposes. His main purpose is destruction. Destruction of love, peace, faith, family, and life. Just as God gave David 5 stones with which to defeat Goliath, Our Lady is also giving us 5 Stones or Weapons we can use to defeat satan. They are:

Daily Prayer (Of the Rosary)
Fasting on Wednesdays and Fridays
Daily Reading of the Bible
Monthly Confession
Holy Mass
Click Here, for a detailed look at these 5 Stones or Weapons to conquer satan.



Read more about Alberta's journey to Medjugorje and how it changed her life in her memoir A Spiritual Renewal: A Journey to Medjugorje  at:

What do the Addicts need for support?





Are you going crazy trying to understand why the alcoholic and drug user can't stop their habit? Are you drained trying to help them? Are you in fear watching them slowly kill themselves? What do they need from us to help them want the desire to get professional help? What do they want from the professionals? This book will also help the substance abuser realize that they are not going crazy and alone with their suffering in silence. This is a family book for every member to come to read the deep emotional feelings that the alcoholic has and what family members are going through trying to help them.

Author, Alberta Sequeira, wondered why some alcoholics and drug addicts recover and put their lives together while others die from this horrible worldwide problem. What gives them the physical and mental strength to fight this battle and come out winning? These questions, and the author’s tragedy to losing her husband and daughter from their alcohol abuse, encouraged this writing. Here is a book, not only for the substance abusers, but for family members, society, doctors, and counselors to learn, not only what the addict is looking for with support to help them through with their recovery, but new ways to help the addicted.

You will learn that childhood emotional wounds mold us into what we become in adulthood. What is and isn’t Working for the Alcoholic and Addict is a book of personal stories by thirty-four alcoholics and drug users from all walks of life from the United States and Canada. The first few years of recovery in substance abuse contain numerous pitfalls which addicts in recovery must have the right kind of help with. The best-intention of friends, family, lovers, and co-workers can be healthy supports or obstacles to long-term sobriety. Addicts sharing their experience, strength and hope with others is something that only a recovering addict or alcoholic can do. It is a unique gift. T

This book contains the testimonies of individuals who were or are actively in a recovery program and wanted to share their habit and actions with their struggles trying to overcome their own addiction. Their main goal is to help others who are fighting with their recovery and sobriety. These are their own stories on how their addiction led to the devastation of losing control of their life, family, friends and the death of other family members from this disease we call Alcoholism. Their desire is to lift other substances abusers, especially young people, in learning the reality that it’s not that drinking and taking drugs may, could or would kill.... It will.

Hopefully, the heartfelt honesty from the participants will help doctors and counselors to use their stories for their own study on what may be missing in the treatment methods. The personal testaments within What is and isn’t Working for the Alcoholic and Addict is an added tool as to how people are affected, and how they suffer long-term drinking habits from living in an active alcoholic family.

As one contributor wrote, “I was tired of getting sick, my hands shaking, my vision deteriorating, my nose bleeding, my bowels moving sporadically, the violence and running from many situations being paranoid to the point of staying home all day (I had a job, a husband, family), not sleeping and not feeling safe.” What alcoholic or addict is not going to relate to these emotions?

Out of thirty-four short stories, you can't help but find one story and say, "That's me" or "That's our family." What is and isn't Working for the Alcoholic and Addict is in both paperback and Kindle. Click here:



Great Info for the family of the addict
By MSH58
Format: Paperback

I have learned a lot from family and friends who are in recovery and this book took it one level deeper. The stories are raw, honest and heartfelt from the people who lived through the pain and came out on the other side. I would recommend this book to family members or friends who want to know how an addict/alcoholic thinks. It’s also could be a good way to open a conversation with a loved one who is struggling to come to grips with whether they have a problem. We all want to know the right way to handle things and I think Alberta’s book gives us insight that there is no “pat” answer that applies to every addict. Bravo to the folks telling their stories!

Many addicts stories
By Amazon Customer
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase

Very informative reading many addicts stories. What made them seek help. What helped them stay sober. What length of time needed in treatment. What treatment programs need.

Personal and revealing
By Heidi Hofschulz
Format: Kindle Edition

It is amazing that there are so many different experiences, all gathered by the author and put in one place. There are no stereotypes that can encapsulate all the individuals who shared their stories. This book is very personal, and the stories are revealing in many frames of reference. I think the book is a gentle tool for addicts/alcoholics and for their families. It is nice to have a book I can recommend to someone I come across who is in either situation, since it’s rare to find a person who is unaffected by these things in their lives at some point.


Self CPR for Heart Attacks

This may seem like an odd post for me, but I was so thankful for this information sent to me. I am a heart patient with a pacemaker and a diabetic so it is important for me to know. Many of us don't even know we have heart problems, but if you should ever get the signs of one, this post may save your life. Don't think of it as something just for, read and absorb the steps.

  This is an alert!!  A very important alert for everyone I know!

  1.  Let's say it's 7.25 pm and you're going home (alone of course)
after an unusually hard day on the job.
  2. You're really tired, upset and frustrated.
  3. Suddenly you start experiencing severe pain in your chest that
starts to drag out into your arm and up in to your jaw. You are only
about five miles from the hospital nearest your home.
  4. Unfortunately you don't know if you'll be able to make it that far.
  5. You have been trained in CPR, but the guy that taught the course
did not tell you how to perform it on yourself.
are alone when they suffer a heart attack without help, the person
whose heart is beating improperly and who begins to feel faint, has
only about 10 seconds left before losing consciousness.
  7. However, these victims can help themselves by coughing repeatedly
and very vigorously. A deep breath should be taken before each cough,
and the cough must be deep and prolonged, as when producing sputum
from deep inside the chest.  A breath and a cough must be repeated
about every two seconds without let-up until help arrives, or until
the heart is felt to be beating normally again.
  8. Deep breaths get oxygen into the lungs and coughing movements
squeeze the heart and keep the blood circulating.  The squeezing
pressure on the heart also helps it regain normal rhythm. In this way,
heart attack victims can get to a hospital.
  9. Tell as many other people as possible about this. It could save
their lives!!
  10. A cardiologist says if everyone who gets this mail kindly sends
it to 10 people, you can bet that we’ll save at least one life.
  11. Rather than sending jokes, please ... contribute by forwarding
this email which can save a person’s life....
  12. If this message comes around to you more than once, please don't
get irritated - you need to be happy that you have many friends who
care about you and for being reminded of how to tackle heart attacks.

  This is an alert!!  A very important alert for everyone I know!

Powered alcohol

23 March, 2015 Jasmine O'Donoghue

Latest News


Powdered alcohol made legal in the US Natural and organic expo heads to Sydney
The Victorian Government said it will move to ban “Palcohol” after the manufacturer has reportedly shown interest in the Australian market.

Palcohol has been approved for sale in the United States, with the manufacturer planning to begin selling the powdered alcohol “this summer”.

One standard drink is made by adding a packet of the powder to three-quarters of a cup of water and the maker has flagged “food applications” such as “adult ice-cream” as a potential use for the product.

Palcohol will be sold in the US in two hard-spirit versions; Vodka and Puerto Rican rum and three cocktail versions; Cosmopolitan, Powderita (like a margarita) and Lemon Drop.

Minister for Liquor Regulation Jane Garrett said she will write to her interstate and federal counterparts on Monday about stopping the powder from flooding the market, ABC News reports.

"This product is dangerous," Garrett said.

"It will be easy to get into venues, easy to carry around in backpacks; it's obviously a bit of a novelty.

"Regulating the amount that's used is really difficult.

"How this thing is measured, if it's poured into a punch bowl, what does it do?

"There's concerns that people might be snorting it."

But the maker of the product, Mark Phillips, has a different idea.

Phillips argues that snorting the product would be painful and that a packet and it will not be easy to conceal as a packet of Palcohol is 4" x 6".

In a statement on the Palcohol website, he went on to say banning Palcohol would be “irresponsible” as “’the government will spend precious financial resources trying to enforce the ban and it probably won’t work.”

Phillips also said a ban would heighten demand and create a black market.

Phillips decided to create the product to suit activities which don’t lend themselves to lugging heavy bottles of alcohol, such as hiking, biking, vamping and kayaking.

“After hours of an activity, sometimes [Phillips] wanted to relax and enjoy a refreshing adult beverage… since powder is light and compact, it wouldn't be a burden to carry,” the Palcohol website states.

The Victorian president of the Australian Medical Association, Dr Tony Bartone, said he supported moves to ban the powder.

"It just lends itself to an unwanted possibility of abuse and excess that sends the wrong message of excess in a culture that is seeking to promote alcohol in moderation," Bartone said.

He said any labels or warnings on the product would not stop people abusing the product.

"It's about ensuring we have a reliable, predictable amount of alcohol in what we consume," he said.

"It's the message that we're sending. This would be able to go through to places where you would normally not allow alcohol to be.

"The possibility of taking it to school...and hiding it in containers. It just lends itself to abuse and misuse.

"There is a plethora of alcohol products available on the shelves, we don't need additional products such as this."

Garrett said she had the power to ban the product in Victoria, but wanted a national approach.

"We have a lot of alcohol products available in this country that are regulated and made by local manufacturers," she said.

"This is a really unwanted element ... and we will be doing everything we can to deal with it.

"The ways in which this product can be misused is limited only to the imagination."

She said governments had an obligation to make sure "dangerous products" were not available to young people. 

An Addict's Recovery


MARCH 4, 2015

This is a wonderful website for addicts and their families to join and share with others suffering with alcohol or drug addiction. I will try to post some writing from the site.

Written by a recovering addict:

I’ve done a lot of awful things in my life.
During my 10+ years of drinking and using, I left a swath of chaos everywhere.
My relationships.
My education.
My entire life.
Then I got sober.

But no matter how hard I tried, how many days of sobriety I got, how much my life improved, I still felt like a huge part of my identity was bad at its core. Even when things were going well – when I graduated from college, when I got married, when I fulfilled my dream of publishing a book – it was like I couldn’t bring myself to believe that it was possible for me to be truly happy.

Always underneath the joy was a sub-conscious, persistent, and horrible picture of who I “really” am.

In other words, my perception of who I was kept poisoning my perception of who I can be.

It wasn’t until recently that I even started to question this. And when I did, I saw a bad pattern. It became obvious to me that – even in sobriety – I am really harsh on myself. I spend far too much time searching for old patterns, and not nearly enough reflecting on how much I’ve achieved, how far I’ve come, and all the amazing places I still have left to go.

There is a ton of great work being done to end the stigma of addiction. Important work that is changing lives. But as strong as these efforts are, their power pales in comparison to the power each of us who suffer from addiction has to set ourselves free.

From shame.

From self-hatred.

From always feeling different.

“You can do anything you set your mind to…”

Remember when your mom (or some other adult) told you this as a kid?

For years I took this phrase to mean that I could accomplish anything with enough hard work. And that’s certainly true for recovery, which, like anything else worth doing, takes sustained and honest effort.

But I think the deeper meaning of Mom’s sage advice is that if a person wants to do something – especially something life changing – that person has to first and foremost believe it to be possible.

Not anyone else.

Not friends. Not a spouse. Not a sponsor. Not a teacher. Not a boss. Not investors.

If we as recovering addicts can’t see ourselves as what we want to be, then who defines us?

Telling Our Own Stories

One of the reasons I think twelve step programs work so well is because they help transfer the knowledge and wisdom of more experienced people to those in need of the information. And they do it in a way – stories – that make people remember the lessons.

As a writer, I’m obviously a huge fan of stories. Their ability to build empathy is almost magical.

But one huge challenge to the recovery community is that we, as products of a lifetime of turmoil, tend to focus a lot on defeat, failure, and all the ways we are different from “everyone else.”

These are important stories to tell, no doubt. But they are also only part of the picture, and need to be taken as such.

To me, there’s an even more important part of the tale that goes woefully untold. The one that highlights not just the disease, but the recovery.

We have to stop thinking of ourselves only as diseased outcasts, because we are also – just like everyone else – individuals putting one foot in front of the other in search of a better life.

Every person alive – addict and non-addict alike – will make many mistakes in life.

Those missteps don’t have to define us.

We are all beautiful people capable of amazing things, if we allow ourselves.

Jake D. Parent is a writer with 8+ years of sobriety. His latest work is a new novel, Only the Devil Tells the Truth, a powerful coming of age story about a working-class teenager from California who battles addiction.


Alberta's books at:


Part 1 to the Introduction to Someone Stop This Merry-Go-Round; An Alcoholic 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. 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 
By meme
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.

Find all books at 

Why Do Family Members Stay in Denial with the Alcoholic?

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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Trust Yourself

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.

What would I do without faith?

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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