Today’s post is not going to be well-edited or put together in a nice pretty package. It will be totally raw because today I am talking about the ugliness of alcoholism. My family is in the thick of it right now. This week has been hell for me and my extended family. We have someone we all love dearly, who has had years of sobriety under his belt, who just started drinking again. And by drinking I mean going on a bender. This is when an alcoholic will drink, pass out, wake up, and drink some more. Over and over and over.
As I write this post, mentally exhausted from the emotions of the week, none of us know if he is alive or dead. The last any of us have heard from him was about 24 hours ago. He is locked up in a hotel drinking somewhere. He won’t share his location with any of us and he won’t go for help. This has been going on for days. It is absolute torture because you constantly wonder if today will be the day he will die. This isn’t being melodramatic either. Our family knows that this happens often because it has already happened to us twice.
Two of my closest cousins died from alcoholism, one in 2014 and one in 2019. Both were terribly painful experiences in both their life and death. Watching someone you love, who you grew up with as kids, slowly lose themselves to alcohol is heart-wrenching. At first, it is the “Does he have a problem?” The wondering—no one is really saying. Then there is the covering up and the excuses for the drinking. Eventually, though, alcoholism always rears its ugly head and the confirmation arrives that yes there is a problem and yes, he is out of control. So what are the healthy loved-ones surrounding that person to do? They attempt to get him help.
That is where the convincing, coaxing, chasing, begging, pleading, yelling, crying, arguing, babysitting, waiting, planning, calling, hoping, wishing, and praying come in. The alcoholic takes over everyone’s lives. The fear of losing that person is so high that you will do almost anything to get them to listen to you. The big problem is that most of the time they don’t. The disease of alcoholism has such a hold on the person. It is literally all they can think about. Nothing else matters at that point. You think that reminding them of their kids, or parents, or spouse will make them want to stop. The ugly truth of that is that most of the time it isn’t enough to make them stop.
Sometimes they agree to go to detox/rehab, and sometimes they stay, but more likely they check themselves out the next morning, the next week, and then the bender starts all over again. It is a vicious cycle. The breath you had caught when you left them at detox gets sucked right back out of you and once again you feel gutted. There is no better word to describe it. Gutted. Because it feels like there is nothing you can do except wait for them to slowly kill themselves.
So that is where we are this week. We feel sad, tortured, gutted, angry, afraid, and worried. All the emotions might not be there at once but they are all there, they just move in and out of you at their choosing, and you just have to learn to deal with it all. Maybe you and your family have been through this and if so, I am sorry and I so understand the pain of it.
One thing we can be thankful for is that our family is all on the same page. We will be loving to him when he reaches out and we will also continue to encourage detox/rehab. One thing we will not do is enable him any longer. If he chooses to sit in a hotel and drink then he chooses that, but we will not make his life easy for him while he does it. Believe me, it is such a hard thing to do, but we believe it is our only hope of him coming out of this alive.
So for those of you who read my blogs regularly and are of the praying type, I ask you to pray for our family this week. We ask for prayers of strength for all of us and that our loved one finally accepts the help he needs. We also ask that he would come to know Christ and feel God’s tender mercies on him. We thank you so very much for the prayers.