Thank you so much for your prayers for my family member that I met with earlier this week in my home town (read previous post “Damn Disease”). I shared my story with her which is all I could really do. Somehow when we say “me too” with this disease, it gets the attention of the alcoholic who is still suffering. I left my hometown after doing my best sharing my own experience, strength and hope and I beseeched her to get help. I was sad as she is so very ill and her body is shutting down from the daily abuse it is taking. Her girls want their mom back. Her partner is weary. Her folks are terrified. She has lost her job. She has had three impaired charges. And yet, still she drinks. You know the story. Nothing new here. I did what I could which was shared my own story and then, feeling helpless, left for home…
On my way home, I received a desperate phone call from her. She ASKED FOR HELP. That is the first step for anyone reading who is still suffering: find somebody who gets it or who you trust and tell them you need help. Yes, I know that is a tall order but the second we do that, we have dealt this disease a devastating blow. Truth and connection with another. These are things this disease cannot tolerate. It needs us alone, isolated, lying to ourselves and others that, “Everything is okay and I am fine…” Lies. The second we say, “I need help…” you have begun to send the nightmare into remission. Below is the email I sent to her and I extend the words within it to anyone who is desperate enough to be honest about where their drinking has gotten them. And yes, my family member is end-stage, but I believe this disease is progressive and with enough time, denial, and continued alcohol mis-use, we could all eventually find ourselves in a similar life threatening situation. Here is what I would say to you over a cup of coffee and with great love and respect for you and the nightmare you are needlessly enduring:
I am so glad to see that you are asking for help… That means you want to live and I was not sure that you did when we were talking. I was afraid you had given up – my dad drank past his will to live and it has not gone well for him. (He suffers from “wet brain” which is another terrifying outcome of continued alcohol mis-use) This is end stage – I have seen it before and there is TONS of info online about the stages of alcoholism. If you continue to drink you will die. BUT you need medical help to stop – seizures are very serious and that is what our friend Jack died of as did Amy Winehouse and countless others. Medical help will ensure that you do not have to experience another seizure like you did last week when you quit alone.
I have a friend who is sober and they run a detox/rehab program. I phoned this morning and they have one bed open right now. It is an option. It is a 30 day program with options to stay longer but that would be your choice. They have the resources to detox you safely as well. I know that in many recovery facilities there are long wait times. You cannot afford to take the risk waiting – this is an option for immediate help.
You seem like you are having a moment of clarity or willingness. Seize it. Whatever you decide, do NOT wait – get help and get if fast. This is life and death. That moment of clarity will fade away and the lies this disease tells us will return: “I am not that bad yet…” If you continue to drink you will die. I wish I could make the choice for you but you are the only one who can take steps to send this effing nightmare into remission right now. Today this can end if you choose to get help. I can walk with you as you get well but I can’t make you do anything and you know it. I have seen women come back from end-stage to full health and build amazing lives for themselves. I have also attended funerals. Get this done – tell me what you need from me – ask for help. You can do this. Choose life for yourself and your loved ones. I love you and I am here…
Call and ask for help.
Whatever you decide, do so quickly. This is urgent.
As an update, my family member got honest, got on a plane yesterday and took the bed. She will survive and eventually thrive IF she continues asking for help and being honest. We often think that the opposite of addiction is sobriety – I have experienced first hand that the opposite of addiction is HUMAN CONNECTION. We cannot get well alone. Reach out and tell someone you need help. I promise you life is amazing on the other side and all the bad things that you think might happen if you tell someone are lies. EVERY SINGLE TIME I have shared my truth with someone who has earned the right to hear it, the result has been an authentic friendship. Never, NOT ONCE has it been judgement or rejection as my disease riddled mind had me believe would be the outcome if I told someone. Reach out, trust me. If you have nobody, then reach out to me for a start. It helps me stay sober to walk with others who are also struggling with their alcohol mis-use. This is how we find strength and help for this life threatening problem – through honesty and connecting with others… Tell someone you are struggling – your disease wants you to keep it a secret and wants you to believe that “…I am not that bad…” Strike it with a blow it cannot survive: reach out for help. ❤