Saturday, 3 July 2010

Alcoholism Betwixt Life And Death

Alcoholism puts the alcoholic betwixt life and death. It places the person in a kind of twilight zone that is not truly living and neither is it death. Although the person pushes the door to death ajar from time to time, he or she usually doesn't pass through. Eventually knocking and pushing on the door enough times results in the door opening and the alcoholic passes to the other side. Jane has been in a near death situation on a few occasions. This is usually due to pancreatitis. Heavy drinking damages the pancreas. I am not sure how and I can't research it right now as my internet connection is extremely poor. If the pancreas stops working so do we it seems.

From my perspective the alcoholic removes themselves from the world when drinking heavily but not quite to the point where they kill themselves. As I said it is a sort of in between zone. Well that is the case with Jane. She just doozes throughout a week long binge.

What is unfortunate is that the alcoholic places the victim of the alcoholic, in this case me, in a similar situation. The victim is not placed in the twilight zone between life and death but in a parallel universe where a lot of the norms that we should be used to are shattered. For a start there are the constant lies driven by the alcoholic's desire to try and hide the alcoholism. Lying about booze leads to lying about anything, which in turn undermines everything including that most precious of qualities in a relationship - trust.

Then there is the weird experience of living through a kind of slow motion car crash as the alcoholic tries to almost kill themselves while the victim looks helplessly on, unable to do anything but wait and see if he or she is living the next day.

There have been times when I thought I would wake up to find Jane cold and blue in bed - over and out - walked through that door. That is an odd feeling and not one to recommend.

For a victim of an alcoholic to live like that for a week or more is very unnerving indeed. It is also very stressful.. The "fall out" from a full blown alcoholic binge is enormous. It is like a comet's tail. The after effects of a binge for Jane can last 4 or more weeks - and then she might start again. You see, it puts the victim in a parallel universe of abnormal living. The victim becomes acclimatised to it and forgets what normal is (whatever normal actually is).

For me true alcoholism does put the alcoholic betwixt life and death. The alcoholic probably doesn't want to live but neither does he or she want to die. Alcohol puts them where they want to be, between the two.

13 comments:

  1. Why do you continue living like this? I was with an alcoholic for 3 yrs off and on, and I decided I deserved better. Much better.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Response to last comment:

    Hi, I love her and I have no one else. I know that if I lived alone I would be worse off. Sounds strange but I feel it is true. It is a balancing act. Also at the moment she is improving. I am not a codependent person just a person who needs someone like the rest of us.

    Thanks for the comment.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Well, in my worldview, in regards to alcoholics/addicts and their codependents, there are no victims, just volunteers, and I would put myself at the top of the list of volunteers.

    So, you love her, and I'll take it for granted that you're sincere, and ask you one question.

    What makes her so loveable?

    ReplyDelete
  4. I live with an alcoholic too but don't see myself as a victim. The "victim" label implies that you have no choice. You CHOOSE to live with an alcoholic, therefore you're not a victim but a willing participant in the madness that is the alcoholic/codependant dance.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Responses to above questions:

    (1) There is a chemistry. Your question is almost impossible to answer. Most people can't specify in detail why they love someone. It is a range of things some of which can't even be identified.

    (2) Yes I do choose to live with Jane. But it does not mean that we are in an alcoholic/codependent dance. What if Jane is breaking out of alcoholism. What if because of that the relationship improves. That is what is happening I feel and if so this is not codependency but a pretty normal relationship and in any case it could be argued that all relationships are codependent in some form or another. Perhaps codependency is a definition of love.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I came across your blog as I was researching early symptoms of alcohol addiction.
    The concern was for myself.

    In one sitting, I read from December 2007 through present day. The dreadful darkness and loneliness of your life in the past 2 1/2 years absorbed my core and left me simply terrified.

    As you continue the weary fight to save your partners life as well as your own... please take comfort and peace that you did save A life, mine.

    Thank you and always.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Response to last comment. Thanks for the comment. It is appreciated. Whatever you do don't cross the wire. If you cross it your life will change for ever. Manage your drinking and exercise some control over it before it manages you. Good luck.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Freddy, You write uncanny posts, but this is the most uncanny and succinct description of life with an alcoholic that I've come across. I feel more people need to read this. Now, onto yourself. You don't know that. You really do not know that you would be miserable living alone or that you would not find someone else to live with. If I were you, I'd go out and make some friends. My friends got me though and still help me get through this. My alcoholic had me isolated in the relationship, making me feel like our bond was aethereal and contra the material world, for which the body made no difference, and no one else was needed, or needed to know (my suffering). But it was all bullshit in the end. The strong connection I had with him was poignant, but based on an immature idealism. He was staggering between life and death, yes, but had no problem taking me down with him. That was not love because he could not love himself. You deserve more, Freddy. /endrant>

    ReplyDelete
  9. Last comment: thanks for your concern, it is very sweet of you. I am still hopeful. That quite possibly sounds mad but I think it is true and one day this blog will no longer be a diary but a piece of history. I tend to be a stayer. One of my strengths is to keep going, keep trying and Jane is improving as my presence normalises her life. Over the long term a thoroughly normalised life squeezes out the alcholism.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Hey, in a way sometimes we may be in a 'doomsday' mode. I don't know what Jane is thinking, but my thoughts are along these lines. It's like we're supposed to be intelligent beings but like we're ants in the overall cosmos. It's hard to forge yourself in a one-island being when all the population is into crap (pop culture instead of science) and the world is falling in on itself (there's too many of us destroying the earth). It's like we're headed for it. There are a whole slew of people trying but then look at the hell hole in Africa and elsewhere. It's just too hard to be optimistic when there are too many 'set in the mode' populous around.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Response to last comment: I agree. I gave up on the human race a long time ago. I think we hate ourselves and as a result we are destroying the planet.

    I don't see a future for the human race. It seems to be getting worse. More technology and knowledge but less spirituality, morality and ethics.

    ReplyDelete
  12. You know, I need some simple sort advice here. I heard from a leader in our group (which i hate groups but that's not the topic) that he said either we are leaders or followers and if we are neither then we should hit the road (or something along those lines, i forgot the exact verbiage). But it just makes me feel like I don't belong. So am I lone a wolf? Could there be others that just keep mum cuz they're so overwhelmed by all the crap? Maybe the techies/scientists can find a voice? Who can lead something like that? Hmmm i guess I should go sleep, cuz it won't be me.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Your leader is wrong. Most people are between leaders and followers. Not sure how this is relevant to alcoholism.

    ReplyDelete

I'd like to hear the experiences of both alcoholics and the victims of alcoholics, please.