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Providing non-judgmental and non-criticizing support for family and friends of end-stage alcoholics through one-on-one coaching, support groups, blog posts, workshops and public speaking.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Optimistic Gratitude

It’s that time again. It happens every year. “It” meaning the holiday season. Of course Christmas merchandise was put out before Halloween so the “season” actually started a while ago. This is both a horrible and a wonderful time of year. It all depends on where you are in your life and the circumstances of your environment.

I’ve had holiday seasons from both ends of the spectrum – awful and delightful – sad and happy – grateful and not so much. But, I’ve always managed to make something about each one unique and special. I’m an optimist. When I’m having a bad holiday, I try to tell myself that next year will be better. Sometimes it actually is better and sometimes I have to repeat my mantra of “next year it will be better.”

This year brings a different kind of Thanksgiving for me. Since my family will not be celebrating a feast of turkey until Saturday, I’m left to accept invitations from other friends. There are three – count ‘em – THREE dinners that I’ll be attending this year. I’m very blessed to have been asked to spend this meal with such good friends and my family. This coming Sunday I’ll be at a church dinner; on Friday, the 24th, I’ll be at a friend’s house; and on Saturday the 25th, I’ll be with my grandchildren. On the real Thanksgiving Day, I’ll be cooking and preparing; calling my California family; and watching “Christmas in Connecticut”, a 1945 movie starring Barbara Stanwyck, my personal Christmas favorite. I don’t know of any Thanksgiving movies.

I have much to be grateful this year. I made a list:
  1.       I’m in the middle of writing the sequel to “The Immortal Alcoholic’s Wife” and have received contributions from Riley’s shipmates about life on board submarines. Thank you, guys!
  2.       I will not be listening to Riley’s cries for help from his pain. I’m grateful he is no longer suffering.
  3.    .  My family is healthy and happy. My great-grandchildren grow taller with each glance in their direction. Their brains are like sponges that soak up every piece of knowledge presented to them.
  4.       I’m at peace with knowing I did everything I possibly could to make Riley’s last days more tolerable.
  5.       My travel plans are starting to develop even though it still is a bit early. I should be leaving Virginia sometime after March to start my trip across country while making stops to visit with my followers. Be sure to e-mail me a stop request to immortalalcoholic@gmail.com so I can add you to the itinerary.
  6.        I’m learning that it’s OK to leave the house and do things to take care of myself. I’m grateful to be able to learn that lesson and act on it.
  7.       There is happiness in my life where there used to be despair. I’m grateful for the happiness and to not feeling guilty about being in this state of mind.

 With all this gratitude starring me in the face, I now realize that alcoholism stole from me and my family years of happiness. I have always been grateful even in the worst of times. There’s always something that I can appreciate. But, I didn’t realize there was so much missing.

If you are in the situation of finding it hard to be grateful this Thanksgiving Day, think about the things you DO have and not the things that you DON’T have. Did you wake up this morning? That, in and of itself, is worthy of gratitude. If you are having trouble finding something to be grateful for, e-mail me and I’ll help you find something to help you get through the day. I’ll be there for you.

Thanksgiving and the entire holiday season can be a tumultuous time of the year. Without a doubt, it can be the worst days of your life. But… there is always that light that is not an oncoming train. Like I said before – I’m optimist.     

Monday, October 23, 2017

Because I can...

When a husband dies, people express their condolences in an attempt to comfort the grieving widow. In turn, the widow gets through one day at a time and mourns for the part of her that no longer exists. In some cases, it takes years for the widow to come to terms with her loss and get back to the business of living a full and productive life.

Alcoholics remain on this earth, but die in the mind and heart of the spouse far before they take their last breath. When the death occurs, the grieving process has already started and/or often times it has been completed. It may seem that the spouse is cold-hearted or unfeeling that her/his partner is now gone, but the truth is that the process can sometimes be reaching its end before the actual death occurs.

That seems to be the case in my adjustment from being a wife to a widow. Years ago I accepted the fact that my husband had left me in favor of his mistress – Ms Aristocrat Vodka – or Ms Vodie as I call her. His alliance to her left me without a real husband and left my kids without a real father.

While Ms Vodie held Riley’s heart, he was never monogamous and seemed to take pride in the fact that he could bed down almost any woman in sight. My husband left me and the family way back in the late 1980s although his date of death was September 27, 2017.

Riley and I separated, but did not divorce, early in 1989. I grieved for the marriage that could have been. I cried from the loneliness of Sunday mornings without sharing the newspaper. I longed desperately for the intimate moments we had once shared. I treated every man with hostility because I somehow imagined them to be in some kind of elite womanizing cult. Every man who showed an interest in me was met with the presumption of them being liars, cheaters and jingaloes.  I went through every stage of the grieving process. It was hell.

I came out of it just in time to be able to forgive Riley so that I could take him back into my home, which I had created without the assistance of a man, and take care of him as he withered away with Ms Vodie by his side. The last seven years have been another form of hell.

Riley is gone. I’m truly a widow. And I’m not grieving over the loss. Some of you may think of me as a cold-hearted, ruthless, witch and you may be right. Every night I listened to him tell me, “Linny, I love you” and sometimes “Linny, I care very much about you.” I never responded because those words meant nothing to me. I couldn’t bring myself to hold his hand, but could only manage to rub his shoulders. When he begged me to climb into the bed and hold him, I refused. This man in that bed was not my husband. My husband died years prior to Riley’s requests of affection.

Even though I felt I was attending to a man who was not my husband, I was not free. My entire life was centered on his nurses, aides, physical therapist, doctors, and other visitors schedules. When my daughter was able to come to sit with him, I was able to go to town for groceries and possibly run a few errands. Riley was a prisoner in his bed and I was a prisoner in the house.

September 27th, 2017, was the day I was released from my responsibilities dictated by our society, legal system, and my moral consciousness. I stood in the middle of the living room and I felt stunned. I was looked around as though I was trying to figure out what it was I was to do next. I honestly did not know what to do. So I did nothing except wander through the house. I couldn’t go into his room. It was too empty. Maybe I was missing him a little. Maybe the absence of him treating me like a servant left a hole in my day. I had become so accustomed to his demanding calls that when there was silence, it frightened me.

Riley disliked having me play music as I cleaned house or cooked his dinner. But Riley is not here, so I turned up the music and danced around the room. I sang at the top of my lungs even though I can’t carry a tune in a bucket. I didn’t care. I wanted noise and I made a lot of it. It was glorious!
I made plans, just because I could. I went for drives in the country, because I could. I ate out at the restaurants that I had only heard about but never experienced because… because I COULD! And I DID!

My life has re-started and I’m enjoying it very much. I’m regaining my health, having my nails done, getting plenty of rest and I’m laughing. Do you know why? Because I can, that’s why.

If you are concerned about your what your drinking is doing to your loved ones, read this post again. This is what it means when your alcoholic husband dies and you are finally free again.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Frog's fur...

When I sit down to write a post I usually say to myself, “I don’t have any words.” I stare at the blank simulation of a piece of paper, but still, there are no words that pop into my brain. I simply start typing. Random words flow from my frontal lobe down to my fingertips and end up on the screen. Eventually, they start to make sense and I can rearrange them into some form of message. The post still might ramble a bit… but eventually I get on the right track.

Since Riley’s death, the ramblings seem to have taken over more than my brain. My attention span is limited and I cannot sit still to watch an hour long TV show. Even my favorite, Survivor, can’t hold my interest for the entire show. I start to clean the house, but I go from room to room picking up this and that but never making a dent in the real task at hand.

I have an incredible urge to be mobile. Well, not just mobile. I want to drive to somewhere, anywhere, the destination is not important. I want to be behind the wheel of my car and start in a direction and keep going. I got up yesterday morning, around 4 AM, and took a drive out in the country. I got lost but found my bearings quickly. I drove around for more than an hour. I watched the sunrise which is always incredibly beautiful, and then returned home.

Riley’s nurse called to find out how I was doing. I told him about my driving urge. According to him, it comes from the fact that I’ve been nearly sequestered for several years and now I have the freedom to go outside my house. It is as though I’ve been locked in a cage and now the gate to the cage is open. I’m just outside the gate, waiting to make sure it’s OK to venture farther out.

The house is very quiet. I’ve been in Riley’s room and thought I’d start cleaning it up and getting rid of all the equipment. But, when I go in, I’m a bit frozen. I look around and worry that if I make changes, he will be back and I’ll have to get everything back to being Riley-friendly. The clean-up and changes can wait.

I’m floundering which is a term I often use when a person doesn’t seem to have any direction. While I have a million things on my mind concerning what I need/want to do, I have trouble completing one task. It’s not that I don’t know what to do. It’s that I don’t know what to do first.

I thought about closing down this blog and trying to go on to something new. But, I’ve had overwhelming requests to continue writing here. Readers are asking about what my life will be like now compared to what it was like before Riley became mortal. So this blog will continue.
The sequel to The Immortal Alcoholic’s Wife should be completed soon and will be available on Amazon just as my other books. Also, in the next couple of months, there will be a book available that takes me completely out of my comfort zone. It’s a sexy romance novel which is purely fictional. I’ll be posting updates on both the sequel and romance novel as information becomes available.

Riley’s aide once asked him, “How ya doin’?” His reply was “Fine as frog’s fur. Ever see fur on a frog? It’s pretty darn fine.” He really wasn’t doing fine because less than a week later he died. When people ask me how I’m doing, I’m tempted to give the blub about frog’s fur. I’m fine, but not really fine. I will be fine, eventually. I will rediscover life in a whole new light. I’m like a blind person who can now see and relishing all the new colors and scenery. I’ll be fine. Give me some time. I’ll be just as fine as frog’s fur.

Being fine means that eventually, I’ll stop waiting and listening for Riley to call me from his hospital bed. I’ll be able to wash the final load of sheets and blankets. I won’t wake up in the middle of the night just to see if he is still breathing. I won’t hesitate to take a shower because I don’t know if I can get out fast enough if he should need me. Being fine will require some patience which is not my strength.

I’m not without a plan. Those of you who have been reading my blog for a while know that I always have a plan and sometimes a back-up plan. Those plans usually turn out to be just general outlines for what I actually end up doing. So here’s my general outline for what’s coming up.

In the spring, I will be travelling across country. It will be a long slow trip with lots of stops at silly little tourist attractions – like the giant ball of stamps or twine. If anyone wants me to make a stop in their neighborhood as a meet and greet/lunch/whatever, I’m happy to arrange for that. If there are more than four people in a place, I can do a mini-seminar. I’ll have with me signed copies of all my books. Send an e-mail with “travel” in the subject line to immortalalcoholic@gmail.com so I can work my route to include your area.

My only other plan is to rest, clean house, re-create my office, and take care of my physical health. I’ll keep writing as long as you keep reading.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

A mere mortal after all...

After weeks of fluctuating between screams for help and lapses into unresponsiveness, Riley went to sleep peacefully and never regained consciousness. The Immortal Alcoholic’s reign of immortality has come to a close.

Rest  in  Peace

The Immortal Alcoholic

8/19/1939 – 9/27/2017

Born in Clinton, Iowa

Died in Newport News, Virginia

I won't forget the good times even though I can't forget the bad times.
I mourned the death of the man I married many years ago. Today just makes it official. -- Linda

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

I don't got this...

It’s been a full day out here in the country. Nurses come and go. The aide comes and goes. My daughter comes and goes. The pastor comes by and also the social worker. They go into Riley’s room and check on how he is doing. When each returns to the living room, I ask if he responded. They all have a negative response. Sometimes he opens his eyes just to a squint or a slit whichever you want to call it.

I can’t sleep in my bed because I want to know who is here and who has left. So I lay on the sofa and drift in and out. Several times during the day I’m told to rest. “Just rest. We got this.” They’ve got this. But I don’t “got” this. I flounder around the house and roam from room to room. I open and close the fridge. I’m not hungry. I wipe off the counter tops with bleach and then wipe them dry. One bread crumb and I grab my spray bottle.

Papers are strewn over the coffee table, end table and desktop. They are what needs to be sorted and organized for the Veterans Administration. I straighten them as I pass by, but then spread them out again. I have bits and pieces of my new novel in scraps of paper waiting to be entered into the manuscript. Post-a-notes keep me organized as to all the players in my imaginary world that’s coming to life inside my computer and is just about ready to give birth. Immortal Alcoholic’s Wife sequel is another stack of papers on the printer table. I don’t need any post-it to keep track of those characters.

I’ve been encouraged to video record Riley’s end of days. But, really, there is nothing to record. Unless of course I should have recorded his attempts to shove me out of the way and yell that I’m poisoning him. Maybe I should have recorded his attempts to block anyone from giving him the medication that keeps him calm. That was last night. Tonight is different.

Over the past two years, Riley has been bed bound. Each night when I would “tuck” him into bed and give him nighttime meds, he would say to me “I love you Linny.” Sometimes he would change it up and say “I care about you.” I would become irritated every time he said it because I knew he loved me because I was the only woman left standing out of many. He cared about me because I was the only one who kept the poop from clinging to his butt. I knew it. There was no profound revelation that I was the only woman who had ever loved him enough to take him back in when there was no love left. It was just that he had worn all the others out, driven them away, they were not inclined to put up with his tom-cat attitude.

Tonight there was no “I love you, Linny.” Tonight he lay in his bed and emits an awful death rattle. He breaths in very slowly and then stops as if he is holding his breath. But there is a gurgle in his throat. It sounds like he needs to cough it up. He isn’t conscious enough or strong enough to make the cough happen. I don’t miss the nighttime declaration. I won’t pretend to believe that he is sincere. I’ve fallen victim to that way too many times. Even on his death bed, I just don’t believe it.

When he is a bit more alert, he is hallucinating. I’m not Linda then. I’m his mother or his first wife. He proclaims his love for them. She cries out for Mother to please say the prayer with him. We have discovered that as part of his childhood bedtime routine was to say the Lord’s Prayer before going to bed. We oblige him and recite the prayer for him. It seems to calm him so that we can next his next dose of morphine into his mouth.

Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy Name,
thy kingdom come,
thy will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
As we forgive those
Who trespass against us.

And lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil.

For thine is the kingdom,
And the power, and the glory,
For ever and ever. Amen.


Sunday, September 17, 2017

His dying breath

I’m sitting here tonight at my computer wearing my little rosebud jammies (a Christmas gift from my grandkids last year), a scotch on the rocks (yes, you read right – a scotch), and a box of tissue. In the background my dog, Jade, emits as soft snore while sleeping on the coach which is forbidden to her. The other end of the forbidden coach is my cat, Benny, who is purring as he cleans up from the day. It’s peaceful here in my living room which is also my make-shift office.

A sip of the scotch reminds me of my early days with Riley when he always wanted a Johnnie Walker Gold on the rocks when he arrived home from work. On our meager budget, it was a splurge, but one that Riley insisted upon every night. He would only have one. That was before. That was before the drink became more important than his life or his family or his work or anything else.

Tonight I sip this scotch in honor of the life he left behind to pursue a career in drunkenness – in which he excelled. I can hear his shallow breathing as he lay in his bed not really sleeping but not really comatose either. There is no heavy snoring like there was during the days when we shared a bed. He is peaceful.

Maybe it’s the cocktail of Haldol and Morphine that has him in such a gentle state. A few hours earlier he was throwing his fists and threatening bodily harm to anyone who even showed an attempt to touch him. There was nothing quiet about him screaming obscenities at our pastor as we recited, at Riley’s request, the Lord’s Prayer.

Although his heart is beating and his lungs are working, there doesn’t seem to be anything behind his eyes. No brown eyes with twinklings of mischief or a tell-tale expression of some plot to be executed. His face is pale and yellowish, but not as a jaundiced person. It’s more like he hasn’t bathed or showered and the sweat has left a patina on his skin.

Everyone once in a while his muscles twitch in spasms. It looks like it would hurt, but he’s on so much morphine he probably couldn’t feel a jack hammer to his ribs if one were there. His arms and legs are cold to the touch. The hospice nurse tells me that it’s normal at this stage of his degeneration.

Everyone has left to go to their respective homes and beds. They’ll be back in the morning to help me get through another day. I’m alone waiting for Riley to die. When they are here there is nothing for me to do. I’m told to rest. But, I can’t. So I go to my FaceBook friends who have no idea what’s really going on at this house. I post little comments, stir up a little trouble, ask stupid questions, I occupy myself. The people closest to me in my life are not available. Carrot has lost her phone. Another friend is busy working and caring for her kids. A long-time friend isn’t speaking to me because of a very heated argument that took place a couple of days ago. None of them know and I won’t tell them or can’t tell them that I’m alone and listening to my husband die. I won’t tell them I need them because – I am a strong, confident, independent woman who doesn’t like wallowing. I have an image to uphold. I am my own worst enemy.

So let’s just talk a minute about Riley being my husband. If you are familiar with this blog you will know and understand that we have been estranged for a very long time. I am his wife, but not his lover. Yet, the memories of the good parts of our life together – and there really are some – come flashing back in full force. It could be because I’m in the middle of writing the sequel to the Immortal Alcoholic’s Wife. My writing self must channel Riley in order for me to write the book. I must also channel the Linda who was once a loving, faithful wife. It makes it difficult to sit here, drink a scotch, and listen to that slow, but steady, breathing.

Riley being on the edge of death is not a new experience. The family has sat vigil for him so many times that only a few pay attention when things go downhill. He is seemingly immortal. It’s like a big joke that he plays on anyone who cares about him. Like a boy who cries wolf. This time it’s different. This time we know he has developed sepsis. This time we can see that he is dying before our eyes. It’s unsettling.

There is nothing to be done. I will try to sleep in my bed, in my room, where I cannot hear what’s going on in Riley’s room. I have pills to help me sleep, but they probably shouldn’t be mixed with the scotch. The first thing I will do in the morning is check to see…

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Outside the box

Since October 2010, I’ve been writing this blog offering support, explanation, resources and even a bit of humor. The blog has won awards and even led to participation in an HBO documentary. There has been heartbreak and heartache, frustration and accomplishment. From the e-mail I receive, it seems I have helped alcoholics as well as the people who love them. The journey has been satisfying and awakening. I’m happy with what this blog has accomplished.

My foundation has always been about creating positive change for the families and friends of alcoholics. I like to hear from readers that they love my blog but don’t “need” it anymore. Those are welcome words to my ears because it means that person was listening and learning. That person has come to a place where a life outside the chaos is a reality. It means I’ve been successful. Hallelujah!

Change is something I’ve written about many times. Everything changes. Nothing stays the same forever. That includes the Immortal Alcoholic Blog. Don’t panic! I’m not taking it down but I am going to be going in different directions. It won’t be going in just one direction; it may be many directions at one time. The entire scope has not been completely worked out in my head. But look for posts that are not alcohol related and you will see the change.

I have grown because of this blog. I have found my life outside the chaos and I like what I’ve found. It’s been good for me and the next seven years will be just as good. What can you expect?
Expect to see more guest posts. Expect to hear about current changes in my life. Expect to see information about books I’ve written and other books that I think are important for my followers. Continue to expect sharing of resources, support, and information.

Let’s get started…

Riley now has a full-time aide. Having her is awesome because he no longer calls for me every five minutes. When the aide is here, we behave as though I am not anywhere on the property. He becomes totally dependent on her and I’m free. This is the next best thing to having him in a nursing home.

Freedom – I am now leaving the house whenever I want. I go to the gym, library, historical society, and well… anywhere I want. I actually went to lunch with my daughter. Amazing! People are actually out and about during the day. I think I’d forgotten about that.

Outside my comfort zone is a wonderful world of new experiences. Like, writing a romance novel. I never in a million years thought I, a romance cynic, would write a book about love. But, I am and it’s working. It’s scary, but it’s working.

Speaking of being outside my comfort zone, I find that I’m starting to think of romance differently. Previously I never wanted another man in my life – ever. I was done with hearts and flowers, love letters and cards, and, anything else that would tie me to another man. Now, I’ve been presented with a new possibility that I had never dreamed would become anything worthwhile.

Let’s put it this way, I bought a razor to shave my legs… the hair on my legs hasn’t been in danger of termination for many years. Why bother? I usually wear long pants and who would care? Now that extra step in the shower of shaving my legs has become important to me again. Who knew that would ever happen? Not me! And guess what, I’m happy about not having hairy legs!

Change is inevitable. It’s going to happen no matter what, so why not sit back and enjoy what can be ahead. If the change is in a direction you don’t like, then change the direction. Detours are only detours and they usually are not permanent. So carve your own path and let the change begin!

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Rock Bottom

The post below was written by a blogger who asked me to check out her blogsite. I found it to be exceptional. Please read the post below and then follow the link to her website.

Suggested pairing: Rock Bottom
2 ounces vodka
2 ounces tequila
2 ounces gin
ounce lemon juice
ounce lime juice
ounce pineapple juice
 Pour vodka, gin, lemon juice, lime juice and pineapple juice over ice.  Shake well until chilled and combined.  Strain into martini glass  Slowly pour in tequila.  Cheers, you’ve hit bottom.
Over the decade-plus that I’ve been, in one way or another, directly or inadvertently, coping with another’s alcoholism, I’ve heard the phrase “rock bottom” more times than I can count, and enough times to make me sick.  It’s come up in conversations with friends, disagreements with former family members, sessions with therapists, and sharings in Alanon meetings.  
Here’s what I’ve learned about rock bottom:
Rock bottom, as the Cambridge Dictionary defines it (and they seem to be a pretty credible source for words and shit) as an informal noun meaning the lowest possible level.  With regard specifically to alcoholism and addiction, the term rock bottom is often employed when an individual has devolved into a financial crisis, lost a job, destroyed a marriage, landed in jail, wrecked a vehicle, become violent, went cruisin’ for a bruisin’, rehabbed then relapsed, lost custody of a child or, in this case, all of the above.  Basically, it’s the type of place you’d never want to travel, the level of toxicity you wouldn’t wish on your enemy, and a sort of existence comparable to wearing a wool sweater over poison ivy while having to take a massive shit in an airplane bathroom surrounded by disgruntled flight attendants, wailing babies, passengers with significant body odor and, of course, snakes.
Rock bottom, as it is advertised in brochures and on television, is essentially a self-inflicted hell so deplorable that an individual vows never to return.  It’s brutal and pathetic and excruciating and shameful and lonely and bleak and endless. According to Google Maps, it lies at a proverbial fork at the end of a long road full of bumps and littered with denial and bullshit, where going left takes you to recovery and going right takes you to the mortuary.
Here’s what else I’ve learned about rock bottom:
Rock bottom is a myth.  
It’s a fantasy, a legend for alcoholics that is kept an arm’s length away, just close enough to intimidate and just far enough away to mediate.  It’s something that happens to dirtbags and losers and criminals, not high-functioning, upstanding, classy drunks who are “fine”.
Rock bottom is a unicorn, a false hope and a mirage for family members and loved ones.  It’s a broken promise that eventually things are going to get better, even after getting worse, and that someone they love will experience an imminent epiphany, miraculously turning their life around to be the walking ray of sober sunshine they were always destined to be.  It’s a futuristic event never present on the calendar, yet ever-present in the mind, that we wish for and pray for and cry for, but almost never arrives, because when it comes to a raging alcoholic, sometimes their bottle has a false bottom.
Rock bottom is bullshit.
Alcoholism, as I have come to understand it from my colorful experience in dealing with someone enveloped completely in its wrath, can become a perpetual cycle of destruction marked by big mistakes, bad behavior and bold-faced lies, all of which stem from a nearly impenetrable layer of denial, so thick that not friends nor family nor God himself are capable of breaking, because it is a one-sided mirror that people choose not to gaze into for fear of their own reflection, shatterproof from the outside-in but, from the inside-out, is able to cracked by choice and desperation and self-preservation, much like a fire extinguisher behind protective glass in the center of a massive blaze.  
Believe it or not, I have come to understand and somewhat sympathize with the plight of making a choice to surrender to this disorder, to accept responsibility and to begin the arduous process of recovery and rebuilding one’s life from the bottom up.  
When an existence has become so empty, so devoid of connection and meaning, it may seem too much and too late to change.  
But it isn’t.  Ever.
When bills have piled so high and expectations fallen so low, convictions become so frequent and meaningful relationships so rare, hope seems lost and only troubles can be found, it may seem like it isn’t even worth trying.
But it is.  Always.

To read the entire post go to: http://www.mehab.website/?p=281

Wednesday, August 9, 2017


It’s been a very long road from the time I took Riley back in until today. He’s still alive. Hes still wants a drink or two or three or more. Things don’t change while they are changing. Nothing has gotten any easier along the way.

I thought I’d get used to all the drunken chaos, the household mess, the ridiculous rantings and demands. I thought I’d just ignore it and move along through my day. After all, he is my estranged husband and hadn’t really been a part of my life for more than 15 years. I can handle this, I thought. Everything would be OK.

As Riley became less “sick” and more drunk, things did not get better. I tried to ignore it. He was like that roommate that constantly drank all the milk or used up all the clean towels. He was like the child who refused to pick up after himself or clean his room. But, it was OK, I thought… he’d fall prey to his addiction soon and I’d have my house and life to myself again.

I kept my personal life personal and did not involve him in any decisions at all. I provided with him with what he needed and didn’t begrudge the money it cost. I maintained my previous friendships but seldom had them over to visit. I was starting to lose a grip on my social life.

Auto-pilot never kicked in gear. I got to a point when I realized I was simply “getting through” each day. Riley would get sick, go into hospice, and I’d think… “The end is near. I can have my life back.” I would make plans and reconnect with old friends.. and then… he would pull through to torment me another couple of years. Each near death encounter sent me deeper into the role of caregiver and less into the role of being myself. Finally, I had no idea who I really was. I had no identity of my own. I was just Riley’s caregiver.

Now, 9 years later, I still have times when I don’t know who I am. Thanks to the family and friends who have encouraged me to find my voice, I have managed to start this blog, write the books, collaborate with HBO on Risky Drinking, and tell it like it is. But, Linda is still someone I’m rediscovering outside the chaos. Linda is rediscovering who she is and what she wants. It’s a soul-searching task.

So, my anonymous friend, to answer your questions, I’m sorry to report that it never gets any easier. Your only saving grace is if you are able to hold on to who you really are so you don’t become lost through this process.

“Surviving the Chaos” was written with people like anonymous on my mind. It’s available on Amazon. Get it today for the low price of $10. Here’s the link:

COMING SOON! The sequel to “Immortal Alcoholic’s Wife.” In the sequel to my journey through the chaos, you will learn about Riley’s childhood and family dynamics. Discover his Navy adventure and how it played a big part in his inability to completely rehabilitate. This new book picks up where “Immortal Alcoholic’s Wife” left off. See how far we’ve come. Look for it on Amazon before Christmas.

In the meantime, refresh your memory by reading The Immortal Alcoholic’s Wife. Get your copy here:

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

A living hell...

I met Matt Paust way back in the 1980s when he was a reporter. Over the years, he has retired from the news biz and became an author of political satire novels. Matt has changed his direction to writing poetic rhetoric – poems of a sort. Sometimes when I read what he has written, his words strike a chord deep inside me. I feel he has found his words hidden away in some far corner of my heart or brain.

The poem I’m posting today is a man talking about a woman but it could easily go the opposite way. For me, it explains how I feel how my life has gone with Riley. I’m sure many of you will relate. However, it’s like anything else, you will either like it or not.


By Matt Paust

You sit there, eyes on the floor where she just walked
hell, you think, that's what it is, hell
it's written on your face, you know, the hell
she's made your life a hell, a living hell
is what you're thinking

The charm you thought she meant for you alone
you found
more commonplace than you should know
her whimsy frightens you
you wrap your heart in wrath and hurl it back

Life with her has come to this
denied mistrust entwined with covert scorn
homicide at times worms through your thoughts, wriggles out fleeing
memories of fleeting seconds when true smiles
yours, hers, joined in fierce implacability

I'll be posting more from Matt in the days to come. Be sure to leave a comment and I will pass it on to him.

A Living Hell...

In my first book, The Immortal Alcoholic’s Wife, I strive to show the contrast between Riley, the loving husband and father, as opposed to Riley, the drunken bastard. Back in the day, I loved Riley. Maybe I still do, but I do not love what alcoholism has done to him, his attitudes, his morals, his and my life. Riley doesn’t make my life a living hell – alcoholism does. I don’t hate Riley. I hate alcoholism. I don’t hate my life. I hate how alcoholism has changed my life.

It’s sad that the end stages of Riley’s alcoholic life have destroyed so much in my life. It’s even sadder that I allowed it to happen. I did what most every wife does when faced with alcoholic chaos. I didn’t know any different and no one, or any group, really seemed to help me figure it all out. Now that I have it figured out, I wonder if it is too late. I’m praying that it is not.

Riley is back in hospice and, for about the tenth time, the family is waiting for the grim reaper to knock on his bedroom door – or maybe climb through the window – descend from the ceiling -- whatever. Actually, the only person waiting is me. No one believes he is really going to make an exit. After all, he IS the Immortal Alcoholic.

As I’m waiting, I’m having fantasies about how I will manage the new life that is just beyond my fingertips. I imagine a life that is not a living hell. I imagine being able to eat a whole meal without interruption or not being called when using the bathroom. My fantastical mind ramblings take me to France and a tasting tour through the countryside. And then I remember – he IS the Immortal Alcoholic.

I believe God is testing my patience. OK God! Even the SAT’s have a time limit!

Coming soon!!!
The Immortal Alcoholic's Wife -- Part 2, The Update