The Judge

She pleaded guilty to being drunk in public and was sentenced to 90 days of treatment.  There was some question about what was considered treatment, but she claimed the Judge agreed to 28 days in a treatment center followed by 62 consecutive days attending AA meetings.

She did her 28 days and then attended AA meetings for about 10 days before she stopped.  I reminded her once or twice that it wasn’t optional, she had to attend the meetings but she didn’t seem to care.  I don’t know what she was thinking.

She had another hearing with the Judge to complete her sentence.  Her lawyer wasn’t available so a different lawyer from the same firm attended in his place.  He didn’t know anything about her case but figured it was ok since this was just confirming the sentence.  Apparently it didn’t go too well.

I guess it kind of hit the fan.  The Judge sent them away and told her to return with her lawyer the following week.  At that time she would present evidence that she had completed her sentence.

I really thought she would end up in jail for the rest of her sentence.  Her lawyer advised her to get back into a treatment center and don’t come out for 62 days.  She looked around and found an opening in a luxury top-of-the-line treatment center that cost a fortune to attend.  I don’t know how or why but our insurance covered it (most of it) so she signed up.

The Judge gave it the ok and told her if she left early she would go straight to jail.  Enough said.

She packed up her stuff and left for the next treatment center.  It was much too far to drive to so she and one of the twins flew instead of driving.  This was her 6th treatment center that she had been to.

I was on my own for two months.  Free from the daily conflicts of living with an alcoholic.

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Second Impact Letter

Part of the program for the treatment center was writing an impact letter.  They didn’t call it an impact letter but it was essentially the same thing.  I decided to go ahead and write one.  I could have pointed her to this blog and had her take a day or two to see what it’s really like to live with an addict, but I scribbled down some thoughts and gave it to her.

This is the second letter I wrote:

Dear _____

The kids and I have been through rough times with you.  It’s not easy living with an addict.  Years ago when you were in a treatment center I wrote you an impact letter.  I’ve attached it to remind you of the things I said in 2010.  It was different then.  The kids were younger so our situation wasn’t the same.  Now, 8 years later we are still dealing with you as an alcoholic but it affects us in different ways. 

Our family relationships have been shaped as a result of your addiction.  The kids and I have dealt with it the best way we could, accepting it as reality and understanding that there was nothing we could do to change it.  I did everything I could to insulate the kids from the stress of having an addict for a mother and did so with their best intentions. 

What’s it like to live with you?  You are always drunk, every day, and as a result you lose your ability to speak coherently and function as a normal adult.  Our response has been to tune you out and ignore you.  We don’t include you in conversations, plans or activities.  I know you were aware and upset by it, but it won’t change.  This is the way we deal with your addiction. 

The three things that you complain about the most are 1) you never do anything right, 2) you are never included in anything and 3) I never want to do anything.  Each of these is true and each of these is direct result of your drinking.   When you are drunk you don’t do anything right, we don’t want to include you in anything and I have been burned so many times that it’s easier for me to not do anything with you than it is to agree to do something and hope you won’t be drunk.

Think about what we went through last Christmas.   All the kids were home and the family was coming over.  What happened?  You got very drunk right before everyone arrived.  You sat in the living room talking about our oldest’s boyfriend repeating the same thing over and over.  We tried to change the subject but you kept saying the same thing over and over.  Then you went on about one of the twin’s trip to the cabin.  We all agreed not to talk about it but you got drunk and talked about it anyway.  I had to stay in the kitchen and cook the entire meal.  The kids knew what was up and they came and helped me.   There we were, the kids and I were in the kitchen talking it up, having fun, doing what we do while you were drunk in the other room.  To us, that was our norm.  The rest of the family just dealt with it.  Nobody said anything.  Nobody ever does.

And now it’s going to change.  Each of us wants it to and when it does, each of us will get to know you as a different person.  This will take time.  It is not something that you can expect to happen over-night.  To help us, I have these suggestions:

First, don’t judge everything we do or say.  And don’t feel bad if you are not immediately included.  A perfect example is when I said I had to buy food for the twins ski trip.  I told her it was from us.  You immediately pointed out how nice it was to have me say us instead of me.  The fact is, if you are healthy and sober, it wouldn’t matter if I said us, me, or you.  You sobriety depends on changing the way you think and you will drive yourself crazy micro analyzing everything we say. 

Which leads to the second point.  Don’t expect us to say what you want.  An example was when we were talking on the phone about having to pay for 5 nights.  You said you wanted me to say you should stay the extra time to get better.  The thought never crossed my mind that somehow 25 days was not enough time for you to get better but 30 is.  I would have never said what you expected or wanted.  Again, when you are healthy and sober you won’t have these expectations.

Finally, don’t change the relationship I have with the kids, and don’t be jealous of it.  Build your own relationships and understand that with your sobriety the family dynamics will change, faster than you think.  It won’t change if you drink, but in recovery it will.  We all want it to.

Your recovery is not something we can do for you, but we can help you with it.  Don’t be afraid to ask for anything that will help.  We all want to support you and we all want you to get better.

Love _____

I read it to her with a counselor and her response was ‘why is it all about you and the kids, instead of just you’.  Funny, I didn’t intend to write it that way but that’s how it came out.  I guess that is just the way I view things.

Reading the letter now, I don’t think it captures what it is really like to live with her.  I think I should have been more direct.  Like in the 3rd paragraph instead of “We don’t include you . . .”  I should have said ‘We don’t want you . . . “.  Too late now.

Posted in Alcoholism, Disease, Living with an addict | 3 Comments

Treatment Center

She looked around for a treatment center to serve her sentence and found one in a town about 10 miles away.  It was clear from the start she cared most about her convenience, not a path to sobriety.  It was a small day treatment center that had about 10 people, most of them were there for some mandatory reason.

She lasted about a week and a half.  To be honest, I don’t blame her for quitting.  My impression was the people who ran it were just in it for the money, cashing in on whoever they could get in the door.  She said people sat around and complained all day and a lot of the time they just watched TV.  Many of the of the treatment sessions were cancelled for some reason or another.  She was still drinking while she attended this treatment center but that’s not the reason she quit.

It took about a week to find a new treatment center.  This one was about a 90 minute drive so she would stay there.  At first she was a bit hesitant, but when we discovered insurance would pay (it was very expensive), she signed up.

I dropped her off on a Monday morning and headed to our cabin.  I was on my own for 28 days.  I felt relieved.  I didn’t have to worry about her doing something stupid and I didn’t have to deal with her drunken ordeals around the house.  I was free.

She would call most days and I visited her twice.  They had a family program but I decided not to attend.  I went through the family program the first three times she was in treatment and that was enough.  I wasn’t going to get anything else out of it and I didn’t want to take the time.  It’s not that I wasn’t willing to support here, it’s more that I didn’t think I had to do that to support her.

She had a friend pick her up and drive her home.  I think she actually believed she was going to stay sober after that treatment center.  Her sentence was 90 days and she was under the impression she could attend an AA meeting every day until her 90 days was complete.

She started attending meetings, going to aftercare and doing what she was supposed to do.  I think that lasted about a week, maybe a little over a week.  She would go to her meetings then come home and drink.  She finally quit going and caved in to the alcohol.  Things were back to normal.

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About 2 years ago she got a DUI.  She got really drunk and drove to a grocery store for more booze.  Someone saw her stagger and get into the driver’s seat in the car and called the police.  The police came, arrested her and took her to jail.  She technically never drove, just sat in the drivers seat but that’s enough for a dui in my state.

For her 1 phone call, she called a friend.  Her friend didn’t know what to do so she had her husband call me.  I didn’t know what to do since all the info I had was second (actually third) hand.  I called the courthouse, police, everyone I could think of and someone finally told me they usually get released the next morning at 6am.  I drove down the next morning and there she was.

I helped her find a lawyer but after that I would have nothing to do with it.  That’s the way I detach.  She had to handle this herself.

After meetings, delays, DMV and court hearings she was finally sentenced.  She pleaded guilty to being drunk in public and was sentenced to either 90 days in jail or 90 days of treatment.  Pretty stiff sentence, but since the crime had nothing to do with driving there was no loss of license and it won’t show up on her driving record.

Nobody ever asked me what I thought the sentence should be.  I probably would have said lock her up for 30 days and suspend her license for 1 year.  But then again, that wouldn’t have changed anything.

Posted in Alcoholism, Driving, Drunk, drunk-driving, Living with an addict | 2 Comments

Time Flies

Has it really been over three years since I wrote anything?  Wow – how time files.  Maybe it’s just that everything becomes so routine

Kids are all in college and all doing well.  The alcoholic and I are empty nesters.  That’s been going as well as could be expected.   A typical day is something like this.  We wake up and she is all smiles and happy.  I go to work and get a call from her about something she plans to do or  make for dinner.  When I get home I find her either drunk or passed out.  In either case I’m on my own for dinner.  I fix what I can find and sit down and watch a game on TV.  Go to sleep, repeat.

I’m so use to things that I rarely get upset.  I even get a chuckle out of some of the things she does.  Here’s a good one –

The fence blew down in the backyard so my neighbor and I decided to fix it.  We worked pretty hard one day digging out posts and setting new ones.  The alcoholic came out for a visit and told us she would make us brownies.  These are new neighbors and their house backs up to us so they don’t know her.  I wondered if he could tell she was drunk when she was talking to us.  I’m sure he could.

She went back in the house and about an hour later she showed up (even drunker) with a plate full of brownies.  Only they weren’t brownies.  She had mistakenly baked a devil food cake.  She brought out a bunch of un-frosted pieces of cake on a plate for us to eat.  Not sure what my neighbor thought.  I guess it didn’t matter.  She kept calling them brownies and I went along with it.  I even told her the next day how great the brownies were.  I don’t think she realized what she did.

There are plenty of stories over the past three years – but the one that stands out is her DUI.  Stay tuned . . .






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Lost the Car Again

Remember when she lost the car?  It happened again.

She met the twins at the high school to watch a football scrimmage.  It’s a seniors vs juniors game that is at the end of each year.  One of the twins was playing so she decided to go.  Of course she was drunk.

I don’t know why, but she parked in a small park next to the school.  My guess is that she got there early and wanted to sit and drink for a while before the game.  She figured it would be better to do that in the park parking lot than at school.

The kid that played in the game was supposed to come home with her mother but she called and just said “mom lost the car”.  I didn’t have her explain.  I just went and picked them up.

It was easy to find the car this time.  There weren’t too many places to look.  It was in the park and I drove it home while the twin drove my car.  When I got in the car I looked around.  Sure enough, I found two bottles.  The pint was gone but only about half the fifth was gone.

When we got home I took the two bottles and left them on the dresser in the bedroom for her.

Posted in Alcoholism, drunk-driving, Found-a-bottle, Living with an addict | 7 Comments

All by yourself

I got home from work around 6:30 and all the kids were away.  She was sitting in the family room watching game show on TV.  Of course, she was very drunk.  I figured she’d last an hour or so then pass out.  I asked her if we had anything for dinner and she said ‘no’.

I sent a group test to the kids asking where everyone was.  I got a reply from one of them saying she was with a friend, the oldest was singing and the other was working.  Then she sent this text ‘You’re all by yourself’ and added an emoji of a face crying.  Isn’t that funny.  She knew her mom was home but she knew she’d be passed out and I’d be by myself.

I didn’t feel like going out to get anything for dinner so I ate what I could find.  I had bacon, peanuts and an ice cream bar for dinner.

Posted in Alcoholism, dinner, Living with an addict, Passed out | Leave a comment