Less contact and a period of calm for me, but it doesn’t take away the worry

Well it hasn’t been exactly no contact over the last few days but it has been minimal and I have refused to be drawn into their dramas.

I finally had a phonecall apologising. It wasn’t a total apology and I still don’t think Faith realised how wrong and hurtful he had been. They tried to tell me the police had called and apologised to them!  What!!!  Are you serious?  I honestly believe they don’t know what is fact and what is fiction in their alcohol affected brains.

I’m afraid I didn’t just accept his apology simply because I felt he was saying sorry but he didn’t know what for.  I told him very clearly about the untruths he and Hope had accused me of. He couldn’t grasp what I was saying and phoned me later asking questions but he had the whole situation confused again.

I’m worried his brain is being permanently affected now.

The next time he called, I let it go to answerphone, he was looking for sympathy again.  “We are both sick,  we must have picked up a bug, we can’t keep water down”

This is where, what to you or me would just be an annoying unpleasant thing to deal with,  for a dependant alcoholic, it can be much more serious.  If you can’t keep water down you can’t keep alcohol down either. Which then causes much more serious symptoms.

I just replied by message “You had better both go to hospital then”

That’s all,  no sympathy.

I later hear they both were admitted to hospital at different times.  Faith was kept in for 2 days.

He called to let me know he was on his way home,  again it went to answerphone.  It was good to hear him sounding sober.

But I know it won’t last,  the hospital will have discharged him telling him to have small amounts of alcohol to help with the symptoms of withdrawal.

I didn’t believe this,  until I heard it for myself.

He is an alcoholic,  he can’t have “just a small amount”

So he will return to his drinking, I know this for a fact.

So it has worked for me, stepping back, life for me has been calmer.

It doesn’t stop this ache in my heart and fear in my stomach though.

Exhausted with the chaos

My posts might be a bit mixed up and sporadic.  I write when I have time and when I feel I must.

I actually don’t know how to write about today.  It started last night. Faith had come out of hospital that day and he was sober.  I cannot explain how good it feels to talk to someone who is sober after days or weeks of rubbish conversations.  Well they are not conversations, just me listening.

He called about 10pm to complain about his also alcoholic girlfriend. She had gone up to the shop with his bank card to buy them a pizza.  In her muddled alcohol soaked brain she had put in her pin not his and the cash machine ate his bank card.  Now I need to mention he has no photo ID as he has lost both his passport and driving licence at different drunken times. So the still in detox without supporting medication alcoholic is dealing with another alcoholics chaotic life.  I calm him,  tomorrow it will be sorted.  30 minutes later,  11pm ish,  another call,  she has tidied up while he has been in hospital,  and now can’t remember where she put all his bank papers.  A lot of expletions……

I calm him a little and try to sleep.

6.30 next morning he is on the phone.

I think I have to give his girlfriend a name now…. lets call her “Hope” how fitting, Faith and Hope.

He has walked out of his flat because Hope thinks it’s only 6am in the morning, it is in fact 6.30 am, she wants to sleep, Faith thinks it’s about 11am, he has had enough, all she does is sleep, and these other guys in the room “are they twins?” I am thinking woah,  what’s going on here, it doesn’t take long, the withdrawal symptoms of confusion are here, out in the real world.

I call 111, I know he needs to be back in hospital.  “If your not with him,  there is nothing we can do,  call the police”.  Oh I’ve been here before,  mental health,  the support is zero.

I call Faith. He is sat on a wall by a busy road. He’s not sure where.  I get some details of what he is wearing.

So I call the police,  not 999 just the none emergency number. It rings for 10 minutes before someone answers,  I’m watching the clock as I need to get into work.  They take all the details but say if he doesn’t want to go to hospital they can’t make him.  I tell them I realise that but when he is in hospital and sick like this they take away his rights to leave.  Still the same answer but they will check on him.

I call Faith again. He has gone back to his flat and he and his girlfriend are in the middle of a big argument. It’s impossible to talk to Faith as he is too busy shouting at Hope.  I ask to talk to her,  ask her to be quiet for a moment so I can talk to Faith,  it doesn’t work,  I put down the phone.

I’m late for work, I rush to get ready.  Faith calls again,  he’s left the flat, he’s not going back.  As I’m driving to work I call the police again.  Yes as I am driving I call the police!  All the time I am driving I am looking for the next place I can pull over safely to talk when they answer.  I’m actually just walking into work when they answer.  I try to explain that Faith may appear drunk but he’s not,  I think it’s important they know that.  She interrupts me to say she has an update on the case.

“We called him on his phone and spoke to him, he is fine, we have no cause for concern ”

I try to explain that he might say he is but he is not.  She is very dismissive. I’m just a neurotic mother,  she has more pressing problems. I can tell that’s what she’s thinking.

As I walk through the doors of my work place, late, I struggle to keep back the tears,  she might be busy soon dealing with a road traffic accident, unidentified male has walked out into busy traffic…….

So there we have it,  it’s 8.45 and I feel like I have run a marathon but have a full day at work ahead of me.

I try to forget,  I work.  At lunchtime I call him again.  He is sat in Macdonalds eating a burger Hope bought him.  Yeah he’s fine,  has no recollection of anything that happened earlier that day, “Why was I concerned?”

I can tell he’s better than he was and certainly less agitated, it’s good he’s eating. That always seems to help with the healing of his brain.

When I get home from work I feel total exhaustion.  I can’t explain it. This is the impact the alcoholic has on my life. This is why al-anon tell me to step back and let go,  for my sanity.

How in God’s name do I do that?

Did my son really need Resusitation?

IMG_0616.JPGI knew the respite would not last for long. I thought it would end when Faiths girlfriend had enough and went back home. But that wasn’t the case.

I had a phone all at work from Faiths girlfriend, she sounded distraught, I had trouble understanding what had happened. What I grasped was Faith had been at the doctors, he fitted while he was there, he had another fit in the ambulance. He is now in resus , they are working on him, “they had to revive him”

OK, so remember I’m at work. My boss and close colleagues know about Faith. They don’t know how to deal with it. I don’t want them to make exceptions, I don’t want Faith to have any effect on my work life. I have been here so many times, I don’t up and leave, it would have happened so many times if I did. But I have never heard those words before “they had to revive him”

I try to put things in perspective, he has been blue lighted to hospital a fair few times. I know how alcoholics exaggerate, I’m sure they didn’t need to revive him, they never let relatives in while they are trying to stabilise someone. There is no point rushing there, I couldn’t do anything, he is in good hands. Work is ridiculously busy due to Easter, it wouldn’t go down well if I left now. And ….. I am trying to step back.

I knew it didn’t go down well with his girlfriend, but hey, this is exactly what you do to your parents! She thought I didn’t care when I said can you keep me updated.

So I carried on working, one eye on my phone. I hold a pretty responsible job and could make a mistake which could cost my company thousands, it was hard keeping my concentration. I called her again, she still wasn’t allowed in.

When I get home I finally hear he is OK, in fact “would you like to talk to him” How could he be so ill then able to talk to me? I decide I won’t go and see him, tonight was my only night of the week where I go and do my thing, I’m too tired to go. He has impacted on my life again.

A little insight into why he gets so ill.

Faith has been drinking for over a month. As I know only too well his body starts to reject the alcohol, he starts being sick. Because in the end he can’t keep alcohol down he goes into withdrawal. That is why he had a fit.

I will explain more next time, I did say I would talk about wet brain, tonight Faith is still in hospital, I have just had a lovely conversation with him, he told me all about the long walk he had today, about being on a bus, the bargain burger the lovely lady served him, he doesn’t know why his girlfriend changed her name, all while he has been safe in hospital.

Thank you wonderful hospital staff, I don’t know how you do it. I hope he sleeps tonight, I know how difficult he can be when he is confused, You have the patience of saints, where would we both be without you. From the bottom of my heart. Thank you.

Tomorrow I will visit him ,

Tonight my only positive thought is

I know they will keep him safe 

Stepping back, enabling, how to know when or when not?

I have to write this now.  Yesterday I was talking about encouraging Faiths girlfriends family to speak out and stop enabling.  Also, how I could step back and not worry because I knew there was someone who could step in and call the emergency services if necessary.

I’ve read lots about stepping back and letting go.  I have done this in the past and it pushed Faith to dark place’s,  which I was told was what would need to happen for Faith to get to a place where he wanted recovery enough to make it happen.

He has slept on the streets, been homeless, he has been abused because he was not sober enough to realise what was happening, he has been arrested, he has been so weak through malnutrition that he could not stand, he could have bled to death as he had such a low count of blood clotting cells, he has broken ribs, collar bones fingers and toes, been covered and I don’t exaggerate in bruises, and he has lost his mind. and still he continues to drink. I can’t see a place that’s worse than this other than death.

I read with interest how other mothers have been strong and refused to give money and have stepped back with the wonderful results that their child no longer drinks and how wonderful that is, how hard it was for their mothers to do this.

What about me? I’ve done this, so why do I still have to watch him destroy himself? Did I not do it well enough? Do I have to do more?

When I read back through my old blogs I see I was  enabling, I was learning also, but without a teacher. But I learnt, and I have disowned him, threw him out, didn’t contact him, refused to have him back in my home. What else can I do?

So really what I’m saying is, yeah I get enabling, but there comes a point when you are so scared for their life you have no choice but to step in. I am positive there have been two occasions where, had I not checked on him because I was concerned for him and called an ambulance he would be dead. That final place.

Which leaves me with thoughts of why do some people win this fight with alcohol, while others are taken by it? It can’t just be that the ones that died were enabled to do so? It must come from within that person, how strong they are, how much they want to live?

My worry is Faith is not that strong.

So please don’t judge me and say I am enabling.

While I write this Faith is in hospital, I will write more about this and “wet brain” next time.

I nearly forgot my positive note, I’m really struggling with this one today, I guess it has to be

Through my sons struggles, I have found how how strong I am.

I have just been looking through the many drafts that I have never published and found this, I would have written it in 2015 around the time I have finally accepted that Faith was an alcoholic. It links very well with what I have written above, this was my early days of learning about…….

 

Letting go

Letting go, something that was talked about a lot at the al-anon classes I went to.

It took me a long time to get it.

This is my story of my journey to the place where I let go of my son and his alcoholism and handed him over to his own higher power.

Faith had lost his very lovely girlfriend to the alcohol. She went. she’d had enough of his lies and secret drinking and just his drunkenness. She had tried very hard, but the addiction won every time.

I had become involved in the arguments and I would shout and scream,”Why can’t you just stop drinking, why are you doing this, why are you like this?” So many nights of arguments, telling him he needed help,not knowing where to go to get him the help.

He lived with me, he had come back after he split with his previous girlfriend, I thought because she had a drink problem, I can laugh at that now.

And then his job went, it was suggested he handed in his notice before he was sacked, alcohol had been smelt on him too many times and too many days of calling in sick.

I thought he could not afford to live somewhere on his own, I have always worked, never claimed benefits, I didn’t know how the system worked or anyone that could tell me. So I had no choice other than to let him live with me.

The drinking escalated, I didn’t know I was enabling him, I didn’t know he was piling up huge debts on his credit cards to pay for the alcohol.

He finally admitted he needed help, the months went on, he sometimes managed to get himself to meeting that he was supposed to go to, sometimes not.

He hated himself, he cut himself, how many times I was called into his bedroom in the night because he had cut himself. “if only you would stop drinking, everything would get better” more shouting, screaming and crying. I didn’t understand that he could not stop.

Then what I thought was our salvation, He was given 2 weeks rehabilitation.

I remember taking him, He could only be admitted if his alcohol limit was below a certain level, He sat with a bucket between his legs, being sick and shaking. I cried when I left him, but the relief of not having to worry about what state he would be in when I came home from work, not being woken in the night by him hitting the walls because he hated himself, not having to listen to his crying or being sick, was immense.

My son had been saved. He could do this I knew it. When I went to see him for the first time I was sat down and asked if I had any questions. I had lots, and then I asked “What are the chances of him drinking again” Oh I was so naïve, and when I got the answer I was devastated, it was very rare for this to work first time, most patients needed many admissions. Oh but my son was different.

I picked him up the same day that I took his sister to the airport to go off on her travels. I cried twice that day, once because I felt I was loosing my daughter, if only for a while, and again because I had got my lovely sober son back.

I can’t remember how long it lasted, but it wasn’t long and we were back to the same chaotic distressing unhappy lives.

It was then that I decided that I needed help and eventually found Al Anon. But of course I went looking for help for my son.

I remember that first meeting, a few people spoke about their recovered alcoholic. Ah so there was a cure, I was desperate to find out how they had done it…..

 

As things are now…

IMG_0568Well my last blog was a pretty basic update on how things have been for the last two years.  I have so many other events to share.  I call them events because I can’t call them stories,  they are just things that happen because Faith is an alcoholic. Things that happen in his life and consequently affect mine.

But first I need to explain how things are now.

Faiths girlfriend has now moved in with him. She lived with her parents and, after a drunken episode, things came to a head,  as they do,  and she walked out.

In a way I blame myself. Here parents were in the trap of pretending. Pretending she wasn’t drinking so much. Afraid of her reaction if they dared to face her with the truth. Afraid themselves of speaking the truth.  I knew, as I had been there. I knew the consequences of trying to make them face their alcoholism, and you as a parent feeling you let them down in some way. How did this happen to that little child you held in your arms and protected from the world? But I also knew to help her they had to do it.  No more hiding it and talking behind her back about it.  No more hiding it from the family.  I knew the shame of telling family members your child was an alcoholic.

I also knew that this was enabling. So I encouraged them to speak more openly with her and other close family members about it.  Force her to face it. And they did.  It was no longer a secret. But I guess she couldn’t cope with that and the consequences of family knowing,  wasn’t ready herself.

So she did exactly what Faith did.  She ran from the truth.  Didn’t want to hear it,  so forced a situation that gave herself the right to run away. Put more hurt on her loving family,  because to stay with them meant she had to face her own self loathing and be truthful. So just like Faith she chose to run,  and she had the perfect (not what you or I would call perfect) place to run to.  Somewhere she could drink and not be judged for drinking.

So now they live together,  not because they love each other (although I think they do in their own way)  but because now they can both drink and not be judged.  But of course,  two alcoholics living together brings its own dose of madness.

Faith is back drinking daily, unable to moderate his drinking.

Over time I have learnt to step back when he is, there is no point trying to talk to him, I just wait for the next crisis to happen as I know it will.

This time I have been able to step right back. He has someone with him now who will call an ambulance if necessary, encourage him to eat and see the doctor. So I can relax and let go, actually try to forget for a while. I know she brings new problems, but at the moment I am able to let go, but not worry, too much.

So my positive today is……

“I really can let go and relax, sleep at night without worrying, nearly be normal”

That was until the call I got an hour ago 😦