Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Treatment Center - A Problem Occurred

In an earlier Blog Post I mentioned my qualifier was going to start a treatment program. Also, she was on track for her 30 day chip.

Unfortunately, my wife went to the treatment center after drinking 4 bottles of wine - the smaller 4 pack - now conveniently packaged for all.

Apparently drinking before going to the program was not a good move as I received a call from my wife - from the center. (note: I am being facetious, not serious, tongue in cheek)

She blew twice the legal limit (1.6?) into a breathalyzer.

Note: It took her 6 hours to become sober enough to be allowed to drive home. She sat in the center until she was sober.

You may think yesterday was a bad day. On the contrary, I think it was a good day. Here's why:

  1. I learned that I could stop having to prove to others that there was a drinking problem. Suddenly, I felt at peace. It's weird what we go through. We are filled with self-doubt, as in; is there a problem; do others think I am exaggerating?; Am I going crazy? This by the way, spills over into other areas of life, like work, friends, etc.
  2. She learned how "drunk" she was. She learned she was 2 times the legal limit. She never, ever, could have guessed how drunk she had gotten.
  3. She never knew it took 6 - yes - 6 hours - to get below what was considered drunk, in order to drive home.

Maybe this is a wake-up call for my wife. The center was very professional. I won't go through the whole story, but they pulled her out of the "class" and had her sit. They didn't chastise, they didn't judge. They said, they will use this as a learning experience with her and the rest of her class. It will be used as I was told by the councilor said, "To explain and show others, how conniving and deceitful alcohol can be.

I found out - later - when my 10 year-old came home, that my wife went to the school drunk and worked with the class for 30 minutes before she went on to the treatment center. The fact that she drove to the treatment center and to school is something I have been worried about for a long time. The fact that she went to the school is a bad thing, as now it involves, my daughter and her school, which is something I do not feel good about.


Jen said...

The alcohol is not the problem. To me, it seems it is just a symptom of a bigger problem. Take the alcohol away, and watch them replace it with something else; watch the behaviour of the addict worsen. This "illness" runs so deep.
It's difficult to hang in there. I'm not even sure it's always appropriate.

Jen said...

And, I was wondering, do you even read your comments?

Joe said...

Thanks Jen. I really understand what you are saying. What I have found though, about the addiction, is that it is a disease. It's like some sort of "switch" that got turned on, and cannot be turned off. No amount of reasoning can ever get the person to turn off the switch. And no amount of yelling will either - I have found that out to (I have yelled until the dog cowered).

The only thing I can say is, that you and I have to not get caught up in the support of the addict. To emotionally step outside the posionous orbit. While we care, and we hurt, we feel "abandoned." But remember, the alcoholic is being tricked too. And the disease is so cunning, it is tricking the addict too. Whatever it is, it is not because of us.

Whenever they say something mean or hurtful and nasty, remember it is the alcohol talking. Do not allow yourself to get sucked into the conversation. It's almost like a possession (not that I have seen one!).

So, the question is; how can we get better? And do we separate ourselves from the ugly negative emotion?

I am learning ... not always practicing - because I do get angry, anger is frustration and frustration is from hurt feelings. Jen, if you can get to Al-Anon, you will see you are not crazy, not alone, and you can air your grievances in private, without being judged and without someone saying "You need to do this, or that." And the people there can relate to you. Others who are not in the family environment of an addict have no clue how we feel and how it has affected us. And it is affecting the children.

However, over time, Al-Anon, which is for us and not the addict, we begin to get the crud out of systems by yammering and complaining and crying. Then we begin (after several meetings)to take control of our thoughts, ourselves, our situation (not controlling or trying to control the addict - however). And once we do that, it's like a judo move. We step aside of the blow. We don't fight back. The blow just lands no where. This allows us to get to a better place in our own heads.

From there, we can make better decisions like setting boundaries with the addict. Or following through on our "threats" - or making a decision not to be there when the addict falls and we leave him or her on the ground, not vindictively, but because this is not what we are here on earth to do.

Now, I say this, or write this, but in reality, I am still trying to master this. I stink at this sometimes and you would laugh at me! - so we have to laugh sometimes. For example - I am humble and know what I do is wrong and is hurting me, but still Monday, I looked in the car Monday for wine.

Today, through reading an Al-Anon I know what I need to do. I just now need to practice it better/more. Jen, please don't stop writing, and if I can help I will.

Jen said...

Thanks. I will try al-anon again. It did seem to help when I went (and I do have the book, 'One day at a time in Al-anon.')
I think we definitely do have a lot of work to do. There is a reason we have the kind of spouses that we do. And, I don't know about you, but I did not make very wise choices when dating either.
What I am noticing is that the problems, and the problem behaviour, do not vanish when one's spouse stops drinking.
So, even though your husband/wife may stop drinking, we still need so much dealing with the real issues/behaviours.
Thanks for being there.
I will keep reading.

Joe said...

Jen - I agree. Sometimes the "co-dependency" thing also contributes to our problem. Also, the alcoholic or addict switches from one addiction to another. Without AA he or she cannot recover alone. Many treatment centers use the AA program as their model and lessons, from what I know (read and heard about from Al-Anon members telling me). What may give you comfort is see it as a "Disease" like cancer. It may help you shift your way of thinking. Also, I know, the addict can be very "mean" at times. And we lash out back in defence - but may be only contributing more to our anger and co-dependence. Also it probably does not help the whole atmosphere of the house (everyone walks on egg shells). As for making good choices in whom we marry - Yep - I think we can all relate. We have analyzed our "choice" and how we arrived at that decision. But - we DID NOT know at the time. But when we look back our gut was telling us something. And now that we know, the signs all seem to there. By the way, my life is up and down still. It will be like this for a while I am afraid. Wish you the best!

Anonymous said...

When a person crosses the line between normal drinking and alcoholism, they will never be the same again. It is like changing a cucumber into a pickle. The pickle will never be a cucumber gonna alcohol treatment center and take treatment