I work very hard and am attending college to obtain my degree in the Human Service field. Writing makes me feel alive and gives me the opportunity to touch those whom I would not be able to otherwise. Last but not least, I have been blessed with two amazing daughters who love me completely and support my dreams. Feel free to contact me with questions, concerns or feedback.
I'm going to delve into an area of my life rarely talked about. This may be uncomfortable for some, but for others, it may be a saving grace.
At the ripe young age of 25, I was a married woman, mother of two beautiful little girls. Because of alcoholism within my family, my father to be exact, I had attended a few years of Al-Anon and had learned to set boundaries and become stronger. Needless to say, after receiving numerous calls from my sisters regarding the state of my father's physical, emotional and mental health, my husband and I took a 30 day leave of absence via the U.S. Army and drove home with our daughters.
I exited my minivan, waiting for my father to walk out of his apartment. What I saw was so shocking, that I accidentally left my van running and locked the door. My father, a man who's normal stature was 6'2" at 240 pounds had shriveled down to a mere 140 or so pounds. What I saw was now the vision of a Holocaust Survivor, starving and desperate. After having him sober for 4 hours, he went into Delirium Tremens in front of my 3 year old and I. I asked him if he was ready to go and he said yes. He packed up approximately 12 cartons of cigarettes and we went to the closet Emergency Room where he began the long hard road to recovery.
That event will never leave my mind. Although it's not a common memory, it comes up most when I'm around someone walking the same path as my father.
Within the past couple of years, another family member has caused me great concern. This individual is a regular consumer of alcohol and has lost joy and the ability to have happy, healthy relationships. A mere existence of work and beer, only to avoid social events which do not include alcohol. Although there are many who have the desire to help, it's difficult when you're emotionally involved and have absolutely no desire to upset, attack or cause that person to return to the can, bottle or substance.
I, on the other hand, can separate emotion from abuse and am straightforward. I looked that person in the eye and said, "Are you an alcoholic?" Response, "Yes." Next question, "Are you going to stop drinking?" Response, "No." Last question, "Are you willing to get help?" Final answer, "No!"
I'll be honest with you about interventions, they aren't fun. They are time consuming, a full time job to say the least. Another thing about them, your not just dealing with the addict, you're dealing with every single individual who has enabled that person to continue the lifestyle. Without the help of everyone involved, the addict will not change, nor do they have reason to.
In order for an intervention to be successful, you must have every person intimately involved with the addict on the same page. You must give one another strength to stay the course. You may have to take turns spending the night at the addicts house, for as long as it takes until they go through the much needed withdraws.
Although I completed a successful intervention with my Dad, not every person will have the same outcome. You as a non-addict must hit your own personal bottom and decide enough is enough and say no to all future enabling. This isn't easy. I'm telling you this because it took years upon years for me to be strong enough to say, "I love you, yet I love myself more. I can no longer be a part of this. I will be here for you always, pray for you, yet until you choose to get help, I'm going to excuse myself from this relationship and begin to finally focus on me, my partner and my children."
The next step is following through, which will be excruciating. I suggest counseling, talking to friends and getting busy. Also, if need be, block the addicts number from your contact list for awhile so you can get respite. There will always be one person available in case of an emergency.
That's my experience thus far. I'm not an expert, but I have enough experience to help others walk through the fire. If you need me, please email me at Laurie53219@gmail.com or find me on facebook at Laura Hendricks-Beyer. I check my messages regularly.
If you need help with an intervention, I'll do my best to be available for that as well.
PS: Repeat after me, "I am not Jesus, I wasn't put on this earth to save everyone."
Next week: taking care of yourself....