Category Archives: Alcoholism

I’m Free! (again)

2022 has sucked dirty donkey balls! Some sort of disaster every month, and I am so done.

I won’t waste your time talking about each calamity because this post is likely to be too long as it is.

TL:DR = My son, a long-time alcoholic, no longer lives in my house. I may have written about my constant battle to help him off the sauce, but maybe not. Now he’s living with the consequences of his bad decisions.

Back in March, he crashed his bicycle* on the way to work and broke his collarbone. He had no insurance** and was afraid to go to the ER because he would not be able to pay. He refused to even let me see what the damage might be. After a week of trying to drink his pain away (he figured he’d heal eventually, like he always has) he finally consented to let me take him to seek medical help. My pleas until then were rebuffed because (in spite of my best efforts) he is A Man and men don’t give in to injuries. Sigh.

Yup, the ER confirmed he’d really messed himself up and would need surgery. We’d been going round and round for *years* about his alcohol use and I knew he would not be able to have surgery if he showed up drunk. I did some research, but based on his confessed alcohol consumption, I thought we would be okay if he quit cold turkey. NEVER ASSUME QUITTING COLD TURKEY IS A GOOD IDEA! The internet is wrong on this, as will become apparent, and always remember that alcoholics lie, most importantly to themselves.

The surgery went well, but he was discharged very late in the day so it was a scramble to get to a pharmacy for pain meds, which he refused to take.

We had several good conversations over a few days leading up to and after the surgery and he said he drank “3 beers” each night because he has insomnia, which started when he was 13, much to my surprise. He never said anything to me about it – I would have taken him to the doctor because I understand that sleep deprivation can make a person insane and I wouldn’t wish that on anyone.

The thing is, the “3 beers” he was drinking were 32-ounce, high-test versions, not what you or I might call “3 beers.” That’s about 6 shots of liqueur. Each day. But he was convinced he didn’t have a problem, in spite of 7.5 years of me telling him he was out of control (he’s a very quiet drunk and had learned to hide it very well) and him promising over and over that he would quit if I would only let him stay. Sigh. I know, right? But Mama can’t give up on her only son without a fight, right? I did my best, but the simple fact is he doesn’t want to quit, no matter the consequences.

Back to the story – he continued to refuse pain meds (afraid he would quickly become addicted and then his “life would be over”) and was eating and drinking lots of water (I figured that was the best way to flush his system and get him over the hump) but on day 4 he began to hear things. At first he was jubilant, but something was definitely very wrong.

It’s nearly impossible to see a doctor on short notice, but I managed to get a “consult” which was no help at all, but at least got him into the system.

On day 6 after the surgery he was hallucinating, paranoid and refusing to even consider going to the doctor to see what was going on, so I called our local mental health outreach and two very lovely people came to the house and convinced him to go to the ER just to be “checked out.” I can’t say enough kind things about them – he would not even consider any of my suggestions and I knew something very bad was happening.

I finally got a call from the ER doc, who said she was admitting him for acute alcohol withdrawal. If he had stayed home he would have been dead by morning. That was a wake-up call for me, if not for him.

He spent a week in the hospital, delirious most of it, heavily medicated, but in the end, sober. What a nightmare!

I spent the week cleaning his hell-hole bedroom (I was too keyed-up to work or just sit around) painting, replacing damaged furniture*** buying a new mattress cover, desk, etc. I washed all of his clothes and set up a dresser and hangers so he could live like an actual adult if he made it out of the hospital.

He came home and all was almost okay for a few weeks – he was too weak to do much more than eat what I constantly shoved at him and drink water all day long. He got a prescription for a sleep aid and finally it seemed he was maybe getting better. He refused to wear the sling, but his shoulder healed up okay and he went back to work on a shorter schedule. He refused to open his mail and deal with the medical bills (almost all of which was paid for by the Oregon Health Plan, thanks to an advocate who signed him up when he was in the hospital) and he refused to seek any sort of treatment for his alcoholism.

About 5 weeks after the surgery I caught him drinking. “It was only one!” he protested. “It just sounded like a good idea…” and I lost my shit! I yelled and threatened and promised that if I ever caught another drop of alcohol passing his lips in my house he was out on his ass and I don’t care anymore because I refuse to watch while he slowly kills himself.

Things were better, but I suspected he was drinking. Sure enough, a couple of months ago I smelled *something* in his room, not really beer (he drank some really awful, smelly stuff that would seep out through his pores before the surgery) but something. His hygiene started to slip back into his old ways, and his bedroom slowly became a mess again, but I didn’t find any hard evidence. Until I did.

The day before Thanksgiving he woke late and did not clear the evidence out of his room – he was taking the empties out in his backpack when he left for work, leaving nothing behind that I could find. I hit the roof when he came home from work, poured out the beer he’d brought home**** and told him he was out of my house at the end of the month and I don’t care if it’s cold and wet.

I made him recall the promise he made when he left the hospital to make sure he understood he will have to live with the consequences of his bad decisions. He was very meek and accepting, but I could see his mind racing.

He wanted to go see The Fam for Turkey Day, and I promised I would not lecture or embarrass him in front of anyone. He was showered and acted like he wanted to be there – last year my Sis commented on his “demeanor” which was not good, but this year he was clear-eyed and engaged.

I did tell Mom what was going on before we left, in case he called her once he was out. On Sunday I told him that if he completed a 30-day in-patient rehab he could stay, but not otherwise. He was not able to find a bed (his OHP insurance was cancelled at the beginning of November, but he didn’t know why – maybe should have opened his mail, right?) and of course he can’t be arsed to doing anything else productive.

Reality has slowly been creeping in, though.

Last night was his last night in my house. He’d been avoiding me all week, which was fine. Probably worried I would start yelling at him again, if I’m honest, but I held my tongue for the most part. I did ask a few pointed questions, like did he have a plan, a place to stay, etc. When I asked for his house key he finally realized I am not kidding about any of it.

We had a good conversation – I told him I love him and this is not me cutting him out of my life, but it’s time I stopped enabling him to hurt himself by giving him a soft place to land when he made bad decisions and this is his chance to fly free and live life the way he wants, without Mom making rules.

He has no prospects for a place to stay, but plans to get a gym membership so he can shower. He still has his phone, his job, and his bank account, but no tent or sleeping bag, and it snowed for the first time here last night. He left a bit after 9:00 this morning and I know I’m a horrible person for thinking, “I’m Finally Free!!”

He had to leave most of his things behind, and I said he could stop by and pick things up, but to text first to be sure I was home. If he completes a 30-day in-patient rehab we can talk about him coming back, but maybe he’ll find a situation he likes better than living with Mom. I can hope…

A huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders and I feel like I can breathe again. I wonder if it makes me a bad person that I feel zero remorse or sympathy. I can’t help him and if he refuses to help himself, how long do I keep trying?

*He has always hated cars and their impact on the environment and their expense, so he’s never learned to drive and commutes to work on a bicycle.

**Why let his employer take extra money out of his paycheck for something he’ll never use, right?

***Rather than use the toilet located 6 feet away, he would piss in his beer cans or a gatorade bottle. Did you know that if you leave urine in a beer can, it begins to corrode the can? The can then leaks all over whatever surface it’s on, and, well, it destroys everything in it’s path. I vowed I would never again clean up after a person in this way. Gaaaahhhh!

****I mean, kudos to him for finding a lager that didn’t smell much, but still high-test, two 42-ounce bottles a night, back up to what he’d admitted to before almost dying – 7 shots of alcohol.


Posted by on December 1, 2022 in Alcoholism


“Relax,” she says…

I spent the weekend at Mom’s, helping with her annual neighborhood yard sale. My Sis gave me a (belated) birthday card. On the front is a cartoon woman doing yoga. It reads, “Life is a lot like Yoga. Relax. Be Flexible…” The inside reads, “…and try not to Fart.” Funny, yes? Underneath she wrote, “Really…relax a little!”

I asked a couple of friends if I seem tense. They glanced at each other, panic in their eyes, and replied that I seemed just fine, while giving me the Side Eye.

Huh. I guess people are noticing that I’m a bit…stressed? More aggressive than usual? A bit more outspoken about douchebags and their assholery? Less tolerant? Sigh.

Okay, let’s get it all out there, then, shall we? I am a bit stressed, but my reasons are sound, IMHO. Tell me if I’m wrong, ‘k?

Reason The First: My son is still on my couch. He is still unemployed. He says that he’s looking for work, but he’s been growing out of my couch for almost four-and-a-half months now. He worked for maybe one of those months. He has not paid any rent. He has food stamps for food, so he’s not draining my resources there. He has paid his cell phone bill only once since he’s been here (I can’t just stop paying it as he will need a phone to schedule all those job interviews that aren’t happening.) His feet smell because he wears an old pair of boots that probably have enough genetic material in them to become fully animate any day, therefore, Towanda smells. He does not feel the need to shower every day – it’s a waste of water, he says*, therefore the first thing I encounter when I get home from work is Man Smell.** He will not do any type of housework until I have okay-ed it. Explicitly. Yes, you can wash the dishes any time you want to – please trouble yourself to get them clean, though, ‘k?!? Yes, by all means take out the trash and recycling. Feel free to vacuum any time you get the urge, ‘k? Gaaaaahhhhhhh!

So he spends all his time, as far as I can see, playing games on his computer, using my Wi-Fi, watching TV and generally amusing himself. He doesn’t go anywhere. I don’t believe he’s looking for work but can’t prove it. He just sits there on the couch, silent for the most part, living inside his head, convinced everyone in the world is “stupid” and “useless.” There is no reason to get up, go somewhere, do something, become a functioning part of society. It’s all just a waste of time. He isn’t suicidal, though. He can be coaxed into conversation of a limited sort but would really rather be left alone. Right. It’s like I’m living with a sullen 13-year-old again. Didn’t I do this already? When does this Mom Gig end?

On top of all this, he is an alcoholic. When he’s drunk he agrees that he has a problem. Sober, he is a Special Snowflake, so special that no one in the universe could possibly understand him and his troubles, therefore making AA meetings or therapy of some sort a worthless waste of his time. Yeah, he’s pretty much said exactly that.

“Why can’t I just have a beer and relax in the evening?” is his plaintive cry.

My answer, “You are an alcoholic. One beer leads to another and another and pretty soon you’re on your lips. It happens every time. It will always be this way. You can be drunk or sober, there’s no “relaxing” in between. It sucks, but that’s the way you’re wired. Get a grip and admit you have a problem so we can move forward.”

I am sooooo over this bullshit. So. He lost his job. He wasn’t fired or laid off, he was simply not put on the schedule any more. This is a new tactic used by Slaveway and other large companies to make sure ex-employees can’t claim unemployment benefits (not that he worked long enough to get any) and have no cause to file suit for being laid off or let go for reasons other than poor performance at their job. Okay. Fine. I get it. He’s feeling sorry for himself. Whatevs.

What does he do? He starts (continues, actually, but it’s a long story) to spend all his money on beer. Not regular beer, but the fruity, 12% alcohol beers the homeless people around here drink. The kind of beer that has a stench like dorm rooms and cat shit. I can smell it the second I open the door. It pours out of his body like toxic sludge for the next couple of days as he sobers up. He drinks until he passes out. I finally took away his debit card (yeah, Slaveway doesn’t even hand out paychecks – they put your wages on a debit card that is not tied to any bank, therefore you can’t put any money on it, but they can take money out if they “make a mistake” with your pay. Cheap and crooked…) I made sure that my wallet was within my grasp at all times (I’ve been here before with his father…) and told him that there will be no drinking in my house. Period.

Things went well for a month or so. Last weekend he went with me to Mom’s. He did some yard work for her which she paid for in cash. Can you see where this is going? Oh, yes he did! I know he spent about $15 of the $40 she gave him, leaving him about $25 in his pocket. Sure enough, when I came home from work on Monday he was passed out drunk. There was no point in even talking to him – he won’t remember a word the next day, as past conversations have proven. I took to my bed with a glass of sweet tea and a book, ignoring his drunken stumbling to the bathroom some time later***.

Tuesday evening basically a repeat of Monday. The beer he likes is cheap. It takes 2.5 for him to be on his face, wasting the last .5 unless he manages to slam it down before passing out. At $2.50 each, he has about five days of being drunk before he runs out of cash.

Is this reason enough to be stressed? Wait! There’s so much more! Tune in tomorrow for Reason the Second.

* Nevermind that an RV shower is the height of efficiency, using less than 10 gallons of water per shower, compared to a “real” shower that uses as many as 4 gallons per minute. I mean, as an argument that is absurd.

** Man Smell is not a bad thing, in and of itself, I just chose to live a life without it and being forced to endure is making me really cranky. No, it’s just flat pissing me off. No need to sugarcoat, now is there?

*** I have told him that if he pukes he will be out on his ass. Period. Towanda is far too small to have a drunk puking, even in the bathroom, and he’s not known for making it to the bathroom in time. Yeah. Picture that and listen to him assert that he’s not an alcoholic.


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Will this never end?

Spent a lovely day at the Studio Sunday. Sadly, the evening was shot.

The Kid has been fairly meek the past weeks that he’s been living with me. He has been going out to help Awana at the alpaca ranch and looking for work. He’s been respectful and (sorta) helpful around the place. We’ve talked about his alcoholism and he has seemed remorseful about where he finds himself due entirely to his own poor decision making. He has been sober and as “normal” as he’s ever been.

Until Sunday. I left the dog with him because she’d have to stay in the car otherwise. I left instructions about airing the place out as soon as it warmed up outside. I put the dog’s harness on and gave him very specific guidelines about how to handle her – there’s a new dog in the park that she doesn’t like and I don’t want to have any incidents.

I arrived home at 7:30 PM to find the door open, the screen door shut and the dog inside with her leash on. I told him specifically that the dog will push the screen door open and be GONE at the slightest provocation and he is not, under any circumstances, to leave the dog loose inside with only the screen door between her and freedom. I was VERY clear and made him repeat my instructions back to me.

The Kid was passed out on the couch, curled up into a ball. Snoring. I smelled something not quite identifiable the second I stepped inside. It wasn’t foul, but it didn’t belong. I tried to rouse him but was not successful. Okay, he hasn’t been sleeping well, so I’ll leave him alone, take care of the animals and we’ll talk about it later. I had drafting to do for The Other Boss.

He came to as I was getting settled in at the computer and when he sat up I knew what the smell was – booze of some sort, definitely not beer, his drink of choice.

Sigh. Fuck. Oh, yeah, he was totally wasted. He said he bought one 12 oz beer and that’s all he had. I told him he was lying. He stuck to his story. I continued to disbelieve him. I searched for the source of his inebriation and finally found it at the very back of the pantry – the tequila bottle was no longer sealed. He had drunk half the bottle. He continued to assert his innocence, but there was no way one beer fucked him up that badly.

After a couple of hours I went to bed, after supervising him pulling out the couch and assuring him that if he puked anywhere but in the toilet he would face my wrath. I was angry enough to chew nails.

Monday dawned and he looked like shit. I had locked all the liquor in my car* so there would be no repeating of this particular episode and I was pretty sure a tequila hangover would be punishment enough but I couldn’t resist a bit of lecturing. He admitted that he couldn’t really remember the previous night. Sigh.

Yesterday when I got home from work he was busy filling out job applications online. I tried to be calm as I told him I understand he’s a grown man and I have no right to dictate how he lives his life but this is my house and I won’t have him drinking while he’s staying with me. He was very apologetic. He made no promises. I, however, did promise to do my best to hound him into staying sober, to pound into his head that he is an alcoholic and a potential drug addict (his father was both, as were/are many of my relatives) and he will not be able to drink casually and I will not put up with his self destructive behavior under my roof. Get help or I will get it for you.

We’ll see where it goes from here. I’m still hopeful he’ll make the right choices but on the alert in case he stumbles again. I’ve been here so many times. I’m really tired of it now but I can’t abandon my son.

* Yeah, I should have done it before I picked him up, but I kinda thought a sealed bottle would dissuade him and he really prefers beer. I had no idea he would be stupid enough to drink half a bottle of tequila. Live and learn, as they say.


Posted by on February 24, 2015 in Alcoholism, Family, The Kid


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