Loved one who is sick, but also drinking

A discussion of topics about relationships in Recovery
garden variety
Posts: 750
Joined: Fri Aug 04, 2006 7:39 pm

Loved one who is sick, but also drinking

Postby garden variety » Wed Nov 12, 2008 11:14 am

I hate talking about these things, but it looks like I got myself in a pickle. I been "showing up" every day following that 3rd step, and sometimes I get hit with total surprises, and unexpected things that never even seem to be in my mind much less planned.

This is also more muddy because of "relationship" ties.

OK there's this girl I've known for many years. At one time her and me, well heck, I suppose you'd call it a relationship - that's what my sponsor called it. We "broke up" a long time ago, but we have been friends and I speak with her, but it's not been very often. We were "friends first", and I guess when that happens, somehow we stay friends even after a "realtionship" ends. I hate to be saying this and counting, but this is the second time it's happened. Seems like I've been accumulating "ex-woman friends" - which I really think is better than having "ex-woman enemies".

Anyway somehow she's back on the scene, but she's sick. Very sick, and I'm not talking about her alcoholism although that's still there. I talked to my sponsor about it and what he said really brought the walls closing in.

Words can't describe what it felt like to hug her again, but so much of her is missing - physically. She's lost so much weight. I've seen things like this before. I've visited friends who were dying, held their hands, and felt the weakness in their handshakes and hugs. I see bones in her face that I never saw before. I look into her eyes and they are the same beautiful eyes I've know and loved.

She isn't working because she can't. There are procedures that I wouldn't want to see happen to anyone go through that she has to go through. And there's no one there for her, except me. She's asked me to take her and bring her back to some of these appointments because she won't be able to drive. I told my sponsor all about this and how much it hurts to see her this way. I guess I wasn't expecting him to tell me anything other than leave her alone. Maybe I was hoping he would tell me something simple like that, especially because she still drinks off and on.

He didn't tell me to "leave her alone". He's got that devout "love thy neighbor" thing as part of the way he comes to believe, and the fellow is dead serious about his beliefs. The book says something like the spiritual life is not a "theory" - we have to live it. And Mr. Sponsor of mine lives his beliefs exactly like his religion says he's supposed to.

"You might have to help her die."

What kind of "suggestion" is that? I usually won't cry around my sponsor - him being a Marine and all. But all I could do - and this was a knee-jerk reaction - all I could do was crackle out "I didn't sign on for nothing like this."

I don't remember anything in any other relationship, "before or after", that hurts as much as this. It adds another dimension to "intensive work with another alcoholic." My sponsor also said she's been around the program long enough and knows what to do, so don't try to preach or pound it into her head. Just live the program by example, and maybe she'll decide to follow. What he essentially "suggested" is to love her (the way his God loves) and help her until the end if it happens that way, regardless if she drinks or not. The girl is also not oblivious to this either - she has a degree of "acceptance" and is working on "getting her house in order".

It's funny how life just happens on one fine day. This is such a "surreal" experience. It reminds me of what happened in that silly movie "Forrest Gump". I know I'm not the first person who has to deal with something painful like this - my sponsor's wife also has a serious illness that may take her life. There is also hope that my friend's disease will go into remission - many people can live normal lives with this disease, and there is many examples of it going into remission. But I can't expect this to happen. It's odd to say this, but I guess I "can't afford" expectations of any type.

Thanks for letting me share.

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Joined: Wed Sep 10, 2008 12:03 pm

Postby sunlight » Wed Nov 12, 2008 2:43 pm

Ah Paul, thank you for sharing. These are the things of the heart that mean so much when they're given to us.

The loved one in my situation of death is my own flesh & blood. Mental illness, compartment syndrome with severe nerve damage, fungal infection of the blood, seratonin syndrome & the latest - pancreatitis. He looks like a skeleton. And he will not, or cannot, stop using.

He told me, "Mom, you don't understand." I said, TELL me so I can understand." He said, "I WANT to die."

The world stopped, & I experienced that total & complete powerlessness that brought me to my knees.

There's nothing I can do, but I CAN love him, without conditions. I was loved that way when I came into this program of recovery & I've had some fine teachers, including you on this forum.

The best way for me to do this is the same as it was for alcohol - take my focus off the problem & on the solution. Off his illness & on the beautiful man inside & underneath the disease, on enjoying the present moment with him. (Casualness is something I had to learn in sobriety. I am still prone to intensity & over-analyzing & focusing on ME.) I can also be a living proof that the 12 step program of recovery works.

Your sponsor is so right-on in my book!
We always talk about our experience, strength & hope. The book says our hope is the maintenance & growth of a spiritual experience. (pg 66)
Sacrificial love is one of the most spiritual experiences I've ever known. It also is one of the most painful.

I would like spiritual experiences to be more of the laying on the beach variety!

God bless & strengthen you all!

garden variety
Posts: 750
Joined: Fri Aug 04, 2006 7:39 pm

Postby garden variety » Wed Nov 12, 2008 5:11 pm

So there IS "laying on the beach" type of spritual experiences? I'll sign on for something like that! 8) Count me in!

I tell you what Sunlight, I didn't see this coming. It just happened one morning, no different than any other morning over the past month or so. I haven't heard from this girl in a year. I mean it's like I woke up one day and I landed on another planet.

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Joined: Wed Sep 10, 2008 12:03 pm

Postby sunlight » Wed Nov 12, 2008 5:54 pm

Why does it still catch me by surprise- that in the blink of an eye everything changes?

Is it that I don't LIKE change?

Yep, I like to know how it's going to go down. I want order and something that makes sense. You know, peace, love & harmony stuff.

But isn't that me being the actor who wants to run the show?
Move those lights! Shift that scenery! Don't those clutzy players know how to do a simple ballet? :x

I do not understand spiritual experiences, but I know they involve change: a SOBER alcoholic, for example. :shock:
I don't understand my Higher Power either, but I know it involves love. Same example: a SOBER alcoholic.

My prayers are with you in this. Hold her, love her & tell her she's got a Sunlight on her shoulder! (sorry John Denver)

garden variety
Posts: 750
Joined: Fri Aug 04, 2006 7:39 pm

Postby garden variety » Wed Nov 12, 2008 11:31 pm

Hiya Sunlight,

Thank you for your prayers. I was visiting tonight. I installed new locks on her doors. I talk like, well more than I write. So I was talking with her. I don't know what words to say now, she was in physical pain tonight, and it's really hard to get used to looking at her and knowing she is in really bad pain. She tries to be calm and still, but you can see when a person is hurting - you know they bend in unnatural positions, and there's just how they move that lets you know it's really painful. What a hurt it is watching and not being able to do anything to take away that kind of pain.

It's also pretty plain to see that she's been hurt badly on the inside too. I don't know the fellow she asked to leave, but it seems like he had her under his thumb. She apologizes for almost everything. Her head goes down and says she's sorry for asking "so much" from me. All I did was bring her and her boy some hamburgers and her a couple packs of smokes. Then I installed the locks. Nothing really out of the ordinary and nothing that she needs to apologize over. I had to tell her plain and simple stop apologizing for being you. You have nothing to be sorry about.

It's like you said, a BIG change in the "landscape" from what it's been like for me over the months. It's so big of a change. I know it's not a bad thing. It's a miracle that is only starting to unfold, and buddy let me tell you what, that's exactly what it is. It happened so fast and so abrupt, and I "reacted" so quickly and automatically, that I know without doubt the Higher Power brought this about. Yes it's uncomfortable, and it hurts, but I wouldn't trade it for laying on that beach you're talking about.

The truth of it is that if it slammed me this hard, how the heck do I think she must feel. It took an incredible amount of strength for this girl to up and do what she did and being in such physical pain and emotional pain. I tell you what - there's so much "work" and "action" to be done here that I'll be out of trouble for a good while - that's kinda joking but it makes me see that the Higher Power must also see a need for me to be where I landed.

I just am seeing this now, but see what happens when I post so much about "constructive action never fails"? Oh and the other thing I been "suggesting" around here on the board is what the book says about "nothing so much insures immunity from drinking than intensive work with another alcoholic". See what God does? I talk so much about it and maybe it does help some of you all that I talk this talk. But boy howdy, now the chickens have come back to roost. You see how this works don't you? If I'm talking the talk, a Power greater than me is making sure I get to walking the walk.

Or some might say be careful what you pray for - you just might get it.

Sunlight, you know that I been praying this way too, so in reality this "stunning" change that happened in the twinkling of an eye is sure enough an answer to my prayers, so I guess I shouldn't even be surprised. Except I didn't know this is what I was praying for. Now I got it, so I'm just gonna shut-up and start looking for the blessings that are sticking out all over the place. I mean what else could I ask for? It's a crazy situation that just falls out of the sky into my lap and it's going to insure immunity from drinking - probably for a good while. My sponsor says I better get on top of it and be a "man of God" so to speak.

And you wanna know the BEST blessing so far?

I didn't come up with the idea! :wink: That means this really does stand a chance of working out for the better - whatever that might be. I don't know - and I don't need to know - and maybe I don't even want to know. The only thing I know that I can take to the bank is the beauty of step 2, and it's at work here.

I'm convinced - no doubts. I can let "faith" be the wind in my sail. After all, that's the simple of it. The book says it too - "becoming convinced" that there is a Higher Power out here - that's all I need to move on to step 3. To me there is one word that says everything in step 2: TRUST. What is the definition of "TRUST"? - just "becoming convinced"

OK I'll just shut-up now, and get into action.

Thanks again for letting me share and thanks for your prayers.

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Postby ccs » Thu Nov 13, 2008 12:52 am

ok theres this girl I`ve known for many years, we were friends first ,somehow we stay friends even after a "relationship"ends,
words can`t describe what it felt like to hug her again ,I look into her eyes and they are the same beautiful eyes I`ve known and loved,
but shes sick Very sick ,it hurts to see her this way,And theres no one there for her except me,yes its uncomfortable and it hurts but I wouldnt trade it,I reacted so quickly and automatically,
its a miracle that is only starting to unfold , it makes me see that the Higher Power must also see a need for me to be where I landed,

these are your words I just rearranged them

WOW Paul !! now thats what I call seeing the friuts of this spiritual way of life that works the fruits of the program that creates friends like you and mothers like Sunlight , you both inspire me and help me every day!!!

HUGS&KISSES&PRAYERS to you both!!!!!!!

I love you guys GOD BLESS

garden variety
Posts: 750
Joined: Fri Aug 04, 2006 7:39 pm

Postby garden variety » Thu Nov 13, 2008 9:57 am

Hiya Cessie,

I like how you did that. "Hush my grits" you might say.

I'm soooooooo grateful that you got the message I was trying to communicate. It really is a miracle in itself to try and explain a miracle as it's happening - and to have someone actually understand the incredible Power behind miracles. I'm glad that you "see" what I'm seeing. I'm not taking credit for it because I can't. Why I can't take credit is because I worked step 3 today and all the yesterdays for the past 10 years.

What a beautiful thing to see - the "steps" coming alive in action. Step 3 is so simple after finally "getting" step 2. All I do is "consent" - for me that's step 3 in a single word. It naturally springs out of "being convinced" from step 2. The heart of "faith" itself is "being convinced". I'm so "convinced" that I'm willing to bet my life on "It" even though I can't see "It."

You explained it perfectly by saying you see the "fruits" that "It" bears, and that is how "It" works. I sure as heck can't see a single thing that goes into "making" a fruit. And boy I sure don't understand and comprehend what happens when a fruit gets "made". I just can't explain it either. I only see the fruit when it's "done" being made.

I want to make one point perfectly CLEAR:


There is not a single thing in the "euphoria" of "getting high" on anything that comes close to being a part of the miracles that happen while lving a sober life. But I had to become transformed into a "miracle of sobriety" myself, before I could see that all of you are miracles, and so many things in your lives are miracles. For me it takes "all the earnestness at our command" today which goes into the work and action that I was taught never fails at keeping me sober.

I so much appreciate all of your prayers. Thank you for helping me so much today. I mean that from the bottom of my heart.

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Postby Jools » Thu Nov 13, 2008 10:13 am

I don't have anything to offer here to either of you except prayers. I don't know how to work through anything yet or about spiritual experiences. Right now I feel so helpless because you both have been there so much for me.

With love & prayers,



garden variety
Posts: 750
Joined: Fri Aug 04, 2006 7:39 pm

Postby garden variety » Thu Nov 13, 2008 11:09 am

thanx_2hm wrote:I don't have anything to offer here to either of you except prayers. I don't know how to work through anything yet or about spiritual experiences. Right now I feel so helpless


"Except prayers" is the best thing you can offer anyone. I appreciate your prayers. Don't think for a minute you don't have "anything" to offer, either. Don't believe that thought because it's just not true.

I hope you can trust me on this. Right at this very minute, you have EVERYTHING to offer Sunlight, me, or anyone else. If I could trade you every year of my sobriety for your one today, if it would keep you sober, I would do it in a heartbeat. You have every single thing to offer that I have. Please try to accept this.

There is one simple thing to do. It's the same thing I'm doing today, and "working" with this "circumstance" that happened my way. I'm LOOKING for the things I already know are there that will make today the absolute best day of my existance. My job today is only to start LOOKING and FINDING. That's what sobriety is for me - it's a "treasure hunt" every single day. Some days I have to look a little bit harder, and some days my "attitude" gets in the way, but as long as I SEEK and LOOK for things that will help me to help others, my sobriety is LOCKED - it won't come loose today.

Everything you need, Julie, is there for you too. You probably can't see it right now, and that's only because you probably haven't started looking beyond yourself. I'm not saying that to be mean. I was where you are for a long time. What it was like for me was like having a tall fence around myself. It worked pretty good to keep anything good or bad from coming in, but it also worked to keep me from getting out.

I had to make a decision to get off my butt which became accustomed to that soft and comfortable couch - which was my attitude of being the "victim" of life. It was a comfortable couch because I didn't need to do anything other than sit there and be comfortable.

So I had to get up and stretch a little, look at that fence, and decide I'm gonna try to climb over it. This REALLY was easy, but I was convinced it was hard. How do I know it was easy? Because I always climbed that fence whenever I was DRUNK. Drinking used to always work at "getting me out of me" - it was the solution.

Then I had to put one foot in front of the other and walk toward the fence. I had to do this while my "feelings" and "thoughts" (in other words "my will") were doing everything they could to talk me back into going the other way, back to my comfortable couch. I had to ask for help because I needed a Power greater than myself to keep my feet moving while my mind was set against recovery. I know this isn't easy for you because it wasn't easy for me to look beyond myself. It went against everything I believed up to that day. And I think you know about "that day" from a PM you got a while back.

"If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change."

My buddy Fred taught me this one, and I'm offering it to you at no charge!

Dallas made such a beautiful point that made so much sense that I took it to heart and pass it on anytime I'm asked to speak at a meeting. He said he had a "relationship" with his recovery and his sobriety. That was so profound to me, and it started sinking in. Now this was only a short time ago (you can find his post).

I started looking at my sobriety and recovery as a "relationship". I wasn't on a "plateau" like you mentioned, but I knew if I started looking at recovery and sobriety as a relationship, I knew there was always something I can do to make it better and more fun and more fulfilling. That "relationship" was there all along, but I never saw it that way until I started LOOKING for it. There is a guidline on the bottom of page 14 that tells me how to have a relationship with my recovery.

"For if an alcoholic failed to perfect and enlarge his spiritual life through work and self-sacrifice for others, he could not survive the certain trials and low spots ahead."

"Work and self-sacrifice for others" is the building block for my relationship with my recovery and sobriety.


What a relationship this is growing into! So if you're bored or "stagnant", give this "relationship" idea a try.

Thanks again for being Julie today, your thoughts and prayers are apprceiated.

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Postby sunlight » Thu Nov 13, 2008 2:23 pm

There's a man who often visits our home group & he's known for his stories. Here's one that made me think of you, Julie.

There was a man who would cross the border to another country every day on his bicycle. The border patrol would stop him & search the bicycle, but would never find anything.
This went on for years, until the border patrol finally said to the man on the bike, "I know you're smuggling something but I just can't figure out what the heck it is. I promise I'll let you pass if you'll just tell me what on earth you are smuggling."
The man grinned & said, "Bicycles!"

The point is, sometimes we miss what's right under our noses.

So Julie, don't miss the fact that what you have to offer is YOU!

A sober alcoholic is a gift to another alcoholic: heck, a gift to the whole world!

Be sober, be yourself & share yourself with others. Everything else comes in time.

We don't know how we're being used, but we are. We have to show up though.

I PM'd you because I missed you! You matter.

Cessie: fruits growing in November! Too awesome! So good to hear from you. We are all miracles.

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