Kay is back to school for her final year and things are slowly going back to the normal daily routine. It is such a long time since I continued with my true story, that even I need reminding where I left off. I am sure anyone else will be confused too, so I thought a quick resume (with links to the posts) might be helpful.
1970 - 1999 The Early Years. Or the pre-drinking years. The first 29 years of our life together.
1999 - 2003 Booze Cruise. The problem drinking starts to escalate.
2003 Heart attack. Greg is in hospital and then convalescing at home.
2004 Early retirement. The drinking really spirals out of control.
From Bad to Worse 1.
From Bad to Worse 2
2006 Emergency. Greg has a gastric bleed and nearly dies.
Ebbing Away Greg has a detox while in hospital
On the Mend. Things get better again.
2007 Bursting the bubble. After the detox, things start to get worse again.
By autumn 2007, Greg was definitely back to drinking a full bottle of wine a day and beginning to start on the whisky again too. I was devastated. We were back to square one like Groundhog day. I cannot tell you what that did to me. Our finances were already strapped to the limit. We still had the mortgage to repay and all the other usual outgoings which were climbing in price beyond general inflation. Not content with one loan to cover the problem, Greg now took out a second and much larger loan which would commit us until 2013 to pay back on our small pension. The instalments were gobbling up all our available cash.
Greg was back to sleeping a lot of the time or drinking and shouting. Physically he was dishevelled and weak. One day he went to go down a flight of stairs, just swayed on the top step, then fell forwards, like in a cartoon. "Look, no hands". Kay and I heard the thud of his body as it hit each stair tread. We ran to the top of the staircase to find him uncurling himself on the floor at the bottom. We rushed down, helped him up and he was surprisingly not injured. Every time he stood at the top of a staircase after that, swaying around, Kay and I would have our hearts in our mouths and could not bear to watch.
I went to see the GP for help again, as I did not know what to do next. She said, yet again, that he must cut back gradually. The words I dread to hear. That made me feel so frustrated, as I know that Greg finds it almost impossible to cut back on his own, once it has a hold on him. The GP also said that I must contact Matt at the Alcohol Advisory Centre again and see whether a proper detox could be arranged (as opposed to the one that was done before in hospital as an emergency). When I contacted Matt, he said that he would need Greg's permission to apply for detox and again stressed that it should go in tandem with rehab. Both still had long waiting lists too, so nothing would be done for at least 6-8 months. That was assuming I could get Greg to agree to it. I felt so helpless. Nobody wanted to know. Meanwhile, Greg continued to see the counsellor at the Alcohol Advisory Clinic on a one-to-one basis, but, still the counsellor just listened and let Greg talk and talk. She didn't offer any practical advice, beyond the now familiar advice to cut down gradually.
I used to phone Greg's sister, Jill, to let her know of the latest developments and she too used to say she felt helpless and that there was little she could suggest for me to do. In all fairness, she lives over a hundred miles away, so I do not expect her to be able to help. But I really did feel at that point that I was alone in the world with the problem and nobody really appreciated fully what Kay and I were having to endure. I must confess - to be selfish for a moment -I also used to get upset that we could have had such a lovely retirement, having time together, while Kay was at school, maybe going out for countryside walks with the dog, maybe driving to the sea, ending up at a pretty pub for lunch or just doing things with friends. But that was out of the question. Not only would Greg not be able to stick at just a couple of drinks on a day out, but also we would not even have the money now to go in the first place. It was all going horribly pear-shaped. It felt like one of those nightmares where you are being chased by something or someone - a monster, or giant or villain - and your legs feel like concrete so that you just cannot run and are fixed to the spot.