08 December 2008

So far, so good

Well, I am pleased to say, I am fairly confident he is not drinking any more. It has been about ten weeks now since he came out of hospital and so far, so good. I say "fairly confident", because I can only speak from what I see at home and when I am in the same room. I cannot follow him around 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Obviously there are times when he goes out alone - to get cigarettes or go to the doctor - or times, when Kay and I have gone to bed and he is still up watching TV, but I have to trust him. He says he is not drinking and I think I would smell it on him or see a difference in his behaviour, if he were. He tells me that in the past he just got into an awful habit and he will never do that again. I don't know whether to believe him, because he has detoxed twice before and still gone back to it again. But now he has liver damage (and possibly brain damage), that may have put the frighteners on him and may be the incentive for him to stop altogether now. I think he genuinely wants to stop this time.

However, I did get a shock a few days ago. The light bulbs in the entrance hall had "died" and Greg couldn't find any replacements in the cupboard in the garage where we keep them. So late one evening last week, he went out to the nearest supermarket to get some more. Yesterday I stumbled upon the receipt for the bulbs lying underneath a chair and found one more item listed on the receipt apart from the light bulbs. It said:

SUTTER HOME FRE MERL... £2.99

I felt the colour draining from my face and my heart beating faster. Knowing that his favourite wine (before his whisky-drinking days) was always a Merlot, I immediately assumed the "Merl" on the bill was shortened supermarket code for Merlot. He had sworn blind over the last ten weeks that he had not drunk a single drop of alcohol nor did he miss it at all. Yet here was a receipt for a cheap bottle of Merlot. I just knew I couldn't trust him.

He was out at the time when I found the bill, so I lay in wait for his return, determined I would kill him at best, and ask questions later. Alternatively I visualised manhandling him into the car and dumping him on social services' doorstep for having broken his promise. As soon as he was back home again, I jumped on him from a great height with the question "when did you last buy a bottle of wine?" I searched his face for any tell-tale signs of lying. He did not know what I was talking about and said he had not had any alcohol. Why then, I said, had I found a receipt for Merlot? He looked a bit sheepish at first but confidently replied that he had been looking for the light bulbs and had passed a display of alcohol-free wine which he had thought might be a suitable substitute for him to drink with our meal at Christmas. He had bought it to try out. As proof, he nipped into the garage and produced the empty bottle of Sutter's Home Alcohol-Free Merlot as proof. He said he had tried it, but it tasted dreadful, so he would certainly not be buying any more of that. Why, then, had he kept this a secret? His reply was that he knew I would be mad at him. It was only after he had left the room that the thought came into my head that a suitable alcohol-free wine is by any other name grape juice, which you can buy in cartons in any supermarket. You don't need it in a fancy bottle with a fancy name. The fact that he was attracted to the bottle was a wee bit disconcerting, as was the fact that he was already thinking of what he might drink with his Christmas dinner, but he assures me (in capital letters and underlined) that he will not go back to drinking alcohol. Hmmm. I've been here before, remember.

Another example that he is trying hard is that two weeks ago his sister, Jill, and her son came down to stay for a day or two, as they needed to do something in London, and it just happened to be my birthday. We all went out for a meal and I confess to having been worried enough not to want to go at all, as I was worried about what would happen vis a vis the drinking situation. However, Jill and I were explicitly told by Greg to order wine (he said it would not bother him in the slightest) and he ordered a lemonade for himself. I was so pleased that he showed no desire to grab a sip from my glass and stuck firmly to the lemonade. So fingers crossed it will work.

On top of all this, he is trying hard to sort out some of the jobs that need doing round the home, either by doing them himself or calling in professionals. He is also having a go at doing some of the paperwork chores (such as tax forms and shopping around for alternative insurance etc.) So I have to give him full marks for trying and it frees up a bit of time for me too.

Finally he has started going to open counselling sessions for recovering alcoholics at the Alcohol Advisory Centre, where he has been in the past. It is a compromise between residential rehab (which he still hates the idea of, mainly for being away from home for six months) and nothing at all. I too am struggling to make something of Al-anon - I still find writing this blog does me more good than trying to speak out in a group. I'll give it till Christmas and then make up my mind whether to stop going. It may be that my blog has now come to its natural end and I will have no further need to bore you all rigid with my tales of woe. Only time will tell.

22 comments:

KatduGers said...

Hi,

I'm glad it seems to be working out so far, and will keep my fingers crossed that Greg sticks to his promise of not drinking.

Please don't stop writing your blog - I sure most people would agree with me that we've all enjoyed ALL of your posts, so please keep at it, if you can fit it in.

Take care,

KatduGers

Nota Bene said...

That is a very positive posting...and good to read that things are progressing steadily. It'd be a real shame if you stopped writing...perhaps a whole new blog?

Fat, frumpy and fifty... said...

a day at a time...Roserio

thinking of you!!

Laura said...

I have enjoyed reading your blog, and it would be a shame to stop. Maybe you could continue your tale along another tangent!

Millennium Housewife said...

Your posts are always fascinating Rosiero, not just the journey through greg's drinking, but the things you wrote about bonfire night and the goings on in your road were excellent. Please don't stop! MH

Grumpy Old Ken said...

Hi
I don't know what to say. And for someone whose pretty verbose thats something. You'll always find an outlet in writing whatever the outcome I'm sure. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for you.
ken

Robert said...

I'm just another one of your fans :0) I have enjoyed reading all your posts, too.

Like you, I started my blog as a coping aid, and it helped and is still helping. The issue which assisted in the blog's birth has lessened so I have been thinking recently about what else I could put there. I have some life experiences about which I could write, I could air some of my pet grievances or I might publicise some of my political/social views etc. And at some time in the future, my descendents might find my blog interesting and/or illuminating. Or they could delete it. Who knows?

I have known quite a few alcoholics. I only know one who is totally abstinent - and he feels that he has to keep working on it to stay that way. Three of my alcoholic friends died from alcohol related diseases - 2 from liver problems and one from a heart attack. They all knew that their drinking was killing them and chose not to stop. All my alco friends had one thing in common - they didn't like "real" life. The one who has stopped went to AA (still goes at least once every week) moved house, left his friends & work behind and has concentrated on making a career. now he quite likes his "real" life. So I wish you and Greg luck. You're both going to need it!

Best wishes...

cologneblog said...

I hope very much for you and your daughter that all this is true and that he really is off from alc.

nappy valley girl said...

It does sound like progress - and I guess that if non-alc wine is his way of coping, so be it. I do hope things continue to improve.

nuttycow said...

Hi Roserio -

Concurring with everything your other posters have said, I also really enjoy *all* your posts, not just the ones on Greg. I'd love it if you kept posting, as the others have said, possibly on a different tangent. I'm glad writing is a form of therapy for you and, since you enjoy it and you're so good at it, why not carry on?

Ellen said...

What a fantastic outcome - and to be honest, such a surprise - your latest blog is like a Christmas gift to all of us who have been following your blog. I hope and pray for you and Kay that Greg's recovery and abstinence will continue. I have been doing lots of reading and researching into alcoholism lately and the one thing that I keep hearing again and again is that it is only with the support of AA that alcoholics are able to maintain any long-term abstinence. I don't know why this is and I am sure that you are already aware of this. Good luck to you all and wishing you a happy and peaceful Christmas.

Do please keep blogging - you are a natural communicator! Dx

Working mum said...

Not boring, Rosiero. Thought provoking, sensitive and touching.

If you no longer want to blog on this subject, I agree with the others who say you could change your blog and go in another direction, but don't stop.

WM x

Fern said...

This is good news Rosiero, my fingers are firmly crossed for you too.
I agree with the others, it would be a great shame if you stopped blogging. You have a talent for writing, I do hope you continue to use it.

Almost American said...

I do hope you keep blogging - I have no doubt that you will find interesting things to write about. I'm glad Greg seems to be doing better - quite frankly, for me at least, that was a surprise ending to your story!

Did he drink the whole bottle of alcohol free wine to determine he didn't like it? My husband has a couple of colleagues who are recovering alcoholics and they seem to do OK at social events drinking alcohol-free beers - but I have heard stories from others that the 'mock' alcohol can be a stepping stone back to the real thing for many people, especially as some do actually contain small amounts of alcohol despite the label 'alcohol free'.

Kit Courteney said...

I haven't been around for a couple of days so was desperate to catch up.

It does sound very encouraging, indeed. He took a long time to get in such a way and the same applies to you. His behaviour and your thoughts about his behaviour will not change over night. He's had time in hospital and is clearly trying to alter the way he does things. You are watching him and in time that will lessen...and hopefully you'll be able to relax more.

I'm with everyone else. I'd miss your blog an awful lot. Some people are simply interesting - whatever they have to say. I'm afraid you are one of them!

The same goes for Robert!

blogthatmama said...

It sounds as if things are looking up, I really hope it works out for you all. I love reading your blog and look forward to descriptions of good times as well as difficult ones, good writing's good writing! Blogthatmamax

Strawberry Jam Anne said...

I am so pleased for you Rosiero that Greg continues to stay off the alcohol. Can imagine that you must feel on "tenterhooks" every time he is out of sight. The fact that he is starting to do things is very positive too, he is not just sitting around feeling sorry for himself.

Please continue your blog if you have the time, you have a lot of friends out here who would miss you very much. Another thought - would it be beneficial to Greg if he were to begin a blog at some time in the future?

Thinking of you all and sending a big hug to you.

A x

Stinking Billy said...

rosiero, it seems ghoulish but I feel fairly certain that most of us are just waiting for him to come crashing down off the wagon. As I have already said, I am a totally different sort of drinker, but your blog has brought home the truth to me and I have taken a step back.

I don't want him to fail, and I do have you to thank. x

Mommy said...

NOOO! Don't stop blogging. We like reading the saga too much. I hope and pray that he is on the wagon for the rest of his life. We want to know what life is like with a recovering alcoholic. My father and brother both brought an early end to their lives with alcohol and bless both their hearts, they tried many times to put it down. I'm praying that he is taking this seriously and doesn't ever pick up another drink. You deserve to be happy and I know from experience you can't truly be happy with a drinker.

rosiero said...

Thank you all so much both for your well wishes and for your comments on my writing. I shall try to live up to your expectations and maybe continue to post a little more and see how I manage. I genuinely appreciate your comments on this post and over the past 6 months. It really has helped me to get through this.

Fat4Now said...

Fantastic blog
linked you up
good luck to you both

Hadriana's Treasures said...

Rosiero, I agree with everyone's comments. I also enjoy your writing and you have a talent for it! So please can we all persuade you to keep going?:) glad to hear Greg seems to be mending his ways...