22 May 2014

Six years and counting............

My blog is six years old today.

It is six years since I first plucked up courage to write a blog about my husband's alcoholism and here I still am - 330 posts later.  I never dreamed I would be going this long when I first falteringly put hand to keyboard.

I had got into blogging purely by accident, looking up online a well-publicised blog at the time, just to see what all the fuss was about. Through that, I commented and came across other bloggers who either interested me because of their location or the subject matter of their blog. One man in particular whose blog I commented on asked why I didn't blog myself and I genuinely wondered what on earth I could come up with to blog about that would remotely be of interest to anyone other than myself. Surely I was not gifted enough to write anything and, furthermore, what in my boring old life could possibly be of interest to anyone else? For quite some time, I hung back in the shadows, just commenting here and there on other people's blogs, when I felt the urge to say something.

Then one day, it kind of just happened. I'd had a bad week with Greg, was frustrated with the medical profession and alcoholism counsellors who seemed to be doing nothing to help us. In addition to that I had plucked up all my courage to go to Kay' sixth-form coordinator at her school and air our dirty washing - namely that Greg was an alcoholic and Kay was having to cope with this whilst trying to study for her A-Levels and submit applications for university. Permanently near to tears the whole time, I felt as if my mental engine would blow a gasket and I needed to relieve some pressure. I sat down and wrote my first post to get things off my chest. I hovered over the publish button and cautiously decided to save it as a draft for some days afterwards. Did I really want to betray Greg or wash dirty linen in public? But living with an end-stage alcoholic is a crazy world and the tension in me was mounting. I needed to write to tell someone, anyone, faceless as they were, because I could not speak to anyone close to me.... I was still trying to keep it a secret from them or deny its very existence at all.

On 22 May 2008, I finally pushed the publish button and my blog was born. So much has happened in the time since. Greg grew worse, went in and out of hospital, got better, got worse, went back to hospital, got better, got worse and ultimately died. I've gone through the ringer of so many emotions too.  Relief (he'd gone); anger (that he chose to); sadness (what he was missing); longing (if only he were still here); frustration (why could someone have not helped him); and acceptance (it was an illness he could not avoid).  Quite a lot in six short years.

The blog has continued to be an air vent for me to cope with adjusting to life on my own as a single-parent to my daughter and carer for my elderly mum. It's been a friend when my feelings took twists and turns.  I am pleased to say it has also been a help to others in a similar situation to me, or even alcoholics themselves. If I have helped just one person, I feel honoured to have touched their life and helped. From that point of view the blog has been worthwhile and at least Greg's death has not been in vain.

Whether I have it in me to carry on with blogging for another year let alone six years is a big question mark. I do find it useful to look back and read it as a diary. To relive those moments and feelings. To revisit the past. We'll see. But for now, I raise a glass (not necessarily an alcoholic one) to Alcoholic Daze and thank it for helping me through a very difficult time.
Taken in my garden yesterday -
things to be thankful for


nappy valley girl said...

I'm sure your blog has helped many, many people Addy. You write very well and to the point, and your honesty and raw descriptions of Greg's illness have made this an outstanding blog. You should be proud of it! Happy blog-versary.

afterthefire1964 said...

Your blog was one of the two that helped me the most with my experience as the spouse of an alcoholic! And you were one of the inspirations for my own blog! Many, many thanks! If we do not "air our dirty linen" then how will others know how to deal with their own soiled laundry? Afterthefire1964

K Ville said...

ahhhh Happy Birthday 'AD'

You know you have helped me over and over and I appreciate it lots.

You've also maintained your anonimity very well, shared enough to help (and self help) but not too much to expose people. I think you have blogged very well indeed. Well done and thank you x

Hippo said...

Well, you know that I shall forever be in your debt and there is one young lady and two boys who if they ever fully appreciated your influence on me beating alcoholism would worship the ground you walked upon.

I am now nearly 4 weeks cigarette free as well!

I have already told Marcia that when I get back, I shall be a new man. What's left of me, that is!

Ellen said...

I am so glad that you did decide to press that button. Yours was the first blog (or anything else for that matter) that I came across when searching for a way to deal with the madness involved when married to an alcoholic. I can't begin to say how much your blog (and kind words) have helped me over the years. So I would like to say a big thank you for your six years blogging. As for the next six years, in the ethos of al-anon, why not take it just one blog at a time.
ps. What a beautiful rose - you must let me know what it is called.

ADDY said...

Thank you all for your supportive comments.

Ellen - the rose is Harry Wheatcroft.

www.retiredandcrazy.com said...

Your memory of starting a blog got me to wondering how long I had been writing and do you know I first started on 23rd February, 2007! Over 7 years - wow!

Like you, My husband was an alcoholic. He died just over 4 years ago after 34 years of sobriety in AA.

Elizabeth said...

Your blog has helped me understand alcoholism and other addictions and support anti-gambling/alcohol initiatives here.

Being a NZer with a great affection for Germany where I once lived, I hope you keep it up, even if as an effort in cross-cultural understanding!

Trisha E. said...

Your blog helped me more than anything else after my husband died of alcoholism earlier this year. I wish I had found it much sooner. It is such a true picture of the life we all lead, a mixture of compassion for the alcoholic and an honest account of the intense suffering visited on the rest of the family.
I hope you will continue your blog, which I think should be at the top of the the list of best recovery/addiction blogs. I also hope you will publish a book from it so that we can share your valuable insights with family members and friends who could be helped by it.
I agree with you that the help available to families is hopelessly inadequate. I am wondering if some of the bloggers you've brought could spark a demand for real change in that. This disease must surely be one of the most costly to society, with years of lost productivity on the part of the alcoholic as well as many family members, health costs, risk to the public (auto accidents, etc.)
There is a story online about a little Native American girl who set her whole community on the road to recovery by refusing to go home with her Mom and Dad one day because she didn't want to be around their drinking. The Dad was so taken aback by her recognition of their alcoholism that he set out to solve the problem, first in himself and then in his friends who also drank to excess. They then began to confront community members who were harming their families with their drinking until the community as a whole reached a very high level of recovery.
Our system for dealing with alcoholic behavior is so passive that failure is almost guaranteed. I hope if we all continue to share ideas on the internet that we can change that someday soon.

Jennifer said...

I just discovered your blog yesterday and spent the whole afternoon reading it from the beginning. As the daughter of two former alcoholics, your story had me in tears several times, and also I found myself nodding my head in recognition when you described your feelings during some of the worst episodes. Growing up with alcoholism is difficult, but I believe several good things came of it (along with some challenges thatI'm still working on at the age of 39). For instance,I have a lot of empathy for others who struggle with life challenges like addiction, poverty, abuse, etc. I also have a fierce independent streak and often struggle with asking for help or even advice (thanks to growing up as an only child who often didn't have any adults in my life I felt I could trust).

Anyway, I just wanted to let you know that your blog touched me. Thank you for writing it. There are so very, very many people struggling with this terrible disease and I'm sure you have helped a lot of them by having the courage to tell your story.

Nota Bene said...

Happy anniversary. I've found it inspiring at times, and just enjoyable at others...and I always look forward to the next update...

Eurodog said...

Congratulations. I am a regular reader and enjoy reading your posts however difficult they were at times.

Jerry E Beuterbaugh said...

Surely this is a site well worth seeing.

Ellen said...

Thanks Addy _ I'll keep an eye out for Harry Wheatcroft and squeeze it into the garden somewhere if I every come across it.