There's an amazing story that has been airing on TV here in New Zealand on a nightly current affairs show. They devoted an entire programme one evening (half an hour) to the story of an alcoholic woman called Charlene. Charlene was very brave to let the cameras in to her house to record her drinking habits, and then follow her as she detoxed for 5 days. It's pretty raw stuff but handled very well by the reporter, who also interviews her GP, and the detox nurse provided free by an agency here in NZ.
The programme received heaps of feedback .. and the following night they aired a follow-up which informed us that Charlene had gone back to the booze. So much of what is talked about in here had me nodding and understanding .... so much that I know about this addiction and how hard it is to kick.
I hope these links work overseas - let me know.
There is such a huge problem with alcohol in our society - on the macro level (hospitals, police etc) and the micro level (thousands of individuals and their families), yet much of it goes unspoken. How many families never talk about the huge elephant in the room that is one person's drinking? We watch it escalate, we worry, we talk amongst ourselves but not to the person drinking.
Someone like Charlene has gone a long way down into the addiction - for her there is no avoiding the elephant in the room, her drinking is such that the rest of her life and relationships have all but been halted. But for the thousands of others who are still 'high functioning' despite the drinking clearly being an issue .. why don't we speak up? Is it because the line between normal drinking and dysfunctional drinking is so blurred. When does one person go from being ok to having a problem? How do we measure that?
I know for me the process was gradual, and a lot of it private. No-one else could hear my sick thought processes regarding my beloved wine (Have I any wine in the house for tonight? I should try and not have any tonight but bugger it I will. Is there enough left in the fridge? I'll just slurp the top down quickly before anyone sees. Just one more before bed. Just one more. Just one more.)
I even had to convince Mr D that I had a problem, and he lives with me! Heavy steady drinking is so accepted by all of us. It was only because (thank fucking god) I started saying out loud to myself and a few loved ones 'this is wrong, this is dysfunctional, this has to stop' over and over and over that I managed to get sober (although Mr D can see clearly now that I've taken the wine away what a difference it has made).
I just feel sad. Sad for Charlene and so many others. I wish there could be a groundswell of change in our society starting from the bottom up. All of us need to change our attitudes and our opinions. Going out and getting hammered is not cool. Neither is steady heavy drinking in the home.
Love, Mrs D xxx