Every time someone’s addiction wins I panic.
I wonder how it happened. How long had it been “that bad”. How many people really knew how bad the struggle had been over the last few months. How long and how well had they hidden what was really going on.
Then I really go down that rabbit hole. What will it look like
if when Rob’s addiction wins. I’ve had a few glimpses… Just not to that degree yet.
The last time was even scarier than the other times – I just didn’t realize it until 3 hours into an ER visit. His shaking (detoxing) was worse than I’d seen in a long time. We went to two different urgent care clinics and neither would see him so I convinced him to go to the ER.
After they ran some blood work and got his IV’s started, the conversations got extremely difficult. The dr asking about his drinking, Rob continually denying any drinking.
Me, outside the room, standing in the hallway, trying to talk to his nurse so someone knows the truth. Not even the truth. The little bit of truth that I know. Of which one truth is that I cannot tell you the last time I saw him sober. My guess is he was up to a bottle every two days. That would change when the dr came back in with the test results.
The dr coming back in the room and explaining to Rob that he’s gotten all of the test results back and telling Rob that if he had waited another day he wouldn’t have been able to bring himself to the hospital. And might not have woken up the next morning.
Rob still in denial. Because that’s what addiction does. It makes the addict believe their own lies. It makes the truth very subjective. And the only truth an addict knows is what will get him to his next drink the quickest.
The dr is in on Rob’s game. He’s seen it. Knows that it doesn’t really matter what he says, Rob has his own version of reality and he will not see anyone else’s reality.
So he starts talking in “if’s”…..
IF you’re drinking everyday and you want to stop drinking, you cannot stop cold turkey. The amount of alcohol you have been consuming for this length of time has made that impossible. You’ll need to slowly reduce the amount of alcohol you consume. Take one less drink a day. Slowly detox and let your body become accustomed to less and less alcohol over a period of weeks, possibly months. All of this needs to be monitored by your physician.
I don’t like this. I have seen him try and every time, fail, to do this. I don’t think it’s a viable option.
IF you’re drinking everyday and you can’t slow down/reduce your drinking on your own, you need to check into the hospital and go through a medical detox. You’re too far gone to try to just do this cold turkey all at once and without medical intervention.
I needed the dr to insist on this. To admit him. But me needing that didn’t make it the right thing to do. Rob had to want that. And it was obvious to everyone that Rob was not going to commit to being admitted, when he wouldn’t even admit he was drinking at all.
BUT since you aren’t drinking and you don’t have a problem, despite what your BAC levels and liver enzymes would indicate, even after we’ve been treating you with multiple IV meds for several hours already, then at the very least you need to check in with your primary physician and get a treatment plan in place so that you don’t end up back in the ER.
And he walked out. And he left those words hanging there. Trying to get an addict who is in the very early, painful, probably not even voluntary, stages of detox, to understand that he can make a choice. One of several choices.
And one of them, is to die.
And I don’t even think Rob heard any of it.
Not one word of…if you don’t make some kind of serious change, you will die. It may be weeks or months or years, but until you’re honest about your drinking, until
You decide you want to get sober
these decisions you’re making…or not making… they’ll decide for you. There will come a point,
And very soon if you don’t make some drastic changes
There will come a point when you won’t have any other options.
You will drink yourself to death, which could be a long process or fairly short, based on your history of extremely high BAC’s
Or your body will start to shut down, slowly, painfully, and there will be nothing that can be done except to make you as comfortable as possible. And wait.
I don’t know if Rob heard any of this. I heard it. I replay it over and over in my head so I can somehow prepare myself for his addiction to win. To prepare myself for something you cannot be prepared for no matter how much you play out how it will go in your head.
You can feel the dread and the worry and the wondering about when and where it will happen. But you feel that along side the hope that he will win out over his addiction. So you pray that he will overcome his addiction. And in the same breath, you pray for protection for your girls’ hearts when addiction wins.
But there is no preparing for someone actually losing to their addiction. Because deep down, we always think there will be a second/third/fifteenth chance. There will always be time to start over. Someday the want to overcome his addiction will win.
Until there isn’t. Until it is too late. Until addiction takes your friend. And there’s no more chances to start over for them. And no more hope for you to hold on to.
Sometimes addiction wins. And we lose a friend. And we relive what we could have done differently, how we could have helped – and none of that matters but it’s all we can think about.
And quietly, we plead to God that this will be the thing. This will be what convinces our person that overcoming their addiction is worth anything it seems to cost.
And we convince ourselves that if losing our friend is what it takes for one person to overcome their addiction, then their loss wasn’t for nothing, their loss has purpose….because if it doesn’t…if this isn’t the wake up call our addict needs…can we still hope they’ll live to overcome their addiction?
So we hope. And we pray. And. As long as they have breath in their body…we don’t give up.