On cold medicine and the national pastime…

It began innocently enough.  A cold, a fever, a sore throat.  A bottle of cold medicine to help ease the symptoms.  Heck, I probably recommended the stuff.  (the deputy pharmacist comes out a little too much) After a couple of months, I began to notice that NyQuil (or one of its brothers) was trending a little too much around here.

I would open the fridge and there he was.  Get in the car, whoops, in the center console.  Clean out my husbands lunch box, oh hello!  Either someone has got the consumption, or a tee totaller is getting a little legalistic with himself.  I knew better.

Momma T-Rex was gonna have to rear her ugly head, and it was not going to go over well.  At all.

My husband is an alcoholic.  He was from the moment he took his first drink as a teen.  No buzz for that lad, he had to go all in.  Black out daddy.  Wake up next to scary ladies or railroad tracks.  Sometimes, the jail cell.  When he actively drinks, it’s about 5 shots in, that an outsider can observe him slip away and become Arthur in the flesh.  (Please see the moving starring Dudley Moore if you don’t know what I am talking about.) Actually he becomes a cross between Arthur, Austin Powers and Don Rickles.  It’s not fun.

Even more “not fun” is the response family and friends response to alcoholism.  It usually goes something like this:

“Why is Jon doing this to his family?  He must be unhappy.”

“No, he’s not unhappy, he’s a drunk.  When he drinks he blacks out and does dumb things.”

“Well, I have never been drunk and not known what I was doing.  That’s a cop out.”

“WELL, it happens to him.  I’ve seen it.  I’ve researched it.”

“I think he uses it as an excuse.  Those thoughts and feelings come from somewhere.”

“That’s not how it works”

“Well the Bible says the tongue speaks from the heart.”

“Okay, so have you ever been under anesthesia?  Ever say anything that didn’t make sense that you were told about later?”


“Look we all want Jon to get help.  He has a problem.  What can we do to help?”

“Research alcoholism.  Go to an Al-Anon meeting.”

“What?  Why?  Why do I have to go to AA meetings?  I don’t have a problem!”

“Its Al-Anon not AA, it helps you understand whats going on.  If you don’t want to go, just read about alcoholism. Understand how it works.”

“I think Jon just needs to get to the root of what is making him so unhappy.  Are you sure he doesn’t want to leave you?  You know, miserable people drink to hide from something.”

“Yep, that’s it.”

This is a potpourri of conversations I have had with friends and family.  I know it all comes from a place of love and concern, but really it’s pointless. Most people just want the problem to go away because if it doesn’t it forces a little self examination.  Maybe if they start looking at the consumption of alcohol as addictive and troublesome, thoughts and feelings about their own consuming will come to light.  They want Jon to just “pull himself up by his boot straps” and get it together.

Alchohol in all forms disgusts me.  I have grown to hate it.  H.A.T.E.  I.T.  I have seen what it does to a person, front and center.  What it does to the body, the mind, the spirit, to families, to children, it’s all bad.  I don’t care what the “health” benefits are.

Gonna have a dinner party, let’s pick out the wine.  Gonna have a tailgate party, let’s pick out the beer.  Hey, it’s my brother in laws cousins birthday-let’s get a keg.  Getting married?  Full bar!  Going out to a restaurant, I’ll have a Dos Equis!  First date?  Better loosen up with some Cap’n and Coke.  Hey, I’m gonna go soak in the tub, where is my martini?  Funeral?  Full bar!  Christmas party? Full Bar!  New Year’s Eve?  Full bar! (do you hate me yet?)

After several years of not drinking a drop I have come to this conclusion.  I want to experience things in full bright color.  In stereo.  In THX.  I don’t want to miss anything.  I certainly don’t want to be dumbed down and numbed up in this life that I have been blessed with.  Drinking does not make me classy, intelligent, sexy, charming, or pretty.  I may have thought I was all those things while buzzed, but really I just looked foolish.  Some of the dumbest things I have said or did were under the influence.  For me, nothing good comes of it.  So I don’t waste my money or time on it any more.

So that brings me back to the NyQuil that has been creeping about.  I brought it up, and made my husband quite angry.  It was not a good day.  Very quiet.  But the next morning, he came to me and said that he needed to nip it in the bud before it led to something bigger and more destructive.  He HAD been sick, but was now using it to help him sleep.  (in the past, he’s used booze to “relax”)  Moving on.  Moving forward.

That’s how we do it on the Clement’s Farm.

Edit:  Just to clarify, Jon has not started drinking again.  I just wanted to make my opinion clear on the NyQuil cough medicine.  He later agreed.  Carry on!  😉


8 responses

  1. Well said Liz, praying for Jon and for you. I agree alcohol KILLS a lot for a person, family. We have been there. I DO KNOW though that GOD can heal him. My husband drank for many years. He could not drink just one or two, had to get blitzed every time. We had marriage problems because of his drinking. He gave it up about 13 years ago, hasn’t drank since. God can and DOES heal alcoholism. HOWEVER, the person has to want to be healed as well. My husband FINALLY, when he thought he was losing his family QUIT drinking. It can be done. Praying!!

  2. Jon will have to attend AA meetings the rest of his life if he likes it or not. He needs someone else besides his family to get through this. They have what he needs for him to make it. He needs to surrender and get on his knees and pray for a healing within and mean it and GO TO THE MEETINGS before work, before church, before anything. He needs an AA advisor 24-7. I know you will agree. It’s hard on you, and you have been there for him, but he needs AA more than ever now.

  3. I too have seen the effects of alcohol gone bad in loved ones lives. Due to that I have never felt the need to, or even had the desire to drink. I use alcohol in cooking. The. End. It’s always been interesting to me that my lack of drinking is an issue for some people. It’s not something I bring up in conversation. However if I am offered a drink and attempt a cordial “no thank you” the questioning begins….

  4. You may or may not know my mother is an alcoholic, and not the recovering variety. I grew up in the shadow of her huge intoxicated presence. I never knew what I’d wake up to and who might or might not be there. Three years ago I literally picked her up naked and vomiting on herself and took her to a hospital. Her blood alcohol level was .39. A blood alcohol level of .35 is equal to surgical anesthesia. .40? Coma. Because of my mother I avoided ANY substance for most of my life. But in my life I have found ANY thing, food, TV, shopping, pornography, exercise, even ‘hobbies’ like reading and sewing can become an addiction (and I’ve struggled with a few of these). And while some are certainly more harmful than others (duh) I think the focus for me needs to be on balance in life. I don’t ward off alcohol. Mostly because I like wine. Healthy or not. For many years I couldn’t say I liked wine because in my brain that meant I was somehow destined to be my mother. I couldn’t get a divorce because that meant I was becoming my mother and I’d be married 8 times.

    I’ve been to Al-Anon and other groups. I’ve read every book and article and I still struggle with confusion about what is ‘normal’ and self doubt and self-esteem issues. I have no real point here other than to say, I know what it’s like to live in fear of something inanimate taking over someone who you love and need. And I love you. And you’re strong. And admirable. And he is lucky. And so are you.

    • Now I am crying. (good tears) I struggle with so much too. I can picture everything you describe about your mom in vivid detail. Jon was passed out one night on the railroad tracks, in the car, while it was running. His foot on the brake. He was .27 bac. He called me twice from jail. The second time, he didn’t remember calling me the first time. So much for the one phone call!
      I don’t miss coming home to him nude, passed out, having peed in several places. Its like having a puppy thats not cute or fun.

  5. Pingback: On cold medicine and the national pastime… « Washington Pharm Girl - i Health Plus

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