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For better or for worse.
Jim Broede
Posted: Saturday, April 2, 2016 11:45 PM
Joined: 12/22/2011
Posts: 5462


I keep confronting my dear alcoholic friend Julie. With what she doesn’t want to hear. The brutal truth. Julie is living on the edge. She’s gone 16 days. Without a drink. Only because she’s in the early stages of treatment. And has no access to alcohol. The detoxification has taken a heavy toll on Julie. Mentally. Physically. Emotionally. Julie bounces in and out of reality. She doesn’t fully understand why she’s in her current treatment facility. She doesn’t remember much of her inebriated past. I asked Julie yesterday. If she knows why she’s being confined. And why she feels lousy. And confused. I ask Julie if she can recount how she got into this mess. I try to tell Julie the truth. About her sad plight. But Julie would rather forget. Because it would only drive her into deeper despair. I write to Julie. Every day. I tell her the truth about herself. About her fractured life. Because I truly care. Because I want Julie to get better. But Julie refuses to read what I write. Refuses to listen. Makes me wonder. If I’m doing Julie  more harm than good. Maybe I should butt out. Mind my own business. And write off Julie. Just let her live life. In whatever way she chooses. For better or worse.  --Jim

 


Jim Broede
Posted: Sunday, April 3, 2016 11:21 AM
Joined: 12/22/2011
Posts: 5462


There’s a possibility. That Julie will never fully recover. That she will be plagued. By the effects of alcoholism. For the rest of her life. A slower mind. A slower body. Now. Seventeen days since she had her last drink. Julie’s sluggishness mimics Alzheimer’s. The very disease that ravaged her mother and father. The experts say. Julie has a fighting chance. For almost full recovery. If she finally sees the light. And never drinks again. But still, there’s a possibility. Of lingering and devastating after-effects. Her heart. Her liver. Fortunately. Have made it through. In decent shape. The question remains. What about Julie’s mind? Can Julie still bounce back? Mentally. Mentally. What is life with a pickled brain? --Jim

 


Jim Broede
Posted: Monday, April 4, 2016 12:46 AM
Joined: 12/22/2011
Posts: 5462


Julie is an interesting case study. As she tries to recover from her addiction to alcohol. She’s in her 18th day without a drink.  Julie can’t be admitted to a full-fledged, long-term alcoholic rehabilitation program until she’s ready to handle it. Her mental acuity has been affected by alcohol consumption over a long time. But the situation is getting better every day. She’s now biding time in a nursing home. But will move into an elite and expensive alcoholic recovery program eventually. The prognosis is good. For entry into the rehab program later in April.  But even then, there’s no assurance of success. No easy remedy for alcohol addiction.--Jim

 


Jim Broede
Posted: Monday, April 4, 2016 5:14 AM
Joined: 12/22/2011
Posts: 5462


Out of the blue. Julie becomes obsessed. With the notion that she must do housework. Scrub the floors. Clean the closet. Fix a meal.  She excuses herself. So that she can complete her domestic chores. But Julie is in a nursing home. Being tended to. She has no obligation. To do housework. Everybody tells her that. But still. Julie insists. That she must complete her chores. Instead, I encourage Julie to lean back. To look out the window. To observe the beautiful day. The sunshine. The glorious feeling. Of being alive. At this particular moment.  To forget about her household tasks. I suggest. That we go outdoors. In her wheelchair. With her beloved pet dog Sasha. Yes, we all go out. And bask in the sunshine. And feel the balmy warmth. It’s a 60-degree day. With a gentle breeze. Yes, Julie is learning. How to take a break.  To savor the precious wonders. Of life. They occur. All  the time. Around us. All we need do. Is grasp and fall in love with  the moment. And to hell with the housework. --Jim

 


Jim Broede
Posted: Monday, April 4, 2016 11:55 PM
Joined: 12/22/2011
Posts: 5462


It’s gotta be difficult. Living with Julie. But husband Rick has managed it. Which is indication of true love. Rick has weathered many storms. Not least being the six years that Julie’s dementia-riddled parents lived with them. Little wonder. That the care-giving experience wrecked Julie. Physically. Mentally. Emotionally. Led to alcoholism. And depression. Yet, Rick remained stalwart and supportive. He still loves Julie. And wants her to find happiness. But Julie may be too far gone. No longer capable of happiness.  I wish that weren’t so. But some love stories have unhappy endings. --Jim
Jim Broede
Posted: Wednesday, April 6, 2016 1:25 AM
Joined: 12/22/2011
Posts: 5462


I’d like to think. That it’s easy. For everyone. To be happy. Anyway, I find it relatively easy. Simply by focusing on stuff that make me happy. And by disregarding the things that don’t. Yes, so simple. Turns out. I’m a natural born happiness freak. My friend Julie isn’t. She’s deplorably glum. . Virtually round the clock. In my estimation, Julie has many, many reasons to be happy. Even joyful. But still, she resists. Qualifying as one of the unhappiest people I’ve ever known. Of course, it’s common knowledge. Julie is in depression. Forever, it seems. I’ve tried to intervene. In positive ways. By being cheerful when I’m around Julie. But to no avail. Meanwhile, believe me. I’ll keep trying and trying and trying. --Jim

 


Jim Broede
Posted: Thursday, April 7, 2016 11:57 AM
Joined: 12/22/2011
Posts: 5462


The way I look at life. Almost everything I do. Is an achievement. That helps me. Feel good about myself.  Unfortunately, not all of my friends look at themselves as achievers. My friend Julie, for instance, considers herself a failure. Because she can’t seem to overcome daily bouts of depression. She has cultivated a low self-esteem. A defeatist attitude. She’s paranoid. Too often thinking that the world has teamed up against her. I’m trying to convince Julie to adopt another mindset. That of an achiever. Taking life one day at a time. All she needs is a single achievement. Every day. For a year. Imagine that. A string of 365 achievements. In a single year. Wow! And this year, she’ll have a bonus. An extra day to achieve. Because it’s a leap year. --Jim

 


Jim Broede
Posted: Friday, April 8, 2016 12:42 AM
Joined: 12/22/2011
Posts: 5462


Dear Julie has gone three weeks. Without a drink. She’s rehabbing. Nicely, in some respects. But a little bit delusional. For instance. She cleaned out her closet and packed clothes in plastic bags. Claimed she had to catch a flight later today. ‘Where are you going?’ I asked. ‘Norway,’ she replied. Yes, a positive sign. Julie is dreaming. Sweet dreams. Husband Rick wants to make Julie’s dream come true. That is, after she completes rehab. Julie’s roots are in Norway. --Jim

 


Jim Broede
Posted: Friday, April 8, 2016 6:21 AM
Joined: 12/22/2011
Posts: 5462


Believe me. It’s scary. Watching friend Julie. In withdrawals. Three weeks after she’s had her last drink. I start to have doubts. About the prospects of a full recovery. I’m told by so-called experts. That presumably know far more than I. To not worry. To not overreact to what I’m seeing. That it takes time. Sometimes weeks. Or months. . To return to normal behavior. Yes, that’s the most scary part. The unceasing abnormal behavior. The agitation. The hallucinations. Weeks and weeks after quitting. There are physiological explanations for it all. And there are effective long-term treatments. I’m told, dear Julie, that the underlying cause for your situation is depression. And long-term stress. Such as being an Alzheimer care-giver.  Without adequate respite. That most likely was the triggering factor with you.  I can understand that. After all, I was a care-giver. For 13 years. Too many years as a 24/7 care-giver. I became addicted. Not to alcohol. But to exercise. That may have helped save me. But my main salvation. Was daily respite. Daily breaks. My dear Jeanne went into a nursing home. For 38 months. I remained her  supplemental care-giver. For 8 to 10 hours daily. That allowed me to come home. For rest. For exercise. For a break from the daily grind.  Yes, I became a recluse, of sorts. For the sake of my sanity. Yes, I learned to take care of myself. Yes, Julie. That’s your problem. It’s necessary to take care of yourself. First and foremost. In a positive (not reckless) manner. Your next step. Is to come out of withdrawals. So that you can go down the road to full recovery. Your devoted husband Rick will be there. To hold your hand. And to give you love and moral support. At the same time. He’s setting a fine example. For the rest of us. We have endearing faith in you, dear Julie. Believe me. --Jim

 


Jim Broede
Posted: Friday, April 8, 2016 12:03 PM
Joined: 12/22/2011
Posts: 5462


Don’t know if it’s a good or bad thing. That Julie cares. Maybe excessively. About what people think. About her somewhat deplorable mental and physical state.  She’d like to keep secret.  That she has a weakness for alcohol. And that it has gotten her into trouble.  I leaked that information. To the nurse caring for Julie. In a place called a health and rehabilitation center. The new nurse had just come on duty. For the first time. And apparently the nurse had not been fully briefed. About why Julie was acting up. In an agitated and belligerent manner. So I informed the nurse. That Julie was in recovery.  In withdrawal. After going three weeks without a drink. Julie overheard what I told the nurse. And Julie was pissed. That I had volunteered the information.  And maybe she has a right be peeved. Yes, I have a big mouth. I believe in facing an issue. Head-on. With the truth. No secrets. That’s my nature. And it doesn’t always suit others. I rub some people the wrong way. Maybe I should be more cognizant, more respectful of Julie’s ways and concerns. Yes, some matters aren’t easily resolved. There are different approaches. To the common problem. I confess. Don’t always know what I’m doing. Blundering my way through life. In dealing with people. Sometimes I’m right. Other times, I’m wrong. Maybe that goes for all of us. But one thing is for sure. I’m willing to take risks. Every day. I was put on Earth. To live life.  And to take charge of difficult situations. One way or another. But most often, by simply telling the truth.--Jim

 


Jim Broede
Posted: Saturday, April 16, 2016 1:34 AM
Joined: 12/22/2011
Posts: 5462


Julie is coming home. On Sunday. For only a day or two. She’s been gone for over a month. In treatment.  She’s better. Sober. But she still has a long way to go. In her battle. Mainly against depression. Drinking. That’s the secondary problem. Julie will return to more extensive treatment. Because now she’s deemed ready for it. There are no guarantees. That Julie will stay on the road to recovery. But we all have reason to be optimistic.  Yes, Julie is on the upswing. --Jim

 


Jim Broede
Posted: Sunday, April 17, 2016 5:54 AM
Joined: 12/22/2011
Posts: 5462


I recognize. That life is tenuous. Especially for Julie. Because she’s allowed her life to crumble. Into depression. Exacerbated by a drinking problem. Notice that I say problem. Rather than addiction. Guess it’s a matter of semantics. Julie prefers to not be known as an addict. Anyway, it’s a thin line. I’ll call Julie anything she likes. Even the Queen of Sheba. If she stops drinking. And learns to cope with her depression. In positive ways. If she chooses not to. That’s her business. No reason for me to fret. Better to get on with my own life. Over which I have  reasonable control. --Jim

 


Jim Broede
Posted: Saturday, April 23, 2016 11:52 PM
Joined: 12/22/2011
Posts: 5462


My friend Julie cannot survive on her own. If left to her own devices, I doubt that Julie would last for more than a few months. She’d grossly mismanage her life. To the point of doing harm to herself and probably to others.  She needs help. To deal with depression and alcoholism. Lately, she’s been getting help. In an institutional setting. For a month. Now she’s at home. Where the only thing  saving her is the watchful eye and loving care of husband Rick. Without him on the scene, Julie would be in big trouble. That’s why Julie needs to go into an extended  drug rehab program or a mental health center. Where she will be cared for 24/7. Until she’s willing and able to cope with life – on her own. She’s in no condition to do that now. And Rick is running out of the patience and stamina to care for Julie. Yes, the relationship is at a critical point. Julie is reaching the do or die stage. Unfortunately, she does not recognize the degree of her mental illness. Otherwise, she would check herself in to a psychiatric ward. --Jim

 


Jim Broede
Posted: Sunday, April 24, 2016 6:55 AM
Joined: 12/22/2011
Posts: 5462


I’m puzzled. By mentally ill people. Many of them addicts. To alcohol and other drugs. Mostly, I steer clear of them. Acting as if it’s not my business. Furthermore, I wouldn’t know how to intervene. Effectively. That’s the case with my friend Julie. I know it’s going to be a long haul. For Julie to recover. And there’s a chance she’ll never make it. Because there’s no sure-fire treatment for Julie’s many and deep mental disorders. I’d like to put Julie away. Into a sanitarium. For as long as it takes. To protect Julie from herself.  From addictions. From her depression. But I’m told that’s impractical. Or that there are no such facilities. That at best, Julie will be treated on a hit-and-miss basis. And besides, Julie must be willing and able to respond to treatment. That’s more unlikely than likely. Yes, that’s the way it is. That’s life. All too often. The mentally ill are left to fend for themselves. Yes, it seems heartless. But that’s the way the system works. In a heartless and ineffective manner. And here I am. Sitting on my hands. Musing. Musing about what to do next. Perhaps feeling as helpless as Julie. But I have a choice. I can throw up my hands. And retreat. Trying to do the best I can. With my own life. --Jim

 


Jim Broede
Posted: Saturday, April 30, 2016 6:23 AM
Joined: 12/22/2011
Posts: 5462


My friend Julie. She’s not my favorite subject. Because. Too often. It’s bad news. Julie is trying to cope with a miserable downtrodden life. Burdened by two curses. Depression. And alcoholism. Julie is making a valiant effort. But so far, it’s not valiant enough. Julie went into therapy. To dry out. Yes, rehab. For an extended period. Imagine that. Forty-some days. Without a drink. Seemed successful enough. For Julie to come home. For a break. Before resuming institutional 24/7 therapy. But turns out. Julie wasn’t able to handle freedom. She relapsed.  Yes, a great disappointment. For Julie. And for everyone around her. A reminder, too. That an addiction is an addiction is an addiction.  A devastating disease. That has taken a toll. And control of Julie. Rather than Julie taking control of the disease. We’re all feeling let down. But we’re learning, too.  That there can be no let up. Alcoholism is a horrid malady. Maybe not as horrid as Alzheimer’s. But still, awfully horrid. --Jim

 


Jim Broede
Posted: Saturday, April 30, 2016 7:09 AM
Joined: 12/22/2011
Posts: 5462


When Julie had her last drink. Yesterday. She vomited. All over herself. Julie suggested. That might be a good sign. A good lesson. That if she continues to drink. She’s going to puke.  Believe me. Puking is the least of Julie’s woes. She’s not only an alcoholic. But a victim of devastating depression. Languishing. Hopelessly, it seems. Unable to grasp the severity of her condition. Unable to gain control of herself. That’s my definition of mental illness. Julie should be put away. And treated. Until she’s capable of taking charge of her life again. It’s that simple. But life is so very complex. It really ain’t simple. --Jim

 


Jim Broede
Posted: Sunday, May 1, 2016 6:32 AM
Joined: 12/22/2011
Posts: 5462


It’s more difficult conversing with my friend Julie. Than talking to Julie’s husband Rick. For an obvious reason. Julie is an alcoholic and in a continual depressive state. Yes, Julie is mentally ill. She needs help. Psychotherapy and other forms of treatment. I share some of my written thoughts. By email. Almost daily. With Rick and Julie.  The exact same stuff goes to each of them. Rick reads my emails. And sometimes offers comment. It’s called a dialogue. A productive give and take. Julie takes a different approach. She ignores the emails. Though that doesn’t stop me. From talking to Julie. Almost every day. In a sense, I try to force-feed Julie. To bring her into the realm of open-mindedness. Sometimes it works. Other times it doesn’t. Julie puts up resistance. She loves to live in denial. She retreats. Seldom wants to confront me, or anyone. Not even herself. Sometimes, she runs away. And says she doesn’t want to hear what I have to say.  ‘That’s all right,’ I tell Julie. ’But please tell me what you have to say.  I want to understand. I prefer a dialogue. But I’m also willing to listen. To your monologue.’ --Jim

 


Jim Broede
Posted: Friday, June 17, 2016 11:57 AM
Joined: 12/22/2011
Posts: 5462


Julie is talking, talking, talking. And making sense, too. She's sober. She's recovering. Nicely. From bad times.  Makes me a true believer. Give it time. Give it time. Don't lose faith. Invariably. Life gets better and better and better. Good times follow bad times. I've seen it happen. Over and over and over. For 80 years, and counting. --Jim