Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Pinot Noir?

The thoughts for this post have been marinating for a couple of weeks. I'm still not certain about whether they are ready to post. Perhaps some other ingredients, i.e., your thoughts and your comments, will help.

Here's a picture of a nice glass of pinot noir. About three out of four Fridays each month we go down to the Glenside Pub for dinner and while we wait for our meal to come, we catch up on our weeks-just-past over my wine and his Heineken. Been doing this for more years than I can keep track of. Never thought much of that glass of wine other than how good it tastes and how nice it is to raise a glass with the love of my life.

I didn't grow up in a home with an alcoholic. Neither did my husband. When the kids were in high school, I was confident that they weren't drinking with their friends (I discerned this by the facial grimace on Sunday mornings as they choked down a sip of Communion wine).

Most of our friends are comfortable with a glass or two of wine, a beer or two. Heck, most of us don't even stock anything else! I'm a tad bewildered by our sons' recent fascination with scotch which I consider to be among the vilest tastes ever. But that's not what's inspiring the post because I think it will pass much as my own youthful fascination with gin did.

Truth be told, I've not thought a lot about alcohol in the past thirty-five years, other than to fine-tune which red wine I like on those Friday nights. In the past few weeks, however, that's changed.

First, someone that I've known, liked, and admired for several years lost a job because of inappropriate and excessive use of alcohol. Next, a good, close friend had the excruciating experience of confronting her twenty-something son about his drinking; fortunately, he's a wise lad and without an argument, he went off to a rehab center. The last thing that happened in this series of events was when another friend -- from a "girlfriend" friendship rather than a "couples" friendship -- told me that she and her children had employed a professional interventionist for help in persuading her husband to seek treatment for the alcoholism that has been destroying the family for more than twenty years.

I said to her -- the way we do -- "I'll pray for you as you go into this intervention. If I can do anything else to help, let me know." Never imagining for a moment that she would.

Which, reader, is how I found myself involved in two lengthy and detailed preparation meetings and as a participant in an Intervention. Part of me wants to explore and process the experience a little more, for it was intense. Another part of me knows that this blog is most likely not the appropriate venue for such exploration.

I wonder about the coincidence of these events. I wonder what deeper pondering and reflection might reveal.

Know this, though: On Friday night, it was not with my usual casual, non-thinking air that I ordered my pinot noir.


Anonymous said...

My husband has been "clean" for almost 14 years. For the first 24 years of our marriage he drank a 6-pack a night. Unblievably he never lost a job, was never abusive, never had a DWI and most would never know he drank. That changed when he found out he had a congenital heart condition and had to go cold turkey. It was difficult in the beginning for him and he still has days that he would love to open the fridge and grab a cold beer. I admire him everyday for staying clean and keeping his health and hope that your friends will be ok.

And even though there should be no shame for being married to an alcoholic, I have decided to go anonymous.

Feedack Fantasy said...

My dad & all his brothers & his dad were all alcoholics ... scares me to no end about all the generations to come ... I am a very cautious social drinker, altho we were raised in a single parent home after the divorce with no exposure to alcohol ... but in sibs & other relatives we have seen a tendency to follow the paternal patterns. Scary.

Knitting Auntie (aka Sharon) said...

My Mom found her life on December 1,1980. We celebrate it as her anniversary and her "AA Birthday" she was 45 years old and it was both the best and hardest day of our lives. She has kept her "Gift of Sobriety" all these years with the help of AA. We don't drink much around the house, and we don't keep alcohol in the house (she does not care but I still do all these years later).

Anonymous said...

So sad for your friends. Both of my children have been through rehab and are now active members of AA. I strongly suggest that your friends seek out Al-Anon -- it's helpful to share with people with the same experiences. Also, reading about addiction was very helpful to me and my husband. Alcoholism runs rampant in both sides of our family - although neither of us has a problem with alcohol, we are extremely careful drinkers. The one thing we found was that many friends abandoned us while our first child was in treatment. Please try to be a good friend and listen -- the guilt (and the anger) can be overwhelming.

Mrs. Goodneedle said...

This is a difficult situation, but for you... with such a finely tuned ear for listening... it is God at work. What a great friend you are.

I never give it a second thought either, when I order, or pour myself, a glass of wine. I am one of the lucky ones, I recognize that. Thanks for an eye opening post.

Anonymous said...

I want you to know that many who read this are saying Thank You for this post. I am married for 27 years to a man who for the last 15 yrs has increased his drinking to about a quart of rum a day. Once he starts drinking he becomes an entirely different person. My children who are now 22 and 19, see it and comment on it, but it makes no difference to him. His father was an alcoholic and was accidentally killed when he stepped off the curb in front of a bus. I am watchful over my son, as I am afraid he too will grow more and more dependent on alcohol, as he ages. My husband never missed a day of work, is not abusive (actually just the opposite),no DWI, etc... most have no idea how much he drinks, because he does it at home.

Most friends/family are surprised when they see me with a glass of wine, because although I enjoy a glass every now and then, I didn't touch alcohol for the first 20 years of motherhood. I wanted my children to know that you could enjoy life without the use of alcohol.

I have tossed around the idea of Alanon many times over, even looked for a local group, but continuously have made excuses for why they are not convenient.

I think it is time. Thank-You!

Kim said...

Yet another thought-provoking post! I can always count on you-LOL!

My mom is an alcoholic--has been as long as I can remember. She's not a pleasant person and we don't have much of a relationship because of it.

As for you son and his "whiskey phase," well, there was a time when I thought vodka was pretty nifty and kept a "good" bottle in the freezer. Later, I decided beer was the drink for me--the interesting craft beers you find at brew pubs. About ten years ago, I pretty much stopped drinking alcohol but for the occasional drink when we go to dinner with friends. Alcohol and quilting don't mix, and although I like to buzz that comes from alcohol, it's too easy to drink yourself past the buzz stage and into the hangover stage--LOL!

Hubby used to enjoy beer but never over indulged--at least not since he was 20 something. A couple years ago, though, his doctor told him to cut out alcohol because of the effect of his muscular dystrophy on his liver.

I wish the "intervention" trend was around when I was younger--maybe we could have done something to help my mom. I think it's wonderful that you were there to help your friend!

GARI said...

One thing I hear is that these three events have made you more aware and you are not taking anything for granted. I think it is important for people to periodically assess how they are doing and it is events like this that tend to spark those assessments.

Judi said...

How lucky your friend is to have you!

I feel very sure that you will help with a whole heart, and will be tough if the need arises.

God moves in mysterious ways.

Nicole said...

When I was a girl, I lived in a big house where my grandfather, a hopeless alcoholic, lived upstairs in his bathrobe, surrounded by Catholic religious cards. Every now and then he would "get out" with disasterous results. Strange men with loud voices would bring him home and my grandmother would be so humiliated. We didn't have rehab then, the family just took care of its own. I have learned to fear addictive substances and to be loyal to my family no matter what the circumstances.