Monday, March 7, 2011

Cunning, baffling and powerful Part 2

Here is more of what Laura R. wrote about her friend's alcoholism:

2000-2001 – Daria fell in love with  Don, a doctor that she had met through her work. She arranged for a wedding in Hawaii because she had grown up there. She found out she was pregnant before the wedding and was ecstatic.

Mike was born in November of 2001. He was a beautiful baby and she adored him. She just wanted to be a full time Mom and it seemed perfect. My nephew is a month apart in age and we noticed from the start that Mike wasn't relating to people quite as well as my nephew. He did not look us in the eyes and would avoid the normal contact of people cooing to him. We found out later that she had been drinking throughout her pregnancy. Mike ultimately ended up having autism.  Daria's sister confirmed that Mike has fetal alcohol syndrome which he will carry for the rest of his life. His wonderful father, who adores him, will need to make provisions for Mike for the rest of his life because this innocent baby was saddled with an avoidable disability.

Fall 2005 - Don told us that Daria was going into treatment for alcoholism at a rehab center and that she would do it as an in-patient. She was there for a couple of months. She said that they had done some blood work on her and her liver was failing from the alcohol so she needed to seek treatment. Fortunately, Don's niece Maria lived with them and helped out significantly with Mike.

One strange symptom that appeared around this time was her obsession with her step daughter. Everything that had gone wrong in her marriage was Alice's fault. Any teenager can be difficult, especially with step-parents, but how could a child cause every problem ever conceived. We all tried to talk sense to her, but she could not get past her obsession.

Spring 2006 – We caught our oldest son (16 years old) drinking and were furious with him. Daria was his confirmation sponsor and offered to talk to him about alcohol. She told him she started drinking heavily at his age so he needed to stop and think about what he was doing. 

The bizarre part was two days later she called me in hysterics and said she needed to speak with Alex. She said that he had betrayed her because her step-daughter Alice made a comment about Daria being an alcoholic. Alex swore he didn't say anything, and quite frankly I believe him. Alice would have to be blind and stupid not to notice that her step-mom was an alcoholic. The fact that Daria believed that Alice had missed the drunken rages at home was fairly ridiculous.

Fall 2006 – Daria was put into a treatment program again but this time for almost a full year. She didn't make it a week out of treatment the last time and so needed long term help. We wrote to her while she was there and she insisted she was really going to try and fix it with all the hard work she was doing at the center. We found out later that again within a week or two out of treatment she was back drinking.

May 2008 - I had a profound conversion experience in my Catholic life, and during this time I had a disturbing event with Daria. I had a business meeting and as I was driving home, I thought I would stop at the church to pray.  I walked inside the church, knelt down and began to pray. Almost as soon as I bowed my head, I had a very strong urge to call Daria. I promised that I would call her as soon as I was done praying. I got the urge again and I repeated my promise that as soon as I was done praying I would call her. Then I got a strong impression that “delayed obedience is no obedience at all”, so I stopped praying and left the church. 

I called Daria at home but there was no answer. I decided to go home and wait by the phone. Strangely enough, my youngest daughter had a tooth crack and we had an appointment with the dentist to pull the tooth. It was scheduled that day. Fortunately, before Daria called back the dentist called because an earlier appointment had opened up for my daughter. 

Daria called back right after that call. We started by talking about general things and then I told her what was bothering me. I told her that God knew her suffering and that he loved her and no matter what happened he would still love her. I told her how beautiful she was inside and out and that she did not have to live the way she was living. She started crying and saying that she no longer wanted to live that way and could I please come over. I told her that as soon as Anastasia had her tooth pulled we'd come straight up to her house. 

If I had realized what I would find when we arrived, I would never have taken poor Anastasia. When we arrived at the house Daria was staggering drunk and weeping. I tried to talk to her, but she ended up in my arms on the floor of the house talking about taking care of her son after she was gone. Her talk was suicidal so I called my sister Patricia who is a nurse to find out what to do. She told me I was to call an ambulance immediately because it wasn't safe to try to transport Daria to the hospital. So I called 911 and an ambulance was there quickly. Daria was admitted for observation and treatment. I had great hopes that she would come back sober,  but it was not to be. Looking back, I'm glad I was naïve because a sliver of hope helped all of us continue to try and help her.

She was admitted to a psychiatric hospital near our home and I remember visiting her there on Mother's day. Her husband visited as well with Mike and everyone tried to put a good face on it.

The last segment will be posted tomorrow.


  1. This is just so incredibly sad.

  2. Oh, Syd, that's truly heartbreaking. My prayers are with everyone going thru this. (((HUGS)))

  3. Such a heartbreaking story and so familiar.

  4. Yes this is a very sad story, but I'm afraid I accustomed to hearing the stories and worse on a regular basis. Tragic women who drink themselves to death at home. Especially young women. They wake up covered in bruises and they have no idea how they got them. They have to be sick and tired of being sick and tired in order to have the necessary gift of desperation to go to any lengths to stay sober. I can only carry the message, not the alcoholic. And I end up having to watch many women crash and burn because I observe them not taking suggestion. I observe I'm not going to meetings, not talking to other people about what's bothering them, not asking for help, not picking up the phone, not helping a newcomer, not asking a higher power for a sober day. So I feel it's only a matter of time when I observe them not doing all these things. Half measures unfortunately avails them nothing. The predictable deterioration ensues, and the wheels come off. It's very sad that so many people don't make it, all we can do is carry the message than it wait for other people that are ready to take direction to get well.

    Your post made me think of the things (as far as i know) that people are supposed to do to stay stopped and so I wrote a post on it. Food for thought as usual Syd :) The best to you and C while she is recuperating :)

  5. This is a really interesting story. Thank you for posting it.




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