We have previously published an article from today’s guest author but the topic is SO important that we’re willing to publish often. There has been a lot of alcoholism in my own family and many members have died tragic, premature deaths due to excessive drinking (and usually smoking). The only thing I know for sure is that laws and prohibitions don’t work! Alcoholics and drug users are going to get their substances somewhere and legality doesn’t matter.
In my retirement years, I became an author and speaker by tragedy. I had to lose my husband and daughter from their alcohol abuse to learn all the mistakes I had made with my enabling only forcing them deeper into their addiction.
I came from a very loving and close family and had no idea what it was like for families who struggled with fighting addiction. In 1963, I married my husband, Richard Lopes of North Dighton, Massachusetts and had the same dreams of any young girl of twenty-one. We had two beautiful daughters, Debbie and Lori, who were four years apart.
My enabling and not making demands for him to get help made our family situation only get worse. Instead of protecting him, I should have been protecting my daughters. From a small breakdown and no results with him living in denial, I had to divorce a once loving and kind man. Richie died in 1985 at forty-five years of age.
Tragedy hit twice when I learned Lori was drinking with friends during her senior year in high school. I had not been aware that this is a heredity disease and she had been following the same path as her father. Her actions stopped, or so we thought, after she graduated.
We learned of Lori’s addiction and being bulimic when she was thirty-seven years old. After three alcoholic rehabilitation stays, Lori died in 2006 at thirty-nine years old.
Since then I have been speaking privately at halfway homes and alcoholic rehabilitation centers and at public locations. In 2011, my husband, Al, and I have met with Stephen Meunier, Policy Advisor to Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts, and tried to modify the Patient Privacy Act for alcoholics and addicts when they reach a life-threatening stage from their habit. We need a change when something isn’t working.
Alcoholism is said to be a family disease but it’s not treated that way. Each family member goes separately to AA, Al-Anon and Alateen meetings talking about the same problem of addiction without working the recovery program out together.
I wrote Someone Stop This Merry-Go-Round; An Alcoholic Family in Crisis and its sequel Please, God, Not Two; This Killer Called Alcoholism. I feel God is leading me on a path to reach out to addicts and their families. We have put a petition up on my website and blog.