My husband, 67, has cirrhosis. We were drinking buddies and high functioning alcoholics. I got sober 9 years ago. He continues to drink. It's affected his brain and he was diagnosed with dementia and now liver disease. Of the two, liver disease seems more kind.
Alcoholism is a disease, not a character flaw. Until I understood that, I couldn't get sober. The alcoholic's body demands alcohol to feel normal. I try to remember that my husband didn't plan to be an alcoholic. I remind myself to hate the disease, not the alcoholic. We have chosen to treat the symptoms since at this stage there is no cure other than a transplant and the doctors didn't even discuss this since we believe it would be cruel to extend his life only to spend years with dementia.
Last week I contacted hospice who will help us keep him comfortable and we enjoy our days as best we can. That includes allowing him to continue drinking without ridicule or nagging; it's the thing that most makes him feel better even if only for a little while and there's nothing to be gained at this point by getting sober.
It's hard watching the bright, funny man that I married waste away. Still, I wouldn't trade the life we had for any other. I don't see this as giving up. I see it as making the most of the choices available given the present conditions. It's not fun changing diapers or answering the same question 20 times. But in between we find sweet moments of connection and I remember why we stayed together all these years. And I rely on the serenity prayer, accepting the things I cannot change.
For those suffering by the passing of an alcoholic loved one, I can only suggest al-anon. it may bring you a measure of peace
Post Edited (soberlady) : 5/22/2015 7:18:02 AM (GMT-6)