1963...The DR’s ORDERS I should have ignored
In 1963 our family moved to upstate New York. We needed a family doctor ... primarily for Dick, my husband, who was a Type 1, very brittle, diabetic. Endocrinologists were unknown then and we settled on a sweet and kindly country doctor.
Our “getting-to-know-each-other” visit went well and he gave us two recommendations that he felt would ease our lives;
#1 was addressed to me. He said that diabetics react adversely to stress and that I could make Dick’s life much easier if I were to always keep a calm house-hold and try not to argue or do anything that would upset him…i.e.: ‘keep the peace at any cost”.
#2 was in answer to his question about our lifestyle. Did we smoke or drink? “No” to the smoking and “yes” to the drinking, but only on weekends or when we were out socializing. His advice was to either quit drinking completely or to have just one drink a day but do it every day. He felt that keeping the same daily pattern would help Dick regulate his insulin intake.
“Not drinking” was never an option since we’d never had a problem with it. So … now we were daily drinkers, seldom adhering to the “one drink”, and our house-hold was as calm as I could possibly make it with three small children and a brand new Real Estate business that we were trying to make work.
I guess you can see where I’m heading with this. I convinced myself that I could never express my feelings for fear that it would “upset the apple cart” and, as the years passed I regressed further and further into myself. We were like many couples who find themselves not communicating...living side by side, sharing a household but little else.
The children were a great diversion and we kept our energies concentrated on them. We never lost our love for each other or for the family unit but I found myself relying more and more on our nightly “one drink” to keep everything under control .
The handwriting was on the wall. The slow and insidious trek toward addiction had begun and it would be 26 years before I could no longer deny it. In 1989 I went into rehab and, with the help of the amazing program of AA, I’ve had 22 years of sober living. It’s been the most difficult thing I’ve ever done but it’s also been the most rewarding.
If any of you who read this can identify PLEASE get help now. Don’t waste year after year like I did and, be assured …
If I can do it anyone can !