Thursday, 6 October 2011

Demon Drink

I do not know you. 
I thought I did before
You raised your hands to me,
Called me a fucking slut,
A fucking whore.

I did not know you. 
I now realise that,
The demon (of you)
Had not been released by drink,
Had not come raging to the fore.

I do not know you. 
I thought I did
Until those arms that
Once embraced me tenderly
Now push me violently
To the floor
Hands/fists reign blows on me
And I can’t take you anymore.

I am afraid of you
(Although I love you still
And can’t let go –
What strange thing is this?).

Some day I will.
I will let go.

(Please note that I am not ‘into’ bad language (although some four letter words are used in my mind to vent off ‘feelings’ - yet I rarely utter them), however bad language is appropriate to the above.)

As stated before, I work in a care home and love it.  The particular unit (of the home that I work in) houses those who are ‘difficult to place.”

Many of our residents are quite frankly pickled by alcohol.  Mostly they present as good men and women – believe me that several are women (alcohol abuse is not a predominant domain of men) and I regard (most of them) as thoroughly decent people – and indeed they probably were until alcohol addled their brain and impacted on their families and society.

For a long time I could never understand why these good people were ignored by their families – they state that they have a wife/husband /children yet are unable to state their whereabouts and indeed sometimes their names.

Several years ago I became aware of why alcoholics are often disowned by their families and a recent event re-reminded me of this.

The families of alcoholics are more often than not abandoned (or not acknowledged) by those professionals (GPs, SWs, CPNs, etc) who care for the victims of alcohol.  Families are very much victims too.

Alcoholics and ex-alcoholics have the potential to be bastards.  I now know why they are often ‘abandoned’ by their families.  The families of alcoholics appear to be abandoned by all. 

 I link this post to dVerse poets for I feel that all words need to be read.

Anna :o]


Brian Miller said...

you have a tough job..surrounded by some sad stories...i feel this...and i see the abandonment by the professionals as well...whew...all too real...

Claudia said...

yep agree with bri - this is a tough work you are doing - my father used to drink and it changes a i know what you're talking about

Natasha said...

Wow...this one certainly leaves the reader feeling weighted. Amazing how the abused can so willingly forgive the abuser. I've never had to be a part of such a thing, so there is a definite disconnect because I find it so difficult to relate to. Thanks to you for the job you do, and for giving those, who may not other wise have one, a voice.

Jenny Woolf said...

Sad situation all round.

ADDY said...

Been there, got the T-shirt, as you know, so can understand completely. I was on the brink of leaving Greg. He beat me to it by dying before I could. He was not the same person I fell in love with and married. The alcohol changed him overnight from a gentle, loving intelligent man with a very good career into a shouting monster with absolutley no care for food, hygiene or social interaction. Then alcoholic dementia set in as well. I can well undertand why alcoholics get abandoned. I am so sorry you have to deal with the aftermath. It cannot be pleasant.

Friko said...

I'm afraid I too would probably, eventually, abandon an alcoholic. I realise that alcoholism is classified as an illness, but the thought of having to be close to one makes me physically sick.

Having been married to a gambler was bad enough, he just stank of smoke and gambling dens; never again will I feel obliged 'to help bear the burden'.

Nicholas V. said...

Powerful poem highlighting an enormous social problem...
See my poem on this topic:

Joanne Elliott said...

A very strange place to be, when the one you love is no longer the person you knew or thought you knew. This comes across well in this piece. Well done!

Charles Elliott/Beautyseer said...

Enablers is what they call those who stick with alcoholics and cover for them and cater to them. They are often victims of their own irrational belief that somehow they are at fault, that somehow they can make the drinker change. The night I drove to Escondido from L.A. because a friend who was in AA had called drunk to say that he was going to kill himself, I saw the role that I had fallen into. At dawn he begged me to make a beer run for him. I refused and left. Months later he drank himself to death. His wife of many years had already left, too. Don't blame the alcohol, either. The self-demonized drink and try to drown their own imperfections. It never works for long enough...

Reflections said...

Sounds like you are picking up lots of pieces... It only sticks, works when they took want to take the steps to pick up the pieces. Its a long hard haul, day by day, moment by moment for them, but all the rehab or assistance from others does nothing unless they are battling the great battle.

HyperCRYPTICal said...

Thanks for your welcome comments folks.

I guess I am lucky in that most of the residents abstain - but others don't and things can become rather volatile.

I am also lucky in that I can go home after a shift and I don't share the life of a alcoholic for 24 hrs day in day out.

Addy ~ I have great admiration for you and wonder how you stuck it out. Through something you wrote to me some time ago I realised how little (if any) support you got from the 'professionals' and had to exist in and deal with this nightmare alone. Not good and not fair.

Friko ~ I believe I would too - but would I? It is impossible to state with any certainty as I have never 'lived the life.'

Charles ~ I know the term 'enablers' and understand it, yet there are many factors involved which those who coined the term fail to appreciate - appeasement, keeping the family together, no outside support and nowhere to go, not having the strength or wherewithall to leave and so on.

Enabling the alcoholic also enables the family to have a strange sort of control over the presenting situation.

I accept that I speak in ignorance as I have not shared my life with an alcoholic, yet I hope I understand a little.

Anna :o]

Anna :o]

Lolamouse said...

A very sad situation for all concerned. It takes a special person to work with this population.
BTW, your comments ALL posted to my blog! I have it set so that I moderate all comments before they post!

Manzanita said...

WOW Anna, I feel like I just stepped into something murky and it's weighting me down. It's difficult to work in situation as you do without becoming somewhat involved emotionally. Today seems to be my day to run into interesting people. I talked to a 70 year old woman in the Health Food Store, who lives without electronics and is surrounded by salt lamps and Buddhist monks. She's happy to be without a man in her life. I also met another interesting gal at the bank but I won't bore you with that too. Somehow it linked in with your post.


Cro Magnon said...

My late father was a whiskey drinker, and I do partake of red wine (with my evening meal) on most days, but luckily neither of us were/are the type of nasty violent drunk you describe. If I ever develop any of the characteristics in your poem, I'll give up at once.

So many people, these days, drink alcohol to get DRUNK. For us, wine is simply an every-day meal accompaniment!

Dave King said...

A powerful poem that engages with the complexities and the subtleties of an on-going social problem. Well done.

shonejai said...

thank you for sharing an alternate perspective on a pervasive problem.

Asma Khan said...

Nice poem... :)
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Christine said...

I have to serve many people in our community at the bank I work in who are inebriated, sometimes when I see them coming I close and go to the bathroom, I avoid helping them sometimes because I get tired of the way they treat me, very sad all the way around for everyone.

Helen said...

Your poem is beyond powerful ...

HyperCRYPTICal said...

Thanks for your kind comments folks.

I feel I must state that I am not anti-drink and I drink alcohol and enjoy it, even enjoy getting a bit tipsy.

It is unfortunate that something that can be so enjoyable has the potential (if abused) to be so very destructive.

Anna :o]

lori said...

Wow, this kind of hits home. I have a relative on my husband's side that struggles in this area. He really doesn't want to be around any of us. He wants to drink himself to death. Being on the other side of the family, it took me a long time to understand why others were done with him, but I do get it after watching his behavior for years. The alcohol has turned him into someone he's not. It's sad. You are definitely in the trenches of some tough stuff. Thank you for what you do.

HyperCRYPTICal said...

Thanks for your welcome comment Lori

Anna :o]