Alzheimer’s Disease Ruined My Life, Then It Saved It

By Lonna Whiting: For Entire Post, Go Here…

Today marks 800 days of my life without alcohol in it.

Those who have never had the honor of placing booze front and center in their lives might not understand what a milestone 800 days alcohol-free means.

Those of you — like me — who’ve had a love-hate obsession with alcohol (can count the days you DIDN’T drink in the past month on one hand; “how to tell if alcoholic” appears in your search history), 800 days is significant.

Eight hundred days also means that ample time has passed for you to understand why you drink in the first place. …

Consistent, long-term recovery from an addiction makes you a special person, whether you own that reality or not. You likely gave yourself the grace to honor your traumas by working through them, not against them. When you put down the bottle, you put trauma in front of you instead of setting it aside. That’s not luck. That’s fucking heroic.

For me, that bad luck—my trauma—was Alzheimer’s, and I would have done anything to escape it. I did a lot of damage trying to, at least.

To explain all the ways Alzheimer’s has fucked me up, I’d have to go way back to 2011 and share with you how my mom started losing herself. There’s a book of information to that narrative, so let me briefly explain:

Mom lost the ability to tell the time.

She didn’t know how to order food off a restaurant menu.

She forgot her birthdate.

Then her middle name.

Then she forgot her name altogether.

These were the early signs. These were the early traumas that sent me to a bottle of rose every night because it was the easiest way to forget Mom’s forgetting.

Towards the middle of her disease, around 2014–2015, she was already living in a memory care facility.

She cried for me when I left her after a visit.

She screamed and spit at staff because she was frustrated and didn’t know how to communicate it anymore.

She became doubly incontinent.

This is when I started drinking almost two bottles of wine a night. The anxiety of her disease consumed me. The perpetual cycling through the stages of grief had taken me whole, chewed me up and swallowed any sense of self I had left.

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