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Greg & Loris' Alcohol Addiction Story - The Insanity of Addiction at Play

by Greg Adams
(Tonopah, Arizona)

I'm 55 now and have gone back and forth between drinking and tenuous sobriety since 1981. My drinking & the associated behavior has resulted in the destruction of 3 marriages, damaged the lives of those women, former girl friends, my 2 daughters as well as other family members.

My drinking--and inability to function well in the world while sober for as much as 6 years--ruined my career and has left me with a life filled with so much pain that suicide has seemed like a really good idea on too many occasions to count. I've been to countless AA meetings and 4 different treatment centers, yet up until a few weeks ago I was still drinking and driving while intoxicated on a frequent basis and while extremely intoxicated occasionally. You'd think that I would know better than to be so irresponsible and stupid and you'd be right.
But it took Lori to show me the truth about myself and finally convince me that I have absolutely no business picking up another drink.

I met her at a bar that I frequented. She had lived in the nearby trailer park for about a month and I knew she wasn't a bar fly because I spent a lot of time there and hadn't ever seen her before. She's much younger than me, has pretty blue eyes, a beautiful pony tail reaching down to her belt line and a fine figure, and she was obviously in distress. She told me that she had been paroled from prison and that a mean lady at the testing center where she had to provide urine samples had wrongfully accused her of trying to cheat--twice, which put her in trouble with the parole office. She said that she had been wrongfully convicted and been given an unusually harsh sentence because her ex-boy friend (and father of her daughter) was well connected with the Mormon church through his own father, a high ranking member. She was given a choice between reporting to a half way house or returning to prison by her P.O. She chose to run instead, rather than be subjected to one of those horrible half way houses.

So here I am, lonely from losing my third wife and very attractive to the damsel in distress who drinks like I do. I was really psyched! I soon had her moving into my big empty house and she immediately took on the role of spouse. I was happy, for about the first week. I'm still working so I dare not drink all day and at first I thought she was just a little dingy, but I soon realized that she drank up to 30 beers a day and ate very little. She would argue about nearly everything and get enraged over minor issues.

Then came the bar fight that she instigated, I escalated, and I ended up being tackled over a wooden fence by a big cowboy she had been flirting with and she ended up with a gun pulled on her. The next morning she took off with my truck without my permission, got very drunk and drove it in spite of efforts to talk her out of it. Then she almost burned my house down by putting an oversized log in my fire place then passing out on the couch. I returned home one day to find her very drunk. She had burned dinner, was trying to cut food with the knife upside down and she claimed she had only had 2 beers. When I questioned her on that, she flew into a rage.

I began looking at her arrest and imprisonment records: 6 felony DUIs with BLA averaging about .25%. Arrested several times, jailed at the county for 4 months, violated probation, sent to prison for about a year, violated parole, sent back to prison, released on parole again, then violated again, and here she was living in my house. She can't even visit her own, beautiful daughter, and her ex has a permanent order of protection against her based on numerous arrests for domestic violence--against him.

I thought about how insane it is for her to suffer such terrible consequences and in spite of the potential for being caught and sent back to prison with additional time for new violations, then to take my truck and drive extremely drunk on a revoked drivers license. Then I realized that when I drive extremely drunk, I could kill innocent people and spend the rest of my days in prison. The only difference between us is that she's been caught, and I haven't been yet.

I thought about how insane her behavior is--this pretty little woman can't even see her own daughter. Yet I had driven my second wife to move 2,000 miles away with my two daughters because of the insanity of my behavior. So what's the difference? There is no difference.

I saw Lori destroying herself, and for the first time I understood what my ex-wives have been trying to tell me all these years--that I've been destroying myself and the people in my with alcohol just like she is.

I realized that the chemical that both of us use alcohol in a feeble attempt to make ourselves feel OK really was the powerful depressant that made both of us want to die--just like the doctors and counselors have been saying all along.

And I saw the glaring ugliness of her alcoholism and for the first time I saw it in myself.

After a few days of my being sober and her getting progressively worse, I made arrangements with the sheriffs department to arrest her at my house and return her to prison. They let me go in and talk to her while they waited out of site. I told her what I had done and why I had done it: To try and save her life by getting her sober once more, thereby giving her an opportunity to stay sober and recover, to protect myself from the things she does while drunk, and to protect the public which is what the state has been trying to do all along.

I told her to surrender with dignity, rather than fight them like she has done in past. She was angry and very upset, but she did the right things. The deputies were kind and gentle. The older deputy told her that they don't want to lock her up two weeks before Christmas. They want to see her get sober, get her license back get a job and be reunited with her daughter. They want to see her some day, bouncing her grand daughter on her knee. And he said she could have it all if she makes the right choice and sees this as a new beginning.

I cried when she took off her jewelry and handed it to me. I held her arms out while the young deputy put the cuffs out in front rather than in back because she had been so cooperative. I put her in the squad car and my big puppy jumped in to lick her face. And I told her that they would all be here, just bigger, waiting for her to come back.

Since then I have had lengthy conversations with her parole officer, a woman who told me to pack her stuff up, put it in storage and let her know where she can find it. She told me not delude myself into thinking there's any chance Lori will recover because she doesn't want to. She said that she has seen many men try to rescue women like her and they always end up with their lives in ruins as these women drag them down.

I spoke to her ex-boy friend (the father of her daughter) who was with her for seven years. He gave me the same advice, and went on to explain how he and his family had tried to help her but that she just wants to stay drunk and party until she dies. Just like she told me. He corrected a lot of the stories Lori had told me and I realized that he is not the monster that she made him out to be, in fact he's a decent guy who's getting married soon. The daughter doesn't want to have anything to do with her, which is the same way my daughters feel about me. He said it's really sad, but there's nothing anyone can do to help her because she just doesn't want to recover and the best place for her to be is in prison where she can't do much harm to herself or others.

I know that they're probably right, but it's difficult if not impossible for me to accept that advice and give up on her without trying to save her with the help of women in AA and other resources her ex didn't have or know about. Maybe it's because I can see the real person behind the alcoholism, like my 3rd wife could see in me. Maybe it's because I feel a debt of gratitude for her having spurred a spiritual awakening in me, saving my life or the lives of innocents I might have taken. Or maybe it's because I sent her back to prison and told her I would take care of her things and be there for her when she got out. Or maybe I'm just plain stupid. But I refuse to give up on her without trying, nor I will not let her take me down after being lifted up. We need your prayers.

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Feb 16, 2010
somehow similar
by: jennifer

Your story caught my attention, it sounds familiar to me but from a different point of view. My father used to have drinking problems ever since i can remember. I understand exactly why your daughters chose to stay away from you. Even so, i don't think they stopped loving you, i am sure if you would try to see them now they would welcome you, after all you are their father and i know they would be glad to see you are better now. My father had been in many rehab centers, just because we were asking it from him, but every time he used to return to his old habit. He succeeded giving up alcohol few years ago, when he finally realized he was about to loose us all. He went to an alcohol treatment facility determined to get well, and now i feel proud of him, i am not ashamed he is my father anymore.

Jan 01, 2010
What's in a name?
by: Greg Adams

Jules, I hope that my story truly inspired you to put down the drink and pick up the pieces of your life and move on. As an intake counselor at Valley Hope told Lori recently, "You'd be amazed what you can do in sobriety" and showed us pictures of his family and friends enjoying life without a drink in site. She perked up when he said that he had spent a total of 8 years in prison for felony DUI's and alcohol related crimes. The next day she got drunk and almost burned my house down.

I don't like the label "alcoholic" because it can be seen as a pejorative term, somewhere between "pedophile and "workaholic". So I'm careful about when and where I use it.

In an AA meeting I'll say "My name is Greg and I'm an alcoholic" to simply fit in. Some A.A. "gurus" (usually in closed meetings) insist that you identify yourself as an alcoholic. They don't seem to recognize the 3rd tradition which states, "The ONLY requirement for AA membership is a desire to stop drinking". So you can say, "My name is Jules, and I have a desire to stop drinking" if you're in a closed meeting. Whatever works for you--just get to meetings.

To family and trusted friends I say that I'm addicted to alcohol, which is a correct statement. To my boss and coworkers I say that I don't get along with alcohol or that drinking causes too many problems for me. They know that. They've seen me come in numerous times hung over, late, call in sick after being at bars with others that can stop at a few beers, act like a jerk and create chaos. We think we're fooling others, but we only manage to fool ourselves, if even that.

Jules, the important thing is that you be true to yourself and face the reality of your situation and not worry about semantics. Most of my AA chips say, "To thine own self be true", and had I been willing to do that it wouldn't have taken me so many years to finally accept my alcohol dependence as MY sickness that has seriously damaged others as well as me.

I now accept the fact that it's my responsibility to stop drinking, learn effective ways of dealing with my feelings rather than drowning them out with booze, learn emotional control techniques, and find ways of enjoying life without alcohol as I once did before alcohol ruined my life.

It's happening already. My new girl friend and I went to a Doobie Brothers concert New Years eve in Tempe and we had a rockin' great time--without alcohol. Today I'm taking my nephew, his wife and their 3 children to the National High School band competition at the Cardinals stadium. These high school kids put on awesome performances. And my so-called friends: They no longer have any use for me and they're doing what they always do: Hanging out at the bar and getting drunk. Guess what: I no longer have any use for them either.

By the way, my niece and his wife were once considered to be hopeless meth addicts...


Dec 27, 2009
I can relate
by: Jules

Each word that you have used in your story mirrors my life situation. I am scared to admit verbally that I am an alcoholic but deep inside I know I am. I no longer wish to hurt the people who truly loves me. I no longer wish to degrade myself and let alcohol control my life. I want to put an end to my alcohol addiction. I hope that you continue with this fight. and thanks for inspiring others.

Dec 27, 2009
You Have my Prayers
by: C-P

Hi Greg

You certainly have my prayers. Your story just exemplifies the insanity of addiction at work. I'm pleased though you've had an awakening and can now see the destruction its caused.

I think the main thing for you now is to focus on strengthening your recovery. A whole new life of sobriety with all its blessings and of course difficulties awaits you. But its so much more rewarding than a life of addiction will ever be. But you have to stay vigilant and keep working at it, but I'm sure you will.

Lori's path will also unfold as its meant to. Of course you want to help her - but as everyone has told you - she has to want to help herself first - because as you know, unless she does, there is nothing anyone can do for her. I hope she also eventually sees the 'light' - of course do what you can to help and support. Just don't compromise your recovery under ANY circumstances.

Your story is both heartbreaking and inspiring roled into one. Thanks so much for sharing.

God Bless

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