The List of Complications is a Long One

My mother was a life long alcoholic.

She drank until she was forced into a medical detox at Denver General

after several legal complications due to her alcoholism.

 The list of complications is a long one.

The story has barely begun in this blog.

Her complications included and are not limited to:

a warrant out for her arrest which she ignored, a missing persons report being filed on her behalf,

neighborhood complaints about the stench coming from her home.

This complication required that I hire a crime scene clean up crew

to muck out truck loads of cat shit and dead cats from her crawl space.

These are just a few highlights of my journey with my mother through

Wernicke -Korsakoff Syndrome; alcoholics dementia.

My mother died November 30th 2011.

She died in her room on a locked floor of a nursing home.

I was with her the day she died and I was able to say,

“I forgive you.”

100% forgiveness in one moment.

Wernicke – Korsakoff is an odd dementia which primarily affects the development of short-term memories.

My mother was a highly intelligent woman trapped

on a floor with much older people who suffered from Alzheimer’s.

My mother was aware of her plight until days before her death.

My mother was an intelligent woman whose brain was destroyed by alcohol.

She  would stand by the locked door daily hoping to make her escape.

She would glare at me when I was visiting,

knowing I was the one who  put her there,

but not able to remember for five minutes,  why.

I put her there rather than signing her over to the  state.

I could have given her to them.

My mother died an alcoholics death.

I am not ready to post the details yet.

The nightmares;

the nightmares need to pass before I am ready for that.

I began this blog in an effort to raise awareness of alcoholics dementia

and the devastation  alcoholism has brought down upon my family.

I have promised to be brutally honest about this God awful journey.

 My mother’s death  has super-ceded the original intent of this blog.

I am working my way back, through very complicated grief.

And anger. Don’t forget the anger.

My father died January 10th, six years ago next week.

On January 11th,  six years ago,  I became my mothers keeper.

My father died.

My mother, in her dementia, could not dial 911.

My father died because no one was there to save his life but my mother.

As I wrote above,

The list of complications is a long one.

My father’s death is the very first

and the very worst

of the complications caused by my mothers alcoholics dementia.

I loved my father.

He is dead and my mother could have saved him.

Complicated grief does not begin to describe what I am feeling as I approach

January 10th, 2012.

Complicated Grief does not even come close.

I have said it before and I will say again:

If you wonder, “Do I drink too much?”

The answer is probably yes.


Quit while you still can.

Do it for you. Do it for your family.

Just Fucking do it.


~ by Step On a Crack on January 5, 2012.

17 Responses to “The List of Complications is a Long One”

  1. Your heart is so big. Every word you write is heart felt too. Thank you for sharing it with us.


  2. Thank you for your vivid and desperately accurate plea that we face the facts or face the grief!

    This is a unique calling. Your response is clear and moving like no other I’ve read. This alcoholic thanks you for spreading the word of truth!

    I’m moved by your grief and sorry that your pain makes you a living testimony to the choices.

    PS: The link works!


  3. working….both the blog and you……


  4. I don’t know if I could do what you are doing. I don’t know if I could start this journey of stark truth, much less finish it. My father was an alcoholic,…a silly, affable drunk, who rarely drank at home, maintained a job, fathered his kids,…mainly because he quit drinking nearly 40 years before he died.

    He created his debris trail early on, but we had less time to be wounded by it, more time to know him sober, and so my anger and hurt had time to fade over the years since childhood and adolescence. He spent the second half of his life making it up to us, being present, and giving us reason and opportunity to forgive and rebuild. In fact, my adult children are caught off guard by any description of his active alcoholic days, traffic tickets, accidents, jail, etc. That is totally foreign to what they know and experienced of the grandad.

    I don’t know if I could do what you are doing, and I admire that you are telling your story, allowing us to be your audience, your witnesses, and hopefully your support.


  5. It took awhile, but the nightmares have subsided for me. I believe they will for you too. I still cannot talk about the details of my moms death, but I am still a work in progress. I too drank more than necessary, but I have since stopped, the cycle had to end somewhere. I am such a fan of your writing. Hang in there


    • Oh Hope! You have kept me going. Knowing that you have been There, Done That helps beyond measure AND I wish I could erase it for you.
      I will wait for the nightmares to pass…. I wrote about the death as it was happening. I am considering posting in hopes of banishing this YUCKINESS. I will see. Will you be OK if I post it? I do not want to bring up anything that causes pain. Perhaps I will be sure the title is CLEAR as a bell to you. I am a fan of yours my friend. Huzzah for breaking the cycle. That banishes all manner of pain.

      XXX Jen


  6. Alcoholism is a selfish addiction, if you don’t care about yourself at least care about your loved ones. A cousin of mine was an alcoholic.
    Stay strong!!!


  7. Jen. Really? If you wonder, then the answer is yes? Is that universal?
    What if you “wonder” about someone else’s drinking? How can we know? Or is the terror of it that we cannot know?


    • Hello! Good question Kathy.
      In my experience, the drinkers I have known and do know who are casual moderate drinkers are usually anything but. I will , one day,post the threshold of drinks a person can consume in a week over a 5year span for brain damage to take a firm hold. It is much lower than the alcohol lobbies would have us think. We have parties often at our home and I am consistently amazed at the number of ‘professionals’ we know: people who drink like fish and appear totally sober. My husband and I have a keen eye for this sort of drinking given our childhoods. It is mind boggling and then I am surprised that I am surprised.

      You, once again, have inspired a post! I need to clarify what I mean by this.

      Thank you Ma’am!

      XXX. Jen


  8. Thanks for worrying about me Jen, but I would like to read what you write. I actually think it might help me heal. I may be ready to write about my mom at some point, just not yet. I started counseling to help with my nightmares. It took several months, but eventually I told her about my mother’s death. Talking about it helped. The nightmares have ended. You will know when the time is right for you to share the details and it will help you heal. Hugs


  9. The truth WILL set us free if we don’t run from it. You’re running in the right direction, it seems.


  10. Dear Jen – Nightmares, no wonder. The daytime kind: the self-indulgence and neglect of your mother; the anger at her failure to save your father (or you); the loss of your beloved father; and in the last, the tormented brain that had long ago lost it’s battle with alcohol. You lived the nightmare.
    Now you go to bed and close your eyes and try to find peace. You dream and the nightmares rise up again.
    Yes, grief is very complicated. I would imagine that pouring out your pain and anger on the page is both cathartic and a summons to the demons.
    You aren’t hiding it, or hiding from it – probably the most direct path toward healing, but it certainly always keeps it in full view.
    And yes, for what it’s worth, I agree. If someone is wondering if they drink to much, the answer most likely is yes.
    I am and I will be praying for the healing of your wounded heart and for your peace.


  11. What an importance message, my friend. i hope that many people will have the opportunity to read it and follow it’s simple instruction!


    • Thank you for being here! I hope so too. I think your post was the most powerful I have read. I hope the two together will hit home for someone. The good fight; right!

      weds. Yes sir, Weds.

      Peace, Jen


  12. […] died of Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome. Jen writes a beautifully honest blog about the far reaching ramifications of alcoholism. You’ll find her at step on a crack … or break your mother’s back under the 5 […]


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