Radio silence

30 01 2015

The next few weeks were bliss knowing that Mort was a long, long, long way from us. Those clenched up chunks inside my brain and my heart that were in perpetual fearful anxiety of the notion of him turning up at the girls school, or randomly bumping into him in the city (me in my killer heels on my way to a meeting….him being the drunk in the gutter), or him actually showing up to my new workplace (my role being in part that of networking I would have turned up easily in .34 seconds on a Google search)….could relax…. just that little bit.

There was also a bubble of relief knowing that my parents wouldn’t be harassed by the incessant sounds of the phone heralding a barrage of slurring, ranting, swearing and blaming.

There was for that month only one phone call from him. Given that he was in rehab and without access to alcohol, at least the call was devoid of the slurring, it also featured a lesser degree of the ranting and swearing….but he doubled up on the load of blame. As usual there wasn’t even a modicum of responsibility but it was clearly pointed out that I was a cold-hearted selfish bitch for not being supportive ….”all the other guests have their partners who visit and bring them muffins, and stuff, why don’t you do that Ripley…what have I done to you for you to neglect me”. And yes, that is a quote. I wrote it down at the time to conserve conciseness. I particularly love the term ‘guests’ as though he had been invited to an exclusive soirée.

During that time I got a phone call from Bob, his best friend since the 5th grade. He reported that the conversation with Mort consisted of Mort spending the greater portion of the time recounting peccadilloes of their primary school teachers and the other part whining about the food selection at the Rehab facility. (somehow at $60k a month I doubt they were eating beans on toast). Bob noted that there was not a single mention or acknowledgement of the fact that his life had fallen apart due to his alcoholism and his decisions. Bob kept saying, over and over, “I have no idea who this guy is”.

Bob confided that he thought Mort had melted a part of his brain. He thought that the absence of alcohol would return Mort to a lucid state, but it clearly didn’t, Mort was living a delusional reality.

I am sure this was his mental self-image: photo credit:

I am sure this was his mental self image: photo credit:

this is what was really going on: photo credit:

this is what was really going on: photo credit:


Leaving on a jet plane……everyone hoping won’t be back again!

12 01 2015

On the 14 April there was relief. Relief arrived in the guise of Mort’s brother from the USA who had flown over to pick up the dregs of what used to be his brother. He was on instruction to get Mort and take him back to where his dad had admitted him into a rehab centre for $60,000 a month. My relief was not that Mort might be ‘fixed’, the relief was that he would not be around.

My dad was in touch with Mort’s brother and was assisting with whatever he needed to get Mort the fuck out of Dodge. It was very touch and go with the hospital as the doctors would not sign the documentation that said he was ok for travel. He had an enlarged pancreas, low platelet count, 2 black eyes, fractured skull and his foot still in a cast. It was up to his brother to sign the waiver excusing the hospital for any liability.

His brother was in town for less than 24 hours, how on earth he managed to get that train wreck on a plane is amazing. I am sure that Mort actually did look as though he had been a victim of some sort of transport accident, though the fumes seeping from his pores would have betrayed that summation. I am also sure that given that there is free alcohol on the international flight that even years later, there are one or two air stewardesses that begin stories with, “Oh my god, I had this one horror flight, there was this guy….”

Tis the season to be jolly…

16 01 2013

It was the two weeks leading up to Christmas 2010.  I hoped that with my parents knowing the truth, it would rattle his world and he would come to terms with his demons, stop being a self-absorbed dickhead.  There were more ‘counselling sessions’ with my dad and in that time and I saw glimpses of Mort pre-2010, when he has participative and engaged. 

Remembering that Mort had till now skated through because he was a high functioning alcoholic, it wasn’t his change in manner that friends started to comment on, but it was his appearance.  His excema was clearing up and some weight was melting off.  Friends were commenting that he was looking healthy (mind you this is compared to how he was looking before which was decidedly toxic).  I tried to use these remarks as one way to encourage him to continue on his sober path.

I was supportive but nervous as I was still trying to reconcile and figure out all the bizarre crap that had happened in the preceeding weeks.  What heightened my nerves was the fact that after about a week of sobriety he started saying, “I’ve been so good, can’t I just have one drink.”  He started trying to bargain what kind of alcohol, “I won’t have a vodka or anything, just a glass or two of wine or beer…..come on, it’s Christmas”. 

The hairs on the back of my neck started to prickle and I went to bed grinding my teeth.


Shakes and tremors

15 09 2012

At the end of 2009, we took the girls and flew to stay for 4 days with an old school friend of mine, her husband and baby.  Spent some time during the days to go off and do our own touristy things with Clare & Maddie.  At night we would do a bbq and catch up over a couple bottles of wine.

Towards the end of the 4 days, Clare asked Mort to open a new toy for her, I watched with astonishment as he took the package and his hands were shaking so violently that he couldn’t open it.   I immediately thought of the DT’s….I didn’t know exactly what that meant but knew that it was referred to with alcoholics going through withdrawal.  I realised that staying with friends he really hadn’t had a moment to himself and they did not keep a stock-pile of alcohol on hand, we would just buy the wine each night as we drank it.

I cornered him and asked “just exactly how much the f*ck are you drinking at home?’ (sorry first blog swearing …….and not the last)

His answer was probably too much and that this was a wake-up call to him to cut-back.  Well it was a wake-up call to me as well because from what we drank together, I wouldn’t have put it in the ‘too much’ category, which meant that there was stuff going on behind my back.

After we got home he went and saw his doctor and reported that yes, his doctor confirmed he was drinking too much.  So define too much I pushed, knowing that the medical speak was no more than 2-3 glasses a night, with roughly three AFD (alcohol-free days).  Some answer came out, but I sniffed the thinnest whisper of deceit, and so I watched him like a hawk for the next few weeks….when I was awake that is.