Alcohol Destroys Lives

by Shiela Gibbs

To explain the years preceding our health deterioration, we both had been married twice previously, to individuals that we were not suited for. As most people do nowadays, we drank to relax and calm our nerves. And while that is a poor excuse, unfortunately, very true for many. Never had we heard, read, or even been told, by anyone, of possible derogatory health effects from alcohol, so it all came as a real shocker.

Myself and my late husband were born to mothers who drank. We picked up the nasty little drinking habit quite well, in our late teens, when first employed. Being the youngest and newest recruit, you want to fit in and be accepted, especially when you are hoping for a career in that field. Many lunch and after work drinks became a ongoing way of life. Both of us were well educated and extremely hard working, therefore rose quickly in the professions we loved. This all came to a devastating halt in our mid 40's. It is called 'Grand-Mal Seizures' somewhat related to 'Epilepsy'.

There are no known cures! Prescription drugs are the only help, along with complete alcohol abstinence, permanently. The current medications have pages and pages of horrific side effects, and hit each patient different times, different ways. You must stay on these pills for the rest of your life though and they are expensive. I have a distant relative, whose baby girl was born with the exact same problem. So it's not really epilepsy, but almost another form of it. While this tiny little girl's parents have never consumed alcohol, suspicions are that her dad's biological parents did. But being adopted, leaves the question unanswered.

When it first hit, our drivers license's were suspended, in addition to us both having to quit our employment, which is very horrible, when you have worked your entire life in a profession you loved, and are extremely well known and respected in the industry. Not to mention the fact that you've been accustomed to a certain level of income, which is now basically, vanished into thin air! Your license to drive may be returned after 6 months, without an attack, however it is like having a wretched poisonous snake, dwelling permanently inside of you forever! The medication professes to hold it down, so to speak and yes it does, however, it is always on your mind especially when your license to drive is returned and makes travelling costs, to an unbelievable number of doctors/specialists/surgeons and blood tests, slightly more affordable.

There is a little journal book always here in our home, where it is noted, time and day medication is taken, in dreaded fear of missing, then being served notice basically, by the python dwelling inside. He is very aware when he hasn't received breakfast or supper, call it 'tranquilizing medication'. Consequently, you may or may not be served his wrath! I trust you get the picture. I never ever leave the house, without checking this precious little diary, always sitting in clear plain view, as having a seizure while driving could cause a horrendous dreadful outcome! This is not drunk drivingso to speak, but the aftermath of drinking for years and years, not to mention the continual worry of it causing a fall, sometimes splitting your skull open (happened twice.)! A year before my spouse passed away, he had a seizure while negotiating 2 steps, flew over 20 ft., breaking his hip, resulting in surgery, then a year long recovery process. This is for someone who at 6 ft 4" tall, in excellent physical condition. Previously he had broken his arm and ankle from the same cause! And all because of the almighty drink!

I am attempting to bring this to as many organizations attention, as possible, as well as our Governments, Federal and Provincial. Hoping that along with AA, ALANON, MADD it will result in mandatory warning labels on all liquor containers, and an increase in purchase prices! Cigarette manufacturers have been forced to do the same, and I don't remember having ever heard of a deadly traffic accident or a bone breaking fall, from smoking!

This sort of affliction, does make life difficult. Causing again, a great deal of stress, as suddenly everything you've known and been accustomed to, is uprooted and basically gone! My lovely husband passed away, a year ago last April, from a perforated ulcer, and his reluctance to go into the hospital immediately, as he didn't want me to be on my own, I suspect, in case of an attack! Well, my sweets, I'm kinda on my own now!

Thankyou for spending valued time, reading our story. I trust you will pass this on to others. I have replied to by some, they absolutely convinced, seizures are only caused from alcohol withdrawal! Well, not so, not so at all! I'm no Physician, but have confirmed this with professionals, and it is only from continued drinking! And having this wretched, horrible health defect, is like wondering if the unwanted Tenant inside, is dead? alive? pissed off with you? bored, or maybe, just MAYBE, peacefully content, for now!

Sheila Joyce Gibbs, sjgibbs@noospam.shaw.ca Victoria, B.C.

PS: Imagine of ALL the Beer Cans in the world, had this message largely displayed:

WARNING: Any/all Alcohol, contains the power to cause , possible but severe epileptic seizures, for life!

Think that would do it? I'm pretty sure it could have changed our habits fast!

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