Dark Wine Waters: BOOK REVIEW
Recently, we published an interview with Fran Simone, a recently retired Professor Emeritus from the graduate college of Marshall University in South Charleston, West Virginia. A couple of days later, a signed copy of her book came into our mail.
In this article, we take you on a journey through the “Dark Wine Waters”- a memoir written about alcoholism and its denial. The story outlines the dynamics of codependency as it was experienced first-hand by the author. It makes you realize that sometimes, love is not enough against the complex disease of alcohol addiction. And that you cannot help your husband stop drinking before you quit enabling behavior.
Here, we review this beautifully written, inspirational and honest page-turner. We recommend this book for your reading, especially if your husband drinks too much (AND explain why). Finally, we invite you to share your thoughts and questions in the comments section below.
To be honest, straightaway when I picked up this book, I was reminded of Leo Tolstoy’s beginning of Anna Karenina, which quotes: “All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way”.
Fran’s and Terry’s story begins happy. They meet and they connect immediately. Soon they are a couple and their relationship is romantic and strong. But, you can sense there will be ups and downs; Simone gives you a hint at the very beginning by saying “I live in currents”. It is hard and confusing situation, as it can be for many others who find themselves in a codependent relationship. Terry is a loving, kind and supportive husband, a good father…yet he’s a drinker.
The progress of alcoholism
The book evolves over four major periods, as they all describe the four stages of Terry’s alcoholism and how it progresses through the years of their marriage. Simone talks a lot about “denial”, referring to it as the “the hub of the alcoholic wheel” and saying that “it drives every spoke of the disease”. Below, we offer an insight into the stages of development of Terry’s alcoholism:
STAGE 1: The alcoholic forms a relationship with the substance of choice. Close family and friends observe some changes in personality and behavior, but they don’t know how to react and wouldn’t want to cause a conflict for nothing. In that moment, denial is born.
STAGE 2: As the alcoholism intensifies, the alcoholic loses interest in once enjoyable activities. Along with the increased use, denial grows more. Even though the conflicts are more and more frequent, they might be overlooked. Staying with an alcoholic husband becomes more deeply programmed.
STAGE 3: When the alcoholic’s body develops tolerance, the use of the substance increases gradually. Whenever the doses are lowered or ceased, withdrawal symptoms take place. Cravings, anxiety, irritability can be observed, along with some underlying health problems. The alcoholic displays introvert behavior and isolates form family, friends and loved ones.
STAGE 4: But, there is hope. The book ends with Simone’s recovery in a 12-step family program and the way she heals and reflects on the sailing through calm waters, waving seas and tsunamis. She advises that in order to restore our lives after a terrible loss, we need to surrender, let go and to acknowledge that we are powerless to control some aspects of life.
What are the “take home lessons” for families?
1. Times and situations like these require your attention and awareness. Don’t fall in denial, because usually, where there is smoke-there is fire.
2. Codependent relationships can be helped with counseling and educational sessions. Codependency is not good for the alcoholic, nor for their loved ones.
3. Setting boundaries, giving the “hard” love and taking care of yourself DOESN’T mean that you don’t love your partner.
Why do we recommend it?
While “each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way”, for people out there who are in the same situation, a story like this can be very helpful. Codependent partners usually aren’t even aware of their codependency. “Dark Wine Waters: My Husband of A Thousand Joys and Sorrows” can help readers find out if they are in a codependent relationship, give them hope by showing that they are not alone, and provide them with the needed strength to take action.
How is it written?
It’s intimate, honest, kindly-spoken and hopeful. The narrative is reinforced with excerpts from her personal journal, as well as with direct quotes of her therapist. It pictures the typical codependent partner (the author), her husband, and his attempts for treatment and recovery, always followed by a relapse, his subsequent suicide and Simone’s process of recovery.
Alcoholics are not the only ones dealing with alcoholism
If you are researching the nature of codependent relationships, trying to understand what’s it like or you are looking for support, you can check this book out. If you have read it, please share your thoughts with us in the section below. If you have any questions about the book, codependency, and it’s treatment, you are welcome to ask us. We try to answer all legitimate inquiries with a personal and prompt response.