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My mom is finally losing weight, but it’s taken until end-stage Alzheimer’s to get there.

Two months ago, Mom qualified for hospice due to the significant amount of weight she lost over the summer months. She weighs around 170 pounds now, which if she was healthy, she’d be tickled pink to know.

Her Alzheimer’s has essentially pulled apart every bit of her, beginning with her language skills. Then it chipped away at her ability to make a decision. How to get in and out of a car. How to feed herself. When to use the bathroom. She lost her favorite…

Writer Lonna Whiting’s mother, Beth, at a local brewery in 2015 when she became incontinent due to early-onset Alzheimer’s.

Dementia Notes
Spring 2015

Mom and Kevin have a standing date every Saturday morning to watch whatever British Premier League teams are playing that day and I make brunch. Usually, this means Kevin gets up a little early and picks up Mom from Ecumen. Then they go grab a mocha at Moxie Java, where staff know her order by heart, which is super sweet but also ironic because they have no idea she’s midstage Alzheimer’s. Sometimes I kind of get a kick out of trying to see if she’ll pass as normal. Is that cruel?

I usually make an egg…

For at least a year into my life as an ex-drinker, I began to hate lot of things I used to love.

While I spent a lot of my energy trying to find ways sobriety would work best for me (meditation, yoga, reading, naps, puzzles, alone time), at the same time I started to avoid some of the activities I used to love when I was a drinker, like cooking, socializing, and going to spin class.

I couldn’t pinpoint why, exactly, I got so pissed off while chopping garlic for marinara, when at one time I found it a sensory…

Me and my mom during a Skype call on Mother’s Day 2020 when the coronavirus pandemic lockdown prevented us from being together. My mom’s diagnosis of early-onset Alzheimer’s in 2013 was a significant life trauma that pushed me into the category of “problem drinker.” By the time I stopped drinking in August 2018, I was consuming almost two bottles of wine a night.

Today marks 800 days of my life without alcohol in it.

Those who have never had the honor of placing booze front and center in their lives might not understand what a milestone 800 days alcohol-free means.

Those of you — like me — who’ve had a love-hate obsession with alcohol (can count the days you DIDN’T drink in the past month on one hand; “how to tell if alcoholic” appears in your search history), 800 days is significant.

Eight hundred days also means that ample time has passed for you to understand why you drink in the first place…

Top left: Me and my best friend sampling pink bubbly during a trip to Frankfurt, Germany, in 2016. Top center: Me drinking alone at a favorite wine and cheese shop. Top right: Me leaving for work in the morning after two bottles of wine the night before. Bottom left: 6 months sober. Bottom center: 12 months sober. Bottom right: 1.5 years sober.

Today, I celebrate two full years without allowing a single drop of wine or other alcohol touch my lips.

Considering at one point it was very easy for me to drink a bottle — sometimes two — in a single night (every night), I’d say this is an accomplishment worthy of some reflection and celebration.

Year One

Last November, I took some time on this platform to explain my views on why I would never label myself an alcoholic and why I don’t believe there is such a thing as alcoholism. Almost 10K people have read that post, and thanks to all of you who went out of your way to comment on your own struggles with alcohol use.

It seems like everywhere we turn these days, there’s a “sober challenge” on social media or a new “quit lit” book that hits bookstores.

Sobriety is trending.

This is not why I quit alcohol for good in 2018. I quit because I was drinking almost two bottles of wine a night (yes, two bottles of wine). I quit because alcohol was hurting my career, my relationship and my health.

I quit to save myself and my soul, and to prove that you don’t need to label yourself a diseased alcoholic if you don’t want to. By AA standards (a program…

In the past year, I quit drinking, turned 40, got fired and started my own business.


My unhealthy relationship with wine started in my mid-20s and escalated when my mom got sick with Alzheimer’s in 2013.

I. Loved. Drinking.

Whether it was good news, bad news or no news, I found an excuse for happy hours nearly every night of the week. It became a ritual to meet friends after five for a few glasses of pinot and an appetizer. …

Lonna Whiting

Lonna Whiting is a freelance writer and editor. She is currently working on a book about Alzheimer’s and dementia.

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