It is not an easy journey, it is a rough road to travel! It seems that you become just as addicted as he/she may be but your addicted to them not a substance. What I mean by that is the addiction pulls you in too. It slowly starts to take over your emotions, your behaviors, your life! Somehow you think you can save them and that becomes your quest! You may say to yourself but I don’t drink, I don’t take drugs, that doesn’t seem to matter here because this evil presence called “addiction” takes the whole family down with it and you don’t even realize it until your so far in your just as sick as they are.
All to often you think your doing the right thing by going to the bars with them, buying them their alcohol, trying not to rock the boat at home because you know how angry “you make them”, try not to bitch to much about how much they are drinking, ETC. Truth of the matter is that they are going to drink with or without you. The blame will always fall on you no matter how much you try and cater to their needs because an alcoholic doesn’t want to take any accountability or responsibility for behaving badly. If you miss family functions, if bills are late, if your marriage is a mess in their eyes no matter how much you “debate” your side they see it as your fault!
Please hear me when I say it isn’t your fault! We all have our own faults don’t we? What you are not responsible for is their behaviors, their actions, and no matter how much you argue with someone, no matter how messy the house is, how late dinner was, it is NEVER YOUR FAULT that they drink or use, PERIOD! Those are their “excuses” to behave badly and blame you for it! How many times have you questioned yourself wondering “if I didn’t get so upset with him/her” “if the kids weren’t so loud”, and so on, it is all crap, it is their alcoholic behavior and you can’t reason with the devil! You didn’t pour the alcohol down their throats. You were involved in the same disagreement that they were in why is it that you don’t ingest an entire bottle of booze or a case of beer? Because, You are not an alcoholic but you may be the spouse of one so you become collateral damage in their disease.
You then become so thankful if they are lucky enough to reach recovery and finally get the help they so desperately need. However somewhere along the line in sobriety you may find yourself saying “why are things not better or sometimes they are even worse than when they were drinking”. I found that you can be sober but not really living a truly sober life, UMMMM excuse me, what? You can be a “dry drunk” which means you remove the alcohol but make no emotional, or spiritual changes. Basically they behave the way they did when they drank but they aren’t drinking so now you may be convinced that it was your fault. Or they try doing their own program of sobriety and it just doesn’t work they can’t do it alone. The answer is still IT IS NOT YOUR FAULT! See AA & Al-Anon are wonderful programs that have steps and teach you how you can live a healthy productive life.
The reason these programs really work is because it teaches morals & values of life. It guides you to admit that you are powerless over alcohol, it helps you to find a higher power no matter what that may look like to you, (not everyone has a GOD that looks the same) and it doesn’t have to be GOD per say just believing in something greater than you. Which let’s face it alcoholics have a serious ego & can be very selfish people, that is a fact not a belittling comment. (Ask any alcoholic they will tell you the same thing) The programs teach you how to help others, how to be of service, how to listen, how to handle life on life’s terms without any substances to numb you along the way. They teach you how to be accountable for your own moral inventory of wrong doings, and how to make amends for even the worst things. You don’t need to be an alcoholic to realize that implementing this way of living and treating others and yourself is a healthy way to be!
I have had the privilege to watch the transformation of my husband’s out of control drinking life full of abandonment, lies, abuse, & neglect, to one that is humbling, honest, loving, funny, patient, giving. When you can separate the disease from the person you see things from an entirely different perspective. I knew my husband wasn’t the terrible person he behaved like, I knew it was the “ISM”. He can still fall into old behaviors at times, like not being patient, getting angry, or how he handles life’s struggles at times. However, that is life for any of us. AA is a program of miracles and we are so blessed to be one of them. I never gave up on my husband, I held onto the faith, hope, and love that one day he would find his way. When he does have a bad day he can refer to all the tools he has learned in his program and put them to use right away in his life. That doesn’t mean that problems magically disappear but they are now manageable. This has to be a daily process that he practices, if he strays to far from it life starts to become unmanageable again.
He gets to live life and feel every part of life where as before he was walking through it numb and felt not much of anything. The spouses are often left behind again in sobriety. The alcoholic spends just as much time at meetings as they did when they were out drinking so once again you feel the abandonment and loneliness but now you feel selfish because you know they have to put their sobriety first. For my husband he made me a part of his recovery and asked me to go to meetings with him. So now for us every weekend we go to meetings together and he also goes to a few during the week on his own. Being a part of his recovery, sharing in our journey, sharing the new friends in AA, listening to everyone else’s story and being able to relate together has helped us to create a stronger bond with one another.
My husband says “I wouldn’t want to do it without you” & as his wife I need to hear how much I am loved, how much I am needed, as the spouses we need to have amends made to us more than once, we need you to prove yourself everyday to be trustworthy, we need you to recognize when you are treating us poorly, we need a lot of attention & affection, we need to feel safe, because we are “the forgotten spouses of alcoholism” and all to often it is also forgotten that we too have suffered a great deal and some more than the alcoholic themselves. We are also in recovery and healing! In your sobriety don’t leave your spouse behind.
My husband & I are lucky to say that through the darkness we found the light. We are best friends, we are husband & wife, we are what never giving up looks like, we are true love unconditionally in every sense of the word and we wish that for each and everyone of you. It is never too late to say what you mean and mean what you say. We know many don’t usually make it together, the damage is far too deep. But on another note we want you all to know that rebuilding a life full of trust, love, & forgiveness together is not out of reach when alcoholism has affected your life, it is possible to have the life that you always dreamed of with one another and my husband and I are living proof of that! I am so proud of my husband!!
Wishing you Peace & Serenity Always……….Harmony