Alcoholism is a disease however as with any addiction there are deep emotions that must be addressed in order to achieve true sobriety. Some people believe that if you quit drinking your problems are over but that could not be further from the truth. I have seen my husband go thru the “dry” stages several times and I can honestly say the only difference is there was no alcohol being ingested but his behaviors were still the same. In order to live a truly sober life you must be willing to follow a program like AA because it is like a manual for life and guides you to the right path and it is your choice if you choose to take it.
Alcoholism has a deep emotional impact on the alcoholic however it also has just as deep of an impact on the spouses & families. Look at it this way……..when you have someone that has lied, abandoned, manipulated, & hurt you repeatedly for many, many years it isn’t as simple as putting down the bottle and saying “okay everything is great now”! It just doesn’t work that way, it is a long hard emotional road to get thru all the wreckage that is in your path. What happens after an earthquake? Sometimes it takes years to rebuild what was destroyed and sometimes unfortunately there is no way to repair it. Sometimes people have to salvage what they can and move on.
Alcoholism may be a very selfish disease but it rarely affects just one person. My own personal experience with the deep emotional damage that was done is far greater than anyone could ever imagine. The aftermath are the triggers that haunt you. If you are lucky enough to have your spouse still with you then you already know that being sober is simply not enough. When you make your amends it is usually the first opportunity that you have had without your drinking goggles on to really see all the damage you created and it is heartbreaking for you. Alcohol numbs you to the realities that were occurring while you were drinking and now to feel all the years of pain it is sometimes too much for one person to bare, you have to keep going back to it one step at a time.
My husband is two and a half years sober and I wouldn’t be honest with you all if I said that the emotional damage still doesn’t haunt me at times but it is no longer a daily issue. I couldn’t tell you that all my triggers are gone because they are not. When you spend years being emotionally abused in every aspect being lied too, cheated on, abandoned, manipulated, blamed, belittled you are bound to have some trust issues. I can also say that you do heal more every single day. Some days it may not seem that way but this is what I have learned in my experiences being the spouse of an alcoholic. Surrender & Forgiveness for yourself is key. Like the Serenity prayer says “accept the things I cannot change” you won’t change what happened but you can change what happens from here on out. You have the ability to use your pain and turn it into the lesson life is teaching you! It can a very humbling experience.
I have heard it said that life will keep throwing the same situation or problem your way until you learn what you are suppose to from it. That is the God’s honest truth! When I finally stopped hiding from it all that is when I was able to accept it. All those emotions come at you like a freight train but believe that you are strong enough even in your weakest moments to get thru it all! Nobody can fix it for you but you also don’t have to do it alone. I would have never thought looking back almost two years ago that I could be as strong as I am today. I went from being a defeated deeply hurt woman contemplating taking a handful of pills to stop that pain to being a voice for those who still suffer! I put myself out there to be an example for other spouses, families, and alcoholics to see that your not alone and you have no reason to feel ashamed!
My story, your story can help many others who feel that they have no where to turn and sometimes just knowing someone understands is all you need to gain the strength to take that step forward. Helping someone else when you are hurting is probably one of the greatest things you can do for yourself and for another individual, you may save their life and not even know it. I still have bad days but it is just that a bad day not a bad life! When that happens my husband and I get to communicate about it and talk honestly and the anxiety or fear of that trigger slowly fades away. Allowing yourself to heal is a great gift to yourself. I remind myself that I am a very strong woman I am kind, loving, giving, & accepting, but I have to choose everyday to not allow toxic people into my life and that includes anyone even family.
There will come a time in your life where you will have to risk it all for the ones you love (including yourself), you will have to change your life around, you have to sacrifice everything in order to achieve everything! Life is about giving and loving, helping others, going the extra mile to make your spouse feel safe, prove every day that you are a person that can be trusted. Today I am happier than I have ever been, my husband is the absolute love of my life & my best friend! Today I stand tall and proud side by side with my husband and I am not ashamed to say he is an alcoholic and this is our story how we made it out the other side of alcoholism together!
Wishing you Peace & Serenity…………….Harmony