Tag Archives: addiction

Why does everyone always think it’s the Non-alcoholics fault for the alcoholics problems?

The answer to that question is because to the alcoholic it is NEVER their fault!  They always put the blame and throw the other person under the bus.  They don’t consider the consequences for that person because they are only thinking about themselves.  Alcoholics are known for being destructive liars, thieves, cheaters, selfish egotistical asses.  Yes, I said it!  I am the wife of a now recovering alcoholic but I lived in the middle of my husbands drinking for 13 1/2 years and it truly was a living hell!  The question I seem to get asked the most is “Why/How did you stay”?  Fair question, because at least in my case and probably so many others the alcoholism doesn’t rear it’s ugly head entirely until you are involved in your life with your alcoholic.   Did I know he drank?  Yes I did.   Was he drunk all the time?  No, absolutely NOT!  They can be very charming but they are also very good master manipulators.  Everyone has issues in their relationships, it isn’t so easy to just leave the person you are in Love with, have kids with, have a life with.

It is so easy to judge someone when you are on the outside looking in.  To other people my husband was a hard worker, calm demeanor, very polite man.  People only allow you to see what they want you to see and an alcoholic has many faces.  What you don’t see behind closed doors is the physical abuse, the horrible emotional abuse, the nasty name calling, beating someone down so bad emotionally they feel as though they are a worthless piece of shit and somehow it really must be their fault that YOU can’t seem to kick the habit of your addiction!  The anger from the alcoholic can become so bad that they throw things, punch holes in the wall, and break things in a fit of rage, which usually will send the non-alcoholic spouse hiding in fear as they are not knowing what will happen next.  It is not easy to love an alcoholic.  It is a very heart breaking journey to take and it does forever change you.  It affects everyone involved deeply.

The worst part are the lies told to family and no matter how much the non-alcoholic tries to defend themselves or speak the truth you have already been thrown under the bus.  You have suffered years of people turning their backs on you, and talking terrible about you because they have believed that all along everything is somehow your fault.  I have been there, it damages and destroys relationships for life.  Some you can save if you work on it together and other’s, no matter what, will always believe that you are the fucking devil and somehow you caused all the problems.  They don’t want to hear anything else.  It is terribly painful and sad when all you want is to be loved and accepted by your family.  Sometimes though in spite of your best efforts you will have to walk away from those toxic people who are not willing to hear anything you have to say.  Some things just cannot be repaired. 

All you can really do for yourself is to take care of you and do what is best for yourself.  You can never change an alcoholic, no amount of crying, screaming, begging, threatening will stop them from drinking if they are not ready to stop themselves.  It is a horrible thing to watch the person you love, no matter who it may be kill themselves with each drop of alcohol they ingest.  It is your choice to stay or to go and for me I stayed and fought my way through.  My husband and I are not the norm of what happens though.  A lot of people think that once the person gets sober everything will be just fine…….I am telling you that couldn’t be further from the truth.  Most people don’t make it out the other side together, some times things get much worse in the beginning of sobriety.  The relationships I thought may have a chance to be healed once my husband talked to everyone and explained how much of a liar he was and how he put the focus and blame on me to take it off of himself.  It didn’t matter the damage was already done, the hate towards me already set in.  All I could do for myself is to forgive and move forward without those type of people in our lives.

Being the wife of an alcoholic is not easy.  I will always be the wife of an alcoholic even though he is sober,  he will always carry that demon with him in his mind waiting to pounce on his weakness and lead him to the bottle once again.  That is a relapse.  I pray that never happens for him/us.  We have watched people relapse and it is not easy to see.  We have known people who have died from this horrible disease.  My husband has almost 5 1/2 years sobriety now, it hasn’t come without it’s challenges but he has been blessed that he hasn’t wanted a drink and hasn’t even been tempted.  We have a whole new life and work hard at it.  Our love survived and made it through and we were able to rebuild our marriage and create a whole new amazingly wonderful life for ourselves.  Life always happens though.  We have lost very loved dear people to us.  We will have disagreements.  Finances can be a challenge, Etc.  as long as he has the tools and uses them and doesn’t allow himself to go back to that dark place where he was essentially a prisoner of his own mind then he will be OK.

We are all human.  We make mistakes, some far worse than others.  Life can be hard, happy, sad, joyful, rewarding, disappointing.  We have to do the best we can for ourselves and for our family.  We can forgive some terrible things and go on and still love and be loveable.  It is important to learn the lessons along the way on your journey.  If we don’t communicate then we are voiceless in our own lives and the lives of others.  Learn to be self-less, think of others, do for others, help others.  You have a choice to make in your life…….to allow the addiction control you or you control the addiction.  There is help everywhere, you just have to be strong enough for one moment to say “I NEED HELP” there will be hands reaching and arms to catch you when you fall.  Trust the process and believe that we all deserve to have miracles happen in our lives.  When you live right and do right and cause no harm to others or yourself, that is when the miracles happen.  Always be grateful for what you have in every moment because until you are there is never any room for more, and at any moment it can all be taken away from you.  As long as you strive to be better than you were the day before and be the best version of yourself that you can be and don’t cause harm to others, that is all any of us can hope to do.  Maybe just maybe with more kindness, humanity actually has a chance of changing the world.

Wishing you peace & Serenity, Harmony

                                                                                       

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HEALING FROM THE PAST AND MOVING FORWARD IS NOT EASY TO DO BUT AN IMPORTANT PART OF LIFE!

This quote is very powerful to me.  Forgiving people doesn’t mean it will erase the pain and memory of what happened (although that would be nice) but it does allow us to work through it to heal and create a different outcome, rather than holding onto the resentment and anger of what was.  We have all been through heartache.  I had a very hard time getting over a lot of things from my past.  I know some of these memories run much deeper and are more painful than others.  Like forgiving my husband for being unfaithful, that is a memory that still to this day can trigger me and cause insecure feelings.  That doesn’t mean I haven’t forgiven him, it is a painful memory that I can’t delete and one that I got to learn and grow from.  Until I surrendered and handed all my pain over to the Universe, God, or whatever higher power you may believe in, nothing changed for me, I was stuck in my own pain, my own emotional prison.  Once I made the choice the relief was literally instant, it was one of the most amazing miracles I have ever felt in my life!  Forgiveness for something that I would never be able to control or totally understand meant that surrendering was the only healthy option I saw that gave my husband and I the second chance to rebuild our marriage and create a whole new life for ourselves.  Which also allowed me to heal from.

People hurt us everyday, both intentionally and unintentionally.  People judge you when they don’t even know you, they listen to lies and gossip rather than talk to the person in question, and have actual conversation and then decide for themselves.  I have found that if I can’t work through and somehow give forgiveness for myself, or if I can’t give it to someone else then I get stuck.  Stuck in my head and my emotions that constantly spin out of control.  The pain repeats itself over and over and over and over…….(you see where I am going with this) it doesn’t change what happened, you just keep reliving it until you can accept it and move forward.  I really don’t like the saying “Let it go” sometimes there are things we can’t seem to let go, no matter how hard we try,  so I choose to say “Move forward” instead.  See, the memory may still be with me but I have been able to take steps forward to  heal from whatever hurt me in the first place.

I learned a long time ago that if we don’t work through something whether with the person who hurt you, with yourself, or a therapist, you MUST communicate about it.  I have family members right now in the middle of a really painful situation that happened years ago.  It wasn’t talked about it was swept under the carpet only to rear it’s ugly head years later, and it is back with a vengeance!  There is a lot more damage this time and relationships are forever changed because of it.  I am not saying that you can heal everything with people because that doesn’t always happen.  Some things are beyond repair and you have to learn to walk away or love them from a distance.  Some people won’t do anything to get healthy emotionally and won’t do anything to try and heal or move forward, they stay stuck for years and this is how they live.  That is the saddest thing I have seen, someone in pain everyday for life because they refuse to talk or get help.  No matter what though, for yourself, you have to find a way to work through your feeling’s and emotions.   Otherwise it consumes you and causes you to be sick.

Talk to whoever you trust, work through it with them.  When you write out your feelings sometimes you don’t realize just how angry, or hurt you are, but when you write things out or talk them out you will also discover your part in it, things you have been unable to see………Yes, I said YOUR PART!  Look, it is so easy to blame other people who obviously do things that hurt us but we have a part in it.  Not meaning what they did is your fault, but maybe how you handled it, things you said, did or didn’t do.  When you are willing to see something with eyes wide open and you are honest with yourself you will be able to say “I shouldn’t have said or done that”, again it doesn’t mean it is your fault.  We are all responsible for our own behaviors.  Nobody MAKES you hit them, nobody MAKES you call them names, nobody MAKES you sabotage someone’s character.  Meaning you have a choice in the moment as to how YOU will react.  My husband when he was actively drinking use to always say  “this is your fault, if you didn’t make me so mad I wouldn’t have drank so much and called you those nasty names and busted up things in the house” He had a CHOICE and he chose to blame me, so he wouldn’t be held accountable for his own actions which is typical with addictions.  Words once spoken can’t ever be taken back, no matter how sorry you are, the way they can pierce one’s soul, the damage is done. 

So, when you are in an argument or before you jump to say hurtful things back to someone remember;  we are all responsible for ourselves.  We are accountable for the way we behave and the things we say.  There is no excuse, period!  It is easy to loose your cool when you are at odds with someone, especially if they are attacking you, but it is only temporary, don’t say something permanent that you will more than likely regret and not be able to take back.  If we can all remember that even in heated discussions or disagreements we can still be respectful of one another.  If you are open enough to actually listen to the other person without just waiting to respond you may be able to understand where they are coming from.  Compassion and empathy are very helpful tools.  As much as we love people, whether it be family, friend, or a partner.  Sometimes they are only meant to be in our lives to teach us a lesson.  Sometimes they are there to help you through a hard time.  Some stay forever.  Some are just acquaintances and others are your person, your best friend.  I have had “friends” walk out of my life after 30 some odd years of friendship.  I can’t tell you it didn’t hurt because it did.  I can’t tell you I understand why people leave your life with no explanation that you thought you could trust, but they do.  I have learned to be grateful for the times they were there for me and for the lessons I learned by what they did.  Grateful that sometimes the Universe cleans out the toxic people in your life for you because we will never do it ourselves.  We all want to be loved, accepted, adored, and not judged, but not everyone will, that is when we have to just move forward, one step at a time, one day at a time, and trust that life is putting us exactly where we need to be and we don’t always understand why, but trust the journey! 

Wishing you Peace & Serenity,  Harmony

 

HOW AN ALCOHOLIC AFFECTS THEIR LOVED ONES!

I have written about this topic before but recently have had many people talking about what happens to the spouse of alcoholics.  It is not an easy path to take.  It can be a very painful one.  I myself can only speak from my own experience and remembering the words that others have shared with me.  Very rarely have I heard of an alcoholic home being free from verbal or physical abuse. I have sat in the rooms of AA with my husband for the past 4 years and I can tell you that all the stories you hear all have similarities, it’s just the situation and people that change.  Alcoholics basically have the same stories.  Verbal/emotional abuse is one of the worst things in my opinion that you can do to a person.  The hurt and scars run so deep they stay with you for a lifetime.  Which end up leaving you with triggers in certain situations that cause you anxiety and heartache all over again.

I wrote my book for this exact reason…….Because I felt so alone like I was the only one going through something like this and being treated this way.  Like I couldn’t figure out what I was doing so wrong to make him be so mean to me!  There are very few books from the spouses of alcoholics talking about life from their perspective so I thought if I shared my story, maybe I could help someone who felt as isolated and worthless as I did.  My husband is now a little over 5 years sober in recovery but the 13 1/2 years of hell while he was drinking is nothing I will ever forget.  As the quote to the left says……they lie, deceive, manipulate and do whatever they need too, so they can continue to drink and they don’t feel guilty because they blame you and they believe their own bullshit and lies!

My husband was so verbally cruel, he knew how to shut me down.  The thing is, it wasn’t just in the moment it is something that stays with us deep inside our soul.  It wasn’t just about being called nasty names, it was more about knowing things that hurt you deep down and using that to stop you dead in your tracks.  Because how do you react when your heart is shattering into a million pieces right inside your chest and you feel like you are dying a slow lonely death?  You can’t speak, fight back, cry, all you can do is crumble to the floor while they step over you (literally) and carry on with their addictions.  Sad but so true.  What I learned from my husband is while we, the sober ones remember every single detail of heartache, they only remember parts of it.  The truth is, he convinced me it was somehow MY FAULT!  He would say things like “if you just stop bitching about my drinking and let me do whatever I WANT we wouldn’t have a problem”.  That really was not the case.  Even if we were getting along he would literally start an argument and rip me apart so he would feel “justified” in his own fucked up mind to leave his wife and kids to go drink.  It didn’t matter that we had kids at home.  It didn’t matter if they were his children, he would leave them and I was responsible for them.  Yet that is another losing battle because you can’t really parent them the way you parent your own child and yet when you do nothing at all your still the bad guy, basically it was always a loose, loose situation for me.  It was very difficult to be a “parent” to children who’s father would disrespect me in front of them.

There were times that my husband would have moments of clarity and realize that his drinking was killing him and hurting us, his family.  He would say “I know I’m an alcoholic and I need to stop drinking, I am hurting myself and my family”.  You get so hopeful and optimistic that they are going to really change and get help.  Days, weeks, even months go by and you see the person you fell in love with only for it to fall apart because they can only do it for so long before alcoholism’s grip becomes so strong and enticing they go back to the bottle once again.  This pattern alone breaks your heart over and over and over again and drives you crazy because you fall for it time and time again, you want to believe so badly that “this time” it’s going to be different.  Selfishness also goes hand in hand with alcoholism and any addiction.  It is a ME way of thinking ALWAYS!  He pulled out our entire 401-K without my knowledge, he bought himself a Harley Davidson motorcycle weeks before our girls graduated high school because HE WANTED ONE.  Not thinking about the girls if they are going to college how he could help.  He would go out all the time to the bars drinking and staying out till late night early morning hours.  He would gamble paychecks and we wouldn’t be able to pay our mortgage or buy food, yet I was the one left to clean up his mess.  He only cared about himself.  It didn’t matter if anyone was home sick, it didn’t matter when I had surgery, when family members went into the hospital, he was no where to be found because drinking was more important to him than his own damn family.  He wasn’t capable of being available emotionally or physically for us.  As the years went by he got worse, the drinking increased, he drove home drunk more times than I can even count both car and motorcycle and the only thing I can feel grateful for is he didn’t kill someone or himself!  I would pray for him to get stopped by a cop and arrested hoping that would be a wake up call for him to get help.  Truth is that until a person is ready to change themselves and get help they will not be able to be strong enough to beat the demons of addiction, they have such control over your mind and you are so entwined in that mental prison you can’t see things for what they really are, they have a false sense of reality and it is a sick one full of lies and deceit.

Worst part is when they tell lies about you for their benefit.  He would lie to his family and throw me under the bus so they would focus and hate me (which they do).  There would be family functions that I knew nothing about and we wouldn’t go but what I didn’t know was he would blame me so that way he could go drinking.  Alcoholics are the most selfish, self-entitled people I have ever met.  They could careless how they make you feel, they will always blame you, somehow it is always someone else’s fault. I was such an enabler for so long, not realizing what I was actually doing.  Making excuses for him, taking care of him when he poisoned himself with alcohol, I would buy his alcohol.  When I stopped doing those things we started fighting more often but I stood my ground.  I would say “you are an alcoholic, you are destroying our family you need help”.  Of course until they themselves reach out for help they won’t stop, it has to be their choice.  The destruction they leave until that day if it ever does come is just awful.

I could talk about this for days, that is why I wrote my book.  This is what I know for sure……if they don’t want help nothing you do will make them seek it until they are truly ready.  It is very easy to loose yourself inside someone else’s addictions.  You see, while you make them a priority you stop taking care of you.  They manipulate so well that you actually believe everything is your fault and you try so hard to not complain and be better, you isolate and become a liar yourself being ashamed of something that isn’t your fault, but it doesn’t matter because please hear me IT IS NOT YOU!  IT IS NEVER YOUR FAULT!  We are not free from any accountability though.  I found that it was so easy to just put all the blame on my husband because after all he is an alcoholic.  However, when I got into counseling and took a real honest look at everything there certainly are things that I am responsible for, but one thing I and no one is ever responsible for is someone else’s addiction.  You made them mad, or upset, you forgot something, you did something, Etc. it is never ever anyone’s fault but the addict themselves.  Addictions whether it be drinking or drugs is truly a disease of the mind.  It is living in a prison inside ones mind and body unable to stop on their own but not yet willing to reach out for real help so they become dry.  What we think is their bottom they don’t see it that way.  What does that mean, it means that they aren’t using but they aren’t living a clean sober life either.  To be in recovery means you are healing your mind and your soul.  You have to do emotional cleaning from the inside out.  Every person I have ever spoken with that has used, is numbing the pain or running from things in life and not facing them.  The problem with that is these things never go away, they will haunt you for the rest of your life until you confront the demons that brought you to the bottle or pill in the first place.  Alcohol, drugs, they just cause even more problems and before long you loose everything and everyone you love and you find yourself alone. 

My husband caused serious emotional damage to our kids and myself, and other family members too.  My husband lied, stole, was unfaithful, was abusive, manipulating, Etc. and until I surrendered myself and let it all go knowing I was leaving my life in the hands of the universe I wasn’t free.  I was living in my own emotional prison and believe me it was pure torture!  I had to forgive my husband for myself for all the horrible things that he said and did because I was the one carrying the heartache and pain of it every day.  I had to stop trying to control his drinking and just let it be.  I stopped fighting about it, I had to let go and it wasn’t until I did that things changed for us.  My husband and I were able to save our marriage by letting go of our old life and begin a new one together.  Although it isn’t as easy as it sounds but my book explains it all.  We are one of the blessed ones.  Many do not stay together, we have seen a lot of divorces happen and break ups.  We went through alcoholism together and made it out the other side in a whole new life.  We worked hard at it and continue to this day to communicate openly and work at our blessed life.  We have had a lot of people walk out of our life and we are OK with that because they are toxic people and we have no place in our lives for that.   

My husband got to a place where he finally realized he was just dry for almost a whole year and needed to really make changes and do some hard emotional work If he was going to live a clean life, he had to get real with himself and others.  My husband tells me that because I didn’t give up on him in our darkest days and chose to show him love and stand by him is what helped him to want a new life for us and not walk away from our marriage. It is a hard life to be with an alcoholic.  I honestly can’t tell you if I had to do it all over again I would want too because the pain it caused was too much.  At the same time if we didn’t go through that I don’t know if we would have learned the lessons we did and help the people we have helped because of it.  My deepest regret is that the kids got hurt and that our daughter suffered terrible verbal abuse from her Dad.  I wish I could take away those memories because they are painful and as a Mom the only thing I want for our kids is happiness, love and joy.  I know life isn’t pain free though but it hurts my heart. I don’t think we would have the deep understanding and love that we share today if we didn’t go through this.  We loved one another from the moment we met we just knew, but when you have an addiction complicating things you are only able to have moments and glimpses of who the person really is.  It’s like having an evil alter ego that mainly takes over your life. 

If you take anything away from my jumbled blog post know that watching those we love go through addiction is painful and you can’t stop it.  There is nothing worse than watching people we love kill themselves and feeling helpless.  Please know it isn’t your fault.  That doesn’t mean you can’t try to help but in my own opinion don’t enable them just to be part of their life, that does more harm than good.  We have one of our children still struggles with addiction.  The hardest thing to do was letting him go.  We still reach out with no responses hoping and praying one day the call will come in for help to get clean but until then we fear the phone call of losing his life may come first.  That is the harsh painful reality of alcohol and drugs, it doesn’t care about the color, age, gender, of a person, it will take anyone who is vulnerable and lie to make you feel better and in that moment of weakness you listen and you are hooked.  We know we can’t enable and be part of the addiction dance.  For those that feel that it is somehow your fault because your spouse, child, parents, friends, tell you it is know those are the demons that have hold of your loved ones talking.  We are all accountable for our own actions and reactions.  I hope you all know that you are worth so much more.  No one deserves to be verbally or physically abused.  Drugs and alcohol are just an excuse to behave poorly, but even they are not excused from their actions, at some point you have to choose whether you want to continue to live your life this way or walk away and start over.  There is no easy answer or cure and each situation is different, yet the same.  You are not alone, there are so many families and people out there who understand your pain.  Addiction is still hidden and not talked about a lot, although it is being talked about more but not nearly enough.  There is no shame and no reason to hide.  There are so many resources now to help everyone.  When you start to truly recover and live a clean life and start working through the rubble of your life and the messes you have made you learn how to take accountability, stop blaming and make amends to those you have hurt.  You start to feel good and clean and you begin to see the miracles that have been waiting for your for so long.  One day at a time is all we can take things. 

As the wife of an alcoholic I know the pain and heartache all too well and my message is you are not alone, reach out for help, talk to others, read books.  I can promise you this, we do heal and you can change your life when you surrender and let it all go.  Take care of yourselves because you are worth it and you deserve to feel good in your own skin.  I pray everyday for those that never made it to recovery and those still out there suffering.  My hopes is you all find your way to recovery and start living the blessed life you were given, because we all have a purpose here on this earth, I hope you all find yours!

Wising you peace & Serenity,  Harmony

How Do Other People See You When You Have An Addiction Problem But You Are In Complete Denial About It?

This is an interesting topic because I know my husband was in denial and would blame everyone else me, his family, a stranger, the dog across the street….(LOL) You get what I’m saying!  However, at other times he would sit down with me when he would hit what I thought was his bottom, (but it was just a bad drinking day).  He would admit to me that he is an alcoholic and say he needs to stop or that he needs help.  However, that is short lived because when he felt good enough again he was right back to drinking, right back to the denial of “I don’t have a problem, you’re the problem just let me drink”.  You cannot reason with addiction because their is no truth in it.  It is living in an altered reality of what the drugs and alcohol create for you.  When you see the world through beer goggles it isn’t the way we see it.

Sadly I believe this is how we loose so many people.  To me addiction is like the devil whispering in your ear telling you how sweet this is, and no matter what loved ones say it doesn’t usually penetrate that evil because the addiction has consumed not only their body but also their mind, heart and soul.  My husband has been sober for almost 5 years now and we have heard of many people passing.  We have been to many celebrations of life and it never gets easier to see the broken families, the heartache and pain of not understanding, Why?    There is NOTHING good that comes from addiction as far as I am concerned.  It takes a person who was once kind, innocent, and loving and turns them into a self destructive monster who ruins many lives.  I have been part of that collateral damage and let me tell you, it’s no picnic it is devastating!

When my husband was drinking and we would go out, he would consume mass amounts of alcohol and make a total ass out of himself and I was just along for the humiliating ride.  I have had people ask me if he has a drinking problem and in the beginning I would make excuses not understanding exactly what I had gotten myself into saying “Oh it’s the weekend he’s just having fun”.  When he would become rude or fall all over or embarrass me people would look at me with disgust at times, but mostly I got pity looks like they felt sorry for me.  They would just shake their heads and walk away, it was super fun (I say totally sarcastically).  There wasn’t an event we didn’t go to where I wouldn’t cringe at the thought of because he would start drinking at home or he would fill up a back pack and then when that ran out buy more alcohol where ever we were.  It is a very expensive bad, bad habit.

One time a good friend of ours went with us to see KIZZ in concert.  She and my husband are both alcoholics.  They came up with this plan to sneak in their booze because drinks at those events are so expensive so they would buy one and fill their cups with the Rum and coke they put in a giant Ziploc bag that my husband hid in his pants……..Yes folks alcohol smuggled in your pants is where this disease can take you and they have absolutely no shame, and she just had surgery 7 days earlier so I had to wheel her in a wheelchair.  They were hammered by the end of the night, it sucked! 

I can tell you after years and years of disappointment and heartache for not only myself but for our kids, our family, even for my husband I saw him as a disappointment.  This is what I would see.  My husband, the man who was in love with me, and paid so much attention to me and made me feel so special sharing life with me was gone.  He was a shell of his former self.  As the years went by and the alcohol starts to take a toll it doesn’t come without health concerns.  He was unreliable, lazy, cruel, selfish, (SO SELFISH), judgmental, verbally abusive, not accountable or responsible for ANYTHING, egotistical, careless, wreck less, he abandoned our family, he was a liar, a cheater, and a thief, and I could go on. 

You basically become addictions puppet and what it tells you to do you do!  Recovery is the only way to change these things.  You simply cannot put down the bottle, needle, pills, powder, you have to clean yourself emotionally from the inside out if you even want a shot at changing your life.  Without addiction controlling your life, the world has endless possibilities for you!  My husband went from being a total monster to a decent person in society who is now reliable, caring, works hard, kind, responsible, ETC,  my husband may always be an alcoholic but today and for the past 1,700 and some odd days he is a recovering alcoholic and he has chosen to live a new life outside of the bottle.  He has his family back, our marriage has been renewed, he has mended many family relationships with our children and others.  His addiction is no longer an addiction that controls him, but the desire to thrive in life as a whole person, not just one that lives drunk in the shell of a body and merely exists.  He is a part of life and gets to remember things and enjoy things.  Life isn’t perfect but he tackles every thing life throws our way sober, without addiction as a tool.  Really, all the alcohol was doing was telling him a lie, it was killing him!  Now he can see that being on the other side and he has no desire to go back.  I am so proud of him everyday that he found the strength within himself and others to beat his disease.  Everyday he knows it is right there wanting to pounce on him and take him back but my husband’s will is much stronger than to allow it to ever ruin his life again. 

Today we are all grateful for his recovery, we live everyday trying to give back and be better than we were the day before.  He knows he has to stay on top of his recovery to be the best version of himself and to continue to be the man he wants to be, because he knows he never wants to be the person he used to be ever again.  As his wife, his recovery has been such a blessing because we were given the opportunity to rebuild our life together and today we are solid and unbreakable.  I know alcohol will never be a part of our lives again, but the memory is always there to remind us of what can happen!

Wishing you Peace & Serenity………….Hamrony

 

HOW DO YOU MAINTAIN YOUR SOCIAL STATUS IF YOU DONT DRINK?

I saw this photo quote online and thought it would be a good topic to discuss.  I have heard people say things about how they feel like they “have to” drink to fit in.  My husband is a drummer so when he is playing in a band it brings us into the bars because that is where the local bands play, or if there is an event happening in town.  I got to thinking though that I have heard people of all ages talk about this and how they feel they have to drink to fit in.  To me I think that is just absurd and I feel that more people need to stand for what they believe in and not feel so pressured to do anything just to be accepted by people who are probably not true friends in the first place.

I take alcoholism very seriously because I live that life.  I am the wife of an alcoholic and the last thing I want is for my Daughter, Step-Children, or friends  to walk that same path.  When I hear my daughter tell me about her and her friends going out and drinking I have to admit that I sometimes kind of stop breathing for a moment because I have concerns about her ending up with a drinking problem.  I can hear her right now saying “Oh my God Mom, I don’t have a problem I don’t drink all the time, I rarely get drunk”!   And she is right, she doesn’t have a problem, I tend to over react at times, BUT because her Dad is a recovering alcoholic and she grew up in an alcoholic home and her biological Dad is an addict I can’t help but feel that overprotective Mom inside just praying that she doesn’t get caught up in any addiction.  My daughter is an independent young woman with a great job, and a good heart.  She is good to her family and friends.  She thinks before she makes choices and weighs what the consequences will be and that is simply by learning from past mistakes and lessons life has taught her.  I am a very proud Momma, she is an amazing beautiful person, a great role model for her nieces!

My husband and I have had people (men and women) ask us HOW we don’t drink in a bar. My husband tells them he is a recovering alcoholic and breaks out in hand cuffs when he drinks HAHAHA (a little dark humor there).  They will ask me why I don’t drink and my response is…… simply out of respect for my husband, and I don’t need to drink.  Some people are just amazed and just don’t understand how it is possible and believe we have such will power, (these are usually the people who have a drinking problem).  They say how envious they are because they wish they could do it.   Yet others judge us, and will give us these weird looks.  It is OK judge away, I know that they are miserable and addiction is in control of their lives so they can’t see past themselves and believe that somehow we are missing out on a “fun” life.  That would be where they are wrong, FUN didn’t start for us until recovery came into our lives.  Now it is all real and honest and we remember things we did and my husband doesn’t have to wake up in the morning wondering what he did the night before to hurt everyone and wake up with regret.

My concern though are the ones that do it to fit into a social standard.  The ones that do it even though they don’t like it and then they begin to crave it.  The ones that believe that if they drink or do drugs like their so called “friends” they will be liked.  The ones that do it for a guy or a girl.  I hear younger people being allowed to have a drink or two at a BBQ or a dinner event.  I do not agree with this.  I believe that this type of behavior that parents allow when they have teenagers just creates a pathway to some form of addiction and bad choices.  Maybe it is judgmental but I do not think it is OK to allow your underage kids to drink, they are not your friend they are your children, you are their parents and role models.  If you make bad choices like drinking and driving what do you think they will do?  Have a drink with your kids when they are grown adults and are of legal age.  I feel like we have enough troubled children in this world due to a lack of parenting with boundaries, structure and consequences. This of course is just my opinion I am not a doctor but I am a Mother, Stepmother, Wife, Daughter, Etc. so my feelings about this I will tell you I am biting my tongue right now to say more about it, but think before you act and do what is right long term for your children and family.

In our family there is a lot of addiction and it rips families apart.  It kills people, it causes terrible health issues, it destroys relationships, it is truly a devastating disease that you can actually do something about!  Get your ass to recovery, check into rehab don’t leave because it is tough because you know the saying “no pain no gain”.  It will be harder emotionally than anything but I can promise you this, your whole life will change in ways you never imagined were possible.  Nobody is blowing smoke up your ass it’s real, miracles do happen.  I mean it isn’t all unicorns and rainbow’s everyday but you will have those days too.  There isn’t just one way to recover but you must do it right.  Being dry isn’t the same as recovering!  Do the work and watch your life unfold before your eyes. Life isn’t going to give you everything you want, your marriage may be too damaged to save, you may have lost your job and everything you had, some of your relationships with family will be destroyed and you may never get that back, but you might, it may not be today or tomorrow but months and even years from now people do come back.  Have faith in yourself, when you are right and healthy you attract that back into your life.  If the best thing that happens is those people accept your amends and forgive you, then that in itself is progress. 

Sometimes we have to loose everything in order to appreciate just one thing!  Sometimes you have to start from the ground up all over again to live a life that is worth living.  Living drunk and strung out is not a life,  you are merely existing, it is not a way to live.  Stealing from families and innocent people, hurting others to get your next drink or your next high is not OK.  You may believe that the only person you are hurting is yourself but let me tell you that as the wife of an alcoholic and a mother to the children involved, you hurt your loved ones way more than you are hurting yourself and that is part of addiction, you can’t see past your own nose.  Trust me when I say to you no matter what age you are……..Be true to yourself, don’t drink or do drugs just to fit in because if that’s what you have to do to fit in then THOSE ARE NOT YOUR PEOPLE!  Your people are the ones that do not judge or criticize you but want to help you reach your God given potential to be all you can in this world.  We all have a gift, a divine purpose, find it, embrace it.  Get to know who you are without medicating and running from your issues nothing will stop that pain until you deal with it and allow yourself to heal.  Drugs and alcohol do not allow you to heal.  Recovery is work, hard work and it is something you have to choose to do every day for the rest of your life but it will be the most satisfying intense work you have ever done and the payment will be living an honest life that you can be proud of full of good honest people!!  Have a safe Memorial Day, make good choices!

Wishing you Peace & Serenity, Harmony

 

 

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE???

Someone recently asked me what advice I could give to others in the same situation or thinking of getting into this type of situation.  I can only speak as the wife of an alcoholic and I can only share from my own experiences.  I have come to find that there are commonalities in every person who has an addiction problem no matter what the substance is.   Which outside of alcohol and drugs can also be food, shopping, gambling, and so many other things.  I can’t tell someone whether they should stay or go.  We all think and feel differently.  I can share some things that I learned along the way…………as the photo quote above states “I still loved him through it all”.  Not everyone will make it out together!

Alcoholics can have all or some of these behaviors, manipulation, lie, play the victim, blame, twist words, be emotionally and or physically abusive, leave for days at a time, loose a lot of money, infidelity, SELFISHNESS like I have never seen, broken promises, secrets, steal, and there are so many more; but you get the point.  It is so hard to separate the “alcoholism” from the person.  Addiction is just pure evil!  People try to escape their pain by numbing it and pretending it doesn’t exist but it follows you wherever you go, and until you confront and resolve it in some way there isn’t a drink or drug in the world that will make it go away!  Alcoholism isn’t a choice, it is a sickness of the mind!  It isn’t an easy life loving an alcoholic.  I can tell you that no amount of begging, yelling, or crying will change the alcoholic.  Until they are ready to seek help for themselves and admit they have a problem there isn’t anyone or anything that can get them to stop drinking.  It is a very heartbreaking life to watch someone you love slowly kill themselves and destroy their innocent families.

So many nights you spend alone.  You become their caretaker, you are responsible for everything.  You are a two parent home yet only one of you actively participates in raising the children.  You keep secrets from other people about your life.  You make excuses for your alcoholic.  You lie for your alcoholic.  You live in shame due to their addictions.  Somehow with as often as they blame you for everything and even though you know it isn’t your fault, you start to believe that somehow it really is YOUR FAULT!  The whole family gets into this dysfunctional cycle and soon it’s like you are on a hamster wheel and the cycle repeats continuously with no way out and the entire family becomes so sick from one persons addiction.  I believe the spouses and families of alcoholics suffer so much worse than the alcoholic does, in different ways.  The spouses try to take the blunt of everything, they hide and protect the children and the rest of the family from their alcoholics behaviors.  The spouse allows the alcoholic to beat them up with their emotional abuse to save the children.  You try and make life “normal” for your family.  You become an enabler and you don’t even realize that is what you are doing, sometimes they even get the children to enable their behaviors too. The family becomes just as sick as they are!

You find yourself slipping away into what feels like a black lonely hole of HELL!  You feel your soul being crushed from the inside out.  You feel your heart breaking everyday because no matter what you try your alcoholic doesn’t see things the way you do, they don’t have the ability to see things the way they really are.  They see things through the eyes of the alcohol bottle, through a false sense of reality, to escape what is really happening due to their alcoholism.  Which is why when you try and paint them a picture of what it is like from your perspective they will blame you, they will tell you that you cause your own pain.  They will crush your sprit, they will emotionally cripple you and use that as an excuse to drink!  They will twist your words to suit them because an alcoholic will not take responsibility or accountability for anything bad, it will always be someone else’s fault…..and it is usually the one closest to them…….their spouse!

I know by now you are saying “why in the hell did she stay with such a monster”?  Because the truth is he isn’t a monster the “ISM” is.  The addiction takes over their body and mind, they become a shell of the person they used to be before the disease set in.  There is a person connected to the alcoholism, they are in a great deal of pain that they felt nothing in life could help cure until they got lost in the bottom of a bottle.  One drink felt good enough to make him relax so three could really help numb the pain and before you know it those few drinks turned into bottles of the harder stuff.  Sometimes they blackout and that is much better than dealing with what drove them to drink in the first place and the cycle quickly gets out of control because when they feel the pain they drink to stop it and before long they are drinking everyday throughout the day because their tolerance is building and one drink just isn’t enough anymore.  It is too painful to face reality so they become a victim to their own circumstance as does the family.  

 Know you can’t ever control an alcoholics behavior and until THEY hit their own personal bottom and THEY realize for themselves that THEY want to change and THEY want to live a different life and THEY choose to get into recovery nothing will change, it will get worse!  In your life together when they are actively drinking you will see them have moments of clarity and they will see themselves for a moment through your eyes and they will be apologetic for all the pain they caused you and the family and they will promise to stop and do better.  And they are better for a while, but it is always short lived because the hold the addiction has on them is far greater than their strength at this point.  Suddenly you have all the HOPE in the world.  You believe them and just know that THIS TIME it will be different, until it’s not.  I believe in those moments they are fighting the disease within themselves to get out of the prison they live in, in their own mind and that is how the alcoholism keeps them coming back.

One blog post just isn’t enough to share everything about this topic but I can tell you that it is not an easy life.  It has been my journey and I chose to stand by my husband through it all.  There were years of hell and serious heartache, a lot of damage.  Although he is now in recovery going on 5 years in October he has to stay on top of his recovery.  My husband will always be an alcoholic, but now he is a recovering one, but the disease is always within him waiting to come out and take over again.  As long as he stays present in his mind and uses the tools and the program to keep his life on the right track he will be OK, we will be OK.  We have rebuilt our marriage and we have to work on it everyday.  Life still goes on and bad shit happens all the time.   People we love die, you get behind on bills, loose jobs, family gets sick, the list can go on but I have learned that if you are not able to be grateful for what you have in your life at every moment then you are not eligible for anything more until you are!  Here is an example…….if you live in an older home and the area is less than ideal and your roof leaks but you don’t have the money to fix it just yet and all you can say is “I hate it here, I hate my house, I wish I had a nicer house” well you are missing a great life lesson my friends!  It’s called GRATITUDE!!

You see I learned a long time ago that you have to give more than you get.  You have to pay attention to your loved ones when they are hurting.  You have to find the positive in even the worst of situations (because I promise you it’s there).  If you are always being negative then that is what will come back to you.  We all do the best we can and other times we fall short of being the best version of ourselves.  If you choose to stand by your alcoholic just know it isn’t an easy journey and it’s a lifelong one at that, BUT sometimes even in the darkest moments if you close your eyes and listen with your heart and soul the answer will come to you.  Life isn’t always easy sometimes it straight up sucks, sometimes it is so painful you feel like you just can’t go on.  In those moments hang on tight don’t let go, don’t give up, there is always a better way, reach out for help!  There is always someone out there that needs you, that needs to hear your story, your voice.  Not everyone can and will be saved, lives are lost everyday to addiction, it is truly heartbreaking.  You may be the person who helps save another person, even a stranger.  You may never even know the affect you have on someone and how your presence in this world changed their life, but they will know.  You never know who is listening and why.

Know this…….no matter how long we are here on this earth we all have a divine purpose. I believe we all make a difference to someone.  Life is a gift, and for those that are struggling with addictions, my hope for you is that you find help.  That you change your life to become the best YOU that YOU were meant to be!   We can’t make someone with an addiction problem get help but we can be there when they reach out for help.  For those of you that chose to leave your alcoholic please know this……. you have nothing to feel guilty about.  You did nothing wrong, sometimes you have to save yourself because an alcoholic will take you down with them.  Please don’t take my words wrong.  I am not bashing alcoholics I am the wife of one, I am simply being honest about it, and my husband would tell you the same thing.  He supports everything I write because it is all true.  I am not going to paint a pretty picture when it can be an ugly one.  I am the friend that tells you that your outfit looks awful.  Sugar coating a lie doesn’t make it easier for someone because those lies eventually all come out at some point.  As hard as the truth may be to hear at times I would rather know than not know. 

Although recovery is a lifelong process for both the alcoholic, spouse, and family it is possible to rebuild.  It is possible to start fresh and heal.  I get to see and hear miracles everyday in meetings.  Not everything is rainbows and unicorns!  We are all human we struggle at times, an alcoholic can fall back into old behaviors without picking up a drink.  People sharing their stories and their everyday problems with others helps to create healing for all.  It helps us to stay in reality and not get caught up in all the bullshit life can throw at you.  Relapses can be part of an alcoholics story but they have recovered from it time and time again.  Not everyone gets it their first time around but wanting it to be different and to keep showing up to try is what makes all the difference in the world. Never loose HOPE and hold onto believing that one minute, one hour, one day clean, sober and most importantly in recovery is better than a lifetime using!!

Wishing you Peace and Serenity……….Harmony

What Happens To A Family After A Loved One Get’s Into Recovery?

c5ec80dba6ee0a5cfb223e18878dfd021 The photo quote to the left speaks volumes.  When an alcoholic/addict are using THEY come first and everything else comes after that.  We heard this topic for the first time in a meeting last weekend about “the family after”.  I thought what a great topic to write about.  I know it is what I talk a lot about but you don’t hear about it being a main topic in an AA meeting.  Hopefully the answer for you is a lot of healing for your families………and watching miracles happen in your own life.  So much happens once they get into recovery, and for us it wasn’t a great start.

Some people when they first get into recovery can become dry and that isn’t the best way to live a life of recovery.  Some people believe if they put down the substance of choice then that is sobriety, and while that is a good first step if that is all you do then you are dry and before long it will be worse than when you were using.  Stopping isn’t recovery.  Recovery is all about digging deep, getting to the root of the pain and confronting the demons you have been trying to run from and numb all these years. 

What happened to our family after recovery began was a lot more pain for the first 10 months and then the change began.  I have seen first hand the grave difference between being dry and true sobriety.  A lot of communication began, a lot of change in behaviors, a lot of healing.  My husband has been accused by people of “not being an alcoholic”.  Some people have even said that in my book I portrayed him as a monster!  My husbands response was…… “I have to be real honest with myself and others, I have to hold myself accountable for the pain and damage I caused to myself and my family”.   He said “I AM AN ALCOHOLIC, I WAS A DESTRUCTIVE MONSTER TO MY FAMILY AND DID UNSPEAKABLE THINGS THAT CAUSED ALL OF THEM, ESPECIALLY MY WIFE, DEEP PAIN”!  That is my husband taking responsibility for his alcoholism and owning it!

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I believe not only is it a lifetime of self discovery and recovery for the alcoholic but also for the loved ones affected by it.  Sometimes it takes years before the damage done by an alcoholic shows itself. Recently, our oldest Granddaughter shared with us that we haven’t been around very much for her.  I do blame my husbands alcoholism for that.  Not that we aren’t accountable for our actions because we are, we own that.  It broke my heart to know that while I was so busy trying to protect our kids at home from this evil addiction it was also leaking out and affected the next generation.  Until we were confronted with this pain we never realized that it had such a painful effect.  Now we have a better understanding and we know what we need to do to help heal and make it better.  We are blessed to have the opportunity to heal things with our kids and family that have been hurt by it.  So we can build a closer relationship with our Grand children too.

Everyone including myself is collateral damage by his alcoholism.  It is a terribly debilitating disease that takes lives every single day.  The only way to come out of it alive is by getting into recovery.  No matter how many years people haven’t spoken to you or tell you they want nothing to do with you because of the way you acted while you were drinking be patient, miracles happen everyday.  We have heard people in meetings talk about their children who wanted and had nothing to do with them for so many years (one guys son it took 18 years) but in the end when you show you have changed.  When people see the example you are setting they will come around.  Others though sadly will not.  Not every marriage can be rebuilt.  Not every family member will be a part of your life.  You will loose many people that you thought were “friends”.  Life works itself out and I can tell you that my husband has removed toxic people from our lives, in spite of my persistent suggestions of trying to make contact and work things out……..he wants nothing to do with certain people and that is his choice.  I support my husband and I understand the reasons why. 

Today the only people we surround ourselves with are kind supportive people who want to be in our lives.  We have so many different types of people in our lives.  Today we are closer than we have ever been.  Even our bad days, are still great days.  We have been together almost 17 years.  We have learned so much on our journey so far.  We have so much more to learn and grow from.  We appreciate the simple things in our life like our chickens and ducks.  We would never have been able to enjoy that before.  We have learned how to communicate and express our feelings with one another.  We talk about our problems instead of screaming or walking out.  We aren’t perfect we don’t always do things right or to the best of our ability, but it is different now in the sense that we don’t hurt each other.

12373375_10205683961314321_5452186814230665007_n1  We live our lives to be the best version of ourselves that we can.  We spend most of our time together because we spent so much of it being apart.  We absolutely love our crazy life that can get chaotic at times with the animals but we wouldn’t have it any other way.  We have the most amazing life because we got through it together.  Our support system of people is incredible!We have learned how to be grateful for all we do have.  We know that everyday we need to show our love and respect for one another.  We are best friends, we protect each other and we aren’t afraid to call each other out on our bullshit (mostly I do with him) 🙂 life today is the best it has ever been, we wouldn’t change a thing because we know this life and our time together is a precious gift.  Today and everyday we get to rebuild our family and strengthen the relationships we have with our loved ones.  Life is beautiful. 

My hope is that if one person still struggling reads this and realizes that there is a beautiful light at the end of the darkness you have been living in, all you have to do is reach out your hand and do the work, know that you too will be a miracle and your life will begin to transform before your eyes, you just have to believe it to see it and never ever give up HOPE!!

As always, wishing you Peace & Serenity……..Harmony