Tag Archives: Alcohol

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

 

 

PART TWO……….CAN TRUE FRIENDSHIP SURVIVE ALCOHOLISM?

funny-friendship-quotes-a-good-friend-would-offer-you-an-umbrella1This little photo quote cracks me up!  My friend and I laugh so hard at these stupid little minion quotes. We have weird sense of humors, sometimes dark sometimes just crazy! You have to learn to laugh at the shitty things that happen in your life at times. When you put a twist on it, it can change your whole outlook. There is a silver lining even in the darkest cloud….Look for it! Anyway on with the story. We had just done a half ass intervention on her Dad’s 70th birthday (still feel like a jerk for that) but there is no good timing to help save a friends life.  The other friend and I talked for a short time after this happened, she had a very hard time accepting that our friend wasn’t speaking to us. I tried explaining that we went in knowing this could be the end of the friendship for a while. I kept telling her to stop calling her, give her time to digest what happened just let her be for a while when she is ready she will talk to you. As for me I had already decided to walk away until she got help for herself. I wasn’t judging her but what had happened is our friendship was me being the friend and her not so much. When I really needed her she wasn’t there for me and I was going through my own hell with my life that I would put aside to be there for her and it just became too exhausting.

So she buddied up with this other woman and started posting all these photos of them on FaceBook and ALWAYS with drinks in hand. I remember one in particularly that stood out to me a few months after this happened. They were in a pool at 9:30 A.M. drinking and appeared to look drunk already. Her caption was “Hanging with my BFF” I thought “good lord she has really gone off the deep end”. One thing about me to know is I am an absolute animal lover and will rescue any animal. They are part of my family! Our Rottweiler had battled breast cancer for 3 years and was nearing her end of life and my friend always knew when that happened I would need her. Well all this drama with her happened in July of 2011 and our dog passed away a few days after Christmas that same year, I was devastated. I assume Her daughter told her what happened and a few days later I found flowers and a card from her on my front porch saying “how sorry she was that we lost her”. I sent her a message and told her how shocked I was that she took the time to do that but also how much I appreciated her thoughtfulness. We sent a few casual messages back and forth and that was it.

Meanwhile my husbands alcoholism had gotten so bad my life was just falling apart. My fathers MS was progressing and his health was declining. It was all a mess and the one person I could talk to daily was gone, I could no longer trust her, I felt so alone. My husband ended up getting a DUI in 2012.  It was a crazy year. I had heard that she met some guy on the internet and married him six months later. I knew that was a huge mistake. We didn’t talk for 5 years. One day in March of this year 2016 some photo memories came up from years ago on FaceBook with my dad and the rest of the family and her having a game day at Mom’s and something compelled me to send her a message. I reached out just to let her know that I never meant for anything bad to happen that day I was just trying to look out for her and do what was right and that I hoped life was good to her. That led to a few messages back and forth and then a meeting at Starbucks. I learned to listen to that inner voice of mine!

friendship-quotes91We are those people that just seemed to pick up where we left off. It was as though those 5 years went by in the blink of an eye, yet in the moment it seemed like forever. I told her I finally got to write and publish my book and she told me she is with another guy who has addiction problems and she isn’t happy. Part of me thought “oh no she’s the same”.  She started to tell me about her life and what had happened since we last spoke.  She always said she wanted to marry a man with money. I always told her how superficial she was and how that isn’t where true happiness will come from. She finally found that man and she was miserable. In fact so much so that even living in Barbados she was in HELL! She told me that he was lazy, lied, drank all day just wanted to sit in front of the TV, manipulated his boss & hardly worked, he wasn’t the man she thought she had met. She said she was drunk everyday just to cope and took Xanax. She had the ocean for a backyard and she was miserable! She said she always felt if we were friends during that time that she would have NEVER married him. I told her that I didn’t believe that to be true because as much as she thinks I could have “saved her” from making that choice in her life the truth is it was all supposed to happen. And not to long before that I tried throwing her the life boat she just kept popping it she didn’t want to be saved. There is a lesson in everything we go through and if we look really hard we will eventually feel the meaning behind it.

I brought her a copy of my book Married Under The Influence because she wanted to read it. She read it all in 3 days! She said she could not believe even though she was always around us and we talked all the time she could not see what was happening in my life with my husband and kids. She said she didn’t know how bad it really was. She genuinely apologized and that was all I needed to feel from her to know she was sincere.  I told her that’s because she herself has a drinking problem and it’s hard to see past the alcoholism.  She explained to me that her drinking got so out of control she convinced her parents that we exaggerated.  She had told me that she wasn’t working at one point and the female roommate she had is also a problem drinker.  She said for a long time she would wake up and start drinking, drink all day then go to bed drinking.  She said I have no idea what the hell happened to me but it became such a serious problem I couldn’t stop drinking and I didn’t want too.

Then about 3 weeks before we met her son had asked her to see if she can go just one week without a drink. She said it really opened her eyes and made her think so she stopped. She was trying to do it on her own though and she lives with someone who has their own addiction problems so by the time I saw her she was struggling to keep it together. She wanted to stay sober but didn’t think she could because she had no support from home. She started going to one AA meeting a week with my husband and I but she wouldn’t go to any other meetings. The thing about my friend is she is a follower, she likes to fit in and be accepted, she is afraid in a way to be her own person to stand for herself. She remained alcohol free for about 3 months but then when friends would come over if they asked her to drink she would. She has a few other friends that she always drank with and that is all their friendship is about. I had explained to her that when she becomes truly sober and stops drinking and is around old friends who want to continue their addictions she will see that the friendship doesn’t seem to have that bond it once use too. I explained that it is the alcoholism that they have in common not necessarily a true friendship. It Doesn’t mean that it isn’t a true friendship either that is just what I have witnessed so far. I told her that a true friend will not pressure you to drink, get mad if you don’t drink, and will support you in what you want and what you need to do to take care of yourself. However another alcoholic will not be able to see this reality because they themselves are fighting the same evil demons she is and they want company.

So we have had our family game nights again, we get together for lunch, we talk often. She and her kids are family they have always been family and always will be. Right now she has fallen back into the trap of “I don’t want to be the only one NOT drinking”.  My response was “do you want to drink”?  Her response was “No I don’t but I feel I have too”. I understand that vulnerability that people have. When you are afraid if your not doing what the other people in your life are doing because they will judge you or not be your “friend” anymore you are giving in to the demonic part of alcoholism, the disease that will control your life and take it if your not careful. You know the one that convinces you that you don’t have a problem! Now she wants to get out of her living situation with this man who also has the addiction problems but she has become “comfortable” in her words. It would be almost impossible for someone like her to become sober and get into recovery living the way she’s living. It would almost be like a crack addict living in a crack house trying to remain sober, it just wouldn’t work it isn’t healthy.

I have learned that every friendship is different and every person is different. In my own opinion I think a true friendship may be able to survive alcoholism but not without serious changes, or time away from one another.  Once a person finds recovery and is serious about it and seeks the help they need they will change.  As the poison that once filled their minds and body begins to detox reality starts to creep in and for the first time in their life they are able to see things the way they really are and not the way they wanted to see them. It certainly doesn’t happen over night but what I know is this. My friend had 3 months of sobriety and during that time she had one foot in recovery and the other hand on the bottle. She has God in her heart, a little AA on her mind and the devil somewhere in between.  She wants to take a step onto that right path but I believe she is afraid she will miss her old “fun life” not realizing that it is all a façade it is the addiction convincing you it’s all real everything is fine. That couldn’t be further from the truth.  When you can take a look back at the trail of destruction alcoholism leaves behind you, you’d never want to live that life again!

I will always help her where I can but I have to be careful not to get so involved in her problems that they become my own. I have learned with our time apart how to separate myself out of her problems and know I am just helping guide her to the place and person she is fighting so hard to be. I literally can see the alcoholism eating away at her. She tries to please everyone by being the type of people they are when she is around them, but that isn’t who she is. I encourage her all the time to be true to herself, to really find the true essence of the person she is inside not to worry about who she loses along the way because if they leave they were only meant to teach her a lesson. She has a very strong faith to God, she goes to her favorite church every Sunday. But even today I saw her for lunch and she is struggling so hard with her current situation because of the addiction home she lives in, she says “I know it’s wrong and its hurting my heart everyday I know God doesn’t want me to live like this”. It then follows with “but I’m comfortable” what that means is she is terrified of the unknown so even if “comfortable” means bad she will deal with it.  We have all been in that dark place and it is no fun to be.  All I can do is be her friend, not judge her, be honest, communicate and help her the best way I know how.

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Like I said to my friend today. “Remember God may have a plan for you but it won’t happen if you aren’t willing to listen and take that first step to put it into action”. I have my friend back in my life and Even if I don’t always agree or like the choices she makes they are hers to make. When she needs me she asks and what I give her is complete honesty and she respects that. I have learned no matter how much time apart we may take, we will always be friends, we will always be family and that will never change!

Wishing you Peace & Serenity…………Harmony Rose

 

SOMETIMES PEOPLE LABEL YOU AND FORGET YOU ARE STILL A HUMAN BEING WITH REAL EMOTIONS!

Wife-of-Alcoholic-300x300[1]Yes I am the wife of a recovering alcoholic I carry no shame with that! I am also a woman with emotions that can be hurt by your words. I am proud of all the things my husband and I have endured and what we turned it into! I hear people use “labels” to identify people all the time, whether it’s an addiction, mental illness, physical issue, religious beliefs, Etc. People are still human beings that deserve compassion and empathy! 

My husband and I have been verbally attacked recently by people who seem to have a serious misunderstanding as to what our book is all about. People spread lies and gossip when they have no clue what they are even talking about. This is exactly how judgment begins. One person starts to trash talk another and before you know it all of these terrible things you never did or said everyone else jumps on board and is believing because of one persons insecurities within themselves.  Don’t follow the crowd be a leader, think for yourself and come to your own conclusions!

I have grown so much being with my husband and struggling through his alcoholism watching it slowly destroy our entire family. I myself didn’t realize until many years into it how much it really affected me because I thought I had it all together. I am a very strong woman who had kids to look after and protect but that left very little room for me to breathe. To me addictions are much like a slow growing cancer…….you may not feel the sickness right away but once it starts to infect your mind then you begin to realize the severity of the situation. The difference is some cancers can be eradicated, however, an alcoholic will always have the disease of alcoholism, HOWEVER, they can live a full complete life if they get into recovery and let me tell you that life is amazing, full of so many blessings!

My husband and I are the best of friends, we are very much in love, we love our beautiful life that we worked so hard to rebuild!  My husband and I are honest kind hearted loving people and we surround ourselves with others that have that positivity too! We have met so many wonderful people on our journey though his/our recovery! Not everyone will understand your journey, not everyone will be happy for you, there is evil on this earth that disguises itself inside of other people. Toxic people my husband refuses to allow in our lives because it is not beneficial for his recovery and not what he wants in our lives because we lived that way for such a long time.

Some people live a life full of chaos they attract that in their lives and only they can make the choice to change it. Change is one of the hardest things to do but once you take that first step and see the rewards from it there will be no stopping you! People like to judge and gossip about others when they feel threatened or jealous. Forgive those people who speak badly of you because they have not yet found the right path in their own lives. I know some of you may think “I am not going to forgive the malicious things people have said or done to me”.  You be better than that….they act that way because they are angry and hurting deep down inside and they can’t admit it. They refuse to get help because they are in denial that the problem could be them!  Some people no matter how much you try and help will continue to destroy themselves and as sad as that it is, there isn’t anything you can do about it.

I learned even when life is at it’s worst there are blessings in the dark, look for the light and look at things from a different perspective and you will begin to see the way! We all make mistakes, some far greater than others but every one of us at some point owes amends to others for our behaviors. Life is unpredictable here today gone tomorrow! As someone said to me recently “there will always be haters around thanks to Satan influencing them”! I would suggest to people that in order to avoid misunderstandings talk to each other. IF you hear something troublesome about another person don’t just assume it is true ask for yourself, get to know them or watch their behaviors you will know soon enough if what you hear is true and I can tell you often it is only the other persons truth.

What is an Alcoholic? What is Alcoholism?

imagesLX2A63MXI am not sure if everyone would agree upon just one answer to this question. What I have learned is this, an alcoholic is the person and alcoholism is their disease! When I was a young teenager I drank every day to get drunk and smoked pot to get high and I craved it. So I asked……Why am I not an alcoholic? The answer is complicated but this is what I believe to be true. An alcoholic has both a physical craving and a mental obsession and they have no control after that first drink! I partied like a rock star for a few years and then I made a decision to get my life together and I just stopped, never had a craving or a problem stopping and I didn’t have the mental obsessive thinking or planning about it. So if anything I would say I went through a period of time were I abused alcohol & drugs but I wasn’t addicted.

There are people that have little to no understanding about what an alcoholic or alcoholism really is. One of my husbands family members said to him during a recent conversation that he “isn’t really an alcoholic” because he didn’t have to have a drink if he didn’t want one & that he could quit if he wanted too. What he is very ignorant to is that my husband could not stop on his own. My husband tried to explain about all the nights he spent passed out in his car in front of his house, or in his living room, or in a parking garage some where. How many times he poisoned himself with alcohol because he couldn’t control his drinking. The family member replied with “well you stayed here because you knew you weren’t okay to drive”. What you have to understand is that this person is in complete denial that he himself has a serious drinking problem.  Some people like this person they don’t really believe alcoholism is a real problem some people just drink more in his mind.

Then there are other people like my father who have little knowledge about alcoholism.  When we explain things like how my husband will need to continue his AA meetings and program for the rest of his life to help him remain sober the response is usually met with other questions only because he doesn’t understand but wants too. The other family member is almost like an enabler by making excuses because of his own denial.  Many people believe it is all about just not drinking anymore but as we have learned along the way it is so much more than that. For example…… did you all know that if a person starts heavily drinking at say the age of 16 years old and they continue that for 30-40 years when they do stop drinking their mentality is actually that of a 16 year old because that part of their mind remains almost infantile. So when their recovery begins if you pay attention you can actually see them they grow up before your eyes.

Alcohol/drugs does so much damage to every part of your body…….your mind, heart, lungs, pancreas, liver, spleen, kidneys, your muscles. It affects your cognitive functions and your reactions to situations while under the influence are greatly affected by the drug that is in your system. I would suggest if you do not know much about alcoholism take the time to research it for yourself their are so many internet sites and books about the topic. Attend AA and Al-Anon meetings. Learn what the effects are both physically & mentally. It is a very sick evil disease, it doesn’t profile anyone it affects everyone!

This is such a broad topic please educate yourself on it. If you question whether or not you have a problem more than likely you do. As I have heard in the rooms of AA several times newcomers will say “I don’t know if I am an alcoholic” others respond with this……”Virgins don’t go to the doctor to see if they are pregnant so if your in the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous chances are probably pretty good you are”.

The good thing is there is help if you want it but you have to do the work. I have heard so many wonderful stories over the past few years going to AA meetings with my husband. So many people dependent on alcohol or drugs close to death and they become the miracle you hear about in these programs! They become an example of how you can get sober, you can have control over your life again, you can be happy and free from any addiction and live a life worth living. It is touching to see some of these grown men stand up and have tears in their eyes when sharing a piece of their story that their family can now count on them, they can be trusted and they can finally be there when they are needed. These programs save lives everyday. When you have that A-Ha moment and realize you need help they all welcome you in with no judgment because your in a place where everyone understands the life you have been living because they to have lived that life and they are choosing to not have to live that way anymore, they never have to drink or drug again no matter what and neither do you! I hope you all find the strength to take that first step and admit your life has become unmanageable and you need help, that is the day your life will forever change!

Wishing you Peace & Serenity……….Harmony

 

 

My Book Is a Finalist Winner On Alcoholism!

NIEAseal-2014-Finalist-200Waking up yesterday morning and seeing the word “Congratulations” was a surreal moment for me. I entered my newly published and only book I have ever written into the Indie Excellence Awards contest and I won as a finalist winner for my auto-biography.  Needless to say as a new author I could not believe it! I am not sure if I can really explain this feeling, it is like being validated for all your hard work. This is a prestigious award! What an honor for me to have that gold symbol on all my books. To know what I wrote stood out among thousands of entries let’s me know that the strong message about alcoholism is indeed a worthy read!

The e-mail went on to say that I am now an award winning author…….that in itself blows me away, me an award winning author? Somebody pinch me this can’t be real! It is very real because I took a big risk, a chance to follow my dream because I love to write. Being the spouse of an alcoholic is no easy task, it is emotionally devastating, it is a very painful journey. What I feel my lesson is through all of this is that I was meant to be here, this is my place in life. It has been said that God makes a special woman for every man and I am that woman for my husband (or at least that is what I believe).

I never thought I would be saying “I am the wife of an alcoholic” but I am and I am proud to be. My husband and I have been together for over 15 years, we have four children between us they are all grown and living their own lives. My husband has been sober for 2 years 7 months. He was a binge drinker for 12 1/2 years of our relationship and for many, many years before that. I wrote my book “Married Under The Influence” because alcoholism/addiction is not discussed nearly enough. People die everyday from this disease and yes it is a disease! Our children, parents, friends, etc. it is considered a shameful thing and I know because I carried that burden of shame with me and I was alone with it for way too many years. Not anymore, now I am an open book “no pun intended” I am a strong voice in the world of alcoholism! I shared our most intimate, painful moments in my book for one reason, to help others understand they are not alone in this there are many thousands of people world wide that suffer just as they do!

My book is starting to bring some light into the world of alcoholism, what it can look like, how it feels, etc. it breaks the old cliché of what many of us thought an alcoholic was. I had a woman I met online get a copy of my book and she said to me “I am reading it but it is hard, I have to keep coming back to it because I am reading my life through your words”.  Sometimes it is too hard for us to see things as they really are especially in an alcoholic environment. As the other person you get use to “enabling” making excuses, covering up, downplaying the severity of the situation, we are vulnerable and easily manipulated, and we take on the blame and shame as though it is somehow our fault the other person has a problem. We have also started a FaceBook group called Alcoholics Anonymous & Al-Anon Come Together,  please join us for support.

I wrote my book not thinking I am the best or honestly not even knowing if others would think it was very good, but it is honest & very emotional. It gives you a rare glimpse into what life is like living with an alcoholic! I put it all out there for all the other women, men, children, families, that have not found the courage to face this head on, it is not easy! In sharing our true life story with the world our hopes is that it helps the alcoholic that still suffers, we hope to help the spouse that feels alone, the friends that feel lost, the families that feel helpless. There is always HOPE never ever lose that! We hope to be the voice, the strength, the courage that people need to have to take that first step knowing that things can and do get better if you want it. You have to work at it but it is there for the taking you can change your life miracles happen everyday why not be one of them!

My husband and I have been told more times than I can count that we are not the norm, we shouldn’t have made it out together because many don’t. It doesn’t mean you will it doesn’t mean you won’t but to be an example that we not only saved our marriage but we rebuilt it even through alcoholism has been the biggest blessing for us to help give to others. It just goes to show you that you never know what path you will end up on in life but listen to the universe it will guide you to where you need to be. In closing we hope that you will all go to our website @ http://www.marriedundertheinfluence.com and get yourself a signed copy of our book and take that journey for yourself! I never imagined we would be a voice for alcoholism but here we are and together we are a strong positive voice and we are proud to carry our message about alcoholism to the world!

Wishing you Peace & Serenity…….Harmony

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Emotional Impact Of Alcoholism!

95de903d6bfda977cf57dbb20a276028[1]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

THE FORGOTTEN SPOUSES OF ALCOHOLISM!!!

cookIt 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