Being married to an alcoholic is challenging. As if marriage isn’t tough enough, we find ourselves facing an illness that can be life threatening.
As spouses we want to believe that there is hope, and that the behavior is something we can correct. We believe the if we do certain things, say certain things, avoid situations, and act a certain way it will change the alcoholics mindset. We think that if we avoid alcohol itself that it will help. After all, if we drink they will want to drink. So we avoid it all together. We try everything to prevent drinking episodes and fight like hell to understand the disease, its causes, and its effects.
(One of the biggest mistakes we make; is thinking we can control the fate of the disease.)
It is hard to maintain an upbeat spirit and our identity when dealing with an alcoholic on a daily basis. Often times we lose sight of ourselves and eventually, as we find ourselves again we find the courage to walk away.
The hardest part of dealing with a spouse who suffers from alcoholism is accepting the reality that we can’t change them. It does not matter what we do, they are who they are. They will lie to us, and they will deceive. Trust will be hard to restore.
The battle of dealing with an alcoholic you love can be just as bad as having the disease itself.
Some alcoholics hide it well. They come off as hardworking, well liked, and social. Others can come across as laid back and quiet. These are usually the ones who can’t maintain their alcohol and become violent. It can be quite dangerous. They can’t hear our crying and pleading for them to get help, instead they dive deeper into the drinking and begin to resent the one suggesting they seek help. They are in their own world, and only those who accommodate their disease are welcomed.
Alcoholics are on a road to self-destruction. Until they reach a dead-end they will not realize that they need help. They will continue to surround themselves with people who make them feel justified in their behavior. Someone who says “Oh you had a bad day? Want to have a drink?” will soon be their best friend. They feel this person understands. What this person has done is opened another door and allowed the alcoholic to do even more damage. They have just become the rescuer.
Alcoholism is a painful disease to watch. We never know what will come next. A new injury, more vomit, a new place he/she passed out, another fight, a D.U.I., a social mishap, or a new hole in a wall or door.
When living with an alcoholic you are truly the only one who knows the extent of the disease and can often vouch for the fact that you never know what their mood will be. Sometimes even the slightest things can set them off. It is Jeckel and Hyde. They are critical of others because they feel bad about themselves. They are out of control. They have lost sight of who they are. As a result they can become controlling, and abusive.
When we love an alcoholic it can be debilitating. They can not see the pain they cause. Sometimes we just have to let go because it becomes too depressing to watch and live with. At that point all we can do is pray for the best results.
Until people want to change, there will be no change. And if their disease is causing you to lose who you are and what you believe in, it is time to let go. It is not worth losing you too!
For more information about contributing to your loved ones disease click here.