Life With Alcoholics- Lesson #3843

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I’ve spent twenty years of my life trying to understand alcoholism. I have gone to Alanon for families who deal with alcoholics. I’ve tried a more spiritual route such as prayer and church. I have read articles, books, and case studies.

I retired in my role as the provoker years ago. And I have exhausted myself as the martyr in recent years. Oh yes the martyrs. They are the ones who hope there is a day of awakening for the alcoholics in their life. Those that they either love or have loved.

The martyr has moments of hoping there will be a day the alcoholic feels bad for the deeds they have done. They just want to see apologies and recovery. Most of all, they want healing.

I have gone head to head with the ones who maintain the roles of being “the rescuer”. Years ago I was considered the rescuer too, so perhaps that is why their rescuing affects me like it does. I’d clean up the messes, apologize for many horrific social scenes of drunken stupor and I’d make excuses for the drunkenness all the time.

Over the course of time I got sick of being the provoker. I was tired of demanding respect, maturity, love and so forth. I got tired of telling stories of the things I would wake up to. I was tired of feeling embarrassed, mistreated, and unloved. So, I went on strike after that.

To me, the rescuers seem just as bad as the alcoholics themselves. They appear to have every excuse under the sun for the behavior of the alcoholic. Nothing is the alcoholics fault. And I mean nothing. Everything is blamed on people in the past or present days of the alcoholics life.

The rescuers claim they love their alcoholic but tough love has gone astray. They can’t find it no matter how hard they look. And they just can’t stand up to the alcoholic in effort to get them the treatment that they need.

Sometimes the alcoholic wants help but they do not have one person whom they respect to look them in the eyes and say: “Man you have a problem and you need serious help. Are you ready to get better yet? Because I can’t keep watching this. It is hurting everyone around you but mostly you!”

Questions of the day for the rescuers:

If your loved one had any other disease like Multiple Sclerosis, Cancer, Heart Disease, Kidney Disease, Liver Disease etc. and everyone around them could tell just by looking at them…..wouldn’t you try to help them?

Or would you make a bunch of excuses and blame others for the loved one not being in their best health? Would you claim other people gave them their disease? Would you say they had no disease regardless of their diagnosis?

Or would you continue to say: “Screw those people, they are all crazy. You’re just fine dear. Now I would help you but I just love you too much. And if I help you then that means I’d have to admit that I was wrong about you to all those people! So we will just keep this between us and go on about our business. Okay?”

Alcoholism: Perspective From An 11 Year Old Child

WARNING: This post may require some tissues.

I had the liberty of spending time with a young lady this weekend who played a music video for me. The video reminded her of her struggles with her father who is an alcoholic. 

Before she shared the video she stated:

“OMG! You have to watch this.This gives me chills. This is so me”

Now granted, I do not encourage watching many videos on this site. But in order to understand her perspective a bit more, I will ask that you watch this three minute music video and absorb the lyrics. 

As I watched and listened to the video, hearing the lyrics “That’s enough now dry your tears, it’s been a long eleven years” (among other fitting lyrics) struck a cord with me. She is in fact eleven years old. (She is still a baby ya’ll!)

She has watched people make excuses for the behavior of her alcoholic father, which are in turn lies. She is ashamed. She spent many times crying because he is drunk. She is full of frustration.

There have been so many instances of false hope for her watching him battle his disease. She watched her family divide. And then divide some more. And for some reason she blames herself!  This is not her fault! It is disheartening and it feels like someone kicked me in the gut just listening to her use her voice on the subject matter. Whew, that poor baby.

As we wrapped up our conversation of her sharing her thoughts and feelings on being the child of an alcoholic, I asked her if she would write something about it. I wanted her to share with others who struggle with the disease itself. 

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She writes this:

All of those glass bottles I witnessed being absorbed by a broken mans body taught me some lessons. I don’t think alcohol is ever the answer. If you’re broken you can’t expect other people to fix your selfish, big ego, lying butt. I grew up around lies so now it’s time for me to tell the truth.

We were young. We heard so many lies and saw many things that hurt our eyes.

My whole life so far has been like a bomb. Tick, tick, tick, tick. The representation of all the pain filling me up inside. Lies and alcohol. Pain. Then I finally found my voice. I found me. And that is when I created the explosion.

Its my fault for making the explosion. But that monster created that bomb and expected me not to light it. These next few years will be me cleaning all this up. Im glad my mom divorced him because I wont be another basic, shallow, insecure girl. That is most of this generation.

Do me a favor and find your voice. Be loud. It isn’t always bad to make an explosion.

Sincerely,

The child of an alcoholic

just walking awayIt is hard to believe that an eleven year old wrote this. She is wise beyond her years. She is strong and she is brave. And clearly at some points she is blaming herself. And we all know it is not her fault. But still she carries that cross. She is burdened.

Although we may contribute to an alcoholic’s disease in some ways we are not to blame for the illness itself. It is a mental disorder which often accompanies other mental disorders such as bi-polar, schizophrenia, anxiety disorders etc. It is something that existed within the individual long before the alcoholism itself surfaced and became visible.

Alcoholism – A cancer of the heart and soul. A disease that cripples families every day. A disease that the eleven year old girl in the above passage will probably spend her entire lifetime trying to understand.