Living with an Alcoholic
From my personal experience, living with an alcoholic is somewhat an emotional rollercoaster. On one hand you love that family member who suffers from addiction and on the other, you hate their illness.
At times it’s heart-breaking to watch somebody who you love be consumed by their alcoholism. When the alcoholic is intoxicated it’s they become a completely different person. A man, when sober, is warm, funny, charismatic and kind is transformed into an irritable, restless, discontent, drunk.
I have watched my stepdad in a drunken blur pull a knife out whilst sitting on the sofa. He attempted to cut his wrists whilst my mother pretty much jumped on top of him wrestling him in hope to take the knife. On this occasion they were both very lucky that nobody was injured. He said the next day that he couldn’t even recall what had happened that evening. Both Mum and I were in shock.
I remember my stepdad My mum this time could not just sit back and watch him brake everything they had worked so hard for so she called the police. They arrived very quickly and my stepdad was furious and again so intoxicated. It took four police officers to remove him from the house and place him in custody. He did not go willingly but spewed abusive slurs at the officers and then spent the night at the police station and faced going to court.
Affects all the Family
It’s is an illness which not only affects the addict/alcoholic but the surrounding family members and friends. I have watched my mother crumble to her knees on many occasions. Mum is unable to leave her toxic relationship even when staying means putting herself in danger. I think this is because she cannot let go of the man that she fell in love with. The man he is sober. I have seen her change into a person that enables another’s sickness. Trapped in a cycle of being a victim and then a rescuer. Mum always seems to have hope that he will change or just stop drinking.
I, however, feel differently, working in a treatment centre highlights that you cannot rescue or save somebody who simply does not want to be saved. My mother refuses to accept this, I imagine this is something she does to aid self-preservation.
I guess the point of me writing this is just to emphasise that addiction is not an illness that solely preys upon an individual but a disease that affects so many more. If you’re reading this on your own behalf I strongly urge you to think about the consequences of your behaviour and actions. I know that alcoholism/addiction is something people fight their whole lives. I have witnessed both the good and the ugly. Sobriety IS achievable.
I have observed first-hand with other family members and know countless amounts of people who have been to rehab that have overwhelming gratitude for their recovery. I would strongly recommend for any addict/alcoholic to consider getting help. You can do this via an alcohol rehab clinic or self-help organisations in order to achieve any sense of normality.
I just want you to know you are not alone and there are so many resources out there that can be of service to you Al-anon and Alateen are just two. I highly recommend attending these meetings.
Al-Anon Family Groups is a “worldwide fellowship that offers a program of recovery for the families and friends of alcoholics, whether or not the alcoholic recognizes the existence of a drinking problem or seeks help.”
Alateen “is part of the Al-Anon fellowship designed for the younger relatives and friends of alcoholics through the teen years”. The fellowship is for relatives and friends of alcoholics to share their experience, strength, and hope. To solve their common problems. The fellowship belief is that alcoholism is a family illness and that changed attitudes can aid recovery.