Category Archives: advice

Dealing with my own anger

He didn’t go to the AA meeting he had promised all week. He got up this mornign saying he was going to get ready and I came down an hour later and he was spaced and exaggerating it. I knew it was a ploy to get out of going so I pretended I didn’t notice and said I would drive him cause I needed the car. But know he was going to drive himself he said or not go at all. So I said fine then go. His ‘trick’ hadn’t worked. So next he was having chest pains – yes faking a friggin heart attack to get out of going to an AA meeting. I ignored it and said I’d make coffee and breakfast. So the heart attack didn’t work either. I was determined he was going to go and I was getting really angry in myself. How dare he promise me all week and then pull away this fragment of hope. By the time I came back with the coffee he was gone… not to the AA meeting but back to bed! I was soo annoyed I went up and told him to get his ass out of bed and to the meeting. He told me to F off. So I said lots in anger and then said right I will F off then. I went down stairs and took some deep breaths. I then started to think about how angry I was feeling and why.  I asked myself is this how I wanted to be or was this making me feel good about myself.   I remember hearing during our previous recovery the term ‘Easy does it’.  I began to think rationally. My anger would push away the hope of a peaceful solution to my problems and not help me achieve sanity in my own life, my own self – not him but me.

So I took my coffee and my Courage to Change book and went into my little quiet place in the garden where I can find solitude. I haven’t been there in a long time. I took time out and read the ‘Courage to Change’ chapters on anger. some were relevant some were not, but by the time I had finished my coffee and sat quietly for a while ‘enjoying’ the silence I was ready to face the day again with a more positive view. I went back to the house and defrosted the fridge and cleaned the kitchen to relieve the remaining anger! By doing something positive towards improving my surroundings no matter how small, makes me feel I have achieved something with my day.  Also by realising his actions are his and I can’t ‘make’ him change, I realise that the only person I can change is me and my own actions. If I change for the better others may follow, if he doesn’t I have at least bettered myself in the meantime. He didn’t go to the meeting today, but there is always next week, and in the meantime I am working to better myself – not to make a point to him but to make a point to my life.

One Day At A Time

I haven’t written since August and it seems a world away. We went through areally tough time, he was suicidal. I spent several days and nights on suicide watch. The thing is when an alcoholic sobers up for a day or few hours they feel so guilty about everything they have said or done they get extremely low, they hate themselves and then they drink to deaden the pain they feel inside.

We went to the counsellor again at the Rehab centre he had been to 4 years previous. I had held it together until I walked through the door. i suppose I felt safe there, I felt ‘Thank God we are here now where people understand and I can share the burden’, so I broke down and couldn’t stop crying. Not big emmotional whailing or anything just quiet sobing! I know I felt like doing this for days so it was just a release in a place I felt I could do it without making him feel more guilty and low. Anyway they felt he needed to go in somewhere to detox safely and once he came to terms with what had to be done to hold us together as a family (ie. stop drinking again) we were refered to a psychiatric hospital. We went and he quickly sobered up with the reality of what was happening. After an hour of waiting the doctor on duty came out and said to him. ‘Do you feel you  are a risk to yourself?’ He ofcourse said ‘no’ and she said they couldn’t take him because he didn’t have a mental health record and they were not a detox clinic – there isn’t one int he region! So   I was on my own again! I said if given the medication I would control it and detox him at home and then go back to hte rehab centre and see what plan we could come up with. So that’s what we did. I took a few days off work and  detoxed him at home. To do this, the aocoholilc has to be committed to giving up – they have to have reached rock bottom. Chicken soup/broth is good – easy on the stomach, warm and filling. The medication stops the drink cravings, helps sleep patterns. Once he was off the drink a week we went back to the rehab centre and he was placed in a recovery group. This is a one night a week meeting for 8 weeks. He didn’t really want to go at first but said he would just to stick to the programme. Next week is his final week. I have my lovely husband back again, it is hard to believe about 10 weeks ago he was a trembiling, suicidal drunken wreck. There is hope guys, the important thing is to stay strong give them support when they are genuinely trying but look after only yourself and your dependents when they are not. And in or out of sobriety, take one day at a time.

Is an alcoholic ruining your life?

Who is Ruining your Life?

Those who live with alcoholism often see themselves as martyrs or victims. They shoulder all this responsibility and carry it, they sacrifice their own interests and life to keep things together.

If that’s you, stop.  Both you and your spouse  are adults. The reason why your partner continues  drinking is because they are not taking responsibility for their actions, they are self indulgent, their lives have stagnated in the same spot when they started drinking.

When my husband was in rehab a counsellor informed the group that the drinker’s mind or emotional behaviour does not progress beyond the age they start drinking. That’s when I realised I was married to a 12 year old for the past eight years! It is so true. My husband started drinking young and his behaviour was childlike when it came to facing up to situations when he was drinking. Your spouse may have started drinking at a later age but they probably behave more immaturely than they should as an adult. Think about it.

Now I want you to think about how you are behaving – are you taking responsibility for your life? Are you taking actions to stop them drinking but in so doing are you neglecting your own development? Did your life begin to stagnate at the time when your spouse’s drinking became a problem?

By sacrificing your day to day life you are not doing yourself or anyone else any favours. You are not winning points in Heaven nor are you helping your spouse, actually you are probably helping them on their quest, this is called enabling which we’ll deal with later.

I bet when you read the name of this chapter you immediately thought of your alcoholic loved one. No, I am still not using my crystal ball, but you are wrong.

There is only one person responsible for the quality of the life any adult and that person is themselves. Your spouse is the only person who can stop themselves drinking and make their life worth living. And there is  only person who is responsible for the quality of the life you are living and that is YOU.

alcoholism as a trap

Am I An Alcoholic?

How Do You Know The Person is an Alcoholic? What I believe is that if drink is causing a problem for other people then the person has a drink problem. When my husband went into rehab they gave him a questionaire which was supposed to assess if he had a drink problem, but the questions were so riduiculous that anybody who drinks alcohol would have been branded an alcoholic by the end of it. I have in the interm found the following questionaire which I think gives a more realistic assessment:  

If your loved one is admiting to a degree that their drinking is out of control, printing this questionaire and giving it during a time of sobriety (during a remorseful hangover would be good!) might give them the extra push they need to get help.

1. Do you lose time from work due to drinking?
2. Is drinking making your home life unhappy?
3. Do you drink because you are shy with other people?
4. Is drinking affecting your reputation?
5. Have you ever felt remorse after drinking?
6. Have you gotten into financial difficulties as a result of drinking?
7. Do you turn to lower companions and an inferior environment when drinking?
8. Does your drinking make you careless of your family’s welfare?
9. Has your ambition decreased since drinking?
10. Do you crave a drink at a definite time of day?
11. Do you want a drink the next morning?
12. Does drinking cause you to have difficulty in sleeping?
13. Has your efficiency decreased since drinking?
14. Is drinking jeopardizing your job or business?
15. Do you drink to escape from worries or trouble?
16. Do you drink alone?
17. Have you ever had a complete loss of memory as a result of drinking?
18. Has your physician ever treated you for drinking?
19. Do you drink to build up your self-confidence?
20. Have you ever been to a hospital or institution on account of drinking?

If you have answered YES to any one of the questions, there is a definite warning that you may be an alcoholic

.If you have answered YES to any two, the chances are that you are an alcoholic

.If you have answered YES to three or more, you are definitely an alcoholic

(Questionaire by Dr. Robert V. Seliger for use at John Hopkins University Hospital, Baltimore, MD, in deciding whether a patient is alcoholic.)

Tips for Dealing with an Alcoholic Partner

If you have an alcoholic spouse, you don’t need to hear the long list of offenses, insults, inconveniences, embarrassments and injuries you’ve doubtless already suffered. You already know it’s a dreadful condition.

But is there anything, you wonder, that you can do about it?

I’ve been there, done that, even got the t-shirt. And I have some practical and useful tips for maintaining your sanity, bankbook and person intact.

1) My first tip is one you need to internalize: Know that this has nothing to do with you, the quality of your love, or what you have or have not done. As they say in the 12-step group Al-Anon, “You didn’t cause it, you can’t control it and you cannot cure it.”

I know the feeling of guilt…If only I had/hadn’t______(fill in the blank),”He wouldn’t be drinking right now.” That’s just not true. The alcoholic, always eager for an excuse to drink, may pick fights, find fault, and outright blame you. Day in and day out, that can wear a person down.

Alcoholics drink because they are mentally ill and lack the physical ability to properly metabolize alcohol.

Immediate download -Guide to Living with An Alcoholic

2) That brings me to Tip #2: Take care of yourself. And the best way you can do that is to go to an Al Anon meeting, maybe even several times a week. It’s completely anonymous, extremely supportive and healing.

I can hear you now: “S/he’s the one with the problem: why should I have to go get help?” Well, it is a paradox. Without knowing it, we who are living with drinkers have gradually, almost imperceptibly, become sick along with the drinker. All that abuse and chaos! We need to help ourselves before we can be of help to anyone else.

Strangely enough, I have witnessed situations where the drinker got sober after the spouse had been going to Al Anon for a while. As the spouse got better, the situation improved. Being a powerful force of example, the alcoholic is stripped of his or her denial, and becomes willing to try sobriety. Don’t bet on it, but don’t discount it either.

3) My tip #3 is “Remove the Victim.” Do not stand there and take it. Walk away. Go for a drive. Run an errand. Do not try to argue with or reason with someone who is inebriated. By definition, someone who is intoxicated is incapable of reasoning or judgment. Again, you are saying “Why should I have to be the one who runs away?” or “I’m not going to let that drunk run me off.”

Well, sometimes we have to do what we have to do temporarily until the storm is past.

4) Tip #4 could be Tip #1 for some folks: If the alcoholic is abusive, get out. Put the kids and the family dog in the car, and go. Violence always escalates. It never subsides. Once you’re on the roller coaster of physical abuse, it is very tough to get off. Battered wife/husband syndrome is also something I have experienced. It’s almost like being under a spell. You come to believe there is nothing out there for you; that you are undesirable and unworthy, and deserving of the abuse. Once you’re in that lonely place, getting out is next to impossible.

If the alcoholic raises his or her hand to you, they will do it again, and harder the next time. Don’t kid yourself.

I’m not going to give you the advice to divorce, or separate, or anything else of that nature. Each situation is unique. Giving advice is dangerous and foolish. If divorce is something you wish to do, it is certainly one way to get out of the situation if you find it intolerable. But for those of you who can’t leave; again, take care of yourself, try to find a support group, remove the victim and if there is abuse, don’t walk; run!

I have just published a full practical guide to Living with an alcoholic. It’s available for immediate download. If you can’t afford it let me know and I’ll send you a copy free of charge – Remember, you are not alone.