Category Archives: steps to a better life

One day at a time

It’s been three weeks since his last drink. It is hard to believe that this day three weeks ago I felt so low. I had left him and expected the next time I would see him was in a coffin or in cuffs for drink driving. Now I have him back and he is better than ever. We saw his counsellor the other day and I really feel that there is no going back to that horrible place for him. His self esteem is still very low and he has a lot of people to ask forgiveness from but as they say one day at a time.

I have learnt to take one day at a time too – in the truest form. What worked for me is I decided that while I wanted to live with my alcoholic husband, I did not want to live my alcoholic husband while he was an active alcoholic. He will always be an alcoholic – it is not curable, but it can be made dormant by not drinking.

We fell in love with these people because we something in them that they probably can’t see themselves – an inner beauty, compassion, a person we wanted to share our lives with. Unfortunately alcohol often masks and warps the things we fell in love with and we create coping mechanisms that we never wanted to have or be – anger, fear, coldness, resentment, bitterness and pure sadness. To develop these attributes you must be a strong person? Now it is time to look at yourself and seriously think about the person you want to be, because the only person who can change the alcoholic you love is themselves and the only person to change the way you are is you. If you want change to happen don’t continue doing the same thing, living the same existance. Sometimes it takes drastic action to make a drastic change – that is what I did. I got the courage to leave and not come back until I knew for sure he was committed to getting sober – I didn’t listen to this promise while he was drunk but when he was sober. Walking away from someone who says they are going to kill themselves is not easy but what was my alternative? To stay and exist and let things continue as were? Everyday of my life is precious, everyday of your life is precious. You must decide today how you want to live it. If your alcoholic loved one wants to be part of it they have to earn it! They have to get sober and the only person who can make that happen is them. The same way you are deciding that you want to be part of their alcoholic existance – that is your choice and yoru decision. BUT if you decide to continue living the way you are, you are existing to support someone elses life and a life that they are probably very unhappy about too. What is the point in that?? Take control of your life and they will follow. If they don’t that is their lose, at the moment you are the one that is loosing out.

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.

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.

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.

Don’t be an Enabler

When dealing with an alcoholic spouse or partner, a person is virtually walking a tight-rope.

On one hand you want them to know that you will support them and on the other hand you do not want to fuel their habit.

If you choose to support them, you must be sure not to become an ‘enabler.’ In other words, you don’t want to help in any to support their habit. To truly help someone, you must be capable of displaying ‘tough love.’ When they are continually late for work because of their drinking, it is not up to you to make excuses and lie for them. When they get in trouble with the law for drunk driving, it is not up to you to rescue them. When they have spent all their money, it is not up to you to give them more. That is exactly what enabling is.

Alcoholics must be left to fend for themselves. They must reach the point where there is nowhere to turn. They must touch the ‘bottom’ of their existence. They must admit they have a problem. Then and only then, can the healing truly begin.

To shout and scream and dump out bottles serves no purpose other to make the drinker feel even more guilty.

The best thing you can do is seek help for yourself dealing with your feelings. There are groups of people(Al-Anon) who are all dealing with the same problem as yourself and many find this group therapy helpful, counseling for yourself and  books other good source for guidance.

Regardless of which method you choose, the important thing is to find help for yourself in order to best deal with an alcoholic spouse.