Just stop trying to find them and live your life. Sounds easy doesn’t it? When you’re chasing an alcoholic, it’s very much like trying to follow the wind all over town. Most of the time the person who has an addiction will be driven by trying to discover the next best place to find a drink or a good party?
In this article, I will reveal some key secrets that will help you with detaching from an alcoholic.
They were supposed to be at “Joes Grillin-N-Chillin” until 7:30, but then you discovered they went to “Will’s Honkey Tonk” because there was a super drink special happening there. By the time you got there, they had already left and went back home. You go to the house only to discover that they changed clothes freshened up and left again. Now you decide to call on the cell phone again, this time they finally answer; you find out that they went to a relative’s house to hang out and watch a movie. So, you decide to join them because they invited you and by the time you arrive, they have left to go get popcorn at the all night grocery. Two hours later the movie is over and they return with three other people. On the way to the store to get popcorn they decided to stop by the Gator Lounge because their good friend Lindsey was working there.
Sounds familiar doesn’t it?
Our emotions go bonkers when the problem drinker is going full blast in their addiction.
We call repeatedly on the cell phone, but they’ve turned it off.
We pace the floor until the carpet wears out.
The roller coaster of feelings we ride on goes up and down and causes us to get sick to our stomachs.
The mind kicks in and the flood of negative thoughts begins to take us into developing the worst possible case scenarios of what they are doing.
Learning how to stop chasing an alcoholic all over was one of the most difficult things for me to learn. After attending Al-anon for a while, letting go of the problem drinker was the most freeing thing I’d experienced in years.
Letting go of old patterns and habits was hard.
Here’s how you can stop chasing the addict around all of the time.
1) Discover the things that you used to really enjoy in life again. Spend time at the movies, go see a play, ride bicycles with friends, roller blade, or just go for a walk in the park. Do these things with a friend or two and forget completely about the alcoholic’s behavior in your life for a few hours.
2) Don’t allow them to rent space in your head.
3) Just go to sleep. There’s nothing that you can do about them not coming home. So, get in the bed and read a good book until you are snoring up a storm.
4) Turn the cell phone off and leave it off. Don’t even check your messages. This is all a part of letting go.
5) Stop getting in the car and driving all over town looking for them. Watch a movie instead or get on the phone and talk to a good friend until you calm down.
6) Talk to God about the situation. Pray and turn them over into His hands. His hands are seriously big enough to handle the alcoholic who is out on the town. You have no control over what they choose to do anyway. So, “let go and let God” deal with them. He knows exactly where they are and what they need.
All of these things combined will help break the habitual obsession with an alcoholic.
I’ll never forget the feelings of the frustration level boiling over as I would stew over the problem drinker being out on the town when they were supposed to be at home. The more I would chase the wind looking for them, the more aggravated and angry I would become.
If you want to stop chasing an Alcoholic, then you are going to have to do things differently. Listen, they are not going to change their behavior on account of what you think, do or don’t do. They only care about romancing the bottle. So, you’re going to have to learn how to stop obsessing over an alcoholic/addict. The best place that I know for you to begin learning is in the Al-anon program.
Its kinda hard for me to believe that more people just dont get divorced or give up on the alcoholic.
I mean, If their not going to change, why bother sticking with them. I met someone two years ago who I fell in love with, I found out the hard way that she is an alcoholic. Not only did she get a dui last mothers day, but she also was accused of stealing $8,000 dollars at a convenient store that she was the manager of. She just got off of house arrest for the dui, the next thing will be court for her theft charges. She may get 9-24 months in prison. This girl was never in trouble before I met her, I never was in trouble, She also is on 5 months of probation for the dui, and is not allowed to drink ! Well, the day she got off her ankle bracelet she was drunk in 6 hrs. And has been drinking since, Her probation officer, What a joke, has yet to pay her a visit in over 6 weeks, even tho she knows about my gf;s drinking while on probation. I need to be done with the whole relationship !!!! Its a hard thing to do.
The hardest part is letting go of someone that you truly love and know that they can have a better life if they would get help. Unfortunately, until they decide to reach out for help, there is NOTHING you can do except move on and improve your life. You can pray for them and love them from afar but staying in the situation will not help you and only enable the addiction of your loved one more!
I’m so tired of the nonsense caused by the alcoholic’s confusion. He’s chasing after old loves, still thinking he’s a rock star. Yelling doesn’t work. I need to save my power and let go. Your article helps so much. I’m printing this one to look at when I need strength.
I want happiness and to be married and I need peace.
This is so hard. The real fear and panic for me is many of his friends are sick and/or have died from years of alcoholism and addictions.
I seriously did # 3 last night. It was 10p.m. I knew he had been out drinking and totally lost all track of time. I just didn’t want to deal with rants about whatever nonsense grips he had. I texted him that I was going to bed, there was food in the fridge, I would see him in the morning and love you. I’ve done the staying up worrying, or the looking, or waiting up and getting yelled at. Last night I changed my M.O. and got a good night’s sleep. And absolutely # 6 is a must! I also decided to go try Alanon yesterday morning. When asked where I was going I said to a therapy class. The thing that puzzles me the most about the whole alcohol abuse thing is how is can turn an otherwise loving individual into a Dr Jeckle/Mr Hyde. The problem becomes not just the drinking persons, but especially the people who love them the most. Alcoholism is such a liar and a thief. i see the effects getting worse and worse as the years go by. I’m trying to find some sort of serenity and peace, and learn how to act not react. I’ve been married over 40 years with kids and grandkids now. My biggest puzzlement on this site is how someone who is not married and doesn’t have kids would stay in a relationship with an alcoholic. If I had ‘do-overs” I would make sure I had a college education and could support myself so I would have more choices. Thanks JC for this site.
I too have lots of experience looking for my alcoholic bf. I finally just stopped looking because sooner or later wait for him and he would probably call me. Often he would call from hospital because he drank himself so bad he passed out on the side of the road or at a bus stop and someone rang the police who in turn sent for an ambulance. I agree with many comments here that it should be so easy to just give up on the person. Love causes us to not think right I suppose. However I have also learned there really is no one to help advocate for a person who is active in drinking because of the stigma of being an alcoholic. So I often run to his aid just to keep him safe.
#2 is what I have been working on the past couple weeks. I would find myself in a store or driving somewhere thoroughly overcome with frustration because the A is stuck in denial. I have been trying to totally be involved in the moment when I am on my own with friends or shopping, etc. No more concern about what he has done or will do!!!
Really am grateful for the posts that others have shared.
I am also working on a sense of humor – I was bubbly and full of fun when he met me – what the heck happened?! I think the hardest part of being with an alcoholic is the pretending everything is normal!
JC – thank you for all the great information on your site.
Dear C, You said it very well: “one of the hardest things about being with an alcoholic is pretending everything is normal”.
I like your thought on trying to keep a sense of humor.
I had to let go of my first alcoholic…was OBSESSED! It was years ago, but I even said, “He is chasing his drink, and I am chasing HIM!” What a mess.
The second time, with another drinker, I lived my life a bit differently. He stayed in the bar, and I went home. Then we saw each other the next day. A minimum of arguments.
I am so frustrated about my son and this alcohol I cannot begin to tell you all. He has over 100,000. in debt from college and my name is on about 50000.00 which my husband and I have to pay now because he cant keep a job. And to put more frustration into the equation my husband lost his job 6 months ago and still hasnt found one. My daughter is a senior and she will be going to college. I am ready to give up. I keep praying for the good Lord to help my son but soon I will have nothing left and my son is still drinking. Just so much frustration. These alcoholics will cause you to loose everything, just look at us.
Tina, so sorry for your frustration. My son & husband are both drinkers. It’s very sad to watch them kill themselves slowly. I pray one day this will be a memory. Don’t give up. God is good and He is able to pull us through any situation. Has anyone seen War Room? Started any prayer closets? I admit I have not. I don’t have the energy some days. I throw up more SOS prayers some days when I really need to be on my knees 24/7.
Hi Tina, the prayer I pray the most, “God you’ve got to help me”. It’s short, to the point and is filled with faith. He hears your cries and is working. It takes a lot sometimes for an alcoholic to hit bottom. The Lord is “Faithful”. You will see, no matter the outcome, God never wastes anything. All of this will be used for good somehow through your life. Keep your eyes on God, pray without ceasing and trust. God knows the end before the beginning, He’s already been there, trust Him.
Bill, thank you so much, I needed to hear that as well. He is so faithful. I love my God so very much and thank Him for giving me new strength daily.
As this thread develops my alcoholic friend has gone active. I didnt chase him around town but I did pick him up where he said he would be. I did this as I said to make sure he was safe. Now I guess he returns home to me after being kicked out of his 5th sober house in the last year. How do we love these people knowing it’s always a challenge at best and disaster at worst?
Only got past the first sentence of Todd’s comment . we don’t give up on the alcoholic we get behind ourselves. We want to get healthy God only helps those that help themselves The alcohol gave up on themselves a long time ago.
Don’t give up on yourself Free Yourself put some space between you and your heartache
My theory is we take these people on, because we think we can help them, they of course see this in us people with big hearts who will keep giving in to them. This is a delicate relationship, because our understanding of what this person needs is consistency and a trusting bond with someone who will not abandon them , even though all their actions give people no choice but to do that exact thing.
I have found that the action required is, to always be clear about what your limits are and always stick to your word on it. Sometimes it’s tricky to define your boundaries, but that is part of what they are counting on. So if there is anything we should focus on, it is; what are my boundaries and how do I implement them with this person. I usually address mine the morning after the boundaries were broken in a calm emotionless manner. “Last night you…..I don’t like that, if you do it again I won’t…” and then stick to your word on it. This sends the message that you expect them to respect your wishes, which gives them the chance to do so. And then repetition, like with a child and Gatorade for re-hydration, food in the stomach to save their poor liver, besides these things there isn’t much we can actually do. This has been my experience.
Thank you Paula G 🙂 Much of what you said does reflect what it is like to take care and love a person who is an alcoholic. Not abandoning the person most resonated with me. That is the one thing I see him get from people and he also acknowledges that people will abandon him. I try to stick with him not to fall in that same category but as a challenge to him; hopefully to give him hope in at least one person. As for boundaries….ugh that is something I am trying to work on. I am such a laid back person that ultimatums and the like are just not in my nature.
I hear you, but at some point this relationship will force you to think about what is okay for you and what is not, and then the precedent has been set, that you will do what he expects…that is harder to break or rewrite rather than to make it clear from the start.
For a lot of people it is a challenge to even know that you actually do have boundaries, and then to recognize when they are being crossed. The key is not to search in your head for the answers but instead listen to your gut. Your gut always knows about your boundaries, but we are not so used to listening to it.
Things don’t have to be ultimatums they can be presented as mutual respect, or understandings. Kind of like “God helps those who help themselves” it’s not an ultimatum, he doesn’t punish those who don’t help themselves. hahaha. Good luck with your friend I think he is very lucky to have you.