It wasn’t until I learned that I was responsible for my own happiness that I quit blaming my alcoholic spouse for my miserable life. Have you gotten so enmeshed with someone else’s behavior that you are not sure where they begin and you end. I used to describe this co-dependency as like being on a roller coaster ride at Six Flags or Disney World. When the problem drinker is in a good mood, I’m in a great mood; whenever they are mad, I too am experiencing negative emotions. Does this sound familiar: “If they would just quit drinking, everything would be alright?” Does that sound like someone blaming another for their unhappiness?
You will never find fulfillment in another human being. They will always fail us and disappoint us, especially someone addicted to alcohol. Somehow we must begin to separate our emotions from being effected by the alcoholic’s moods. We must get rid of the fantasy that life was supposed to be lived with a white pickett fence around the home and the roses are supposed to be in perfect bloom. I’m going to give you a few suggestions that can help you overcome the blame game that is associated with being enmeshed with someone who drinks all of the time.
Here’s where we start to live our own lives:
Make a conscious effort to force yourself to quit obsessing over an alcoholic’s behavior. In the beginning you may only be able to do this for a short while, but eventually as you learn how to not focus all of your energy on what they are doing, it will get easier. I promise you that as you begin to live your own life, you will start to confront the alcoholic less.
Try out a couple of these ideas:
– Don’t look at them when they come in the door.
– Stop going through their things trying to figure out what they have been up to.
– Let them go and give them to God. – Find a good daily reader like the Courage To Change from the Al-anon program.
– Talk to a friend when you start obsessing over their behaviors.
Take a while to reflect on what some of the things are that you really enjoy doing. Make a commitment to start doing things you enjoy that bring little moments of pleasure.
Try these things:
– Go to the movie without the alcoholic, ask a friend or relative to go with you.
– Rediscover some of the hobbies that you have not enjoyed for a while.
– Buy a few new CD’s and get in a good mood from listening to music.
Getting the focus off of how someone is treating us takes work. A good way of releasing frustrations is by taking long walks with a friend or attending an exercise class. A good workout at the gym can do wonders as well. I think you may be getting the point here. There are a billion things that we can do other than focusing on the alcoholic for our unhappiness. Make a list of all of the things you can change about your daily routine so that you can start enjoying your life more…apart from the problem drinker. The happier you get on your own, the less you will blame the alcoholic for your unhappiness.
I learned in the Al-anon program that I could be happy whether the alcoholic/addict was drinking or not. This is not just a theory, but is a level of living life that is obtainable without leaving the problem drinker. When I rediscovered who I was apart from all of the intense mood swings of my spouse, I began to stop blaming them for the unhappiness that I had been experiencing.