I have lived with an alcoholic for 18 years. I have 3 beautiful children with him. We were high school sweethearts and at first nothing could tear us apart. Not only was alcohol always an issue he was very controlling. Throughout the years you make yourself believe that one day it will change and he will turn back into the man you fell in love with. But when your children get older and start to realize that the situation you live in is not normal and you see them emotionally and physically breaking down, reality will hit you.
I have gone through physical,emotional and verbal abuse so long that I believed it was normal. That maybe if I did this differently or said something different it would make it better. It never did, it only continued to get worse.
I finally got the nerve up about a month ago to confront the situation wholeheartedly and let him know that me and our children were no longer living this way. And that we have lived in constant fear for so many years. Wondering what kind of mood he would be in, if he was dead. There were so many nights that my children would have to hand feed him because he couldn’t hold his head up. So many nights of finding him on the toilet naked passed out. So many nights of walking on egg shells and learning how to be quiet. So many nights of wondering what room he would walk into thinking it was the bathroom and trying to make sure that one of us wasn’t the makeshift toilet. After you confront the situation you become more self aware of your surroundings and the magnitude of what has occurred.
As heart breaking as it has been, I have found a new confidence in myself. I am becoming my own person and so are the children. We have set boundaries for ourselves and are refusing to let them be crossed ever again. Still a work in progress, but I have faith that God will show me the right path.
Thanks for sharing your story. As always, I recommend that people get involved in the Al-anon program. If are with the alcoholic or not it will be beneficial to participate for a while. Learning how to cope with an alcoholic spouse can bring healing into many different areas of our lives. Alcoholism tears many people and families apart. There is always hope though and it is never too late to start learning how to deal with this devastating disease.
Thank you for posting my story. I hope that my story relates to many other people. Having faith and building your own confindence is the first step.
I can certainly identify with the fear. I wondered what the next problem would be and if I would ever receive the love and respect I deserved. I think you made the first big step with setting boundaries. I found my life improved when I did this. I also stopped taking orders to do things I didn’t want to do. My good deeds weren’t appreciated anyway and I only became resentful. My alcoholic was capable of doing so much more than he led me to believe. I felt like his mother and I resented that. I’m gradually asking him to do the things most partner do without being asked. I always thought I shouldn’t have to tell him these things but I learned that I do have to tell him. He had so many things done for him all the time; part of this being my desire and need to control. I do have to ask him nicely to help out because he really doesn’t know what needs to be done. This has been good for him also. I no longer become disappointed with my expectations because I no longer expect anything. I just ask for his help.
I hope your life will also impriove.
I am so glad you have found a way to put some space between your self and your partner’s addictive behaviour.
I found that my addict only wants to be with me if I take on his distorted reality. it’s a lot for some one to ask. If a friend asked you to forget all that you knew to be true about the universe and live in an alternative one, you would say its impossible. however, some how slowly and steadily we started to take on the addicts reality to keep the peace and avoid rejection. truth is, whilst we were trying to change the addict we were rejected on a daily basis and kept going back for more! I wanted him to get clean so that he could fill in some missing parts of my own life. Now i am getting help to identify my own problems and find my own solutions whilst allowing my partner to do the same.
i hope you continue to build your own life for you and your children. I told my addict I loved him but wanted to leave our relationship until he was free to have a proper relationship with me. Now that I have lovingly removed myself from a half in, half out, relationship ( six years of on/off) it really is so much more comfortable in a world you know to be positive, true and predictable. Yes I feel lonely sometimes but I don’t feel so angry and anxious. until they get clean, the poor addict has to live in a lonely world of confusion, conflict and lies.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Lisa. And on a personal level thankyou for your words of wisdom and the gem “because we should not be burdened with other people’s decisions” in response to my story. Much appreciated, like all the other priceless comments, suggestions and wisdom. In the end it’s a case of being true to yourself, and following the path you are meant to walk along and you will find this in the quiet of your mind when you take some time out whether it be in sitting by yourself in the stillness of a forest or favorite park or beach walk or like me, I like to run. So my best and clearest thinking comes when I go for my ‘me-time run’. My loving thought to you is to “enjoy something every day”. Something just for you whatever that may be. A walk in the park with your dog or child or grandchild or just in the present of yourself to quietly reflect without the emotions or thoughts or insistences of another. It helps to have this ‘me-time’ to enjoy what pleasures there are in your life, to help you in your decison making or to help you find what will give you peace, fullfilment, the elusive happiness and stillness of mind. Whatever activity and time for you, you do for yourself, may you find your inner you and enjoyment again in the simple pleasures of life.
Diane, I really can identify with what you said about being resentful. It’s difficult trying to hold the entire family together when there’s active alcoholism. It is also very freeing when we learn how to get rid of resentments and how to avoid getting them.
One of the things I read on this site is that “NO!” is a complete sentence. That has helped me tremendously in my interactions with my significant other who has an addiction to pain pills.
Another great help was when I learned that expectations lead to resentments. If I don’t expect so much from the alcoholic, there will be less resentments.