Years ago a close friend of mine in Al-anon told me that the alcoholic doesn’t want to be the way they are. The video below will help us see from an alcoholic woman’s view what life was like walking in her shoes when she was at her worst. If you have never been to an AA meeting I’d encourage you to give one or two a try. It will help you see what life really is like in the alcoholic’s shoes.
“The only time I felt worth anything was when I was drinking and it was a nice, long time where that was OK, where I was able to be functional, where I didn’t make a fool out of myself.
My husband was a physician so I didn’t have to work so I had the joy of – well I thought it was joy at that time, of drinking morning, noon and night (see article: Alcoholic Drinks Morning Noon And Night). That’s where alcohol took me.
My husband at the time would come home and there were a number of times where he found me passed out on our front lawn because I had gone out to let the dogs out and passed out.
We ended up separating because he couldn’t take this anymore. At that time, my alcohol took me to a point of really being violent (see: Being Abused By An Alcoholic). I would come into the kitchen in the morning just right before we separated. There would be a hole in the wall from a mirror I threw or a hairbrush I threw or a bottle that I threw. Alcohol took away everything that I had, took away the self-esteem that I did have.
I would lay there on our sofa and we had a high ceiling and I would lay there on the sofa figuring out how I can end this. I just can’t take this pain anymore. There was a balcony and I would lay there looking up at that ceiling thinking, “I will just go tie a rope around, throw it over the ceiling fan and then just jump off the balcony and hang myself.” (It would be very emotionally painful to walk in this alcoholic woman’s shoes).
One day when my husband left to go to work and I went in to pour my drinks to start the day and make a big pitcher and I heard the front door open. I walked to the foyer and in walks my husband, my mother and my father, his mother, my sister and my cousin who was a therapist.
I knew why they were there. I knew it was an intervention. I ended up coming down to Turning Point in Florida and I stayed six months as a client there. (Read: Preparing For When An Alcoholic Hits Bottom)
The first thing that hits me is the warmth and the love that I felt when I got here, welcoming me with open arms and people that worked here gave me hope. People that worked here had what I had. They had the disease that I had. Maybe not the same story but oh boy, the same feelings; and I saw how they were, how they functioned, the joy that they had in their lives, the hope they had in their eyes and I so wanted that.
That’s what kept me coming back. There’s hope. There is hope and when I didn’t feel like there was hope, people gave me hope. So what I would say to somebody who’s feeling that total black hole, that so-alone feeling is hold on to the hope that we have. Hold on to the hope that people gave us and that’s why they call it a We Program because we don’t do it by ourselves.
Turning Point saved my life. Turning Point saved my life and that’s why I struggle so hard to give the clients that come through here hope. I can only speak for myself personally because I will say to clients, “I can’t understand exactly how you feel. But gosh, I got a good idea.”
I’ve sat in that chair and many times I will just take their hands and hold their hands and say, “I know you don’t think you’ve got any hope right now but hold on to the hope that I have for you,” and there’s nothing that you have to do today except follow direction and just stay in the moment and do what we suggest that’s done. You do those things and wow, the gifts that are in store for you are just incredible.”
JC: If we are going to have compassion for the alcoholics in our lives it would do us all good to take a moment to walk in the alcoholic’s shoes. This woman shared from a level of honesty that a practicing problem drinker would never share from. We never know when suddenly the person we love will hit bottom and cry out for help. In the grip of alcoholism sometimes it’s hard to have hope because we are surrounded by disaster all of the time. That’s why we posted this video today in hope that a glimmer of hope might stir in your life today.