When I Punish An Alcoholic-I’m Really Punishing Myself

Blue Eyed Cat With Alcoholism ProblemsI never really realized that as I was heaping criticism and punishment upon the alcoholic, I was actually punishing myself as well. With every cruel or harsh word I would let fly out of my mouth, my spirit would ache for hours afterward as my mind would replay the confrontational event over and over again.

I’d become so accustomed to living this way that I’d lost touch with what life used to be like when I wasn’t dealing with constant turmoil.

I would find myself adding more fuel to my irritations as I would complain to family members and friends about the awful things the alcoholic was doing to ruin “our” life. I would replay months or even years worth of frustrating times when the substance abuser’s choices had caused me some sort of mental, spiritual or physical pain. As I continued to magnify all of the frustrations within the relationship, I would become even more frustrated.

Beating Myself UpI was constantly pointing my big fat finger at them, blaming the alcoholic for all of life’s problems. It seemed that at least seventy percent of my time was filled with obsessing over the alcoholic’s choices to ruin their lives.

The harder I tried to control them-the worse I felt. There was no amount of hollering or complaining that did any good. All of my efforts to convince them they were screwing everything up had no affect on them.

The more focused on the alcoholic we become-the more we punish ourselves. This is why we must learn the process of detaching from a substance abuser. The longer we stay attached to the insanity-the more insane we will become.

When we can separate ourselves from the alcoholic/addict and all the negativity that surrounds them, we give ourselves the opportunity to experience more good things in life that will bring positive emotions that make us feel good about ourselves. If we stay stuck in the negatives we will continue to punish ourselves through cultivating negativity.

If we punish the alcoholic with verbal lashes, we will come away from the encounter feeling guilty about our own “bad” behavior.

If we punish the substance abuser by giving them mean looks, giving them the silent treatment and expressing utter disgust through every gesture of our body language, those things won’t cause them to change. We will only be wasting our time wallowing around in the pigs slop of negativity.

Wouldn’t it be nicer to be happy, joyous, serene and lighthearted? Breaking away from our old behavior patterns takes time. You cannot just begin doing things differently without someone teaching you how to do things differently.

Here are a few things that will help you learn how to have a happier life:

How To Cope With An Alcoholic
Solutions For Alcoholic Relationships
Secrets To Dealing With Alcoholics Ebook
Daily Videos For Dealing With Alcoholics

6 comments to When I Punish An Alcoholic-I’m Really Punishing Myself

  • Debbi

    I found this to be so true. I would lash out after being silent during all the awful things my A would say to me. Then after staying silent for so long my anger would over take me & I would “go off”. Then I would feel guilty for hours & later apologize to him for my outburst. Then more hours & I would feel guilty again for having apologized. Even though that relationship is now over I still find myself re-hashing all those outbursts & arguments. I have spoken to people who have extensive experience dealing with couples where one of them is an addict and more often than not, outsiders think the non-A is the one with the problem because their behavior is the one they see. It is all done behind closed doors but the one left dealing with it feels like they’re crazy since no one believes them–so lashing out or arguing back will only punish yourself in several ways–Boy Did I Learn This! Still suffering that to this day getting others to believe my behavior was the result of what he was doing / saying to me behind closed doors. Do they all do this?

  • Bruce

    I too punished myself. And yesterday I found out my A passed away at home. Watching TV. She was only 38. Make amends with yourself and your A. Before its too late! My A and I were half through our amends. Then she passed away. Folks finish what you started. Then either get back together. If possible. Or move on. And start a fresh life. I will stay on this site to help. No one should go through these kind of problems alone.

  • Debbi


    I am so very sorry this happened and I know you are devastated but I sense you are a strong person and you will survive this. I know I would like to help in any way I can but sometimes just listening is best. . .so I & many others will be here any time you need to be heard. Stay Strong! And you did make amends & I’m sure she knew you loved her & never a doubt about that–it came through strong to all us here.

  • Ross

    So sorry you had to go through that.

  • Bruce

    @ Ross and Debbi. Thank you! It has been a week since my A’s death. This has been an exhausting week for me. I am so confused at this point. I came close to having a beer yesterday. After being sober for 19 months. So I got my butt off the couch and went to a Al-Anon meeting. The place I went to no longer has Al-Anon. Just AA. Even though I was never a alcoholic. They let me sit in. That helped a lot. So learn to bite your lip before you say something you might regret later. It just isn’t worth it.

  • Pez

    Well, here again I guess I am different. I never held back the way I felt with my alcoholic. I told him when his words hurt me etc… the East coast way. We are straight forward. I never felt guilty at all about it and I still don’t! I never went hysterical or said things just to hurt him, or overboard. Just stated the facts and that he was acting like an a-hole and left or hung up and did not answer if he called back intoxicated. Texts, he could see them when sober the next morning. I think there is a fine line on non reaction and there is a time to say ENOUGH! The key is your emotional state and if your overly effected, then just hang up or leave. They need to hear the seeds of truth and maybe someday those seeds will stick.

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