CONTRIBUTED CONTENT — At Lion’s Gate Recovery, we have helped many people recover from addiction and alcoholism. In most situations, the individual who has been addicted has created more than just personal damage; their family and loved ones have been affected as well.
It is imperative to help the loved ones of the person who is afflicted. The family and friends involved have been through their own suffering as they try to help the addicted person get better.
The following personal account is from a family member who continues to attend our weekly open family group counseling. Her husband completed our program. He has more than three years of clean and sober living.
Although she does not mention it in her story, they both attend family group counseling each week as a date night. She wanted to share with others how she is recovering from her husband’s past alcoholism.
I love an alcoholic and addict.
Addiction is a family disease. Compulsive drinking and the excessive use of mood-altering drugs affects the user, and it affects their relationships with those they love. Family and marriage greatly suffer from the effects of addiction and alcoholism.
Seeing that my husband’s drinking was out of hand, I yearned to “help” him control it. It wasn’t long before I started to feel that I was somehow to blame, and I started to take on the hurts, the fears and the guilt of my husband’s addiction.
I too became ill. I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t sleep and I could barely function at work and in life. I thought that I was going crazy. I started to count the number of drinks my husband was having. I poured expensive liquor down drains. I searched the house for hidden bottles. All my thinking became directed at what my husband was or wasn’t doing and how to get him to stop drinking. I became obsessed.
Watching my loved one commit slow suicide with alcohol and drugs was painful. I didn’t tell anyone; not his family, not my family, not our children, no one. I began to worry; I tried to fix everything to hold the marriage together. I worried about bills, jobs, the house, the cars and the future, and I became anxious.
Eventually, I became angry! I realized that my husband was telling me lies, using me and not taking care of responsibilities. I knew that he loved alcohol more than me. I was frustrated by his uncontrolled drinking, the lies and broken promises.
Each time there was a sober period, however long, I began to pretend. I accepted promises and trusted him. I wanted the problem to be gone forever. Good sense told me there was something wrong with my husband’s drinking and thinking, but I still hid how I felt and what I knew deep down. I was in denial.
My husband began to get more angry. I called him “the beast” when he would drink. He told me – and I believed him – that I was somehow at fault. I felt that it was something that I must have done or didn’t do; that I wasn’t good enough, maybe not attractive enough anymore. And, why couldn’t I solve this problem of how to get him to stop drinking? I became so depressed that I had thoughts of suicide. I had feelings of guilt.
I was desperate. I was broken. I didn’t deserve this! I didn’t sign up for this! I was done! I was ready to end our many years of marriage. I didn’t feel as if there was any love left in us, and I couldn’t see any way out. I felt cheated, over-burdened with responsibilities, unwanted, unloved and very much alone. I had hit my bottom.
I staggered into Lion’s Gate family group counseling and began to learn about the disease of alcoholism and addiction, which I knew nothing about. Week after week, I would just come and listen as I felt betrayed, depressed, hopeless and emotionally numb. I began to learn, absorb knowledge and receive some ease of my emotional burdens by listening to the experiences and hope of those that chose to speak.
For me, the group setting of this program has been very beneficial. I can connect with others who have had the exact same feelings as myself.
I have learned so much about addiction and alcoholism. I came to learn that my own thinking had to change before I could make a new and successful approach to living. I began to realize that I had choices; that I had a separate life from my husband’s, and I remembered that I had my own hobbies and things that I like to do.
I told my husband one day that I just wanted things to go back to how they were. It alarmed me when he replied that we couldn’t go back, we can only move forward. But after a while, I learned that I could still love my husband. I could move forward and build on the thread of love and hope that was still there. I have come to realize that I am enough.
Today, I am happy.
• S P O N S O R E D C O N T E N T •
- Lion’s Gate Recovery
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