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life of an alcoholic

the first intro chapter to this should be "living with an alcoholic".

i've often thought about this. how difficult it must be for the people living with alcoholics, before the latter can admit the issue. see, alcohol is tricky already at a medical level. it controls the parts of the brains that are responsible for behavior, impulses and decisions. if a person is impulsive and suffers from dysfunctional behavior (such as myself), this multiplies by a 100. the alcoholic is neither aware of nor able to control this. just waking up next morning, suffering a physical hangover (in the beginning), and an emotional one, trying to do any damage control.
i feel deep compassion for people living with alcoholics especially women who depend on their alcoholic husband, need to take over their role and raise and protect children as well. sooner or later the whole family becomes neurotic, constantly living in an environment steered by booze.
addition: an alcoholic with his/her behavior can really trigger and pull out the worst in the people around them. even though each family member would prefer to be calm and understanding, eventually the behaviors get worse and worse, hence the neurosis.
the more time passes on the harder it is to admit the problem (personally in my case, that was the reason i needed to hit rock bottom several time to finally see i either seek help or i'll die) - to be able to face the truth, the horrible acts one has committed to family, friends, children, parents, the suffering, the shame brought upon everyone - alcohol was used as an anesthetic to forget even more, because it is insufferable, suffocating and shameful to look oneself in the eye, admit and take responsibility.

it is not even easy when an alcoholic gets help and stays sober - having been so wrong for a long time, he might feel resentment for the lost respect. it is not easy for the family to understand how the alcoholic is suddenly "spiritual" and disappears several evenings a week to talk to "other people", suddenly shows no interest of the outside/material world and sometimes changes 180 degrees by re-evaluating the values. the family might feel upset, jealous, even angry that something other than them have helped the alcoholic stay sober, when all they ever did was patiently wait and support, but they must understand that the illness is something that cannot be cured by a human power. otherwise there wouldn't be so many devastated families out there if it only took a pill or therapy course or an honest conversation with the husband/wife to get well.

why the ramble?
my step sister posted her victorious battle with stage 2 thyroid cancer on social media. i'm so proud of her. she is very very strong and i couldn't be happier for her.
but it made me realize, i could never post about my illness and share my joys, experience and hope. maybe after 5 years sobriety if Higher Power will bless me with it. but it is painful that due to the social stigma, so many people still suffer. The only person who can help an alcoholic is another alcoholic in recovery and the Higher Power.
shaming, begging, yelling, threatening, dumping (the healthiest thing to do if an alcoholic cannot admit the issue or doesn't look for help), doctors reading from text book and suggesting "to drink less" - none of it helps, it makes things worse. alcoholism is not about willpower. alcoholics who stay sober by using willpower are dry-drinking and will make up for the lack of the booze they "missed out on" while being sober (tried this as well). it is a disease of a body, mind and soul and if one doesn't cure all of them, it is a ticking time bomb.

alcoholics who have suspicions of the illness and have questions if there is a way out without having to live in a rehab for 3 months, lose their job or be on a public "list" should be able to talk to another alcoholic in recovery without the judgment and shame. and for me personally to stay sober, i need other alcoholics in recovery to talk to or be around, i listen to them sharing and it reminds me what i suffer from, else my pride will tell me i'm healed (one cannot cure alcoholism, only maintain sobriety) and then i'm one bottle away from the nightmare again. but the stereotypes, where social drinking is acceptable and admitting the illness and getting cure is shameful turns this society upside down.
only the alcoholic himself can decide if he is an alcoholic. no doctors, friends or family can make this diagnosis however obvious it seems. admittance really is step #1 towards recovery.

no one chooses to be an alcoholic. no one enjoys shame about their actions, loss of self respect, inability to control one's actions, feeling the slow sliding into depression, physical tiredness, spending tons of money on booze and most of all - having no choice of one's actions.

today i am grateful for all the brave alcoholics who admit and seek help and for the families supporting them.

Skrivet av arlona, 2018-08-03 17:26


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