How to Survive Living With An Alcoholic
Alcoholics and drug abusers are frustrating to live with, yet they often can't be avoided because they are all around us. They get drunk (or high), ruin parties, become angry, or simply "fall asleep" (read: pass out) when we need them. How can we cope with this behavior? How can we survive if we live with an alcoholic or drug abuser? The first thing you need to learn, is that you are NOT the CAUSE of their drinking or drug abuse...no matter what they say. They didn't develop an alcohol or drug addiction because you upset them, frustrated them, or made them angry. They began to abuse alcohol and drugs because THEY HAVEN'T LEARNED HOW TO HANDLE THE NORMAL OBLIGATIONS OF LIFE, AND SO THEY ESCAPE BY DRINKING OR GETTING HIGH. Don't let them lay a guilt-trip on you. Alcoholism and drug addiction are diseases, and it is NOT your fault. The second thing you need to realize is that you CANNOT control another person's drinking or drug use. At most, you will drive them away, or make them hide their alcohol abuse and drug abuse even better. Perhaps this is what you want! If they hide their alcoholism and addiction, and you look the other way, you don't have to confront the problem, at least for a while! Some long-term relationships seem to limp along, with one person pretending that they don't drink, and the other person ignoring the obvious signs that their friend or spouse does! If this person is a co-worker, neighbor, or distant relative, this might even work well. It allows you to detach from someone else's problem, and leaves them to handle it on their own...which is better than you trying to solve it for them! However, if this person lives in your home, you may find it much harder to pretend that you don't know that they have an alcohol addiction! Even if this is your situation, you still have to accept that you are powerless to control someone else's drinking or drug abuse! In this case, what can you do? Once you realize that you did not cause them to drink or abuse drugs, and can't control another person's behavior, the third thing you should do is find an Alanon meeting. In Alanon, you will find the loving support you will need to help you actually feel like you are doing much more than coping...you are surviving! You will begin to feel like you have your own life, separate and complete, without the chaos the drinker seems to love to create! You will learn many tools to help you improve your life. You will find that you no longer need to focus all your time and attention on them. You'll learn to stop nagging, and fighting with the drinker. Occasionally, going to Alanon will help lead the drinker to find Alcoholics Anonymous or the drug abuser to go to Narcotics Anonymous. However, even if that doesn't happen, it will help you to find peace and serenity! Good luck in your life with an alcoholic or drug abuser. I hope that you are able to find peace, survive, and even thrive, despite the fact that you may have found yourself surrounded by alcoholics and heavy drinkers! Life can still be good, even if you find that hard to believe right now.