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My Experiences Living With An Alcoholic

Unless you’ve done it before, you really don’t know what its about.  The problem is that – when you’re dealing with an alcoholic who drinks everyday – all logic goes out the window.  Everyone else is left holding the back, trying to keep the family together, while the alcoholic is completely oblivious to the pain and destruction their irresponsible actions cause.  Of course they’re oblivious – they’re drunk.

Without realizing it, you start to enable the alcoholic.  You call into work for them when they’re hungover and say that they’re “sick”.  You cover their share of the bills.  You walk on eggshells, trying not to give the alcoholic a reason to get belligerent.

When you’re a kid, it also makes you grow up faster.  Having a parent who’s an alcoholic…lets just say they’re not much of a parent.  You end up taking care of your siblings, cooking meals, clean the house.  You grow up real quick.  You wonder when it’ll all end.  How it will all end.

Looking back, I understand why people at Al-Anon say that the family has a disease as well.  When you live with an alcoholic, you’re sick as well.  Your actions revolve around the sobriety of the alcoholic in your household, but that’s no way to live your life.

You need to learn to detach your happiness from the alcoholic’s sobriety.  That’s what I learned to do as a teenager, even though I didn’t know that was what I was doing.  I didn’t realize that my stepping up was enabling behavior, I was just trying to take care of myself and my family.  You need to identify the fine line between helping out and enabling the alcoholic.

I think if you are living with an alcoholic, you do have to confront them about it, whether through an intervention or otherwise – whatever you can do to get them into rehab.  If all else fails, and the alcoholic won’t stop drinking or take responsibility for the family’s problems, than you might have to find a way to leave.  If you’re a kid, that can be next to impossible.  But as a parent, it might be the best choice for both your kids and yourself.


Posted in Random Musings.

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