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Post Info TOPIC: what would have helped you?


Senior Member

Status: Offline
Posts: 107
Date:
what would have helped you?


Hi smile

I have a friend whose husband's alcoholism is progressing, but they are both in denial about it. I am watching the illness worsen, as it always does, with his behavior growing more and more destructive. I am familiar with alcoholism as both my parents and various family members are alcoholics.

I'm wondering if any of you guys remember a time when your partner was drinking too much, beginning to black out, act embarrassingly in public, drive drunk, starting to drink earlier and earlier in the day, becoming more and more agitated and nasty when unable to drink, wander around the neighborhood drunk in the middle of the night, phasing you out when sober and becoming abusive when drunk then forgetting everything - the time when the disease is progressing but the person suffering with alcoholism is still able to work and the whole thing can be relatively contained still. The time before any of the big disasters start, the time when everyone knows in their heart of hearts that this drinking is disordered but it hasn't been acknowledged yet. The time when you are hoping they will just stop somehow. They seem to be in the phase where the alcoholism is increasing its grip but my friend is normalising her husband's behavior, compromising herself and pretending everything is fine. I totally understand why she is doing this, she adores him and they have a life and children together. She probably isn't sure whether it is alcoholism or 'just' a drinking problem. Also, the family disease of alcoholism creeps up slowly and insidiously, and before you know it you're incrementally making excuses for all kinds of things.

It is difficult for me to know what to do. I'm not sure if I should bring it up with her, and direct her to some help possibly, just help her to understand I am here for her (and him!) as a support, or if I should wait until she brings it up with me.

It is increasingly difficult for me to visit their house and I feel I have to avoid it when he is there, because I guess I am 'triggered' by the whole situation. I recently spent some time with them and his daytime drinking had been interrupted by social family events - he was doing that terrible agitated hyper-critical nasty lashing out at his wife and children that I have seen other alcoholics do when their whole bodies are stressed out due to withdrawal. I don't know how to call him out on his behavior without causing a big fight and I know that he would disallow her from being my friend if I made him angry.

I'm worried about the difficult future they have and the hard journey it is.

I don't want to make her feel confronted or isolated or embarrassed or defensive. I don't know how to say "Hey, your husband's an alcoholic."

My integrity is powerfully compromised and I become complicit when I don't discuss it with her honestly though.

If you have ever been in the situation my friend is in, what would you have rathered? Would you have preferred a friend from outside the home bring it up with you, or would you have preferred that friend to wait and hold space for you with unconditional support? Would someone mentioning it to you have helped you or made it harder? Is it disrespectful of me to bring it up with her before she is ready? Can I assume she would ever be ready?

I know each person is different and I know this isn't necessarily an advice-giving forum, but your experience would be so valuable to me. 

 

 

 

 

 



__________________
You are young, my son, and, as the years go by, time will change and even reverse many of your present opinions. Refrain therefore awhile from setting yourself up as a judge of the highest matters. Plato


~*Service Worker*~

Status: Offline
Posts: 3108
Date:

Honestly I come from a standpoint of what is and isn't my business. Calling someone an alcoholic is tricky business. My bff has a drinking problem. That's documented factual stuff not based upon my assumptions. I know now not to engage during the evenings .. when to stop engaging .. when drinking seems to be at peak times. I don't live in the same state .. So it's easier for me to detach and practice program in that regard. I wish I had trusted my gut earlier on. You can certainly speak your truth .. I think people get the expectation I'm going to have an ABC conversation in my head and they will respond XYZ .. the reality is it's probably going to go CQRD .. So they have responses that are not going to be controlled by what I think they should think like. My boyfriend got that reality check when he was having what he qualified as a reasonable discussion with my 13 year old and my son's response to his statements was "that's bull" .. he wasn't rude .. that's his perception and he's entitled to his perceptions. Lol. So I personally would really pause pray and proceed .. go to a meeting and ask the question .. You might be surprised by what you hear. Hugs s ;)

__________________

"I cannot learn other people's lessons for them.  They must do the work for themselves, and they will do it when they are ready." - Louise Hay



~*Service Worker*~

Status: Offline
Posts: 601
Date:

Hi Hiraeth,

I was in a similar situation to your friend. My husband was an alcoholic but I didn't know it yet. I hadn't grown up in the disease, and like her, I didn't know it or was unable to admit it. I really was clueless, until he started having medical crises and I was there with him in the doctor's office when he was told he had to abstain from drinking because it had caused his seizures. I was in a state of shock and didn't know what to do. I also didn't know there was nothing I could have done to prevent it (the 3 C's).

I have a dear friend -- she was my maid of honor in my wedding -- that I shared things with over the years. We talked frequently and shared about our good and bad times. She told me, "You can call me anytime except Wednesday nights." I never asked her why.

When I finally opened up to her about my shock and despair over my husband's drinking, she shared with me a wealth of information she had about addiction as well as support groups like Al-Anon. (The Wednesday nights? That's where she was going.) She knew all this because of her own experience in family and relationships affected by alcoholism and other addictions. She hadn't shared with me before, I think, because ... well, she hoped I was lucky enough to not be affected by this problem. And, honestly, until I knew I was affected, if she had talked to me about it, the words would have gone in one ear and out the other ... I would not have "gotten it."

Even then, it took me a while -- and a lot of reading and Al-Anon meetings and a sponsor -- to truly accept what she'd been telling me in my late-night frantic phone calls: It's a disease, it's very hard for the alcoholic to change, it's not their fault, but there is help for those who care about them and have been affected by the disease.

Bottom line: I wasn't ready to hear the message until I was ready. Today, I cherish this friend dearly and we still help each other through honest sharing.

__________________


~*Service Worker*~

Status: Offline
Posts: 735
Date:

IMHO, the saying 'You aren't ready to hear it, until you are," is very true for many people. It is very hard to give up the hope that your spouse will "do the right thing" by you and your little nuclear family, and admit he/she is powerless over the disease. That being said, things did not get some semblance of better until I found Al-Anon and read all I could on the disease and how to cope.

Since it is a trigger for you, perhaps you could gently explain your needs to not visit while he is around. Then let her know that you are there for her... for a "Plan B," to get information for her, or just to talk. Then leave it alone. Stay in your hula hoop as they say. Perhaps that will help her to open up about this. Then again, she could become offended. Only you know if this will be well received. I understand the need to "fix" this... you see her suffering. It is so hard.

__________________

Music makes my soul soar!

"The TRUTH is like a lion; you don't have to defend it. Let it loose; it will defend itself." St. Augustine



~*Service Worker*~

Status: Offline
Posts: 8698
Date:

My first thought was you have every right to take good care of you. If that means being distant as the situation makes you uncomfortable, that's a choice and a healthy one. I certainly would consider what your motives are and discuss with a sponsor.

There is no doubt people distanced themselves from our home/family. We lost most of the friends we had who had same-age children through school and sports. Nobody wanted their kid here and nobody wanted to be around the dysfunction. They gracefully stepped away, but I knew why. I was raised up in recovery to not label people or behavior as it's not my specialty nor my job.

I can tell you care greatly for your friend. Caring for others is admirable - yet when we want to save them from themselves, we're perhaps crossing to the wrong side of the street. I don't think any words, observations, advice or other from anyone would have really changed anything for me/my journey other than to add more things to argue about.

These are those situations where I really have to dig in and pray seeking guidance for best moves, if any. I'm sorry you are watching the disease unfold in others - it does stink to watch. (((Hugs))) - good to see you!

__________________

Practice the PAUSE...Pause before judging.  Pause before assuming.  Pause before accusing.  Pause whenever you are about to react harshly and you will avoid doing and saying things you will later regret.  ~~~~  Lori Deschene

 

 

2HP


Senior Member

Status: Offline
Posts: 281
Date:

My AH and I went to counseling for most of our 20+ year marriage. Whenever any of the numerous counselors hinted at his drinking, he'd get uncomfortable which made ME uncomfortable and we'd end the counseling relationship and move on. He wasn't ready and neither was I....

my husband was very successful in his profession, and I could not see him as alcoholic. I thought alcoholics lived under viaducts wearing long trench coats with bottle-filled pockets. I did not understand alcoholism. Nor was I ready to. We had children too.

Much later, I had a neighbor whose husband was obviously alcoholic. I would never say anything until she'd bring it up to me, crying from the typical struggles and frustration. So I'd invite her to come along with me to Al-Anon meetings.... 

Immediately she would flip. Suddenly everything was "fine" again.

(I have no regrets mentioning Al-Anon after she brought it up.   but it's important to note, she NEVER ASKED ME for my help. She wasn't ready.  whenever we offer unsolicited "help," we are off our side of the street, aka "meddling.")

I've learned to respect denial. It is a protective blanket we use when we are not ready to face reality. Denial protects us from feelings that are too painful and overwhelming to deal with yet. This is why in recovery, we talk about our feelings often, it happens to be a monthly topic at my monday meeting because we had swept feelings under the rug, denying our feelings for years.

As much as I love the people in my life, it is not my job to run around ripping off their blankets before they are ready to face reality. Attempting to do so, is actually very dangerous.

Trust the process. Love your friend by accepting her right where she is. And should the day come that she ASKS you for your advice, lovingly point the way to the nearest Al-Anon meeting and allow her to find her way.

Please take care of yourself by staying away from anything that is harmful to (((you)))



-- Edited by 2HP on Wednesday 10th of January 2018 09:34:43 PM



-- Edited by 2HP on Wednesday 10th of January 2018 09:52:55 PM

__________________


~*Service Worker*~

Status: Offline
Posts: 679
Date:

I agree what everyone else has said. Denial is very powerful. I was in denial for years and years. Take care of you.

__________________


Senior Member

Status: Offline
Posts: 107
Date:

Wow! Brilliant responses, thank you for sharing your wisdom and experience with me. I am much more clear about it now. I am very grateful to you. Thanks for expertly talking me around to good sense and less ego.

__________________
You are young, my son, and, as the years go by, time will change and even reverse many of your present opinions. Refrain therefore awhile from setting yourself up as a judge of the highest matters. Plato
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