Does anyone have experience of this?
What do you do if you find is so hard NOT to help the alcoholic? You feel if you don't help them, something terrible will happen to them. You feel battered, exhausted and worn down but you feel you have to still keep helping. How do you break free from this? What is the kindest thing to do to genuinely help the alcoholic? I have given every ounce of my energy to trying to help this person and things just seem to be getting worse and worse, its such a terrible mess. I would be so grateful if anyone could reply and offer any words of wisdom. Thank you.
The more I treid to 'help' my husband, the more he pushed away and the more out-of-control he became. I get what you are saying. Al-Anon may be helpful to you - to help you draw reasonable boundaries between you and the alcoholic behavior, and give you coping tools.
Hi Natalia. I had a long response for you but it got deleted, so I'll try to remember what "words of wisdom" I have for you. Like Molly said, it is common for alcoholics to take out their frustration on the person who is trying to bring them back to reality. You. You will be their scapegote, you will endure the affects of the pain they are inflicting on themselves.
There is nothing you can do to help them unless they want to get help themselves. I know that sounds cliche (and I've never been one for cliches), but it is true. It's not a cliche for nothing. You can get them all the help they need. Set them up with doctors, therapists, AA meetings....nothing will help unless the alcoholic is invested in helping themself. You cannot be the reason they're getting help. I've seen how that backfires. Threats of leaving them or withholding affection of useless; it's only a short-term solution to a long-term problem.
If you want to stick around for the turmoil; if you want to sit up night after night wondering if they're ok, wondering who they're with or if they're coming home, you need to remember the reasons you are valuable and that their problem is not your fault. I am not critical if you do stick around; I do too. However, I have come to understand that no matter what I do, no matter how many appointments I make, no matter how many times I explain how his actions hurt me, nothing will change unless he wants it to. I remember the man I used to know and how he's not that person anymore and that the drunk insults and harsh words are not really him. I also know I don't deserve to be treated this way and each day gain distance from him because that is the inevitable end to this relationship. At some point you have to accept the person you fell in love with isn't there anymore and slowly create distance and barriers within the relationship. This does not mean being unsupportive of a possible recovery, but understand that threats aren't going to push an alcoholic in the right direction.
Wow. My deleted post was shorter and more concise. I am sorry for your struggles. I don't know the particulars of the relationship but I hope my advice helps you in some way. Best of luck to you
To answer a specific question you asked; "what is the kindest way to help and alcoholic?" I would say that the kindest thing you can do is treat yourself well, give yourself the care you need in order to help them. If you're not at your best, there is no way you can help anyone else.
Thank you so much for your reply, it has been really helpful, I am now starting to look after myself. I've had to leave my house as he has caused me all sorts of problems. What has now happened though is that he has gotten me into a situation I did not ask for. He has managed to get my house key by refusing to leave my car if I did not agree to help him, he said if I did not offer to help him, he has made himself homeless because of his alcohol, then I would have to send him to prison. So to agree so that he would get out of my car I had no choice. I have been pushed out of my own home. I want him to leave me alone and I am so stuck, its like being in a nightmare. I just don't know what to do anymore. I've been feeling calm and now everything is rubbish again. What should I do? I tried the police before and nothing happened.
It really is not an easy question to answer. No matter what you do it hurts and you feel guilty, constantly... at least I know that I do... I've decided to step away but every day seems to be more of a challenge than the day before. The obsessing all the time... not that I did not obsess when I was with him, who he was with, what his getting up to now again... But I'm sure that like everything else I will get through this and so will you. I pray everyday for God to give me strength just for the day. 1 day at a time. More than that I cannot handle. I spent my weekend in bed and the entire weekend, except for seeing to my baby's needs I just did not seem to have the energy or the will power to keep going. I've been trying to be strong for so long and I still try everyday... I wish I had all the answers but I dont... I don't know how to stop caring and it seems the nastier he becomes and the more he pushes me away the more I want to help him... Stupid right.... i know this post is not really helpful, but I needed to get it off my chest as well... I need to snap out of this depression that I can feel i'm sinking into.... I have 3 children who depend on me... that's the only thing that keeps me going most days but even then I dont feel as if I have the energy... Hope everything works out for you. Regards, Alicia
Thank you for replying to me. Your post is really helpful, it sounds very similar to where my head is at, which is pretty much all over the place and why? Because of this man, my life was pretty much calm and tranquil before he came along, what a shock to my system he has been. Some of the things that have happened are just pure madness. And so the question is why do we let this happen to us? Well that is the million dollar question isn't it? Of course if they had behaved like that on the first date you wouldn't see us for dust, we woud be running for the hills. What happens is a slow torturous slide into the abyss of their alcoholism and we become convinced that somehow we can save them, help them and we absolutely batter ourselves to pieces and perform some truly herculean acts to try to protect/save them. Well I've got to the point where I am absolutely knackered, done in, ground down and totally worn out from all of this. Also my constant disappointment is huge and I woke up realising I don't want to do this anymore, I don't want to live like this anymore. I don't want this chaos/madness/totally bonkers behaviour in my life anymore. I want peace and serenity and to feel happy again. So, I am not staying in my own house and I am now feeling distance from him which is starting to clear the fog from my eyes. I'm not saying I'm cured but that little bit of physical distance is giving me some space to breathe and for my life to not be completely consumed by his alcoholism, which up to now has been 24/7, which disaster next? what's happened now? how do I fix this mess now? and so on and on and on.....I guess you can relate to all of this Alicia? I read on this website somewhere that if you are the main person who is helping (or rather enabling but thinking your helping) the alcoholic then you have some leverage. Not to do something malicious or anything. But if you withdraw your support then they are more likely to really start feeling the consequences of their actions and only by feeling the consequences will they want to change. I have hung onto that hope of change by withdrawing all my support and allowing him to hit rock bottom with all my heart, nothing changes unless we change it right? I do feel so angry though because he conned me out of my key and I feel that I've just gone back 15 steps........ Sorry, its a long post, I'll stop now and hope to hear from you again.
Take care, Natalia
Sometime it is best to walk away from them, never give them money
That's difficult sometimes especially if they come knocking on your bedroom window in the early hours of the morning and you trying to get them to go without waking the household because you just know you going to hear about how stupid you were...
What a good point you reminded me of! I must've thought I could help this man, but since marrying him, have learned that was my biggest mistake! I must help myself, and he must help himself, that is all there is to it!