Living with an alcoholic
Apr 28, 2012 Alcoholic Partners
Living with an alcoholic in your life can make life seem impossible. Every day you are walking on eggshells. Life may be stressful, uncertain, or just plain bad. One thing is certain. It is never easy living with an alcoholic in your life.
Living with an alcoholic means that you have a person in your life who you cannot count on. If this person is a spouse then you have someone who should have you as a priority but has alcohol as a priority instead. You cannot count on this person even for day to day tasks because you never know when the need for alcohol will interfere with their life and with yours and you will have to pick up the slack.
Alcohol creates distance. When a person is so totally focused on obtaining and imbibing alcohol then that becomes the main relationship in that person's life. It is not their significant other, their children, or even their job. The one relationship is the one that they have with alcohol. All their desire, all their effort goes into their dance with alcohol. Everything else becomes secondary.
This dependence upon alcohol turns your every interaction with this person into a struggle. This constant push and pull is one that you cannot win. The siren call of drinking is too loud to be drowned out by voices not firmly lodged in the alcoholic's head. You may scream for hours, but the voices inside the alcoholic's head which tell them to drink never stop. You can try, but you will tire long before the desire for alcohol does.
Life can be challenging without having someone with a substance abuse problem in your life. With an alcoholic, life can be unbearable. You never know which face the person will show or how the person will react in any circumstance. You never know if you can depend upon this person or if you will have to pick up the slack.
The question becomes one of practicality. How do you survive living with an alcoholic in your life? Do you go to great lengths to convince this person to change? Do you leave this person to hit rock bottom and to realize the insidiousness of their dependence upon alcohol? Do you run around trying to shield them from the effects of their drinking so that they do not hurt themselves too badly?
These are difficult questions with complex answers. Only you can look at your situation and your needs to answer them. Some courses of action will help to bring about the changes you want while others will only help everyone involved to become more firmly entrenched in their roles. To understand what living with an alcoholic in your life means and what to do about it, you need to take a closer look at the issues that surround and underlie these behaviours.