Saturday, August 22, 2009

How Do I Love My Alcoholic Spouse?

The best way to love an alcoholic spouse or loved one is with detachment towards the behaviors of the disease. Let the alcoholic know that you do love them but it is the addiction you hate. And because you hate the addiction so much you are unable to be around them when they drink. Become knowledgeable about alcoholism so you can better understand its cunning and baffling ways.

Separate The Person From The Addiction

Alcoholism is a sickness just like any other sickness. In fact a person with hypoglycemia would physically and emotionally feel much like a dry alcoholic would. Alcoholics almost always have hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) because of the adverse affects of alcohol on the body. When someone is sick with diabetes or hypoglycemia it is not the substance of “who they are” it is what has been created in their life because of circumstances and triggers connected to them. It is the same way with addiction of any kind. Addiction is a hurdle that can be conquered.

5 Triggers That Spark Addiction

Alcoholism is created in our lives because of underlying triggers and circumstances being present. These factors are physical, heredity, environmental, emotional and spiritual.

1. The craving for alcohol is the physical aspect of addiction, and has a lot to do with diet.
2. Past baggage is the emotional, mental, and sometimes spiritual aspects that offset addiction.
3. Environmental is people we are close to that are alcoholic or were alcoholic. For instance, if a person grew up with an alcoholic parent, that person is more likely to become an alcoholic or marry an alcoholic.
4. The spiritual is the connection the alcoholic has with God.
5. Heredity is genes from an alcoholic parent or grandparent.

All of the above are major triggers that reinforce addiction in a person. But these triggers can be healed and that is how the addict becomes sober and stays sober. The alcoholic can’t just stop drinking and think they are healed; there is more to it than that. If the alcoholic just stops drinking and does not take action to heal and or change his circumstances then he will most likely not stay sober for very long.

Stop Putting Band-Aids on the Alcoholic’s Wounds

Every time the enabler kisses the boo-boo and puts a band-aid on the alcoholic’s wounds, they will never fully realize they are sick and need healing. For example, if a person continually gets bad headaches and they cover up the pain with aspirin, they will never get to real reason of “why” they keep getting headaches. “Why does the alcoholic drink? What circumstances and triggers are present that can be eliminated from the alcoholics life. All triggers can be healed and done away with for good with the right addiction counseling, intervention and Godly support, expect for the heredity factor.

You have to allow the alcoholic to tend to his own wounds for a change. If the enabler keeps covering up the wounds the addict will never take charge of his own behavior, reactions, and circumstances. Covering up the alcoholic’s behaviors with band-aids only reinforces in the alcoholic more denial that he or she even has a problem.

You help the alcoholic best by pulling yourself away emotionally and that takes effort on your part, but you can do it. Love, support, and encourage the alcoholic when they are NOT drinking. Cut the ropes to the disease but love the person. Do not become trapped within the sickness of addiction anymore. You have to start rescuing you for a change and you can only do that by letting it go.

Ask Jesus to help you to detach with love from the alcoholic. Never underestimate the power of prayer in your life. Keep praying for the alcoholic because God does hear your prayers. He knows the suffering and pain you are going through every day. This is precisely why you need to go to Him and ask Him to give you the strength and faith you will need daily to cope with loving an alcoholic.

Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long. (Psalm 25:25)

Before I end this article I would like to leave you with some encouragement from the book of ALANON.

Why do I waste my precious time and energy trying to figure out what makes an alcoholic drink—why he doesn’t consider his family, his obligations, his reputation? All I need to know is that he suffers from a disease—alcoholism, the compulsion to drink. Why shouldn’t I have compassion for him and his illness when I am so ready to feel sorry for people who have other diseases? Do I blame them? Can I cure him by reproaching him? Can I look into his heart and realize the true nature of his sufferings?

Today’s Reminder

The fact that I am the spouse, child, parent, or friend of an alcoholic does not give me the right to try to control him. I can only make the situation worse by treating him like an irresponsible naughty child.

“On this day I promise God and myself that I will let go of the problem which is destroying my peace of mind. I pray for detachment from the situation, but not from the suffering drinker who may be helped to find the way to sobriety through the change in my attitude and the love and compassion I am able to express.”
ALANON – One Day At A Time.

The Alcoholism Trap:


Angela Carter said...

Hey There Angie,

I read your post because I am living with an acholic. I agree with everything you say and after 10 years of pure H... I have started applying the very same principles you speak of. It's not easy. The emotional rollercoaster acholics put on the family members can be overwhelming. I am disabled with arthritis and fibromyalgia and unable to work, I get a disability check which is barely enough to pay what bills I have and to buy what ever groceries we need. On July 2 of this year my husband became physically violent with me, but I had managed to call 911, shout out my name and address and phone number then hang up. He was sitting on top of me trying to get the phone out of my hands. He was still sitting on me with his fist drawn back ready to hit me when the 911 operator called back. He answered but wouldn't say anything when she asked him for his name. Instead I answered her. She told me to get up and leave, I told her I couldn't because he was sitting on me. She told him to get off of me, he did, and I went outside and waited for the police. This was the first time he had ever done this although he had started to become unpredictable some months before this. This was not the first time I had used the method you suggest.
He had never really acknowledged that we were man and wife, that the house we live in was ours, he has his own bank account and I have mine. He has always made sure that I understood that it was his house, his cars, his money and so on. He gave me the job of paying bills and paying for any household items that were needed. Now, he has informed me that I am never to touch his bank book or use his money in any way to pay for the care of my animals, office supplies, my medication or doctor bills, or even the groceries. Unfortunatly, I don't make any where near the amount to cover all these expenses. Our cell phones are in my name and I pay that bill but now I can't even do that because in July after this incident he ran up a $350 cell phone bill when he was on one of his drunken episodes. He gave me $100 to cover what he thought was sufficent and told me that I had to pay the rest because I owed him that money anyway and more. He has treatened to have me arrested for stealing his money and wanted to know where I had it stashed. The really sad thing about this is that he doesn't remember saying or doing any of the things I tell him when he's sober. He says I'm lying about it all.
He informed last week that if I filed for divorse he wasn't going to give me one dime and that I was going to leave with exactly what I came into the relationshp with, NOT A THING. I told him he might want to get a lawyer for that one. Georgia law states that when a spouse is asking for support it is up to the judge if they deserve it or not.
He has also told me that when I quit taking my pain killers he'll quit drinking. How sad, I take 100 mg of Tramadol a day for arthritis pain and I take 25 mg of Savella for Fibromyalgia pain.
He had gone to rehab and they told him I was a drug addict because I took prescription pain medicine. I really want to leave but unfortunatly I have no family, and no means to support myself as of yet. But I don't give up easily. I would say our relationship is not repairable. The countless nights of verbal abuse has left far deeper scares than any physical abuse even the worse drunk could leave.

Angie Lewis said...

Hi Angela,

I'm really sorry to read of your suffering. When an alcoholic becomes physically abusive you need to separate yourself from them. If your husband is still drinking, it will happen again.

Do you have a private area in your home you can go to when your husband starts drinking? If not and he starts drinking and getting violent, you may need to leave--go to a shelter, a friends house, anything, just leave.

Your husband needs help. Is he willing to get help? I am glad you are understanding how to live with an alcoholic, but in your case they are violent, which makes it harder, especially when you rely on the alcoholic for financial support.

Pray for your husband and marriage, Jesus to come into your life. Talk with someone at a shelter in your area, you may have to temporarily leave until if and when your husband stops drinking.

Keep God in your life. You can't do this alone...go to Alanon and meet other women who are going through the same thing as you are, believe me you will learn a lot from Alanon. You may meet a friend you can move in with.

My heart goes out to you, and I will be praying that your husband seek Christ for his life and get sober and for God to keep you safe under His loving wings. God Bless!

In Christ,

John said...

Speaking as the child of an alcoholic, I'd like to express my appreciation for the effort that was put into this article. I'm glad that there are people who are willing to sacrifice time and effort to inspire others to give up their harmful vices. Learning how to live with an alcoholic is much easier when you know that the alcoholic wants to change for the better. Thanks again!

Nick White said...

Hello All,

I am actually posting because I am a 23 alcoholic that is quickly going down the wrong road but looking for help. 9 times out of 10 i can drink a few drinks and be fine but that 10th time... i become another person. I usually explode into a rage and become emotionally or verbally abusing towards my wife, lashing out with the worst things i can say trying to "protect myself" because I have deep hurt that only comes out during these times. Recently I was arrested for a DWI and have 3 months without a license. On top of that, last weekend I got drunk again and off one little comment from my wife flew off the handle. For the first time in my entire life, i put my hands on her and pushed her when she tried to get past me. I am now starting to attend Celebrate Recovery, a Christian 12-step program. I want to get help and I have admitted that i am an alcoholic and that I cannot change myself or overcome it on my own.

Do any of you have suggestions of how to love my wife and support HER as she deals with an alcoholic husband at 23 and as she tries to support me?

I pray that God holds you all close and protects you physically, emotionally and spiritually. He is powerful and can change lives.

Frank, Angie, Brandon, Angelo, and Alex said...

Hi Nick,
Thanks for having the courage to write in. Usually it is the spouse of alcoholics who comment, almost never the alcoholic themselves.

Just the very fact that you are not in denial about your addiction and you know that you have an alcoholic problem is the first step towards recovery!! The first step is one of the most difficult to overcome. Admitting you have a problem with alcohol.

We have some very good ebooks and books on how to get sober and stay sober "for good" on the Heaven Ministries Website. As a matter of fact right now I am offering as a free gift to our readers my personal testimony of how I achieved sobriety. Another good book that will help the alcoholic is called "THE ALCOHOLISM TRAP".

This book will help you understand "why" you drink, how to truly get sober, and "why" you become verbally abusive with your wife and how to do that.
So, come over and visit the ministry for the free book called Journey on the Roads Less Traveled and check out the other book on our website or Amazon.

Take care,
Frank and Angie