Most spouses and loved ones of addicts, that have not helped themselves, do feel resentment and anger. They feel resentful for taking care of the alcoholic. They feel resentful for taking the brunt of the abusive behaviors that come with addiction. They feel resentful because they are spending their days worrying about the alcoholic. Understand that you are not alone. When you learn to detach with love it will release a huge burden from you spiritually and emotionally.
1. Realize that Alcoholism is Not Your Problem or Responsibility
When you stop reacting to the alcoholic’s behaviors you at once stop allowing the addiction to control you. The truth is most loved ones of addicts are preoccupied with the addicts behaviors. In other words, they allow the behaviors of the addict to consume their thoughts day in and day out and it makes them sick with the addict. No wonder you feel resentful-you don’t have a life when you consume yourself with the addict’s behaviors!
The only time we would want to interfere with the alcoholic is if they are hurting themselves or someone else. Know the difference. We have to interfere if they are going to get into a car and drive drunk. We will have to interfere if they are emotionally abusing any children in the home. These things are a must, but we don’t have to enable the addiction or rescue them from the problems they create while drinking and being drunk.
2. Don’t Blame Yourself
Loved ones sometimes indirectly blame themselves for the addiction. This happens because the alcoholic has abusive tirades where they continually blame their spouse or other close loved ones for their unhappiness. But it’s not true! Alcoholics are alcoholics because they chose to take that first drink and they are responsible for what they do while intoxicated. Once you give them back the addiction they are more apt to come out from denial and seek help. Alcoholics can get sober but THEY have to be willing.
3. Stop Trying to Control the Addiction or Fix the Alcoholic
Loved ones and spouses think they can somehow control the amount of alcohol the alcoholic drinks, or they think they can somehow get them to stop drinking altogether. This is nonsensical. You are completely powerless to control the alcoholic or the addiction. But you can control how you react to the alcoholic’s behaviors. Be good to yourself and don’t let the abuse destroy your emotional and spiritual well being.
You can’t fix the alcoholic-they can only fix themselves. The more you enable and rescue the alcoholics problems, that they have created while drinking, the more they will be consumed within the addiction-in essence, you the enabler, are helping them drink! The best way to help the alcoholic or addict is to do nothing. Don’t react to the abuse and don’t enable and rescue.
4. Don’t Give up and Don’t Get Discouraged
We have control over what we do, what we say, and how we react to the addiction. We can control our own thoughts, actions and behaviors towards the alcoholic and towards ourselves. We can choose to continue doing those things that make us happy while praying for the recovery of our loved one. We must learn to let “it” go and give it to God. God gives us the peace we need to live with and love the alcoholic.
5. Get Educated About Alcoholism
The more we understand about alcoholism the easier it is for us to handle each and every situation that comes up with the alcoholic. I cannot say how important it is to get yourself educated about all the aspects of alcoholism because it will make or break your sanity in the long run. ALANON, a group that helps spouses learn to detach, is an excellent way to begin your education because you will realize you are not alone in how you feel and there are others who are going through exactly what you are. You don’t have to feel resentful or bitter about the addiction or alcoholic any longer.