For the FAMILIES of those who suffer…….
I’m venturing into uncharted Territory here….LMAO
At the risk of crossing over the line as an “ alcoholic offender” into the territory of those who have been offended, I wanted to reach out to the family members and or friends to try to give you a better understanding of alcoholism coming directly from an alcoholic. I personally started drinking at the age of thirteen and didn’t get sober until I was forty years old. I spent more than half my life listening to people tell me I was a monster when I drank and living in the wonderful world of denial. I have also been on the receiving end and been in relationships with people who suffered from alcoholism so I know what it feels like from your point of view. Alcoholism is a family disease. When you don’t suffer from an actual addiction, it’s impossible to completely understand but I’m hoping that this will at least make some things more clear. Grab a cup of coffee and have a seat cuz this is going to be a long read…LOL
TOP TEN QUESTIONS, STATEMENTS & MISCONCEPTIONS FAMILY MEMBERS HAVE EITHER THOUGHT OR SAID TO THEIR LOVED ONE WHO IS SUFFERING FROM THIS DISEASE.
- I just don’t understand why you just can’t stop…..
- You could have been anything they wanted to be, yet you chose to be drunk.
- Nobody in our family is an alcoholic so I don’t see why it’s a problem.
- Your drinking has made you a loser and that must be the way you want to live otherwise you would change!
- You’re the one with the problem not me
- You’re a disgrace to this family and I wish you were never born.
- You’re choosing drinking over your family, you can quit any time you want to. You just don’t want to.
- How the hell can you be an alcoholic? You don’t drink every day. You’re using it as an excuse.
- If you just laid off the booze and stuck to wine or beer, you wouldn’t have a problem.
- If you just drank at home, it wouldn’t be so bad.
Please allow me to tell you first and foremost with regard to number one, that when you suffer from the disease of alcoholism, you can’t just wake up one day and say I’m done. There is a profound amount of help that we need to get before we can put alcohol completely behind us. Even with that, once we get that help, it doesn’t mean we are cured. Once an alcoholic, ALWAYS an alcoholic. There is no cure, there is only treatment. Even with having sobriety in the double digests, there is always a possibility of an alcoholic relapsing. When we go through recovery, we are in remission from this deadly disease, if we don’t take care of ourselves and do what is required on a daily basis, the disease takes back over. Our bodies crave it once we get it into our system and it’s NOT something we can control by any stretch of the imagination.
Number Two, Three and Four: Trust and believe this is not something we CHOSE. Alcoholism is a disease that is not picky on who it decides to affect. NO BODY is exempt from the disease Why do some people get cancer and others don’t? Why do some people suffer from MS and others don’t? How about Alzheimer? They are all deadly diseases, so is alcoholism. Like any deadly disease, if not treated, the end result will be death There is no cure but it can be treated. We don’t chose to become liars, cheaters, manipulators or thieves. We don’t chose to constantly hurt and disappoint our families and loved ones. In reality, the alcohol controls US, we do NOT control it. The sad part is an alcoholic is almost always the LAST person to realize we have a problem. The addiction has such a hold on us that we can and will justify our bad behavior and place everywhere except where it belongs. I drank like an alcoholic for over twenty years of my life and had absolutely no clue that I truly had a problem. It’s like we see everything in black and white. There is no gray area. We do not have the ability to have responsible thoughts or make right decisions once the alcohol is in our system. We don’t pretend not to see it, we really DON’T. Truth be told, we live in denial all the time and we actually believe our own shit. Sad? Most definitely, but extremely true.
Number Five: Alcoholism is a Family Disease. Although you physically may not suffer, you mentally suffer and get drawn into the misery right along with us. May I suggest you check out a program for Al-Anon. It’s a program specificity for family members and loved ones of an alcoholic.
Number Six & Seven: This statement is wrong on so many levels. Speaking as an alcoholic, I can tell you that although it may not seem like it, we suffer from guilt for our actions towards others, we actually DO wish we could change it but have to hit an actual bottom before we become willing to admit there is in fact a problem. Would you say something like this to a family member who was suffering from any of the diseases I’ve already mentioned? These words are easily said because most people have difficulty thinking of alcoholism as a disease. To those who don’t understand, we’re more of an embarrassment than anything. We truly do feel the guilt, we already feel lower than low but in active addiction there’s no way out so we drink to avoid feeling that guilt and disgust. It’s a vicious cycle. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not in any way trying to incite a pitty party. True indeed we need to be held accountable for our actions. I’m just saying that comments such as that isn’t going to fix anything. If you feel you have to walk away, then by all means, walk away. You have a life, you deserve to be happy and if an alcoholic is preventing you from doing that, take charge of your life and do what you need to do. By you doing so, that just MIGHT be the beginning of the end. It MIGHT be the bottom they need to hit. Even if it isn’t, you have your own life to live. As for number seven, as I’ve said, we don’t chose this life. I would not wish this disease and all that comes with it on my worse enemy.
Number Eight: There are several different kinds of drinkers, there are heavy drinkers, daily drinkers, binge drinkers and more. I was one of those alcoholics who didn’t drink everyday which made justifying that I was NOT an alcoholic even easier. With a binge drinker, we don’t drink every day, go through the shakes in the mornings or anything like that. HOWEVER COMMA…..What happens is when we DO hit the bottle, we literally can NOT stop. Not mentally or physically.
Numbers nine and ten: Changing what we drink is not going to fix the problem, nor is changing where we drink. Alcohol is alcohol. It’s like an allergy, our bodies do not react to alcohol the way it does to a “normal” drinker. Once we get that first one in our system, it sets off a reaction that we can not control in any way. We drink, we want more, our bodies crave it. For us one is not enough, neither is ten, fifteen etc……
Another misconception of our disease is after we’ve been sober for a few months or longer, people think we will gain control and can have “just one” NOPE. No matter how long we stay sober, we will NEVER be able to drink like a normal drinker and we will automatic pick up where we left off. There are a great many treatment programs out there, it’s not just about “Not drinking” there are many things that must be dealt with and it’s something we can NOT deal with alone.
I hope that after reading this you have at least somewhat of a better understanding of alcoholism. I could go on and on, but those are the basics and going into further probably wouldn’t make a whole lot of sense to you. Feel free to read the rest of my blogs if you like or you could just send me a private message on my Facebook page if you have any questions.
October 8, 2014
AJ Menendez, Master Male Illusionist.