Saturday, September 19, 2009
From the spouse of an alcoholic
I am the spouse of an alcoholic---one who cannot handle alcohol. From my point of view, this makes me what I would call a ordinary alcoholic because I can handle neither you or the alcohol. Both our lives became entangled in a brew of frustration, fears, and lost hope.
Now, in an effort to recover, I find that we are no different really, because it's not the presence of the alcohol but the lack of it that makes us what we are. It's the feelings that we have in common. You see--- sometimes I'm afraid of what tomorrow may bring. Or perhaps I am hurt by a situation or someone. Sometimes I have feelings I cannot find words to express. I have hopes and dreams for tomorrow as well as for today.
I have needs, also. I need to be loved and to be shown that I am loved. I need your approval many times--do you not need mine? When I hurt deep inside, I need you to try and understand. Don't be angry with me or impatient, because I have enough trouble handling the hurt without trying to handle your anger and impatience at the same time. Would you not want the same consideration from me when you are suffering from some hurt or frustration? I know you give your fellow alcoholics this consideration because I have watched you do so.
Then comes the state of sobriety. Is sobriety your own private gift? Sobriety is not the lack of drinking to me-- that's just " dry." Sobriety of good quality is more then that. It's being able to be happy amid problems. It's the absence of unnecessary fear and anxiety. It's the presence of love and concern for others as well as from others. Sobriety is a feeling of contentment and well being. Sobriety is recognizing the presence of God not only in ourselves and others but also in the world around us. Can you now see why I need sobriety, too?
You say your sobriety must be maintained " at all costs." You say just want understanding and support. Do you think that my sobriety is less important then yours? So, I stuck around during your drinking because I love you. What I wanted was to be loved, remembered and understood in return. As my love for you must be patient and understanding, do you think I need less from you? As your recovery needs my support--does not mine need yours? You're supposed to be my partner. A partnership is a relationship involving two people of equal importance, so don't shove me in the corner. I cannot survive there. As you recognize the pain and suffering to your fellow alcoholics, recognize mine and I will recognize yours, Don't you see that we are really alike? Don't you hurt, cry, laugh, smile, hope, feel angry, frustrations, disappointments, and worry? Don't you need to feel loved and remembered, supported, useful, and cared about by me as well as by others? So do I.
I have learned to accept all the feelings that you have, and that you tried to escape from them by using alcohol. Now that you have discovered these things in yourself---take one more step. Look again--are we any different? I ask you---who am I?