I received the following comment on a post:
"Let me get this right: you're in recovery from someone else's drinking..?
I don't mean to demean or belittle your experience in any way as it's obviously affected you very deeply, but nothing I've read here describes the dark times you must have gone through.
Would you consider writing about that? I've never read a story of alcoholism from the sober person's perspective. There are quite a few blogs with names like Broken Hearted Mom, Parents of an Addict etc but I've read nothing by an alcohol survivor - that is the person who was at the sharp end of all the mood swings, the bad behaviour, the attitudes. The person who sat by their friend all night just checking they were still breathing..."
I have written a lot on this blog about alcoholism and its effects on me. I have written about the dark times for the alcoholics in my life and about my dark times as well. But I don't particularly find that revisiting the worse moments over and over to be helpful to me now. It is like listening to a drunkalog over and over--after a while everyone knows the story of what happened and what being really drunk is like.
Eventually there is a downwardly progressing spiral until a physical, emotional and spiritual bottom is reached. It isn't a pleasant ride. And being the person who watches this happen to a loved one is also unpleasant. Watching it long enough and trying to control the drinking of another is a good way to drive yourself crazy. And that's basically what happens after years of living with alcoholism. But where is the solution and where does recovery fit in? That holds a more important message for me than recounting the horrors of living with an alcoholic.
What I prefer to write about is the solution and not about the pain. I prefer to dwell on what I am doing in Al-Anon to help focus on myself and not on what the alcoholic is doing. I finally resigned myself to the fact that I couldn't cure anyone elses alcoholism. They had to do that for themselves with the help of their Higher Power and a program of recovery for them.
So I work on my recovery from the effects of living with alcoholics. I have many of the same issues that drove the alcoholic to drink. I, too, suffer from low self-esteem, anger, fear, and a host of other character defects. Some of these were those that helped me to cope with the dysfunctional family situation when I was a kid. Others have taken hold over the years of being married to an active alcoholic. It isn't an easy thing and eventually I was as sick or sicker than the alcoholic.
Al-Anon's 12 steps have helped me to realize that I can't cure or control another. Because the program is a spiritual one, I have come to believe that another person cannot be my sole focus and that there is a power greater than myself.
I know that misery is based on the choices that I make. I can choose to be happy by getting as much of the drama out of my life as I can. I can choose to live one day at a time and make this day count. I can mind my own business and not get overwhelmed by the problems of others. So it comes down to whether I choose misery or happiness. I like the happiness idea myself. My story isn't unique. It is told over and over by thousands of people who love an alcoholic/addict.
I think that recovery for me is a life long journey. I have pieced together many hours of serenity and peacefulness since beginning recovery. I no longer have great anxiety and a lot of desperate thoughts. The people in my life are sober and working on their own recovery. That is their journey. I am still moving forward with mine.
There is only this one life. And it doesn't have to be filled with heartache and sadness. There is a solution and it is one that involves reaching out for help. I learned that I needed help and took action to do something about it. I have found that if I simply reach out my hand, there will be someone there to grab it.