Alcoholism Part 1
I've talked about this in more depth on my blog at http://life501.blogspot.com.
In this article I'm going to talk about alcoholism and it's effects.
I've entered private counseling as well as therapy for both my husband and I. Much of it is tailored towards my childhood and the effects of living with an alcoholic parent.
I dislike my private sessions due mainly to the reason it is tailored towards substance abuse primarily which I don't have a problem with. But it seems they want everyone to go into programs for alcohol abuse even if they don't touch the stuff. It seems they expect everyone to admit to being alcoholics even if they aren't. In essence, if you happen to be an occasional drinker or have had a glass of wine or two in the past you get labeled an alcoholic and are expected to get into a program such as AA which I don't agree with.
Not everyone are alcoholics and having a beer or glass of wine once in a while or even getting drunk on occasion doesn't make one an alcoholic. It's when that person has a problem with it and can't leave it alone and is using it as a crutch for his/her problems or to deal with life's stresses or simply drinks all the time whatever the reason that's when there is a problem that needs to be dealt with.
It's true most people will not admit they have a problem until their life is falling apart, they can't hold down a job or are using alcohol to deal with work stresses, their family finally deserts them because they can no longer deal with their alcoholism that they finally get help and sometimes even then they still refuse blaming the people around them saying it is their fault they are drinking or it is the other person's problem if they can't handle their drinking.
First off, I want to clear up a myth that some counselors have that it is somehow the nondrinkers problem and the nondrinker is somehow triggering the alcoholic to drink. This is a fallacy. I say nondrinker for non alcoholic. It is not the nondrinker's fault, it is not the nondrinker's problem if the he/she can't handle the spouse's/partner's excessive drinking. This is all on the alcoholic. An alcoholic will say many things to put the problem back on the partner/spouse when in reality it falls squarely on the alcoholic and it is he/she who needs to seek treatment for his/her alcoholism. But as I've already stated, many alcoholics will not face up to his/her problem instead continually blaming someone or something else for the drinking. With this pattern of thought nothing will ever change. The alcoholic will continue to drink blaming other's and the situation that triggers the drinking making an excuse for his/her behavior.
Some counselors believe it beneficial to put some of the blame on the spouse/partner. I, however, do not agree with this mindset. Perhaps since I'm not a counselor I'm faulty in my thinking. But I believe it does an alcoholic no good to sugarcoat the situation and put part of the blame on the partner. That relieves the alcoholic of part if not all of the responsibility for his/her drinking. As long as you can blame someone else for your problems why take responsibility yourself?
I speak from a long line of experience of dealing with alcoholism here so I do know what I am talking about to some degree. I also know the devastation that alcoholism causes and how it can totally a rip a family apart and how often times the alcoholic will take no responsibility for his/her actions. Sometimes an alcoholic will never take responsibility for his/her drinking. If you are dealing with someone like this it isn't your fault he/she drinks no matter what he/she says. Believe me, they will always try to make it about you.
As I said before some counselors approach the situation from this angle. I know this because I have just one such counselor. I like her and I do believe she can help with other issues so I continue to go to her. In her defense she may believe sugarcoating or babying the alcoholic(as I call it) is the way to go rather than just telling him he needs help and to find an AA meeting because as we all know that doesn't work. In fact, it would probably drive the alcoholic far and fast away from the counselor. But there is no easy way to let someone know they need help other than to simply tell them and let them choose for themselves. And there must be consequences for their actions. If they refuse to get help and are tearing the family apart then it is pertinent you leave and that the children be taken out of this kind of situation.
I grew up with an alcoholic and there was no out for me. My dad was a verbally abusive drunk and I had no escape. I had to stay in it and take it.
If you believe you are doing more damage by taking your children away from the alcoholic parent, trust me, you are doing more damage by leaving them in this situation. In fact, you are doing damage your children will never recover from. You may think you're not but you are.
Some think alcoholism is an insideous disease and in some respects it is. But alcoholism is something the alcoholic thinks he can't control, will not control for whatever reason or he simply thinks he doesn't have a problem. That the problem is everyone else and for most loved ones of alcoholics this is probably the situation you are facing.
And as one of my counselors put it some drink because it's what they do. Whatever the reason, when alcohol starts to take over and the person can no longer control it then it's a problem. Some say they can turn it off and on whenever they like but this isn't the case because if they could they would stop after one or two beers but most people know one or two people that can't do that. They will start with one beer and go on what many call runners where they drink from sunup to sundown for days maybe even weeks then they will sober up for awhile, a week, a few weeks maybe even a few months then fall off the wagon per se(although they've never went to an AA meeting) and start drinking again.
I know two such fellows as this. One man, in my previous church would go on these terrible runners where he'd drink so heavily it's a wonder it didn't kill him. In fact, he described having hallucinations on several occasions where he thought people were in his house. On one occasion he thought he was being robbed until he tried to touch one of the people and realized they weren't real. One time he was so drunk he fell out into oncoming traffic. And this is constant. It's a continual problem. Eventually his sister will go and see about him after a few days if she hasn't heard from him and she and her husband will take him home and get him cleaned up because he's confided that when he gets drunk he'll soil himself. The other man isn't as bad but still goes on what I call runners where he will drink for several days without stopping.
My dad, on the other hand, would drink every day or when he was working, he would drink every weekend of after work. On occasion he would experience delusions but it was never that bad. He would just drink every day or when he got an opportunity but never as heavily. Nevertheless, he was a hateful drunk that said some awful stuff when he was drunk or drinking. My dad never really had to drink that much to get belligerent. A little would do the trick and there are alot of people like that. They only have to drink a small amount to become nasty.
When I was kid we had a neighbor who was such an alcoholic that he carried his alcohol with him everywhere he went. He had lost his drivers license years earlier so he rode a bicycle. He didn't work other than a few odd jobs here and there. He was a trained electricial but no one is going to hire someone who can't stay off the booze to work with electricity. It's dangerous. Most alcoholics can't hold down jobs although there are the exceptions like my dad and some of the men he worked with. They held off until the weekend then got drunk and stayed drunk until it was time to go back to work on Monday. But eventually even that catches up with a person.
There are no easy solutions to alcoholism. If you are an alcoholic or feel you may have a problem with it you are not doing yourself any favors by not accepting responsibility for your actions. If you live with someone who has a problem with it there is nothing you can do to make that person seek help. They will if they want to and if they don't they won't. Making threats of leaving and taking the children or other threats will not change the situation. On the other hand, you must avoid being an enabler to an alcoholic.
An alcoholic must want to change.
I will go more into that in the next article on alcoholism.