Liv­ing with an AL­CO­HOLIC Part­ner

Great Health Guide - - FRONT PAGE - Words Susie Flash­man Jarvis De­sign Olek­san­dra Zuieva

Liv­ing with some­one who is ad­dicted to al­co­hol is a com­plex is­sue, full of blame and re­crim­i­na­tion. How do you man­age this sit­u­a­tion?

Are you alone? Do you take care of your­self? How do you self soothe?

The al­co­holic finds so­lace by lit­er­ally drown­ing out their pain. This of course has a mas­sive im­pact to those that love them; push­ing them away, freez­ing them out and caus­ing them un­told pain. Part­ners suf­fer, as do chil­dren. No one un­der­stands why the per­son that they love, puts al­co­hol be­fore them. Many part­ners feel re­jected, be­liev­ing that they are to blame in some way or an­other.

They be­lieve that they could have done some­thing to stop them but that is a lie. It is im­pos­si­ble to stop an ad­dict only the ad­dict can do it. You can sug­gest ways to help but it will still re­quire them to ad­mit and face the truth.

One of the ways that ad­dicts can be helped, is to ac­cess sup­port groups: Al­co­holics Anony­mous (AA) or re­cov­ery groups. They are mu­tual self-help groups for al­co­holics and these groups can in­form the part­ners, as to the jour­ney the al­co­holic must face.

The first stage is de­nial. This stage can take many weeks and that is af­ter the ad­dict has taken them­selves to the group, de­nial is an en­trenched be­lief sys­tem.

If you, the per­son that lives with them, know this de­nial fac­tor, then maybe you can put down the re­spon­si­bil­ity that is so of­ten picked up.

Many re­cov­er­ing al­co­holics un­leash all man­ner of pain on their fam­ily and it is hard for them to own this pain and to take re­spon­si­bil­ity. Ad­dicts live in de­nial, ly­ing to them­selves and it takes an enor­mous amount of courage to face it.

Liv­ing with an al­co­holic may force you to live iso­lated, with shame and fear pre­vent­ing you from speak­ing out.

So here are a few tips to help you man­age liv­ing with this most aw­ful ad­dic­tion:

• Talk to some­one. It is vi­tally im­por­tant that you find a safe per­son to be real with. We all need per­spec­tive.

• Stay safe. If the per­son is vi­o­lent when drunk, you should not stay in the same vicin­ity. Con­don­ing their be­hav­iour and not re­port­ing it, is not help­ing them, or you.

• Give your chil­dren the op­por­tu­nity to talk too. Either to your­self, or to a pro­fes­sional, or maybe both. It can be hard for par­ents to


hear their chil­dren’s pain. Chil­dren, whose par­ent con­doned the ad­dict’s be­hav­iour, find it much harder to process all that is hap­pen­ing and may de­velop un­healthy be­hav­iours too.

• Find ways to re­lax, med­i­tate, seek mind­ful­ness, read a good book or go for a walk.

• Find an AA sup­port group. In­di­vid­ual groups as­sist al­co­holics and those af­fected by the be­hav­iours of al­co­holics. The sup­port needed is very spe­cific.

• This is a hard path and one that needs strength and vi­tal­ity. Al­co­holics

Anony­mous, also called Al-Anon, is a world-wide sup­port or­gan­i­sa­tion. Dis­cover the Twelve Steps used in the As­so­ci­a­tion.

Susie Flash­man Jarvis is an ac­cred­ited coun­sel­lor, speaker and am­bas­sador for the char­ity Re­stored work­ing to­wards bring­ing an end to vi­o­lence against women. Susie’s novel At Ther­apy’s End tack­les the is­sue of do­mes­tic abuse. She is based in the UK and is avail­able for skype ses­sions. Susie may be con­tacted via her web­site.

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