Living with someone who suffers with alcohol addiction is one of the hardest things someone can do. In some ways, in can be easier to be the person with the problem than it is to be the one that has to pick up the pieces. Pretending to other people that everything is ok is draining, and often those who are living with an alcoholic can become ill as a result of the strain.
In order for someone to retain their strength and health whilst living with an alcoholic, it is important to understand the nature of an alcoholic. Alcoholics are deceitful, they are selfish, they are manipulative, and they are self-centred. That is the nature of the illness. If these traits were a normal part of a person’s character, no one in their right mind would choose to live with them, but when it is masked behind alcoholism, it can become difficult to see things clearly.
We constantly speak to people that have begun to question their own sanity, and a common thing to hear is “maybe I am the one with the problem”. This is typical alcoholic behaviour; in order to turn the spotlight away from their own problem, they will highlight something about the other person and pick at it until the person backs off. They can also be highly manipulative and will often blame the people around them – “I only drink because you’re always nagging me”. Once again, it is important to remember this is an addict speaking. Loved ones do not force the person to do anything, and whilst an addict may not have any choice about becoming an alcoholic, they do have the choice to get better.
It is essential for those living with an alcoholic to make sure they have support in place, and this is where Al-Anon comes in. Al-Anon was set up BY people living with alcoholics FOR people living with alcoholics and is designed specifically to provide support. In order to find out where your local Al-Anon meeting is call 0207 403 0888. One-to-one counselling support can also be extremely valuable, and this is something Addiction Helper will be more than happy to discuss with you should you wish to call us.