I have firsthand experience with both sides of the alcoholism scenario: with family members as well as myself (I'm now in recovery).
They say alcoholism is cunning, baffling, and powerful. One could say the same about the alcoholic. If you have an alcoholic in your life, you know this to be true.
This article offers some suggestions—100% my own opinion and based on my personal experience—on how to recognize and deal with an alcoholic. Oh, yes, and regain your sanity, too. Because it's not easy living with someone as cunning, baffling, and powerful as an actively drinking alcoholic. Or any kind of addict, for that matter; same sick behaviors, just a different drug of choice.
It's a Progressive, Fatal Disease
The first thing to know about your alcoholic is that s/he is a sick person. Not a bad or weak person. A sick person. As hard as it is to watch someone self-destruct in front of your eyes, the person is not deliberately drinking him/herself to death. S/he is obeying the compulsion to drink. S/he is actually doing what comes naturally: treating the disease.
You see, to an alcoholic, to drink is to be well. It's their normal state. Not to drink is to be ill. Very ill. Until the "obsession of the mind/allergy of the body" is removed, the alcoholic is going to keep on drinking because he has to. He doesn't want to. He has to.
Until you get clued into this fact, the natural tendency is to revile the alcoholic. Tell the truth. Do you feel pity? Do you feel superior? Do you feel disgust? My guess is "yes."
But if your loved one (or work colleague or friend) had cancer, you wouldn't feel that way at all. Wouldn't you be supportive? Of course you would! Surely the alcoholic in your life deserves the same support.
The "Three Cs" of Codependency
I know, I know. That's a tough thing to accept. But it's true (at least current medical thinking is based on a disease model vs. a mental health model).
Again, if your loved one, colleague or friend had cancer, would you think you had caused it? Would you think that if s/he loved you s/he would stop having cancer? Would you blame him/her for acting sick?
Get over yourself. It's not about you! And you know as well as I do that's simply not true. Think about that. Do you believe you have the power to heal your loved one from a fatal disease? If you do, then you must be God. Are you God?
I thought not. So now that we've established that, let's move on to what you CAN do to help.
As you look helplessly at the alcoholic in your life, remember the Three Cs:
- You did not CAUSE it.
- You cannot CURE it.
- You cannot CONTROL it.
Or let me change the emphasis: YOU did not cause it. YOU cannot cure it. YOU cannot control it. And frankly, neither can the alcoholic!
Control is an Illusion
Of these three, the third one is the hardest to swallow. Sorry. I know how difficult it is. But you really can't control the disease or the alcoholic.
In fact, the more you try, the more you fail. The more you fail, the harder you try. It's the vicious cycle of the codepent (that's the person who 'enables' the alcoholic to keep drinking).
Alcoholics are cunning. When that urge to drink takes command, they will do anything to get their fix. Pouring their booze down the sink may make you feel momentarily better. It may slow your drinker down—a little bit. But trust me, at the very first opportunity s/he will find a way to get a replacement.
Equally ineffective tactics include:
The alcoholic may appear to go along with your wishes. S/he may even be sincere, but more than likely it's just a tactic to get you off their back. In the end, you cannot reason with a disease. Alcoholism listens to no one but itself.
Only you can make you a victim
The road to recovery is paved with martyrs. That's because in order to stay in their disease, alcoholics rely on others. They abdicate responsibility for their own lives.
Why? Because they can!!
Any why is that? Because YOU allow it.
While the alcoholic is chasing their bottle, you are frantically chasing your alcoholic.
You believe you are helping. What else are you supposed to do? You recognize they can't manage their own affairs.
You give them a place to live, pay their bills, lend them money, call them in sick to work (when they're really hung over), be the designated driver, pick up their slack at work, etc., etc., etc.
The more you do for them, the less they have to do. Which is great for them, as it allows them more free time to drink. But it's not so great for you. You rightly end up feeling angry and resentful -- not to mention frustrated, defeated and scared.
Who IS This Person?
And you are absolutely right to be scared. This isn't the sniffles. It's serious shit.
As noted above, alcoholism is a progressive, fatal disease. That means that it gets worse over time. It accelerates at different rates in different people. But in the end, it wants its victims dead. If left untreated, it will result in death.
If you've known or lived with an alcoholic for a long time you've probably noticed the changes that occur. In the earliest stage it's difficult to distinguish an alcoholic from other hard partiers/heavy drinkers (although there are clues).
As the disease takes hold, the person starts acting more and more strange. Since you are not an alcoholic, this behavior will seem incredibly bizarre to you. You're right. The behavior truly is bizarre.
The person you once knew becomes seduced by the siren song of alcohol, which inevitably leads them over the rocks (not ice cubes—figurative but craggy, sharps, lethal rocks).
But you don't have to free-fall with them. If you recognize the signs in time, you can get help for yourself, and (fingers crossed) for your alcoholic, too.
How to Identify Alcoholic Behaviors: Some Basics
Here are some behaviors you might observe with an alcoholic:
- Hiding bottles.
- Drinking, vomiting, then drinking more.
- Drinking in the middle of the night (I'm not talking about partying -- I mean waking up at 2 a.m. to take a belt).
- Shaking when deprived of alcohol.
- Having seizures caused by alcohol withdrawal.
- Being unable/unwilling to eat food, preferring to drink instead.
- Not remembering where they were, who they were with or what they did. This is called a "blackout" and is very, very common among alcoholics.
- Lying about the amount they are consuming.
- Lying about who they were with (alcoholics find their equilibrium with others who drink like they do).
- Promising to cut down or quit, but being unable to.
How to Identify Alcoholic Behaviors: More Subtle Clues
And here are some behavioral clues that the person you're dealing with is suffering from the disease of alcoholism. Bear in mind that the vast majority of alcoholics are "functioning" (meaning they can still hold it together on the surface) they are still addicted to alcohol.
- Socially erratic. Blows off dates, family gatherings, and other social events with no warning or explanation.
- Decreasing job performance. As judgment becomes cloudy, it becomes more difficult to focus.
- Chronic absences and tardies. Mornings are not the alcoholic's favorite time of day!
- Poor decisions. If you find yourself saying, "What was s/he thinking???" the answer is probably: "S/he wasn't. S/he was drinking!"
- Initial high tolerance for alcohol (the one who can drink everyone else under the table) shifts to a low tolerance. By the end of their drinking careers many alcoholics report they were never sure if they were going to be able to drink all night and not get a buzz or get totally trashed on one drink.
- Car crashes.
- Broken bones and/or unexplained bruises and boo-boos.
- Frequent changes of job, residence and/or relationships.
- Financial problems (theirs) and/or missing money (yours).
- Irritability. Alcoholics are very, very protective of their drug of choice and their "private business."
So What Can You Do?
I believe the smartest thing anyone in your position can do is to learn as much as you can about alcoholism.
Get yourself a copy of The Big Book. It's a blue book with the words "Alcoholics Anonymous" on the cover. It's like the Bible of AA.
Attend "open" meetings of AA. Listen to how members describe their drinking days and their lives in recovery.
If you can, bring your alcoholic with you. But don't be too upset or discouraged if s/he refuses to go. You will likely be able to find someone willing to come and talk with (not to) your alcoholic and plant the seed of recovery.
Practice "tough love" with your alcoholic. Remember, s/he will continue to drink until something changes to force the issues. As long as you are taking care of their needs, where's the incentive?
If your alcoholic is particularly stubborn, you may have no choice but to walk away from your relationship. Sad as that sounds, it may be the best thing you can do. It shows you're serious and you're not going to let the alcoholic rule your life anymore.
And Last But Not Least...
Since the average person is pretty much clueless about alcoholism there's still a lot of misinformation, guilt, and shame involved. Even if you now understand what you're up against, it doesn't mean your parents, neighbors, boss or friends do. It's quite common for the "co" (codependent) in the relationship to isolate. That's only natural, given the amount of energy you need to expend chasing your alcoholic as s/he chases their bottle!
But you don't have to endure the insanity alone. Just as the program of Alcoholics Anonymous is here to help alcoholics become (and remain) sober, there is a parallel program for those affected by another person's drinking. That program is Al-Anon/Alateen.
Founded by the wife of one of the founding fathers of AA, this program is a godsend for anyone with a drinker in their life. Your alcoholic may never get sober. But you deserve some peace in your life.
God bless you. I wish you serenity.
Does this sound like you?
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
Lisa Chang on April 08, 2018:
I have been with an alcoholic for 20 years. Never married him though waiting patiently. He promised me that things would change and be better. Afraid of commitment. Various life occurrences would set him off and on is way to drinking. and prescription meds. Great cocktail mix I must say! He would lie to my face if he stole my meds. Then while in the zone his tone and attitude would change towards me. You're a liar, your selfish, it's all about you! This man could not face there own insecurities and blame me for his short comings. Rehab was a joke! It was a resort for him to scope out chicks and score! Lies, after lies after lies. One minute your the best thing on earth the next you become the crap
you scrape off the bottom of your shoe. The abuse!! The guilt he feels for what he has done to his son/daughter. Enabler! Denial!!! My fault falling victim to a scum and believing in you! You say your on a new path! Right after all the vicious things you said!!
KARMA will win in the end...
Llang66 on August 27, 2017:
Having been with an alcoholic for 11 years and trying everything with no success, I have decided to walk away in order to survive. It has taken everything mostly me. I have become someone I don't know, angry, sad, drained, withdrawn desperately seeking relief and a small glimmer of hope. I have nightmares from the torment of my partners addiction. It's him or me and I choose me. I am sure there are many out there who still have the determination to stick this out. I have lost all hope and there is no way I could go one more day. I used to really love this person but this disease has killed it for good. Now I have a chance to be free from this horrible life, I am going to take it before it's too late for me.
A Believer on August 13, 2017:
Very hard to feel unable to help someone you love. Sometimes you dont even know if the rest of the world cares...the its theres ....PROFESIONAL help...if they really want.
But sadly you become their punching bag.
Alcohol and poor decitions. Made our future ,dreams and plans fall faster than how they started.
Desiree Denise Nix from Georgia on July 11, 2017:
The man I've carried in my heart for the past eighteen of my thirty four years is an alcoholic. We've stayed in touch over the years, both of us being married to different people. After reading this article, I can't help but wonder how much of what he told me about his ex wife and ex girlfriend being such awful people was true? If any? He called me up out of the blue one night and told me he'd been thrown out and that he was homeless, and asked me for a place to stay. I didn't know then that I was enabling him by doing so. All I knew was the chance I thought I'd lost was suddenly here again. Alcoholism is a new beast to me. At first he wasn't so bad, he'd just be the rowdy "I love you" drunk. Then he was too drunk to go into work and I called him out with a lie. Then he was finally so drunk at work he couldn't even hold an egg (he was a line cook) and just walked out on his job. Paul goes through bouts of drying out, laying in my lap shaking and miserable, swearing he'll never touch another drop again, only to walk to the store (we have no car) to buy "a couple" of beers. He's stayed unemployed, and the more time he's had to drink, the more hateful and violent he gets. Things have gotten to the point that when he's good and drunk he'll get extremely suicidal, and I spend my days wrestling knives away from him so he doesn't cut himself any deeper, until he'll turn on me and grab me by the throat and pin me and scream in my face about how he could really kill me if he wanted to. Nights I spend staying awake because he promises me before he passes out that he'll kill himself when I'm asleep. Despite all the ugliness, I do love Paul, I love him so much, and that's why I'm so torn. Sober Paul is a wonderful man. Drunk Paul scares the hell out of me. Monday he's leaving for inpatient rehab and he tells me that he loves me but that he wants me to move on and I just don't know. Say I move on and the rehab takes this time (he's been once before), and a year later he wants another chance, what on earth do I do then? How can I say I love him and even consider moving on? Do I really believe that this time he can make it to that 1%, or do I just want to believe it?
Mark on July 08, 2017:
My wife of 13 years is an alcoholic. We have two kids aged 9 and 10.
Our lives are miserable. Countless trips to rehab have not worked,apart from a seven month period last year, that was bliss.
She now has chronic pain from injuries, broken leg and heel,seperate accidents within 12 months,this is driving her to drink.
Sick of phone calls from my kids,upset because mum is drinking.
Kicked her out last weekend, the ensuing argument ensured a visit from the police.
I have devoted myself to helping her,countless hours missed at work, I'm exhausted.
I can tell if she's had one drink,facial expressions, attitude changes are a dead givaway.
I'm 51 years old with no future , had to sell our home after a builder failed to pay my plumbing business, we were left with nothing after paying our debts.Alcoholism has just sent me to the edge.
I've stopped drinking myself so there is no aĺcohol in the house,but we all know they wiĺl get it somehow.
Wine in pillowcases,in the garden,hidden throughout the house,she even drinks vanilla essance for gods sake.
I guess I'm just venting,I've thought of taking the kids and leaving,i hate seeing them upset,it kills me.
I love my wife,the sober days she is wonderful,great mother and wife.
Guess i have to make some hatd decisions.
To everyone living with an alcoholic,i feel your pain and fustration.The sadness you feel when they look you in the eye and lie to your face.
I've been a rock for my wife for a long time but I'm crumbling, broken,desperate ,searching for a rainbow in a sky of dark clouds .
I will get through this, for my kids sake,hopefully my wife will beat this toxic disease before it's too late for her and our family.
Susan Reid (author) from Where Left is Right, CA on December 23, 2016:
I am so very sorry to hear of your losses. It is, unfortunately, common for the alcoholic in a relationship to steal the spotlight and spread lies about the devoted person who is caring for them. I am now friends with the "behind the scenes" spouse of an alcoholic who has a broad network of friends. No one knows the "other side" of the story. The alcoholic has everyone believing she is being abused, when I (now) know that is hardly the case. Without her spouse, she'd be toast.
I also understand how devastating it is to be "invisible" or even blamed by the alcoholic's family. They don't know what to do with their own guilt and anger and shock (where were any of them?), so they project onto you.
I'm sorry. I know this is a huge loss, but your life will go on (if you allow yourself to heal and move past these bad years). In my life, my husband and I have had to move on from an alcoholic and narcissistic family member who poisoned the rest of the family against us. It is hard, but we know we are better off without the toxicity.
As for you, Liza, I'm so glad you are getting out while you can. By paying rent and providing drinking money for your boyfriend, you are ENABLING him to live the way he does. Knowing how alcoholics think (selfishly, like the rules to not apply to them), I am suspicious of this woman he drinks with. I strongly suspect they are more than drinking "buddies." But any way you look at it, as long as you tolerate being used, he's going to use you. I'm glad you are getting free from the situation. You deserve to be treated with respect and love, not taken for granted.
Please remember, you are dealing with SICK people. They don't know they're sick (or maybe they do, but are not yet at the point where they are ready to get well). They make everyone around them sick, too. It sucks, but that is the nature of the disease of alcoholism.
Al-Anon may be helpful in understanding your part in keeping your alcoholic (and you) sick. At the very least, attend an open AA meeting and listen to others' stories. You will recognize the behaviors and realize what you have been living with is NOT unique to you. I wish you all the best in YOUR recovery. MM
Liza on December 23, 2016:
Thank you for addressing this. I have lived with an alcoholic for 13 years. He has no ended the relationship with me and said he will continue doing what he is doing and drinks with a female co worker of his who loves to drink and smoke cigars with him. His alcoholism has destroyed my life physcially and fianancially. He will not release me from the apartment lease till Feb 17 due to the fact that he wants to keep as much money as he can for his bar tabs. I read this article more than once to help me understand that it is not me who is the problem it is my boyfriend who goes out and drinks and passes out in his car till he is ready to drive home. I am so miserable living with him till Feb 17. I hate seeing him self destruct. I know when I am going he will continue his self destruction and I will end up picking up the pieces once again. Alcholism has really came in unexpectedly and taken over his life and mine.
Michelle Creary on July 20, 2015:
Two weeks ago yesterday the man I loved drannk a bottle of 90% home brew and never woke up. I had been with him for 8 years, a month into our relationship my only child took his life aged 21. Needless to say I had absolutely no support and having no family I was alone. His name was Andy, he had 2 teenage daughters that he had not seen for 18 months. When I contacted the family to inform them of what had happened the came directly to my property and retrieved his belongings, they asked me to pay for his funeral...this man had lived off me, stollen off me and anything he owned of any worth I had purchased though he always paid me back. I was devestated until I went to his funeral and they never even mentioned my name, one of his friends approached me and asked me what my name was. I am alone and totally devestated that people could be so cruel and narrow minded. I looked after their brother, father, son for 8 miserable years. He also spread so many lies about me in the small town where we lived that most people I feel blame me for his death or why else would the not even look me in the eye at his service. I know i sound like a martyr but the pain of this is too much. I have a handful of true friends who saw what I went through but nobody truely understands and I am so alone its all i can do to survive this pain. Help me please
psychicdog.net on July 18, 2015:
Perfectly described my situation. Very tough.
Buildreps from Europe on October 19, 2013:
Very nice article. If to look at the 10 points How to Recognize an Alcoholic you're talking about someone who is already totally lost. I believe it's more simple: if you're longing to drink every day, a few drinks the person already is an alcoholic.
pramodgokhale from Pune( India) on April 19, 2013:
I liked topic and appreciate a well written by female writer. I am an Indian male , enjoyed alcohol in young age.I was factory worker and used to drink after duty. later i came to know i am doing wrong and reduced it almost nil. I kept myself engaged and improvised my health and found more energetic and charming.
I was never alcoholic and upgraded my skills and guiding young people not to consume alcohol.
The item which affects health and efficiency then it is best to avoid it.
India is a tropical country so there is no need of alcohol at all.
This topic is an eye opener.I am reading your other topic and will comment later.
Susan Reid (author) from Where Left is Right, CA on April 14, 2013:
Hi again VC. I just responded to your other post.
I know what you are seeing looks incomprehensible. Your daughter does love her daughter. She is not choosing drinking over everything else. She is hardwired for self-destruction. You said the episodes in between drinking are getting shorter. The disease of alcoholism is progressing inside her. She is powerless over it. It's not unlike a rapidly growing cancer. You wouldn't .blame someone with cancer for having it! But alcoholism, like cancer, can be put into 'remission.'
I know you love your daughter, too. And are only trying to get her into
But until SHE is willing to get help treatment not going to work. You cannot force an alcoholic into sobriety.
What you CAN do is what you have threatened. Let her face the natural
consequences of her drinking. Let her managers confront her directly.
If need be, let her lose her job. Let her let the deadline pass. Not up to you to intercede there. If need be, let her lose her home.
It takes losing everything for some alcoholics to accept that they need help. Sometimes hearing from a doctor "your liver is going to fail in 6 months if you don't stop" does the trick. Or losing their kids to CPS.
Her daughter deserves stability in her life. It sucks to live with an erratic parent. Maybe your granddaugther is right -- let her live with you. For her sake. And for your daughters, so she can concentrate on getting herself well. She's in no condition to be a parent now. Luckily you are there for your granddaughter.
I am so sorry you are going through all this. You are not alone. I encourage you to go to an OPEN meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous. You will hear firsthand how others climbed back out of the deep pit. Women and men who are exactly where your daughter is now. Sick people who are working to be well and happy without drinking.
Al-Anon is another program to help you with your exposure to all this. Alcoholism makes the whole family sick. And Ala-Teen for your granddaughter would be a go.od idea.
I wish you and your family the best. Will put you in my prayers.
VC on April 14, 2013:
My daughter is an alcoholic. I am trying to get the point of letting go but it is so hard. She is good person and has worked hard for what she has. It is hard to see her lose everything and more importantly lose her life. She has issues she has never worked out and I know in my heart that she will die as she is now and will more than likely die when she loses everything. I feel it is a no win situation. I know that we have enabled her by helping her keep her house, helping her get another car after being in a wreck that should have killed her. She started drinking again in the last two weeks after getting her into detox in December, it seems to occur much sooner now in between treatments. This has being going on atleast five years now. We have done intervention, along with pleading, guilt and a lot of cryingl. We know it is something we will truly never understand as to how someone can not care enough about themselves to stop. She has a 13 year old daughter that I go get each time now and have to talk her into going back when she sobers up. Her daughter begs us to take her permanently because she wants a life that is normal with a normal family where she does not have to worry about having friends over or the next time she is going to pick the bottle up again. My heart is torn! CPS has been involved at times but that doesn't seem to get through to her either, even after she has sobered up, that she will lose everything including her daughter if she does not accept that she is an alcoholic and learns to deal with her issues and be happy without alcohol. She has allowed a guy to come back that she just put out since getting sober that is very obsessive with her. However he is ok with having her either way right now, probably more so being drunk because she is not in her right mind to make him leave, at least until she loses everything. With him there I cannot really talk to her because she has someone to be sympathetic with her. Her managers contacted me before Christmas concerned that she would lose her job, but they were willing to help her. I was very concerned about talking to them, but realized if they were willing to help that it was better to be truthful. She still would not listen to me when I told her they did not want her to come back to work until she received help. I finally had to have them come to her house to tell her face to face that she gets help or she will not have a job. She finally agreed to go into detox. This same guy was there and I had to deal with him too, telling her he would get her out of detox, because she had told him not to let anyone put her in. Now it has started all over, her managers have contacted me again and are willing to to help, but that she only has until the 21st to get help, after that she is out of time. My daughter has told me to quit talking to her managers as I am making it worse and he is texting me telling me I am making it worse, which he is just an idiot. Yesterday I told her I am done and that I am sick of it. I don't know if I can hold to that, but am trying. It is so hard to watch someone you love so very much destroy themselves; not only their self but those you know they care about. I know she loves her daughter, but she is destroying her as well.
Susan Reid (author) from Where Left is Right, CA on April 09, 2013:
Hello im walking away from this.
Hooray for you for recognizing that your friend's behavior has crossed a line. That kind of disregard for others comes with the territory with alcoholics/addicts, I'm afraid. His behavior will catch up with him. The job won't last and there won't be another friend to help him score another one. Some alcoholics have to burn ALL their bridges before they
realize they need help.
You are smart to walk away. Don't let him make you feel guilty or try to manipulate you. Stand your ground.
You're actually doing him a favor by making him stand on his own two feet.
But I'm really sorry he got you fired. I'll keep my fingers crossed your employer figures out the truth.
im walking away from this on April 09, 2013:
ater many years of dealing with a friend who drinks, i cant take it . the last straw is that he got me fired after i got him a job. he stole a bottle of narcotics and said i did it so he wouldn't be blamed. im done, he can drink himself into the grave for all i care now
Dana Hayden, M.Ed. from near Seattle on October 28, 2012:
Susan Reid (author) from Where Left is Right, CA on October 23, 2012:
Hi Darren Ward,
First, I'm really glad you have moved on to someone positive. That's a positive sign that you ARE moving on.
I know exactly what you are describing with your ex. There is a certain (ok, huge) amount of second-guessing what actually happened, what could we have done to prevent it, should we have done more to keep the insanity in check?
Hindsight is 20/20. It's common to not recognize in the midst of the storm just how f-d up it is, or know how to get out of it. Especially when you love the person and leaving is not your #1 goal (even though that's what ultimately has to, and it sounds like did happen).
Alcholics have been described as a force of nature. You are pretty much as powerless against one as you are against a hurricane or tornado. They are not doing it on purpose -- they are driven to be insenstive, erratic, dishonest and destructive. They are compelled by a DISEASE that is bigger than them. And it's bigger than you. No matter how big, strong, tough, smart, or loving you are, you're battling a big foe. And it's not your ex.
I will share with you that I am still going through the self-questioning process. I am myself in recovery. I understand this disease very, very well. I know it when I see it, I know what it does to people. But, even knowing all that, I was not prepared for my sister-in-law. I witnessed her attacking her brother (my husband), also a big guy. I heard her lie about what happened and accuse HIM of trying to "kill" HER. Not true. I saw her completely destroy (or try her conniving best to) anyone in her path that didn't go along with her. Including her father, her mother, her brother, and to some extent me.
I'm still sorting out that "What did I really know and when did I suspect it? Shouldn't I have seen this coming? WHY didn't I use the knowledge I have to prevent this?"
The answer is, like you, I did what I could do in the face of a force of nature.
So what can you do now?
ACCEPTANCE and SELF-FORGIVENESS are key. It happened. But it's over and you did live through it. Time will lessen the intensity of the disbelief and the nightmares will fade. You may (and likely will) still have crazy dreams about her, but they won't be so scary.
I hope what you've read here has confirmed that you are not alone. What happened to you is par for the course. The important thing is to to HEAL and to LET YOURSELF HEAL.
The less time you live in the past, the better.
The less time you live in the future, the better.
If she shows up and does something crazy, you will deal with it then. But don't let that fear rule you or steal the joy you deserve. The joy you have found with this new woman!
Good luck to you. And congratulations on surviving the human tornado!
Darren Ward on October 22, 2012:
My ex was an alcoholic and although it is now a year and a half on after she almost attacked me and destroyed my car, and she is long gone, (we were together 3 years) I still have nightmares of what she put me through, and I find that I still think about her often, not in a miss her way, but in a I cant belive what she put me through and how she made me suffer, and how could I have let that happen (I'm a big guy) and I find that she scares me. Because she was so unpredictable I worry that she will turn up at my house and do something crazy. Does anyone else feel like this, and what can I do to stop this constant sadness and fear that I feel. Its over, and my life is good, but I can't seem to accept this.
I have met someone new who is lovely caring , doesn't drink and is fantastic, I just want the ghost of my ex to go away.
Susan Reid (author) from Where Left is Right, CA on October 21, 2012:
Glad to hear you have had sobriety and are back in sobriety. Very sorry to hear of the loss of your friend. Alcoholism does bad things to your brain. Suicide is very common. Not to sound trite here, but I know the horrible pain and being in between death and life of addiction. Choosing sobriety is choosing life. But very few alcoholics make it. So good for you!
So it sounds like you are determined to stay in the situation for your parents' sake. Ok. All the more reason to get yourself -- and them, too, if they will go -- to Al Anon.
Your brother's going to continue to give all of you a lot to "put up with" unless he hits a bottom too.
Maybe you'll get lucky and HE'LL get arrested! I'm only half joking.
Maybe the three of you can put up some much needed boundaries, and tell him if he doesn't get help he can no longer live with you. Have you seen the show Intervention on TV? I know lots of people who have had interventions. The family puts their foot down and refuses to play by the alcoholic's rules any longer.
Sounds like you're all adults (at least chronologically). Maybe it's time your brother is forced to act like one.
Tough love may not be easy. But being a doormat is brutal.
Good luck to you all.MM
jubei120 on October 20, 2012:
thank you, it is comforting to know that someone else out there has gone through this and I will look in2 what you have recommended. its just been so hard, we've both shared a best friend that we recently lost 2 suicide, he was also an alcoholic, since then things have gotten extremely worse, my brother got himself deeper in2 his addiction, and the answer 2 your question about confronting him when he's sober is no, I have tried it before and ended up with us throwing punches, I cannot move out either due to my parents, I wouldn't feel right leaving them, they have gone through alot with my brother and including myself, I use 2 be an alcoholic myself awhile back, my parents went through hell with me, it took an arrest 4 me 2 open my eyes, now ive been sober 4 about 2 years, I had one relapse though due 2 my friend suicide, but I stopped myself from continuing, I just wish I can say the same 4 my brother, that's why I can't leave my parents, they are elderly people and don't have the strength 2 put up with it.
Susan Reid (author) from Where Left is Right, CA on October 20, 2012:
Hi jubei120. I'm so sorry to hear you're living with such an unpredictible and violent alcoholic. I know what it's like to worry constantly about someone. I know what it's like not to know how they are going to be, or if you're safe. It's a living hell.
I think you know that your brother is not going to stop. He's going to keep drinking and being violent.
You say you can't even confront him. Is that true even when he's sober?
But even if you were to confront him, he has to have an incentive to want to change, to become sober.
You can wait around for that idea to occur to him. You may wait a long, long time.
But meantime, you can't continue in this pattern because he's dragging your health and sanity down with his disease. Don't let him!
I strongly suggest you look into Al-Anon. It can give you the tools to cope with him. You may decide (and I think it would be wise, if you can) to walk away and live your own life.
Or if moving out is not an option, you can learn to set boundaries so you're not chasing him as he chases his bottle.
Get yourself off that merry-go-round!
If Al-Anon meetings are not available, check out Al-Anon online. Or read the book "Codependent No More" by Melodie Beatty. It's an eye-opener and very helpful.
I also recommend to loved ones of alcoholics go visit open meetings of AA. There you'll hear people who once were as bad off as your brother sharing what happened to make them decide to change. You will hear what I'm offering straight from the horse's mouth, so to speak.
You will likely get ideas on how/when you actually might be able to talk to your brother.
It may seem mean to withhold full support of your brother. To be there for him. But in truth, your actions are likely enabling him to continue his bad behavior. Withhold the enabling. I know it sounds harsh. I know it's not easy.
But it's necessary for your own health.
Please keep me posted on how you're doing.
Good luck. Help is out there for you!
jubei120 on October 19, 2012:
iv've been around alot of alcoholics, so I know what 2 expect, but with my brother I don't know what 2 DO, he is unpredictable when he is drunk, i get nervous and sometimes scared, because he gets very violent when he drinks, I stay up all night worrying what might happened, will he get in a wreck, will he hurt someone, I don't get any sleep I stay up until he gets sober, cause im 2 afraid 2 sleep when hes drunk, like I said he is very unpredictable, I don't know what 2 DO?, I can't confront him because the smallest thing can set him off, so im lost, stressed, and afraid, if anybody is going through this, pleas let me know and if you know how 2 help it would be VERY MUCH APPRECIATED, THANK YOU...
Susan Reid (author) from Where Left is Right, CA on June 12, 2012:
Thanks for sharing. I know many people who were "taught" to drink at home. Some even starting as toddlers.
Congrats on 8 years. Me, too. It's a heckuva lot better knowing what the problem is and doing something about it!
jen on June 12, 2012:
how true with 8 yrs behind me I still have t he Big Book handy since I m aware of the pit falls. Thanks for the stories all are true and some I can relate to, however my alcoholism started long before I knew what the problem was and was done at my dining room table.
Susan Reid (author) from Where Left is Right, CA on April 28, 2012:
Hello Andy Aitch. Thank you for your thoughtful comment.
As long as the statistic remains 1 in 10 alcoholics to normies, there's no reason to ban alcohol. Drinking daily shows a habit, possibly a dependence. But hey -- if you can do it with no ill effects, where's the harm, if the drinking is in moderation. Middle aged guys getting hammered daily -- that's nae good, as they say.
I really like your last comment. Sobriety takes work but millions work for an maintain it every day. Battling AGAINST alcoholism is fighting a losing battle. It is a powerful, progressive and fatal disease (that is my belief, anyway). Sobriety, on the other hand, is choosing life. Worthy every bit of the work...
Thanks again for commenting. MM
Andy Aitch from UK & South East Asian Region on April 28, 2012:
Hi Mighty Mom.
You've certainly touched a nerve with your hub based on the number of comments you've received. It's a great, though sad read in many ways.
Under normal circumstances, alcohol is a social lubricant that can and does bring a little joy into the lives of millions when used in moderation. Unfortunately, 1 in 10 people in the industrialised world are dependent on it, and over time it becomes the most important thing in their lives, bar none!
Because of the devastating effects alcohol can have on both the drinker and those around him/her, one can't help but wonder sometimes why a drug like this is perfectly legal whereas other, less harmful mind altering substances are totally outlawed.
The problems with alcohol seems to be getting worse in modern societies, and in the UK it's said that a huge percentage of middle-aged men drink daily. Although they may not be drinking 'alcoholically', it's it's certainly a worrying trend nonetheless.
To every problem there is a solution for those who want it badly enough. So I guess for both drinkers and those affected by their drinking, it might be more positive to fight FOR a life of sobriety rather than constantly battling AGAINST alcoholism. Easier said than done, I know…
Susan Reid (author) from Where Left is Right, CA on February 15, 2012:
It IS insane. You hit the nail right on the head there. It's hard to deal with any alcoholic in your life. I do tend to agree it's hardest for parents to let go and let God. We, as parents, feel like we should be able to "fix" it or that we are responsible for our children. Very hard, indeed.
Thanks for your insightful comment!
Yes, I recognize all too well what has occurred with your friend. If she truly is an alcoholic (and your brief description indicates that she is), she took one sip of that magic elixir and suddenly was outgoing, not shy, popular and seemingly on top of the world. The lovely person you knew before she looked to alcohol for validation is still in there. I do hope she rediscovers her true self before she falls flat on her face and loses you and herself in the process.
Sounds like she needs a big wake-up call.
Good luck. MM
Rahman on February 14, 2012:
I had a crush on this girl in my first year of college. She was shy, caring and intelligent. Nobody talked to her. But then she took up alcohol out of peer pressure to get attention. I saw her changing before my eyes. It's unbelievable how alcohol can turn a lovely person into a shadow of herself. There are still glimpses. That's why it hurts even more. I don't want her to fall. So, it's even harder for me to leave her.
Greg Weber from Montana on February 04, 2012:
It's so hard to understand alcoholic behavior sometimes. It just seems insane! It's especially hard to watch parents have to deal with their alcoholic children.
georgethegent from Hillswick, Shetland, UK on January 07, 2012:
Good hub. Yes, it is a difficult situation but it can be dealt with. Blood, sweat and tears but it can be dealt with!!! https://hubpages.com/health/I-admit-it-Im-an-alcoh...
Susan Reid (author) from Where Left is Right, CA on December 25, 2011:
I reread what I wrote above and am not sure what misinformation you feel is there (?). I outlined some enabling behaviors. By definition anyone who lives with an active alcoholic is codependent. I could argue (although I did not say this above) that at one time or another all codependents engage in some enabling behavior. Even the innocent children. It's not intentional. It's all part of the sickness.
Regardless, we agree it's a family disease and the dysfunction perpetrated by alcoholic in the center is widespread.
ALL members of the family need help to get well.
I would argue here that the #1 person who needs help is the alcoholic. S/he is the only one who is suffering from a progressive, FATAL disease. If s/he can get into recovery that also affects the rest of the family (in a positive way). Which is not to say they don't also need their own programs to gain/regain their own health. For their own sake they need to do whether their alcoholic remains active in the disease or not.
Thanks again for commenting. MM
Gina on December 24, 2011:
The definition of a codependent is NOT NECISSARILY the same as an enabler - please don't spread misinformation.
Co-dependent behaviors are about not having healthy normal boundaries (you put up with things you shouldn't), caretaking, obsessing over the alcoholic's drinking and your ability to control it. There are other destructive behaviors, but that's codependency at its core.
Enablers, on the other hand, are people who help the alcoholic continue drinking, and never allow the alcoholic to suffer consequences due to his drinking. Examples include: drinking with the alcoholic and driving the drunk around, thus allowing him to be drunk with no reprocussions.
This is a very important distinction because people who live with these addicts need a ton of therapy to become healthy people again, and they generally abhor the alcoholism and these are the people to be focused on, the innocent spouses, children, patents etc. whose lives are destroyed by addicts.
And it's not fair to say all codependents are enablers (some are). Codependents need to get help the most, as they are the ones who lose out biggest with alcoholics.
Susan Reid (author) from Where Left is Right, CA on November 28, 2011:
Hello gift61.Thank you so much for your comment. Over achievement is a classic early stage alcoholic coping mechanism. "More,more more" in all things, including money, prestige and power. Sort of compensates for the big hole in our souls. But if the disease is left unchecked, the mighty WILL fall. It's devastating to see anyone succumb, but I think watching someone who has seemingly had it together for a long time crash and burn is even harder to observe.
Thanks again. This is a subject very, very near and dear to my heart.
gift61 on November 27, 2011:
Hi MM, thanks for the wonderful hub. I have seen too many families destroyed due to this social drink when abused or placed in the wrong hands. The info is very useful to all groups of people. It is very hard to watch a very high achieving individual become useless in the end. Keep writing!
ExoticHippieQueen on August 15, 2011:
Excellent article, Mighty Mom! Been there, done that. Voted up and useful!
Susan Reid (author) from Where Left is Right, CA on August 08, 2011:
Glad to have another voice for the JFT lifestyle!
Wishing you serenity and a wonderful Hub Pages experience! MM
justfortoday from Brooklyn, NY on August 08, 2011:
Great hub. Thanks for enlightning many people that may not have really understood. So many people thihk that they can control the use of their loved ones. It is such a myth. People don't understand that alcohol (or drugs) have caused the person they love to lose control of themselves and their lives. I started with hubpages because I hope to pass on info such as u have/are doing. I hope u get the chance to check out my hubs as well. Voted up and useful. Each one teach one... Thanks for sharing!
Susan Reid (author) from Where Left is Right, CA on August 06, 2011:
Thanks for sharing that, Milkman Mike. I know there are people who are able to get sober without a program, but I believe alcoholism needs to be treated. Either we treat it the "natural" way with alcohol (until that stops working for us) or we treat it with a recovery program. It works for millions and millions of people worldwide. It works if you WORK IT!
Glad to hear you're one that does! MM
Milkman Mike on August 06, 2011:
Being an active alcoholic for most of my adult life was changed by the 12 step programs. It does work if you want it to. Thanks for your input. Hope to read more from you.
Jeanne Barnard from Fristco, Texas on April 30, 2011:
Wonderful hub and I hope to touch on some of this soon in my own hubs. You forgot to mention in your poll as an option, "myself." I am a recovering alcoholic and have been in recovery for over two years. I cannot tell you how absolutely grateful I am and only an alcoholic understands what it means to say that it was God's grace, because I could have never stopped alone on will power and this could turn into a novel if I shared my war story and how alcohol has damaged my life and the lives of my family members. My father died in 2007 from this disease and it is just that.
The Jet from The Bay on April 14, 2011:
I'll think about it writing that hub. Haha. There's more to all of us. That's what's awesome about people. :)
Susan Reid (author) from Where Left is Right, CA on April 12, 2011:
Hey friend. I knew there had to be more to you than just healthy eating and movie reviews.
22 and no more drinking? Bravo for you. I imagine there's a story there. Which you probably wish to remain private.If you ever decide to hub about your experience... it would be really cool.
More cross links, perhaps! Have a great night, Jet. MM
The Jet from The Bay on April 12, 2011:
I read this and I'm just so glad I don't drink. Anymore. Thanks, MM, for another awesome hub.
Hattie from Europe on March 28, 2011:
oh yes forgot! lol, been awhile back since I been there! lol I forgot I did attend one that must have been open when they tell their stories. But most of the time they have closed meetings here.
Susan Reid (author) from Where Left is Right, CA on March 28, 2011:
Hello HattieMattieMae. You're absolutely right that you are hurting yourself by staying and going along with it. They call it a "family disease" for a reason. When one person in the family is alcoholic, it makes the whole family sick. So sad. But treatable!
I don't know where you live, but where I live we have two kinds of AA meetings. Closed meetings are for alcoholics only. Open meetings are just that: open.
Anyone can attend. I stand behind my assertion that it's a great way to really understand how alcoholics think, how they tackle their disease. You might even find some helpful friends there.
But when all is said and done, as you pointed out. If the alcoholic in your life refuses to get help, you are not helping him/her by staying around and going down with his/her ship.
Thanks for the visit! MM
Hattie from Europe on March 28, 2011:
The only thing is you can not really attend AA meetings unless you are an alcoholic yourself, not knowing that you are of course you can sneak in, but at the same time it is really meant for those addicted. Alanon of course works for the families, and of course Child of and alcoholic group. You really can't fix them, or change them, although you would like to you can't, and your only hurting yourself and them by staying there going along with it.
Susan Reid (author) from Where Left is Right, CA on January 14, 2011:
Thanks SGFR. It is all too common, unfortunately. Thanks for reading and for your comment. MM
schoolgirlforreal on January 14, 2011:
Good topic, how common, good advice. Keep it up!
Susan Reid (author) from Where Left is Right, CA on December 19, 2010:
Dear Mary's Daughter,I am sorry to hear about your brother and his family. My first reaction to the line "some in the family don't want to admit it" is -- how common is THAT? very. If your brother had heart disease or cancer, would the family be reluctant to "admit" it? Of course not!
I hope you are able to get his wife to put her foot down so his disease doesn't take her family down.
But truthfully, the only person who can decide to do something about it is your brother. I will pray for him. MM
Mary's Daughter on December 18, 2010:
My brother is an alcoholic. Some in the family don't want to admit it. His marriage is being affected. His young children are hurting inside. It is truly heart breaking...
Susan Reid (author) from Where Left is Right, CA on October 06, 2010:
Hello Danigirl. This hub was published 5/12/10.
Danigirl on October 06, 2010:
when was this written?
Susan Reid (author) from Where Left is Right, CA on October 01, 2010:
Thanks, cyclrmom.Glad to know I'm on the same page with Al-Anon. Addiction/alcoholism really sucks for the loved ones. I wish you peace and serenity. MM
dwheela from Destin, FL on October 01, 2010:
very well written, I thoroughly enjoyed this article even if I've heard it repeated already in al-anon meetings. That's a keeper. Thanks for the all-inclusiveness of so many of the high points of this subject.
Susan Reid (author) from Where Left is Right, CA on October 01, 2010:
Thank you, triosol. I hope that whoever is in your life gets help. Blessings. MM
triosol on September 30, 2010:
Amazing hub. very informative. voted up.
Susan Reid (author) from Where Left is Right, CA on August 09, 2010:
It means a LOT to me that you got something useful from my hub. I may not be an expert in much, but this is one subject I know from inside out and back again. I was the daughter of an alcoholic decades before I became one myself.
It never ceases to amaze me how many of "us" (alcoholics) in recovery can be so totally clueless as to how to deal with other alcoholics in our own lives -- especially alcoholic children.
There are quite a few hubbers in recovery who are more than happy to share their experience, strength and hope.
On a personal note, I hope that your situation -- whatever it is -- gets better for you. Wishing you serenity, MM
Rebecca E. from Canada on August 08, 2010:
everything you say in this is true. And being the person who has experience from the outside lookin in this is all so true. voted up, bookmarked, and useful. Iwish there was a powerful button because i'd add that as well.
Susan Reid (author) from Where Left is Right, CA on August 04, 2010:
You are welcome to vent anytime -- either on HP or offline.
I often say it's harder on the family than the addict/alcoholic. At least they get to obliterate themselves.
So sorry to hear about your niece. Obviously she is aware on some level. Your sister knows but you are not supposed to know. Um hm. We are as sick as our secrets.
Unfortunately, this isn't a secret that should be kept (why am I telling you this?).
I know that a quick spin-dry is inadequate, but I hope it opens your niece's eyes to where she is headed.
Meanwhile, I hope the rest of the family -- her kids included -- get to Al-Anon.
I empathize 100% -- for what that's worth. MM
valeriebelew from Metro Atlanta, GA, USA on August 04, 2010:
Mighty Mom, We have had many functional alcoholics in our family, and I was addicted to methamphetamine, now many years drug free. My beloved niece spent a month in rehab, which we both know is not that long, and does not appear to understand that alcohol, like prescription drugs, is a central nervous system depressant that has the same effect as the prescription drugs. as is often the case, she has alienated her family, and worse of all, her children. And this is someone who once home schooled her children to protect them from destructive forces in our society. It was kept from me until last week, by her request, and I am now suffering from the blow of learning about it. I don't feel better, that she appears to be protecting her alcohol addiction by denying that alcohol is a problem. I can't even talk to her, because my sister has sworn me to secrecy, and I am not supposed to know. It is the same old story; she is losing everything for which she worked, most recently, a job she earned after two years of completing an associates degree while working full time at minimum wage. I've counseled many families of addicted people, but this is the first time I've ever suffered in this way with one. I already know all the rules, i've coached others for years. JUst wanted to vent. Thanks for being here.
Also, to the person above me, many people can drink too much forever, and never become alcoholics. It may not be the best lifestyle, but I agree there is a difference. Whether it is emotional stability or heridity I do not know, but I know such people exist. MY father was a problem drinker for years, but when he got ready to quit, he simply quit. He never lost anything substantial due to his drinking, though it was a problem for his family. Still, he was able to just quit, and many are unable to do so. (:v
Raymond D Choiniere from USA on July 24, 2010:
Hey Mighty Mom, I have a wonderful life without booze, and I had a wonderful life with it as well. All those people who told me I had a drinking problem are not in my life and have not been for sometime. It simply showed me that my friends really were not what I call a friend. Not once did I have a family member tell me I had a problem, because I was trusted to control myself and those people understood me better than my friends did.
It's a damn shame when people choose to be ignorant about the choices in their life. There is so much information made available to people, yet alcoholism continues to threaten people's lives. It's a poor choice to begin with in it entirety, when you know nothing about it. :)
Susan Reid (author) from Where Left is Right, CA on July 24, 2010:
Thanks for stopping by and sharing your experience. I'd have to agree with you -- you certainly were a heavy drinker, abused alcohol even. But are NOT alcoholic.
The tipping point is when the choice to drink is taken away -- a real alcoholic would have a very, very, very difficult time walking away from alcohol like you did.
Notwithstanding, I bet the people who used to tell you you had a problem are happy that you've quit!
Congratulations. Life after booze is really quite rich, isn't it?!!! MM
Raymond D Choiniere from USA on July 24, 2010:
Hey Mighty Mom, I found your hub very useful to many people and very well written. However, I'm of a different understanding, for which, always leads back to choice. In the end, some choices are made too hastily and without knowledge or wisdom to reinforce, so people use their faith to maintain a control over their desire to drink. This makes them fail, simply because they do not understand themselves as of yet, but begin a dangerous path for both mind and body. But, I chalk these actions up to chosen ignorance about alcohol in general. Many people cannot wait to turn 21 years of age, so they can drink, without truly grasping the hazards that come with the territory. I was accused of being an alcoholic without actually being one. I drank sometimes 6 or 7 hours a day for weeks at a time, depending on paycheck. I spent countless hours in bars drinking and gambling to top it.
I would work and a good portion of my time not at work, I was drinking somewhere. Some people told me it was a problem and I kept telling them that there was no problem, because I had it under control, which was actually the truth. I drank when I wanted to, and stopped when I wanted to. I appeared to have a problem, but there really wasn't a problem. You can see an alcoholic, by when the abuse begins, because at that point they are no longer even listen to their conscience. Again, wonderful hub. :) Btw- I have not had a drink in 4 years now. I found it fairly easy to walk away from it and have no regrets in doing so or the path I walked to get where I am today. :)
Susan Reid (author) from Where Left is Right, CA on July 19, 2010:
Hu Sunnyglitter -- thanks for your comment. Trying to spread the "gospel" that it's an illness.
Nell -- I had a friend like that also. She would get so drunk and be so outrageous. No boundaries whatsoever.
And you are describing a phenomenon that's common among alcoholics. Hanging around with others who drink like them makes them feel better about their own drinking...
Nell Rose from England on July 19, 2010:
Hi, this was a very good article, and I wish I had read it a while ago, my friend is an alcoholic, and it was a nightmare, she used to turn up at my house every day with drink, smelling like a brewery, I tried to get her off of it, but in the end she got so bad I had to get her out of my life, she brought men around who were just as bad as her, and expected to stay! i think she is still the same, but my mental state is better for letting her go. thanks nell
Sunnyglitter from Cyberspace on July 18, 2010:
Thanks for educating people on how alcoholism is a disease. This was a good article.
Susan Reid (author) from Where Left is Right, CA on July 15, 2010:
Hi drpastorcarlotta. The work you are doing is important, but I know disheartening at times (okay, often). So difficult to realize that no matter what you do you are not going to be able to help some people.
They have to help themselves...
God bless you,
Pastor Dr Carlotta Boles from BREAKOUT MINISTRIES, INC. KC on July 15, 2010:
Hello Mighty Mon and Blessings. This Hub touched my heart because I work with Alcoholics and drug addicts daily! To watch them waste away to nothibg hurts my heart! Some I have helped and some I couldn't help but did refer them to other resources like treatment centers, therapist, etc. What really hurt is they are people who has fallen and can't find there way back. Wonderful Hub my friend, Blessings!!!
Susan Reid (author) from Where Left is Right, CA on July 14, 2010:
Hi Deborah Demander,
I'm really sorry to hear that news. Your husband sounds like he is really stuck in his disease. He knows how it feels to be sober, so I hope he is able to get back there. You say his insides are falling apart. It will only get worse and eventually he WILL die from drinking.
Hopefully you will convince him -- for your own sake -- to quit again.
God bless. MM
Deborah Demander Reno from First Wyoming, then THE WORLD on July 14, 2010:
Thanks for your insight. My wonderful husband was sober when we met and married. After a year, he drinks all day. Vodka. At first he lied. Said the bottle fell and broke, etc.. I told him I don't mind the drinking, but I don't want to be lied to. He drinks all day, and his insides are falling apart. I thought I had done something wrong. I see perhaps, it is not my fault. Thanks.
Susan Reid (author) from Where Left is Right, CA on July 10, 2010:
God love ya, MobyWho (and your hubby). It's true. Certain ethnicities are more prone to the disease than others -- the Irish being right up at the top (surpassed only by Native Americans and Russians these days).
I recall going to those family days when my Mom was in treatment. It all went over my head at the time. Nowadays I'm what I might call an expert on the subject:-). Good to see you jumping into HP!! MM
MobyWho from Burlington VT on July 10, 2010:
MobyWho from Burlington VT on July 10, 2010:
Thanks for the topic. Had one amusing aside happen in the 1980s - husband was in 40 day program; I went to the "Family Four Day" (at Carmel, NY) twice. First time, 20 of us affected were seated in a circle. The leader asked us to introduce ourselves and say our relationship to the alcoholic. After the first five Irish names, I started snickering. Everybody turned to look at me, but I was saved by the leader. She went on to explain how logical that was because of heredity (I'm Scotch/Irish). I learned a lot in those four days - and again the next time he was in for a longer period. T'ain't fun by any stretch.
Susan Reid (author) from Where Left is Right, CA on July 09, 2010:
Many thanks for reading and commenting theindianblues!
theindianblues from Some where on the Globe on July 09, 2010:
Great hub! Much useful to the people who are suffering with this addiction and those who are surrounded to the earlier. Thank you for publishing such a wonderful hub for the interest of public.
Susan Reid (author) from Where Left is Right, CA on July 07, 2010:
Hi Fionaxmalone! I love your name!
And yes. You're so right. The typical alcoholic IS functioning. Many continue to work -- not even missing work. The bum with the paper bag is an unfortunate stereotype. Much more dangerous (IMHO) is the "professional" who's addicted to alcohol. In my own "circle" I know a recovering pharmacist, psychiatrist, judge (2, actually), several lawyers, and more NURSESthan I can count. That's scary!
It's all about the relationship with the bottle.
Thanks for visiting and your comment. MM
Fionaxmalone from Ireland on July 07, 2010:
Good article, most people don't realize that there are functioning alcoholics. You imagine someone almost in the gutter but it is not always that obvious.
Susan Reid (author) from Where Left is Right, CA on July 02, 2010:
Thank you. Yes, I've lived both sides of the alcoholism/addiction family scenario. Honestly, it's easier (in some ways) to be the one on the inside. At least you're oblivious:-)!
And yes, you are wise to recognize that the 3 C's go for life in general...
Dawn Michael from THOUSAND OAKS on July 01, 2010:
really heart felt hub, I could feel you writing it and that is what make a great article when it comes from the heart. What you said is all true with the three c's but that goes for live as well.
Susan Reid (author) from Where Left is Right, CA on June 30, 2010:
Hello claramj3. CONGRATULATIONS! That is absolutely huge. I know what you mean. We are like tornadoes roaring through people's lives obvlivious (literally!). Then we wake up and realize that we weren't just hurting ourselves. Thank God there's a process for getting over THAT guilt!
Glad to have you here as a fellow recoveree. Cheers, MM
claramj3 from Washington on June 30, 2010:
This is an amazing hub, very well done! I celebrated 5 years of sobriety on May 24, 2010. We alcoholics don't realize the things that we put our family and friends through.
Susan Reid (author) from Where Left is Right, CA on June 18, 2010:
Hi katiem2. When you meet a sober alcoholic it's hard to imagine how they were before. Even hard-core "I was homeless" drunks can regain their dignity and lives in sobriety.
Much different if the person is in your life and struggling to get sober in the first place. That is a TOUGH thing to watch and live with.
Congratulations to your friend. She's doing the right thing by not taking a drop -- it's the "insanity of that first drink" that is so deadly for alcoholics.
Wishing you serenity, MM
Katie McMurray from Westerville on June 18, 2010:
I have a very dear friend who's an alcoholic and hasn't touched a drop from the time I met her. I know her struggle and can't imagine her drunk, here's hoping she never takes a sip and all others face their addiction as did she and deal with it. Thanks and Peace :)
Susan Reid (author) from Where Left is Right, CA on June 15, 2010:
Thanks for your comment, ptosis. Perhaps you missed the caveat in my opening paragraph that this hub is 100% based on MY personal opinions which stem from MY personal experience.
You are right, tho. Addiction can take many forms. And behavior done to the extreme in an effort to keep from feeling your feelings is addiction. Could be work, sex, gambling, shopping, exercise, food.
I will check out the book review, tho.MM
ptosis from Arizona on June 15, 2010:
Screw this shit.It's not the object of addiction: alcohol, a person could be a workaholic - which is praised in this culture. I suggest you read:
Lance Dodes, M.D., 'The Heart of Addiction' 2002 ISBN 0-06-095803-0
A book review is @
Susan Reid (author) from Where Left is Right, CA on June 10, 2010:
hello ericsomething. Sounds like you know this territory only too well.You don't mention if she ever got sober, but I hope so.
YOU're absolutely right that coming to that realization is recognizing a huge LOSS. Co's need to grieve their loss of (perceived) control just as much as an alcoholic getting sober grieves their "true love" (even though it's a love/hat relationship) alcohol.
Would like to add it's NEVER a good idea to try to nurse an alcoholic through the DTs. If your SO was that bad, she should have been treated medically. You can have seizures from withdrawal.
Anyway, didn't mean to lecture. See you around the rooms of Al-Anon!! MM
ericsomething on June 10, 2010:
Excellent Hub, MM. This one really cuts close to the bone here. Had a SO who just couldn't quit, and I made a pretty good enabler. Until I got tired of it all, and in the ensuing six months ran two interventions and nursed her through one case of the DT's.
About the only positive thing that came of all this was I put up my own moderate drinking habit for good, and later began addressing my own codependent issues.
I could be full of it here, but I think when you come to the realization you can't fix anything, you go through the same four plateaus you go through on other major changes (denial, anger, etc.)
Thanks for sharing.
fullboz on June 06, 2010:
how r u
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healthgesundheitinfo.blogspot.com on June 05, 2010:
This article was very helpful to me. I gained a lot of knowledge.
Denise Handlon on June 05, 2010:
Good information. Very thorough.
crazykhan from Lahore on June 05, 2010:
a very informative article thanks for sharing with us
Susan Reid (author) from Where Left is Right, CA on June 05, 2010:
Hi Kangaroo_Jase. You sound like you've been there. Nefarious is a good word for alcoholism. I hope whoever it is in your life that's been suffering got into recovery!
Kangaroo_Jase from Melbourne, Australia on June 05, 2010:
Great Hub to read. Always, always awkward, difficult, patience wearing and tiring trying to deal with a person whom is very close to oneself, whether it be a close friend or family member that has this kind of nefarious addiction.
Susan Reid (author) from Where Left is Right, CA on June 04, 2010:
Yikes,TG. I hope you don't cross that invisible line. There's no going back and being a slave to the bottle totally sucks. But being an alcoholic in recovery is pretty cool, so there IS life after draining the glass once and for all!
TattoGuy on June 04, 2010:
I will my friend because I guess I am I just on that thin line between being a problem drinker and an alcoholic. plus I love yer hubs x
Susan Reid (author) from Where Left is Right, CA on June 04, 2010:
Check out the new hub by mwatkins -- she writes it raw about living with and ultimately leaving a drunk husband.
Thanks for visiting and the comment, TG! MM
TattoGuy on June 04, 2010:
This is an amazing hub about drink, I just wish Laura ( Wordscribe ) had left her alcoholic hub up, although I did keep a copy of it, great hub MM xx
TylerCapp from Los Angeles, California on June 03, 2010:
Thanks for this hub and thanks for laying it out as you did, make it easily assimilated. Alcohol is not something I've ever been into but the tips you gave, I know I can use them in the future if needed.
Susan Reid (author) from Where Left is Right, CA on May 27, 2010:
Thank you, Micky Dee! Recovery is a mighty thing and getting family members/friends out of their misery is definitely a good thing! MM
Micky Dee on May 27, 2010:
You are so mighty -Mighty Mom!