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Providing non-judgmental and non-criticizing support for family and friends of end-stage alcoholics through one-on-one coaching, support groups, blog posts, workshops and public speaking.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Which holiday is this? You can chose.

There’s a fresh crispness to the morning air these days. It’s much more enjoyable that the scorching hot air that won’t let me take a deep breath. Autumn is on it’s way and I’m welcoming it with open arms.

This is also Labor Day Weekend. Spouses and loved ones of alcoholics will most likely not greet the weekend with open arms. For us it’s just another weekend that will provide the opportunity for the alcoholic to get drunk and stay drunk the entire time. It won’t matter that it’s the last chance to do things with the kids before they head back to school. It won’t matter if the weekend is spent on a beach or in the mountains. No matter what else is going on – there will absolutely be drinking, drunkenness, accidents, arguments, inappropriate behavior and crying. There will be lots of tears.

While families all over the country are looking forward to a weekend of fun and relaxation, others are gridding their loins for what’s ahead over the next few days. Instead of preparing for a good time, they are preparing for a potential disaster.

To those “other” families your chance to change things is at your fingertips. You can focus on your kids, yourself and others affected by the alcoholic. You have the power to make this a great weekend and be happy for it rather than dreading the next few days.

Start with the facts:

1.                  The alcoholic is going to drink. There’s nothing you can do about that.

2.                  The alcoholic may try to sabotage anything you try to do.

3.                  The alcoholic doesn’t care if it’s important to you or the family to have a happy and peaceful weekend.

4.                  You can’t change the alcoholic’s mindset.

5.                  It’s important to you to provide the family with the weekend they need.

6.                  You can make a change.

Once you understand and accept those facts, you will be able to move forward. Forget about the alcoholic’s wants and needs. Forget about the anger and resentment he will try to force upon you. Don’t become a party to his chaos.

Quietly go about planning the weekend you want. Want to have a picnic at the local park? Quietly go about packing the basket. Tell the kids you are going on a picnic the morning you are to go. Invite friends to join you. Do not invite the alcoholic. Then go have a wonderful picnic in the park.

The point is to just plan whatever activity you want and then do it. You don’t need permission from the alcoholic. You don’t need the input or the “help” the alcoholic may want to provide. You can tell him you’re going (if you want) but don’t invite chaos to your party.

This is the way to start regaining your independence. Start with something small and work up to bigger things. Eventually, you’ll feel comfortable doing things on your own. You won’t feel as though you are only half of a married couple. You will be a strong ONE of two separate entities.

It’s Labor Day weekend, but this could be your Independence Day weekend. It’s your choice. Do you want to be the alcoholic’s “laborer” or the “Statue of Liberty”.

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Martha Smith said...

I became very sick last spring and my alcoholic was not very helpful during that time. I have vowed to leave but suddenly my drunk decided to become very nice and has reduced his drinking a lot. this has put me in a difficult position and i can feel my resolve to leave beginning to melt away. part of me knows that eventually he will start drinking heavily again. it is just a matter of time.
But I feel guilty leaving before the holidays. Am i being stupid here?

Immortal Alcoholic's Wife said...

Martha -- I don'think you are being stupid. I think it's easier to consider leaving as long as they are drunk. Each time they try to make a change it encourages us to stick with the marriage. You are right -- it's just a matter of time. You can still leave and watch to see what happens from a distance. You don't have to get a divorce, but you can live separately.If his change actually sticks, then you can re-evaluate your situation.