I was reminded of how important it is to ensure the family members of patients/clients with addictions realise that they need to recover too. This blog by a doctor on the British Medical Journal’s website captures the harrowing sense of loss as a partner’s alcohol dependence takes hold and then the dawning of hope as she realises, that with support, she can recover from the family chaos that alcoholism brings.
I found it touching. Here’s where things start to shift in her narrative.
I became increasingly lonely, stressed, and desperate. I was covering up for him. I was mediating between him and our children…
I would look across the table and suddenly realise my husband was not there, a drunk stranger was there. I was controlling and arguing and blaming and withdrawing. I became someone I did not like at all.
One time I was at a retreat, talking to a man whose parents were both alcoholics. He was a long-time attender at Al Anon. I was telling him about my day to day life, not complaining, just reporting how it was, and he said,
“That sounds hard.”
I looked at him, surprised and confused.
“That sounds hard,” he said again, “on you.”
This was the first time that anyone had succeeded in turning the attention away from my alcoholic husband and on to me. It was very disorienting. Focusing—as I did every day—on the other person, I had never for a moment taken a good look at myself. Now I could suddenly see what a mess I was in.
Read more here.