If you are reading this, it is a safe bet that someone you know is living with an alcoholic. Maybe you did as a child, or you do now, or your best friend’s spouse is one. The most surprising part is that you may not even know it. I have discovered on this journey that you feel so alone because alcoholism is so good at keeping itself hidden from those on the outside. And sometimes, it’s hiding from those inside the house, too. To my knowledge, none of my parents, grandparents, extended family was an alcoholic that I knew about until my aunt married one. Even then, I didn’t know it until he killed himself. I bet there were days when she wondered what she had done wrong, how she could fix him, what could she and the kids do to make it better. The thing is, she never talked to anyone about it. I never even thought about that until right now, as I write this.
Thank God that my friend could see what I was describing as the symptoms of someone living with an alcoholic. She walked me to my first Al-Anon meeting. She sat with me through the whole meeting. No one there looked at me with shame or pity as I sobbed through my first full meeting. I think I was crying at how lost I felt, how hopeless, how alone. But then as I listened to their stories, I was crying more for the fact that I wasn’t alone, others around that table knew how I felt, had even experienced some of the same things as me. I had hope. Even if my alcoholic never gets help, I can get help. Who knew???
I hope that as I begin this journey of blogging that you will find hope in knowing you are not alone, and that you can get help, even if your alcoholic NEVER stops drinking. I continue to find this site so wonderful – www.gettingthemsober.com . For the first ten months of the year, I’d go there and read the bulletin board posts, read the book excerpts, and learn so much about living with an alcoholic. But sometimes I felt so angry because all I read was that we (the family of the alcoholic) can’t do anything to cause, control or cure the alcoholic to drink. I wondered why the website was named “Getting THEM Sober” when we can’t do anything about their drinking?” About 2 months ago, I had a real “A-ha” moment. I finally realized that the site is to help the families and loved ones of alcoholics get sober. I think that was the first time I really got it. In other words - The alcohol makes all of us in the family sick, even as we try to do our best to keep things “normal.” My understanding of that small detail – the name of the website – feels like my first real victory in finding the TRUTH within the lies that surround the alcoholism.
May you and your family find hope here. You are not alone.