Tuesday, 19 July 2011

It's not your problem.

If you're reading this blog you have stumbled across a mass of jumbled words as I try to make sense of what's in my head and my heart.

The collection of words that had the biggest impact on my journey from there to here were 'It's not your problem'.  There, I said it and for as long as I live I will say it again.  The words were related to Alcohol Addiction, an addiction that for years caused me pain, torment, upset, depression, frustration, sickness and a feeling of total helplessness.  And I never even let a drop of alcohol touch my lips.

I remember sitting watching T.V, a programme about an alcoholic was on.  It showed the plight that the drinker was going through, the constant battle with the bottle, but more than anything it showed the utter anguish the alcoholics family were going through.  They were in a financial position to afford the best help available but anyone who has lived with an alcoholic will tell you, you could have all the money in the world but what is needed for a sober life is free - The desire and strength to do it.

The particular scene that sent shock waves to my soul was a family therapy session.  The family members sat around all devastated by their loss; the loss of a man they once knew to the bottle.  They shared their feelings of guilt at not being able to help this person who they loved dearly.  They listed the things they had done to prevent or help the alcoholic- all useless in their efforts and then the therapist said it...

'Its not your problem.  Its OK to walk away'.  The wife crumbled and let out heart wrenching sobs, not at the thought that the therapist had highlighted that there was little hope, but that she had been given permission to leave, to shed the burden of care that so many relatives of drinkers carry on a daily, no, hourly basis.  I said it sent shock waves to my soul because that was simply the start. The Tsunami didn't come until a couple of years later.

If I want to achieve anything from this blog- aside from the cathartic experience having  releasing my emotional baggage, I would hope that just one person would read this and come to the same conclusion that came at a painstakingly slow pace...

Don't get me wrong, this isn't a blog created to be negative or unsympathetic towards people with Alcohol Addiction, but I feel there is very little help out there for the families of alcoholics.  There's Al-anon or Al-ateen but I personally found their advice to be patronising and to be fair, for me totally useless.  It might work for you, don't knock it 'til you've tried it but I tried it and I didn't like it.

I wanted somewhere to go where I could just talk about my experiences, to get it off my chest.  I didn't want to be told that me trying my best to help the drinker was me enabling the habit.  Maybe I didn't like reading that I might actually have played a part in the whole cycle of addiction.  I found it almost impossible to 'let go' and ignore someone who was drinking themselves to death.  Their 12 steps added more guilt to the over whelming guilt I was already feeling and if there was a Higher Power, surely it wouldn't have let things get to this stage in the first place?...so many questions, so few answers.

Long story short the alcoholic is the maker of their own destiny.  I understand that is more or less the whole concept behind the AA- no one can help the drinker but themselves.  The drinker has to start somewhere and at some point in their journey- before its too late someone, somewhere will have voiced a concern and they chose not to hear it.  Even further down the line when there is still hope left someone else will have had a quiet word in their ear which again was shrugged off.  It goes against human nature for someone to watch someone harming themselves, yet when things are as bad as you think they can get the AA or Al-anon advise you to sit back and watch the car crash.  The sad thing is, unless you're very lucky it does get worse.

This is my blog.  Its about my life with an alcoholic, it won't be an easy read; but it wasn't an easy life.