Living With an Alcoholic

Although I do not personally suffer from alcoholism I do know, first-hand, what it's like to live with an alcoholic both from the standpoint of a child and a spouse.

My father was an alcoholic. His alcoholism made life in our house very difficult at times. My father is a wonderful man and he was a wonderful, loving father. When he was sober he was so much fun to be around…always willing to be silly with us kids, do anything to make us laugh and he was a total pushover. Being Daddy's little girl I could always get what I wanted out of him.

Almost every weekend, though, he would head out to the bar and come home intoxicated. When he had been drinking he was a very angry and violent man. He would yell and throw things. He would make us all feel badly about ourselves. He would tell us what an awful family we were. He would pick fights and just generally create havoc in the house.

This cycle repeated nearly every weekend throughout my entire childhood. When I was around 18 years old my father stopped drinking so much. I never asked why. I was just grateful that he did.

Unfortunately, he never stopped drinking entirely and, every once in a while, my mother still has to listen to his antics when he comes home from having had one too many, but it is nothing like it was when my brother and I were kids.

I was also married to an alcoholic, although I would never have admitted to that when I was still married to him. I was fiercely protective of my husband and, although I knew he had a tendency to drink too much I would never go so far as to call him an alcoholic. Toward the end of my marriage, I started to see the light and realized that I had to be honest with myself and call it what it was.

Although my ex-husband is a very happy-go-lucky drunk, he was still endangering his life and the lives of others on a regular basis due to excessive alcohol consumption and impaired judgment. I lived in a constant state of worry that something horrible would happen. It brought back terrible memories of my childhood.

Now that I do not live with either of these men anymore, I can sit back in a peaceful environment and reflect on the situation. I have come to realize that my father and my ex-husband have one significant thing in common…they are both men who turn to alcohol to hide the fact that they are genuinely unhappy. Neither of them admit to being unhappy and neither of them are willing to do the work that it would take to work through the anger, pain, resentment and assorted other feelings they have stifled for years to come to a place where they could be happy.

That makes me sad, but if there is one thing I have learned from living with 2 different alcoholics it is that I cannot take on their problems as my own and I am not responsible for fixing them. All I can do is pray that they will find it within themselves to do so.

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