We at Birmingham Mom Collective are not strangers to the problems that alcohol abuse can cause to individuals and those that love them. A few of our contributors have shared their experiences with loving someone who abuses alcohol. We hope these words can help you feel less alone if you have a loved one who is an alcoholic.
“When I found out my dad had a problem with alcohol, I was mostly angry. I realized he had been lying to us for a while in some big ways. We were genuinely concerned for his health because of all the accidents that he had been having, and we knew certain medical conditions run in his family. He had several doctor’s appointments and tests done, causing us to genuinely worry about his health. Turns out, it was secretive alcohol abuse. Honestly, the dishonesty is still sometimes hard for me to deal with.
However, it has changed my personal interactions with alcohol because I know that alcoholism is hereditary. It’s also given me more compassion on those who have this disease and those who love them.”
“‘Hi, Honey. This is Dad. A Satanic cult is burning down the houses in my neighborhood, and they’ve started with mine. I was able to get out, but I need you to call 911 and report the fire.’
It was 5:30 in the morning, and I was jarred awake by my dad’s voice, the urgency, and the fact that his house was burning. I sat in my dark living room crying as I finally got through to a fire department local to my dad, and I heard his address over the intercom as a 911 operator reached them at the same time. It was the most surreal moment of my life.
What my dad experienced was alcohol-induced psychosis. He had been drinking heavily, attempted to quit on his own, and ended up having a very real hallucination of a cult burning his house in front of him. I’m still processing the horror of it all, and I don’t know that I’ll ever really understand. I knew my dad drank more alcohol than I’d like, but I had no concept of the extent of his addiction. To say my family has been rocked by alcoholism would be an understatement. I love my father so much, and I want him back. I want what this disease has stolen from me.”
“‘If love could cure addiction, then there likely would be no addicts.’ I heard that and thought I’ll prove them wrong and love my husband back to sobriety. The detox units, rehab stints, crazy outbursts, embarrassing public spectacles, all chipped away at my love for him until all I had left was hope. And I clung to the hope that the next thing would be the cure…then the hope died too. Loving an alcoholic is unreturned love. In my experience, my now ex-husband could never love himself enough to love anyone else. Not even knowing that his wife and children were leaving inspired him to change his behavior. I will always be sad that love for us was never reason enough for him to get sober and stay sober.”
If you would like additional support in your struggle with loving an alcoholic, SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) has several resources available to you at no cost. You can find them on their website here.