Chasing someone else's demons
If I change my behaviour, then maybe he won't drink.
If I hide those extra bottles, he can't drink so much.
If I control the money, then he can't buy any drink.
If I make the right food, he won't want to drink.
If I distract him with an outing, he won't drink too much.
If I stay out of his way, he won't drink.
If we have visitors, he won't get drunk.
If I drink with him, I can slow down his drinking.
If I give him an ultimatum, then he won't drink.
If he loses his job surely he won't drink so much?
If I leave, he's got to stop. He's just got to.
Sound familiar? It's par for the course if you love someone who has a problem with alcohol.
There is always a list of what ifs and a lot of controlling, angst and frustration when you're dealing with an alcoholic. The trouble is, you have no control over anything, except you.
You didn't cause their drinking. You can't stop them drinking. You are powerless over their drinking.
The brain of an alcoholic during the acute stage of addiction is wired to override self-will, logic and good intentions. This is a biochemical reality.
This may seem fatalistic but your actions – which sometimes might actually be inactions – carry a powerful influence over the alcoholic you love.
The most caring thing you can do is to surrender to alcoholism and realise that you can't fight it on your own. The brain of an alcoholic during the acute stage of addiction is wired to override self-will, logic and good intentions. This is a biochemical reality and for many people, professional help is needed to break free from the crisis of addiction and be supported into a life of sobriety.
They might need medical support to stop drinking (alcohol withdrawals can be be life-threatening) and they will likely need time and space away from their daily life and responsibilities to get sober. They might need to immerse themselves in a healing environment with qualified professionals who can nurture them into building a life free from addiction.
If you're sick of trying to chase someone else's demons, help your loved one get the help they need from people who have walked the walk before you. That is something you do have control over.