Alcohol…The crazy beast
So many clients who I journey with through counseling, have a familiar theme. The beast of alcohol makes an appearance in just about every session I sit in. It is an all consuming part of peoples lives. Often, who I am sitting with is not the person dealing with alcohol addiction, but the people who love alcoholics and who are subject to all the destructive by-products of this heart breaking, family crushing, life sucking addiction.
If you have ever lived with an alcoholic you know exactly what I am about to talk about……That indescribable but unshakable feeling that you are going crazy when you are around them. That confusion you feel when they are making an argument or case for something. You start off in the conversation knowing where you stand on an issue, but three loops around the insanity of their explanations or problems with the way you do things…and BOOM….that crazy why can I not understand my thoughts, feelings, frustrations is back……do you know what I am talking about? If you do not and you live with an alcoholic you are lucky!! But I suspect almost all of you know exactly what I mean.
Their incessant need to make everyone around them guilty, frustrated and angry so that they can point to that exact moment and say A-HA…right there, that crazy part of you… that is what drives me to drink!!! And suddenly they have justification and you have this feeling that in some way you, because of your obvious craziness, have contributed to their need to drink away the crazy.
In our clear moments we can rationalize that it is not us who makes them drink…but as time wears on…this ability to rationalize gets muddy. The clarity isn’t as sharp. The doubt sets in and despite our best attempts, we start noticing how we do make a lot of irrational choices, statements and demands.
THIS IS THE POINT WHERE I WANT TO YELL “STOOOOOOOOP…………”
You are not crazy, you are not irrational, you do not make ridiculous demands…..YOU DON’T!
The alcoholic knows that the destruction of their relationships, families and professional lives is because of their addiction. They know this! Inherently, they know this. But it is TOO MUCH for them to actually know that they are creating so much chaos and sadness in the people they love. The need for a scapegoat is overwhelming and the desire for justification makes them experts on the blame game. They become masters of it…they know how to start fights, push buttons and drop damaging statements that turn us into reactionary, confused participants in fights we never wanted.
This post is simply to point this out and say…You are not crazy. You are not the problem. You did not contribute to your partners demise. Did you fight as a couple? Yes. Did you overspend that one time? Yes. Did you guys used to drink together, sometimes at your request? yes. Did you undermine him in front of his boss once? Yes.
BUT did you make him an alcoholic? NO.
All of those above things are normal. They happen in relationships all the time. They are parts of a relationship that need addressed, looked at and dealt with…..but does it justify alcoholism? NO!
Alcoholism is a disease. It sucks away your life and leaves you abandoned and unsure. We know that. The alcoholic does not choose alcoholism. They do not. BUT, also just as they did not choose it, you did not contribute to it. Any scenario you can come up with in your head that is a problem in your relationship… infidelity, death, loss of a job, bankruptcy, financial disaster, etc….none of it causes alcoholism.
And neither do you!