I’ve Come Out!

Hi All,

A lot has happened in the last couple of months (hubby is still very sober, yeeaaa) and I got approached by a publisher about my wee book! It has now had a makeover, got a much needed edit! Here’s the book on Amazon (click): Action Plan For Living With An Alcoholic

I’ve moved all the posts from this website onto a new website www.howtolivewithanaocoholic.com (I know catchy right!). The reason being is that it will be easier for people who need it to find it when they google for help. Also I can never remember the password and email I used when I set this blog up and have to spend an hour searching everytime I want to post something! SO the new website will be a lot easier to manage and I’m going to do a lot more regular support posts (now that I have a publisher keeping me in check!).

So after 7 years of secretly blogging as Been There, let me introduce myself …. Hi, My name is Lilly Laine, nice to meet you.

New Year, New Start

So you got through the holiday season? Was it as tough as previous years? I always found Christmas and New Year challenging – it’s an excuse for them to drink freely and you feel like a  party pooper if you get ‘grumpy’ about it. 

This is hubby’s fourth sober Christmas in a row and we celebrated new year with tea, coffee and chocolate, a nice fire with the kids watching the TV and the countdown. I never thought I would consider such a quiet new year’s eve so blissful. What I find that now that I am content and happy with everyday calmness, I don’t need the high of celebrating annual milestones extravagantly. I now realise a lot of people feel the need to go OTT to lift themselves out of a life they are not satisfied with. This goes for alcoholics and their loved ones. I was one of those people for years as I felt I needed those big celebration events to lift me, I felt I ‘deserved’ a mind-blowing New Year’s Eve every year when my husband was an active alcoholic. I even took a massive bank loan out and booked a trip to Fiji for the eve of the Milennium so I could be at the location of the first sunrise of the new milennium! How crazy was that! (I got sick and we couldn’t travel and I got my money back from the insurance and paid off the loan thankfully! A big blessing in disguise!).

This is the first year I have felt absolutely no need or incline to do a big celebration, maybe it’s age, maybe I am getting boring. But I think, and I am probably going to make you feel nauseous when I say this, I think it’s because everyday is a celebration for us now that sobriety has finally settled into our households everyday existence. I no longer want to forget the past year as it was too lovely to want to forget. I don’t want to escape the present moment as every sober moment in a house that was once bursting at the seams with drunken chaos has been a beautiful moment. I know longer need to celebrate milestones as I celebrate life everyday. I do hope that your next new Year’s Eve is a blissful, content celebration of sobriety.

PS. I almost forgot to tell you, my book has been taken on by a publisher! It will be relaunched in March 2014 and I have a new website with a support group attached. You can join the support group by simply going to my site http://www.howtolivewithanalcoholic.com.

Take care of yourself.

Dealing with Physical Abuse

Never, under any circumstances, accept physical abuse to you or your children. All alcoholics are emotionally abusive to those they are living with – selfishness is part of the disease, they need to do whatever it takes to justify their drinking or relieve their guilt. Not all alcoholics are physically violent, though. If there is physical abuse, do not, under any circumstances, live with it. Your life, and the lives of other members of the family, are more important than living in fear or danger. Emotional abuse can be healed once the situation is brought under control, but physical abuse leaves lasting scars both physical and emotional which may never heal.

Your spouse may threaten to keep the children if you leave the family home, or even threaten to kill you or themselves if you leave. This is serious, as you are living a life of fear, not a life of choice. We only have one life and we only have one chance of giving our children a decent childhood.

As long as you respond to your spouse’s threats, you are making yourself and your children vulnerable to his destructive behavior and escalating intimidation. You do not need to ask your spouse for permission for you to leave or for a separation. And he is not in charge of custody decisions. You are an adult with rights and you are responsible for acting in your own and your children’s best interests.

What To Do:

You need to take authority in your partnership and find out your rights. This step can be difficult as your self-confidence may have been shattered over the years of living under your partner’s control. However, there are agencies and support groups that offer free legal and professional aid to help you understand your rights, and with this knowledge, you can develop a course of action.

As you are reading this, you are on the internet so google ‘support for abused in (name of your town)’ or try ‘shelter for women in (name of your town)’ or ‘free legal aid in (name of your town)’, ‘family shelter in (name of town). Take note of their numbers and call them now and ask what support they offer. It does not mean you have to pack your bags immediately but at least you will be more informed of your options.

 

Worth A Look

I found this online conference that is happening on the 28 Sept to October 2. It is aimed at addicts and those in recovery. I find that stuff aimed at addicts is also very relevant to us – those living with addicts – as we also suffer and need support and guidance. This is free to view so hopefully you will find some of the speakers helpful on your road:

http://www.Recovery2Point0.com

Take care

Try Tapping To Unblock Your Sadness and Fear

Try Tapping To Unblock Your Sadness and Fear

Have you ever tried tapping? It is only something I have discovered recently and it so easy to do. Have a look at this video and copy the technique to unblock your fear of being more independent, self-confidence, fear of taking the next step in YOUR life.

Here’s the video – just copy what they do with your own words

Give it a go NOW and let me know how you get on in the comments below.

How To Avoid Confrontation with an Alcoholic

Arguments, tension and confrontation are daily occurrences when living with an alcoholic. Avoidance of interaction with the alcoholic while they are drinking is the best solution; this includes, talking and arguing with them. They are not thinking clearly and won’t take in what you say, so why waste your breath arguing about their behaviour? Why fuss and fight with someone who has lost the ability to make any sense? Don’t become ensnared in the alcoholic trap with them. Stay out of the trap, so you can help them.

Alcoholics are often confrontational, so it is better to avoid him when they are getting drunk. This is often easier said than done. This may take going to bed early or setting up your own area of relaxation in the house. If he follows you to try to draw you into an argument, try to get him to agree to talk about it in the morning instead. Don’t say, “You’re drunk, so I am not discussing it” as this will only add fuel to the fire. Instead say, “I’m feeling too tired to discuss this now, so can we talk about it tomorrow?” He’ll probably continue to rant and rave, but keep firm to this line and hopefully he will leave off.

When he is sober, then address the issue and say you are ready to talk about what he was keen to talk about the night before. He may not remember having the conversation or the context of it and try to brush it off. So you may need to drop a few reminders of the hurtful things that were said. However don’t gloat, nag or labour the issue. If you are not comfortable doing this, then don’t do it – it is not mind games, but just enough to remind them of their behavior so they realize gradually over time that they are having blackouts and being nasty.

- Extract from How To Live With An Alcoholic and Still Enjoy Your Life

Additional Tip: When I would see the signs of a confrontation brewing I would deflect it by acting like I didn’t notice and then ‘casually’ realising we needed milk or I had forgotten to get something for dinner and leave the house as quickly and as casually as possible for a couple of hours with the kids and go to a friend’s or the playground. He’d be usually unconcious  before I got back.

 

Is He a Genuine Asshole or Is It the Drink?

My husband is older than me. When we met I was 21 – a mature 21, I had done a lot of traveling, I had a good job and I loved my life. Meeting the man I wanted to spend the rest of my life with was not on my ‘To Do’ list until I was about 28. But there he was.

He was handsome, funny, manly, gentle, kind, intelligent, interesting. All that was missing was wealth and good dress sense … and he smoked. But hey he excelled in all the other boxes that needed ticking. We were friends for 6 months before I asked him out (that’s a story for another day). Over time I saw he was amazing with children, my nieces and nephews loved him, that’s when my previous non-existent maternal instinct was triggered. I wanted his babies. He was the one.

Roll on 3 years and My Work Your Way Around the World Guide was put on the top shelf to gather dust and Your Guide To Parenthood  had taken its place. We were married and had our first baby. I also had come to realize my dream man had a drink problem – he was a functioning alcoholic. He was an introvert but people loved being around him – he’d tell amazing stories which I would cringe at because they were so exaggerated. People were laughing at him not with him, he didn’t notice but I did. My husband was clearly a drunk so I bore the embarrassment for both of us.

When in company he would of course drink to access and 9 times out of 10 he would say something way out of line that would provoke heated discussions, usually about topics etiquette warns you not to discuss – politics and religion. Or he would forget an unmentionable and put both feet in his mouth without thinking – you know what I mean – discussing how wonderful being a parent is to a friend who can’t have kids. Or repeatedly tell someone that she had a great color for the time of year and keep asking had she been away, while it was obvious to the rest of us that her self-tanning efforts had gone disastrously wrong. She hadn’t intended to be that shade of burnt tangerine.

He was always oblivious, while I would be on tender hooks before we even arrived at a social event, sitting on edge, monitoring what he’d be saying so I could clumsily interrupt and divert the full flowing conversation, or alternatively wait for the ‘ground please open up now and swallow me’ moments to pass.

We lived in an old house that needed a lot of work, we could afford a second hand DIY book not tradesmen. I realized my husband had no patience or logic –  when something needed to be done he’d immediately do it without thinking it through or having the patience to read the DIY book. I ranked top of my class in Mensa logic tasks – his efforts irritated the crap out of me. For instance when he’d put up a shelf I knew it required plugging the wall and screwing the supports to the wall. I also knew a shelf had to be straight so you would use a tool to ensure it was level. Instead he would use a hammer and nails and his own judgement about how level it was – a drunk’s version of level is not very level. Family and friends would snigger at his work he proudly showed off. I would detest everything he did, wishing for the day that I could afford to employ a professional to redo everything.

So roll on another 5 years of rapid decent into living hell. The affects of his drinking worsened. We rarely went out together – he was obnoxious, insulting, suicide threats and attempts, arguments, vomiting, collapses, accidents, hospitals, no work, no money, etc, etc. And then another 8-9 of post rehab years, a few slips but now nearly 2 years fully sober.

Yes, my husband is sober. He is no longer abusive, suicidal or all that stuff I mentioned in the last paragraph that were a result of drink – we have an amazing happy home which I had years of doubt could ever be possible.

However, he still often puts his two feet in his mouth when in company, he still starts heated discussions about his views on religion and politics and he still tells exaggerated stories. Our daughter is now 16 and looks at her father in disbelief sometimes in these situations and I say to her ‘Wow I thought he was only like that because of drink’.  We laugh. I’m relaxed in company with him now because he’s an adult he can say what he likes, I am not his keeper. These quirks in his personality are part of him they were not caused by drink they were always there. I’ve grown to love them and family and friends love them too, they always have done, they were laughing with him not at him as I had believed. Thinking back to the times I clumsily jumped in to save him from a conversation hole I thought he was digging, I must have looked like the person who needed medication for my mental health not him.

We look back on what we have been through and we know what’s important in life – we don’t sweat the small stuff so we rarely argue. DIY is the only thing we have heated discussions about – we warn the kids what to expect before we open a flat pack. He still refuses to read an instruction manual and I haven’t grown a love for wonky shelves. However his skills are improving I have to say. Now that his life is not a drunken haze, he remembers what he did wrong during the last DIY effort and learns from his mistakes, so our house is improving. I know longer have a longing for a DIY TV show to come in and level my house and rebuild it while I spend a weekend at a spa. It has turned into a home built with love.

What’s my point? My point is for you to think back to why you loved the person in the first place. What were they like before alcohol took over?

Sobriety will remove the ugliness and emptiness caused by alcohol, but becoming sober is not going to change the person’s basic personality. If they were an asshole before alcohol became a problem they will still be an asshole when they get sober. If this is the case, you may need to rethink your own long term plans. If you have kids and commitments which you feel are better in the current home structure, read my book How to Live With an Alcoholic but Still Enjoy Your LIfe. Follow it’s instructions and it will help you make the most of the years you feel you have to wait out.

Until next time (sign up in the top right hand box for alerts of new blog posts), take care of YOURSELF.