I Give Up!
I’ve always heard if you’re at the end of your rope tie a knot in it and hang in there.
How many times have you been there?
You thought it was the end of the rope and there you go again.
One crisis after another.
Maybe it’s time to give up!
What am I talking about?
There are at least 5 things you need to give up.
Control of your alcoholic
I learned a long time ago it’s impossible to control anyone outside of yourself.
Sometimes it’s even hard to keep you under control.
The reality is, if you don’t have the choice that makes a difference, you don’t have control (and never will).
I like how the serenity prayer says “God grant me serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can and wisdom to know the difference.
The key for me is the wisdom to know the difference.
You can spend so much time and energy for nothing on things that simply won’t change until your alcoholic decides it’s time.
Unfortunately, some die in the illness.
As someone who has spent 30 some years working to change that fact, I can attest to the fact it takes wisdom to know what you really cannot change.
It’s only at that point you find acceptance for yourself.
Taking on your alcoholic’s struggle
Your alcoholic isn’t really interested in bearing the responsibility for what alcohol causes.
His interest is in securing the opportunity for the next buzz.
I know it’s impossible when you care about someone to not empathize with them about what they may go through.
After all to have your entire life controlled by the obsession of alcohol, to be helpless to the urge and consistent in spite of the harm it causes is overwhelming.
The secret here is YOU don’t need to carry the weight of his illness.
It isn’t your struggle.
If you were married to someone with cancer, it would be understandable to be supportive even if treatments didn’t result in success.
In fact, I’m sure you’d work together to find the right treatment…One that would work.
Alcoholism is a bit different.
Your alcoholic isn’t often a willing participant in search of a treatment to get through the illness.
The result is YOU are the only one trying to find the answers.
Here’s the deal…
You can’t be more concerned about your alcoholic’s recovery than he is.
It has to be HIS recovery for it to work.
Guilt or shame
It’s difficult to accept that your alcoholic isn’t at least partially responsible for the illness of alcoholism.
I don’t intend to debate the issue of alcoholism as an illness but let me share recent research suggest it’s a brain disorder.
Some of the related behaviors are the compulsion to use, relapse and obsessive thoughts of drinking.
Can you see how it’s really not something YOU need to be ashamed of?
When you accept alcoholism as an illness, it’s quite normal to have remorse over the fact.
To carry guilt or shame only hurts yourself.
It won’t help your alcoholic at all.
I’ve heard the ‘if only’ statements about alcoholics.
They usually sound like, “If my alcoholic would just spend some quality time with the family”.
Some illnesses take away specific functional abilities. I would say alcoholism takes away much of the ability to be intimate with others.
It certainly effects the ability of your alcoholic to be truthful and open.
When you come to terms with what this illness has taken from your alcoholic you can begin to find ways to change what you expect.
I wouldn’t expect a diabetic to enjoy a large piece of my favorite pie, or a person struggling with lung cancer to go outside for a smoke.
When your expectations change you’ll find more acceptance.
There’s really no one to blame.
Researchers relate alcoholism to both environmental and heredity factors.
Blame is so easy to fall into because of how chaotic your alcoholic’s behavior can be.
The reason it’s beneficial to give up blame is that everyone involved gets hurt with blame and you stay stuck.
The path to recovery for your alcoholic has to include accepting responsibility for his illness.
This is an acceptance of responsibility not blame.
When someone takes responsibility for spilled milk, there’s no point of blame for the spill.
So, if you’re at the end of YOUR rope, might I suggest you may want to ‘give up’?
How have you come to terms with your alcoholic’s illness. Share with us in the comment section below.