I am a big ol' dumbass. And that is just fine with me. I am sober and write about that a lot. Because I write about what I know. What I live. And the main and most important part of my life is sobriety. This in no way makes me an expert. Sobriety is something that each person has to choose. To want. To work for.
It's interesting that I hear from friends and family members just as often as I hear from addicts and alcoholics who want to get sober. This disease crushes entire families. And chances are there are strong enablers that are writing me and guilty of keeping an addict using. These enablers need help just as much as the sick person needs help. That is why there are family programs. That is why Al-Anon exists. But most people will say, no matter how desperate they are to get the addict clean, they will not do anything differently.
That is a problem. If the addict has no consequences except for disappointing people, why would they change? The enablers are just continuing the cycle as much as the addict is. Everyone has to take responsibility for themselves, and say, "ENOUGH." We have had enough of this bullshit and we won't watch you kill yourself.
People who love addicts want so desperately for them to change, and yet, they don't do a damn thing to change themselves. The attitude is one of, "I'm not the problem, the user is the problem." And to a large extent that is true.
What I know of my own personal experience is that when I was drinking, I thought I was only hurting myself. When in reality, I was like a bomb spreading shrapnel all around me. And I knew no matter what, that my parents would bail me out. Of everything. Until they didn't. UNTIL THEY STOPPED. My mom was the most courageous one it turns out in that she actually took a stand and went to Al-Anon. Did she want to? HELL NO. Did she think that her 27 year old daughter was going to die from drinking unless something drastic happened? Yes. YES YES YES. She read books and she spoke with counselors at rehabs and she prayed more than anyone has ever prayed, but mostly, she took action in the form of helping herself figure this all out.
She wasn't going to sit idly by and watch this disease take over her entire life as it had for a few years already. She knew she must DO SOMETHING DIFFERENTLY.
Nothing else worked for me. My mom got the courage to say, "ENOUGH. We cut you off until you make a choice to help yourself". It led to my last year drunk when I was homeless. And I applaud her effort every single day I am alive and sober. She risked EVERYTHING. She knew there was a chance I could die out there. But she also knew they were helping to kill me by continuing to let me live the way I was living. I needed to be DESPERATE. And she forced that on me.
What I see happening all the time is people so desperate to help their loved one that they become paralyzed in fear and actually make it worse by doing nothing.
Just like I tell addicts/alcoholics to go to AA, I say to people watching someone struggle, go to Al-Anon. Do something. Take control of your life when you have absolutely zero control over the addicts life. You didn't choose this. But you can choose something differently for YOURSELF. What have you got to lose? Nobody wants to go to AA. Nobody wants to go to Al-Anon. Nobody wants to be in this situation, but you are. So now what?
There is a need for these groups and camaraderie in order to heal. Some people find it in church. Some people think they don't need it at all. And to them, I say, I wish you all the best. I hope you find peace and happiness. Some people don't understand why the need to go "air your dirty laundry" with a group of strangers would ever help. I don't know why it does, but it does. Church didn't help me, but I know it helps many and I say, whatever is helping you make positive change in your life, please do it. I just know that trying to deal with misery on your own is a losing battle. Therapy, meetings, church groups, it all involves putting your dirty laundry out there to be lessened by a group setting. It helps to work through all the shit. Again, I don't know why it works, but it does. And let's face it, we can all use the help. I know I sure can. I was miserable when I kept everything in and tried to FIX IT myself. That's when I was a drunk. I had no answers and no hope. I had to get it all out. My husband doesn't quite understand the whole meeting thing either, but he is so grateful for it because it helps his wife be awesome and happy.
There are things we can ALL do to make our lives better. It took me up against a fucking brick wall of misery and desperation to change. I know many of you are there too. I only know and share my story, so please don't think I am saying this is "HOW YOU DO ALL OF THIS". I only know what happened to me. And I am so very grateful for all of it. Every single part of it. For all of you struggling either yourself or with a family member, DO SOMETHING FOR YOURSELF. DO SOMETHING DIFFERENTLY. Please. Please try it. You can always go back to living the way you've been living if it's working so well.