Lessons Learned Living with an Alcoholic

Two years ago today I ended a 4 year relationship with a beautiful soul of a man that was an alcoholic. Unless you are someone who is super close to me, that’s the first time I’ve actually said this. It was hard for me to acknowledge, even after the break up, even after his untimely death (due to his addiction). I was ashamed that I had stayed in the relationship so long, ashamed that I had allowed it to happen, ashamed that I somehow felt like I owned part of the addiction, part of what made him drink. I was ashamed that I had been living in a secret world where we only stayed at home because I didn’t want his drinking to be seen by others. I was ashamed that I somehow contributed to his drinking problem by drinking with him. I was ashamed that I had allowed my little family to be in this situation.

The drinking had become too much. The secrets, the hiding, the lies…all had become too much. His attitude had changed because I no longer was pretending not to notice. I was calling him out on his actions. This was so hard because his actions were sometimes that of the most loving, caring man in the world. The kind of man that wanted to do nothing more than take care of me. He would buy me flowers, cook me a gourmet meal, cook the dinner of my son’s dreams, light candles, profess his love for me, for us, for the family I so desperately wanted. I was starting to see that these actions were coming from a place of manipulation to cover up his drinking. His actions were used as ammo the next morning when I would, almost always, give him the ultimatum of continuing drinking or continue in the relationship. Two years ago, it was that ultimatum, that morning of anger, frustration, fear and loneliness of living with an alcoholic….our relationship ended. I could no longer live like I was.

I think back to this day and wonder if I could have changed anything…I know the answer is NO. I now know that I never caused the drinking or could have stopped it, none of that was in my control. I wish I had reached out for help sooner. I wish I had been more vocal about what was going on. I wish he were still here and had gotten the help he so desperately needed.

My biggest lessons from this relationship were:

  1. Owning my life. My story. My shit.

  2. Get help for someone with an addiction. Don’t stay quiet.

  3. Don’t blame yourself.

  4. You can only control yourself.

  5. Never, ever put up with unacceptable behavior.

I’m not sure why I am sharing this story today, maybe it’s because of the two year anniversary of our break up….I hope it helps someone to not feel alone if they are in a similar situation.

Sending out TONS of Peace, Love & Silver Linings….today and always….XOXO, Tanya

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