If you have read any of my other posts, you know that alcoholism is not my issue. But I have been around it my entire life.
This post is from my point of view. The person loving the person who struggles with alcoholism and what their behaviors look like.
One thing I didn’t realize is it’s not the same for everyone. Which seems funny to say because it just isn’t. But I really didn’t realize how different the behaviors could be until I experienced it with different people in my life.
Growing up in the home of an alcoholic, I witnessed a high functioning alcoholic. One who was successful professionally. Maintained a home and provided for the family. And most people would have never known looking in from the outside.
My mom died from cirrhosis. It was the most terrible thing I have ever witnessed. Fluid backed up and had to be drained. Her skin cracked on her legs and fluid dripped out. It was terrible. She was shutting down from the inside out.
The man I married, drank nightly just like I experienced growing up. But he also used his words carelessly and was mean and thoughtless after drinking. There were times he was embarrassing to be around while he thought he was the funniest person in the room.
A turning point for me when I realized that this was a bigger problem, was when he was drinking at inappropriate times. Using a big gulp cup to cover that he was drinking something much harder than a soda. And telling the kids that it was ‘daddy’s drink’. Or having a flask at the pumpkin patch became normal for him.
A few years after my divorce, I got into a relationship with an alcoholic. He was a white knuckling alcoholic. Sober by forcing it but that didn’t last long.
He was a binge drinker. Black out drunk daily. Unable to keep a job. Hiding alcohol. Planning his next trip to the liquor store. Buying a small bottle cause ‘it’s the last one, I promise’. But then going back a few hours later for the next last one. Withdrawing. Needing to drink to stop the withdrawal. Hospitalized. Arrested. I became afraid of his unpredictable behaviors and was issued a protective order.
And my friend. Lying about where she was. Or how much she had to drink. Kinda wanting to stop but was just not ready to give it up.
As you see there is a wide range of behaviors and what alcoholism looks like in each person I have known who struggles with alcoholism.
The basic definition of Alcoholism is the inability to control drinking due to both a physical and emotional dependence on alcohol.
What all these people have in common is they each used alcohol to cope with life. That alcohol numbs feelings. And covers up deep hurts of the past.
Alcoholism stole my mom away from me.
Alcohol changed who people I loved were.
Alcohol lied to the people in my life that with alcohol, life is better.
I have also seen what it looks like to break the chains of alcoholism. And they are the most amazing people I know.
I know that all of us do the best we can with what we know at the time. And when we know a different way, we do better. I have seen it, I have lived it with my own struggles of depression, codependency and body image.
There’s a better life.
If you’ve got pain, He’s a pain taker. If you feel lost, He’s a way maker. If you need freedom or saving. He’s a prison shaking savior. If you got chains. He’s a chain breaker.
So who is He? He is Jesus Christ. And He wants to be in relationship with us. Not only that but He wants us to live our best life. To heal the pain of the past and live and love in today.
It takes a lot of work and action to break the chains of any past hurt. But I know personally and witness everyday that all things are possible with Jesus.
I do have to acknowledge that not everyone breaks the chains. My mom, she found freedom in heaven. At least that is what I believe. I wish that was different but it wasn’t what happened.
I find comfort in knowing she is free now. Rereading those song lyrics….He’s a pain taker….she’s no longer in pain. He took the pain away in a different way than I’ve thought about before.
Thank you for letting me share.
My journey continues…
PS I drew the picture in this post