Is drinking every day ok?

Dear supporter,

I received an email this week from an unhappy lady who knows her partner is drinking too much. He drinks 2 or 3 cans of beer a night minimum, is putting on weight, snores like goodness knows what, frequently falls asleep on the sofa, and suffers heavy hangovers, particularly on weekends.

He has a very good job however and isn’t doing anything out of the ordinary within his friendship group.

Functioning addicts really have to want to change before they can, simply because society sees nothing wrong with behaviours we can keep hidden!

So if you are like my emailer and you know the daily drinking is not right, just take a step back and give yourself all the love and attention you deserve. This isn’t a battle you can win because as far as he’s concerned, he’s in control. It isn’t worth the endless arguments over his choices, and you could drive him to the pub more often (which would cause you worry about how he’s getting home) or worse, drive him to drink in secret.

Keep up the healthy living yourself, and one day he might come to his senses. Find others like you who enjoy doing what you love doing, and find your connections, fun and peace that way. There are plenty of people out there who don’t drink at all, and who agree that daily drinking isn’t a good thing.

It does however remain a personal choice and you don’t get to decide the drinking habits of others…

New year, new you?

Dear supporter, 

Did you get through Christmas ok? I already know some of you didn’t, and I’m sorry for that. It’s frustrating to know substance abuse has come before our loved ones’ desire to remain healthy not only for themselves, but for their family too during what should be a time of coming together…

But new year is coming, which is why I’m posting. Supporting an addict who doesn’t always help themselves is draining and I don’t want you to be forgotten this year.

So! Let’s think about setting some resolutions! 

I would love it if we could all find something we will do for ourselves on a regular basis regardless of any destruction going on around us. Maybe you could commit to twice weekly bubble baths, a college course in something creative, joining run club or booking a holiday. It really doesn’t matter what you choose, as long as you feel good doing it! Being sociable and having support is quite important when it comes to coping with stress though, so I award double points if you plan to make new friends with your resolution! 

My resolution is going to be to get outdoors more. I want to walk, run, explore and drink coffee sitting outside at café tables. And if it’s cold, I’ll still go but wear a thicker coat!

I learned this year that self care can only come from me and that if I don’t put myself first, nobody else will. So do join me in giving yourself some love. You work hard giving to others, and you most definitely deserve some time to feel good yourself.

Christmas Cheer?

Dear Supporter,

For many of us, drinking is part of Christmas. It’s as much a part of the festive season as the tree and the turkey.

December is a very difficult time for addicts and their families. The temptation to reach for something they know they shouldn’t is probably doubled as social media becomes flooded with images of people having fun, with a glass of something in the hand of most party guests.

When you live with an addict, it’s tough to know how to handle situations at the best of times, let alone periods when you might like to participate in a glass of wine yourself but feel you should be supportive and sip mocktails instead.

So just to clarify:

There is something very loving in refraining from drinking in support of someone who might be struggling, BUT, if they fall off the wagon over Christmas and new year, it is not your fault, even if you enjoyed a mulled wine at some point. The AA support groups are still open, sponsors are still available, the opportunity to ask for help rather than give in is still there, and the choice to wreck progress is still theirs to make.

I really hope you enjoy a peaceful Christmas but if you don’t, remember regardless of what they say, it is down to their choices, not yours. 💕

You are enough!

There have been a couple of messages from supporters lately who feel guilty. Could they have done more to stop their grown up (or nearly grown up) child making these choices? 

The answer is possibly, but probably not. Because if you are there offering support, stability, love and encouragement, and you feel the lines of communication are always open, then there is nothing more you can offer  anybody, even a child beginning adulthood with less life experience than you or I.  

Addicts make selfish choices because their addiction is all about them. How you feel or what you give always goes unnoticed which is why we can never do enough to fix a person who doesn’t want fixing. Even in recovery it becomes about how well they are doing. This is difficult to hear as a parent because you are forced to think about your child as selfish and thoughtless, but sadly it is true. You can never move enough mountains for someone who makes these choices, because they are too caught up in their own heads to notice just how hard you will fight for them despite their unwillingness to fight for themselves.

In my own home, it has got to the point where it is just given that I will do the childcare when NA meetings are attended or when inlaws want something. There are celebrations from the inlaws because my partner is in recovery and seemingly working hard to get better, but has anyone checked on me and how I might be coping with the extra workload I have compared with someone who has a partner without these issues? Has anyone told me thank you for keeping going, and being home alone with the children 2 or 3 nights a week whilst my partner has another go at attending meetings? 
Of course not! I have been forgotten, and I expect you have too. It’s all about the addiction… how they feel… what they need…
Which is why I tell you to focus on looking after yourself and to nurture yourself. You are going over and above, it’s just nobody is praising you for it consistently so you start to question whether you could have done more somewhere further back. You definitely have absolutely no need to feel this way though, or to feel guilty for issues your children have created for themselves. I expect you’ve offered help, support groups, therapy… am I right?

You are giving enough, just as you always have done. And anytime you need to hear that, I am here to remind you of it. 

Free sobriety challenge

Dear supporter,

This is just to let you know that site supporter Christina is running a ‘fit and sober’ free challenge for 9 days starting December 1, and you are invited to take part!

Christina has created this course to help us to make healthy changes to carry us through December and beyond. She is very much about starting where you are and building momentum, so this could be the exact starting point you need if you have been putting the healthy changes off.

Now I know you are here because somebody close to you has an out of control addiction and as far as your concerned, you’re fine with the odd glass of something. But as a supporter, that doesn’t mean this challenge isn’t for you! As family of people battling addiction, it’s important we take care of our bodies and don’t fall into bad habits ourselves. We need to be healthy so that we can be emotionally strong too. Can you give up your vice for 9 days? 😉

If you or your loved one would like free support to kick start better habits, get fit and lose weight, the link to the fit and sober challenge is below. We’d love to see you there – I’ve just signed myself up!

The fit and sober challenge

Don’t let less than you deserve be your normal

Dear supporter,

How are you? We have been letting time pass really, things are no better but no worse.

But yesterday my partner didn’t want to speak, so every attempt I made at small talk was literally ignored. Imagine having a conversation with someone who doesn’t even acknowledge you’ve spoken. Well that was me getting the silent treatment last night.

Men retreat, I get that. But they also show respect towards those they care for. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a spouse or a parent, if you’re met with this behaviour, it says they don’t respect you.

What I want to say is, your loved one might be struggling, but that doesn’t mean you deserve the disrespect and downright rudeness. Don’t let being treated this way become your normal or what you expect. Step away from them, and instead put your attention towards someone who values your worth.

Know your boundaries, know what you need, and get these needs met through others.

You deserve so much more than the treatment your loved one offers, and I don’t want you to feel you have to settle for anything less.

Relationships are a spiritual assignment

If you are familiar with the teachings of Alcoholics Anonymous and the various other support groups linked to it then you’ll know they use the manta ‘just for today.’

If you have reached this blog because you need support with a loved one, then you are likely in pain. For this reason, I’d like to suggest you invite spirituality into your own life, just for today, just as the groups teach.

Relationships are our biggest spiritual assignments! They teach us where we are not supporting ourselves, where we are expecting too much, where we are battling something not under our control, and where our standards are set too low. No wonder we often find ourselves emotionally drained!

Just for today, be aware of what you have chosen for yourself, as this puts you back in control. Where have you chosen to support? Where have you let your standards slip? Where have you settled when you should have made a stand? When have you looked after yourself first? When are you telling yourself its hopeless because you are secretly terrified you can’t make it alone? How often are you telling yourself there is no support without asking for it to see?

Is your life really over/completely broken/unmanageable?
Could your relationship with your troubled family member be here to serve you and create a stronger you in the long term?

If you are ready to embrace where you are and strengthen yourself, sign up for the support mailing list here, but also head over to one of our supporter sites, Your Spiritual Self, to begin your spiritual journey, where you will learn to let go of ego and invite your guides in. Vicki teaches that spirit is here to guide us to enlightenment, and that the first step on this journey is to understand we are taking part in this human experience to grow and let go of what we thought we knew.

We might feel as though we’ve drawn some really bad luck by having to deal with addictive behaviour, but spirituality teaches us we receive the assignments we are ready to receive, and that we get to resist them in anger or welcome in the chance to work with what’s in front of us so we can empower ourselves through it.

I know addiction is not an easy journey and quite often it’s a long and emotional one too, but there is a chance for you to get something out of it. The question is, will you welcome the assignment or wallow in the injustice of it?

You’re going through it anyway, why not stop resisting what is?

Be strong, don’t enable them

You know the way life is one continuous challenge?

Addicts can’t deal with that. They take everything personally and get sucked into only focusing on the bad. This is why they try to block out what’s bothering them by taking something.

We all have the tendency to do this, it’s just some vices, like food, are more socially acceptable and easier to heal.

Addicts don’t have the strength to cope with life, which means they will take yours if you allow it.

You have to be firm and put yourself and other vulnerable family members first on this healing trip. Because whilst addiction might be a disease, it’s also, in a moment of temptation, a choice. There is always a choice to call a friend rather than a dealer and whilst having empathy is kind, in order to support we mustn’t enable these choices.

3 things you should do for you

Let’s focus on you for a minute. Because I know there’s a good chance nobody else is despite the worry you deal with.

What should you do day to day to get through this?

I think 3 things.

1) The first is let go of any thoughts of healing the addict in your life. You don’t get a say in their recovery and as frustrating as this is, you save yourself a lot of stress and heartache if you just know this. They don’t get better until they choose better. Which means your life doesn’t get better until they either choose better or you leave.

2) Start planning for the day you might have to leave, even if you have no intention of doing so just yet. Set up a savings account, get qualified, confide in a friend, and know where you are going if you get to the point where you’ve had enough. If the struggling person in your life is a son or daughter, look into support for them should they wish to take it. You may not think it now, but there may come a time when you want to change the locks. Because it’s draining being unable to help someone who doesn’t want your help yet.

3) Get strong yourself. Eat right, exercise, find support for yourself and what you’re going through, and keep going with your sense of purpose. Don’t give up on your job or your social life or your future. Don’t isolate yourself, and always have something planned to bring relaxation and enjoyment.

What else? Can you add anything? Comments are welcome as always.

The blame game

One of the biggest challenges of addiction is the mood swings. We deal with many frustrations during the recovery periods, and these bring temper tantrums and harsh words with them. And when the denial kicks in… Well, talk about manipulation! The blame game is played too, and it’s never their fault.

He wouldn’t need to take anything if it wasn’t for me!

Then there are the depressions, which come on in the flick of a switch and bring a dark cloud over the entire day. I try to keep my vibe high and sometimes I succeed, but it’s not an easy way to live.

It’s loney too. He’s in a fog in his own world of troubles, and there’s nobody there to enjoy a conversation with. Other family members retreat. They try to understand but they don’t really.

Please support yourself during these times. Make plans with friends, or make a coffee and call someone. You don’t have to be isolated or even go the other way and share everything, but you do have to take responsibility for your own happiness and know that this is not your fault.