In the previous article we discussed the dilemma that living with an alcoholic is like living with two people, the one that you chose as your partner and the drinker that brings problems to the household. In this article we will start to look at things that you can do to make your life better and deal with this dilemma.
Probably at this stage your thoughts are, there is only one thing needed for my life to be better and that is for him to stop drinking. In fact it would be surprising if you did not think this as this is the most common response from partners of drinkers. However we are going to deal with things that you can change about your own life in this article and then look at things that you might do about the drinking in the next article. We will concentrate on three areas, isolation, secrecy and having a life.
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We briefly touched on the topic of isolation in the previous article. We explained that the shame of living with an alcoholic, and the fact that everyone seemed to be suggesting that you leave him, made it more likely that you did not discuss your life and the dilemma you have with your drinker. Many partners of drinkers take refuge in secrecy as it saves them having to reveal their shame and to be confronted with the ‘advice’ to leave. Of course the advice is usually well meant but it does not take into account the fact that you actually love him.
While it is understandable that you withdraw from telling others, living life never mind living with a drinker is difficult without support. The first thing that you can do to change your circumstances is to find support. Some people go to Alanon (the family groups of AA. More recently Bottled Up has been available online. While both of these organisations are very useful in helping you to cope it is a good idea to look to your family and friends for support. They already love you and accept you as you are, so try to spend more time with them. Rekindle old relationships and let people back into your life. We discussed this at more length in another article.