Alcohol addiction is often referred to as a family disease because not only does the alcoholic suffer from the hazardous effects, but the family is victimized as well. Living with an alcoholic on a daily basis is not an easy task and can be quite an emotional rollercoaster. One moment you may be sad and worried about your loved one. Then, within a matter of minutes, you may become overwhelmed with frustration and anger. The lies, angry outbursts, financial difficulties, and constant unpredictability can quickly become too much to handle. Children of an alcoholic may become depressed and start to act out, while the spouse may become so preoccupied by their loved one’s drinking that he or she begins to neglect his or her own needs.
I’m often surprised at myself at the denial I was in about my ex-BF’s alcoholism and abusiveness. I would normalize it by saying he’s just letting off steam, or he’s doing it because I did something wrong. Looking back I wish I had gone to Al-Anon because then I would have realized much sooner that I couldn’t do anything to change him. The change and realization had to come from himself.