I would like to share my experience and be open and honest about it. I would like to share in order to maybe help someone who is going through the same things. I hope to share some strength and some hope. 

I am going to start out with how I am feeling currently, which is a little angry aggravated and annoyed at my loved one. He is an alcoholic and is struggling badly right now. He is supposed to be going to rehab on August 2nd which is scary for both of us. He sat this up himself because he now knows after years of trying to quit and he cannot do it on his own. 

Why I feel aggravated is because I worked a 12-hour shift last night then came home to work my 2nd job as a Behavioral Health Coach. I am tired and I just want to sleep today. 

In coming home today I discovered it must have been a rough night and I am thankful I was not home honestly. There are beer cans scattered all over the house, it looks like what may be vomit all over the floor. There is a disaster in the kitchen from what looks like late-night cooking, the couch was turned all around with the cushions all over the place. This is not the first time this has happened. 

I felt triggered right away and so many emotions flooded over me, and I wanted to yell and scream at him. With open honesty that is what I use to do all the time. When I found this mess especially after working 12-hour shifts, I put so much shame, guilt, and blame on him. I wanted him to suffer…It really was terrible, but I wanted him to feel my anger and I felt he deserved my wrath for causing such mess at home. I felt he deserved to be yelled at because these behaviors appeared to be so selfish. 

In coming home today I wanted to go straight to him and yell at him. I wanted my voice to be heard because I felt like I was not being listened to. I instead took a step back and applied the skills and strategies I have learned during my recovery process. I stepped back used the skills I teach clients. I took a deep breath and focused on my breath and breathing. I put myself in the moment and let myself feel what I was feeling because I know it is okay to have these emotions. I sat with my emotions, and I processed them. I then reached out and went to a meeting during my break. 

 I also know that if I acted out my anger today it would only be hurting me further. It would only be hurting me further because these are actions and behaviors I am trying to move away from in my own recovery. I know I deserve to own my own emotions and to acknowledge them, but that does not mean I have to make another person suffer because of how I feel. I am in control of how I respond, and I choose to love and care for myself in a way that shows respect for myself. 

I honestly don’t want to hurt the person I love and yell at him either. While his behaviors last night did trigger me, it is not my responsibility to make the situation worse.  I know by communicating with him his struggles. I know he already feels shame and guilt for his actions, and I don’t want to be the person who perpetuates this shame in him. He has enough of that himself with his addiction. This for a long time was hard for me to understand, because of all the pain, I felt in living with him. I then learned what addiction was, and learning that really allowed me to start having open and honest conversations with my loved ones. 

In saying that I have also learned that does not mean I have to put up with unacceptable behaviors. I don’t have to approve of my loved ones drinking I don’t have to approve of the behaviors that are associated with the drinking either. I accept though that it is  reality I accept that he is an Alcoholic and I accept that I love an Alcoholic. 

In accepting that I can now communicate how I am feeling in a way that is positive and productive. 

I will discuss the mess with him, but I will do it in a way that is more supportive. I will state it looks like you had a rough night last night. How are you doing? I will listen and then I will express my concern about the mess and ask him to clean it up. 

I feel angry I feel upset, but I can communicate that in a way that is helpful for both of us and still show that I care. I can own my own emotions without hurting or harming another person. I can express my emotions in a healthy way that allows me to feel like I am being heard. 

It has been a really long road living with a loved one who has an addiction, and I felt so alone so many times. I feel though we are both starting to see the surface. I feel like I am starting to see it because I started my own recovery journey and I have reached out for support. I also feel I am seeing the surface because of everything I now know about addiction, and it has really allowed me to grow closer to my loved one and be really open and honest with him. 

This is nowhere near perfect, but practice makes progress. That is all I am really trying to do every day is make a little bit of progress in my own life so that I can love and care for myself in ways that I never knew were possible. Doing that has also given me a way to love in ways that I never knew were possible. 

I know that I can’t ask my loved one to just stop drinking, it does not work that way with an alcoholic. I really use to try, but he can ask me for support, and I can ask him for support as well. I have had to learn to drop all expectations and just enjoy the journey and live in this moment now. All I can ask him is to make progress with me and that is what he is doing. That is what we are both doing. It is hard loving someone with an addiction. I now know I am not alone. I hope you can know the same as well. Please reach out for support because it is not easy loving someone with an addiction 

 I am going to go do some hardcore self-care today. I am thinking maybe a nap.

By Brittany Jackson