Living With an Alcoholic
"For each one shall bear his own load."1
A Daily Encounter reader wrote, "I read your Daily Encounter on 'Overcoming Addictions,' and it hit home. I too am desperate and have prayed for years and looked for help but nothing has happened. I am the wife of an alcoholic. We are now separated…. After years of promises and disappointments, it is hard to believe that he can change, but I do keep praying for him and working on strengthening my faith…. I hope you can help me."
Dear Shirley (name changed), I'm sorry to hear of your struggle. Unfortunately, there are far too many people living with an alcoholic and their pain is excruciating. I believe you did the right thing in physically separating from your alcoholic husband for as long as he refuses to get help to overcome his addiction. Tough love is the most loving thing to do in your situation. As stated in today's Scripture there are some problems that we each need to accept responsibility for.
Not to be unkind, but it is very likely that you may be codependent, and while physically distancing yourself from your alcoholic husband is a step of growth for you, you will need help to overcome your "addiction." That is, codependents, more often than not, are addicted to the addict. In other words, their need is to feel needed in order to feel loved. However, this is isn't love at all. It's need. That's why it is never fulfilling nor can it be. It ends up leaving one lonely, frustrated, hurt and angry.
It is good that you recognize your need for help. You will need counseling for yourself because rarely can we resolve these problems alone. Ask your minister or doctor if he/she can recommend a qualified Christian counselor in your area.
Getting help for yourself is the most loving thing you can do for you, for your husband, and for your children. Unless you get the help you need for you, you won't be able to help the rest of your family.
Also, be sure to pray for truth. Ask God to reveal to you the truth about you and to show you how you may have contributed in any way to the situation you are in. There are always reasons within ourselves why we are attracted to the person we marry. Once we know the truth about our self, we know what the right thing is for us to do. Remember, too, we can't change anybody but our self. And the healthier and stronger we become, the better able we are to deal with our situation.
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, no matter what problem I find myself facing, help me always to see what I am contributing to the situation, and please help me make the changes I need to make before ever expecting anyone else to change. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."
1. Galatians 6:5 (NKJV).