This is one of the earliest posts ever published on Partners in Fire. It was written by an ex (but current at the time) boyfriend about his struggles with alcoholism.
To be honest, I forgot all about this post until it started being indexed in Google and showing up in people’s searches. I struggled with whether to leave it, update it, or delete it, but since Alcoholism is such a rampant disease that affects so many people, I decided to leave the original text, written by the alcoholic, and add some notes and asides that might help others who are struggling with either the disease itself, or loving an alcoholic.
My notes will appear like this throughout.
How it all begins – In His Words
Alcoholism is the most underrated and untreated disease in the world. Tons of people die from this disease daily and it shouldn’t be that way. Treatment isn’t always necessary; a life of balance and hard work is. When I first learned that I was an alcoholic treatment wasn’t even an option. It is impossible to just shove an alcoholic into a program if they don’t want to change, and I wasn’t ready to change. We have to fully accept everything and agree a change needs to be made, and if we don’t it’s a hopeless battle.
Treatment is necessary in almost all cases. However, it is true that if someone doesn’t want to get better, they probably wont
Most alcoholics figure out they have a problem way before they ever get to treatment, but they don’t want to admit and accept it. It’s a disease of the mind that moves its course depending on how much you allow it to take control of your life. What I’m trying to explain is that if you don’t allow it to gain a foothold you can actually stop. Alcoholism has messed with me my entire life and has caused me to lose many a friend and relationships. The battles it has caused in my life are a testament to how deadly of a disease it can be.
Being an Alcoholic
The uncontrollable urge to drink consumes your life. You can think about nothing else, no matter what it may cost (job, friends or even family). Alcohol is everything to you, nothing comes before it. I was between 24 and 25 years old when I let alcohol take over my life, and that’s what threw me into the hell that I have been living through for the past 9 years.
Alcoholism isn’t about partying too much and having fun. The majority of alcoholics drink alone and don’t hang out with people. When you start down the path to alcoholism you become ashamed of yourself and no longer enjoy being around anyone. It is one of the things that makes this disease so deadly, you turn your back on everyone. I lack a better way of saying it, but you become a hermit, alone, miserable, and drowning in your own sorrow.
As an alcoholic I can relate to all of this, M tried so many times to get me to hang out with people, only to have me say I would rather stay home. The majority of people can’t understand this about alcoholics, we fear people and anything that can save our lives. We live off misery and depression, its what motivates us in life. Depression is the only thing we can cling to and control. I know it sounds crazy, but we are only searching for some point of stability. We end up finding that in misery, and that is what makes it so easy to become lost forever.
Having someone that believes in you
I cannot stress to you how important this is and how hard it will be for the person that is trying to help you. M lived by the idea of “I am going to love you until you love yourself” and I fought her tooth and nail on it. Finding someone that is willing to expend this amount of effort is extremely rare and requires someone that has a huge heart and will love you no matter what you do. Today I am able to write about this and share my story because of what she did for me. Having someone that believes in you makes the process bearable. Things will move slowly if you’re doing it correctly, take solace in the fact that if it is going slowly you are actually repairing your life.
Emotional Abuse Isn’t Love
I think this is where I need to say the most. Staying with him, trying to love him and help him through this, was the worst mistake of my life. I lost tons of money, and my codependent eyes couldn’t see how emotionally abusive the relationship really was. Staying with him and focusing on his problems turned me into a shell of myself. And he is wrong about the love I had for him. It disappeared long before he wrote this post. But regardless of how many times I broke up with him, he wouldn’t leave. He threatened me, manipulated me, promised to change, or made my life a hell until I acquiesced and allowed him to stay, or gave him another chance. It wasn’t out of love that I tried to help for so long, it was because I felt I had no other options
I have spent years beating the crap out of myself and saying I was a worthless person. Now I spend each day finding the ways that I was a positive influence on people. Everyone has parts of them that are positive and I have made it my goal to find them for myself. My strengths are that I work extremely hard at anything I devote my attention to, and I care about people to a point that it’s almost uncanny. Focusing on these things instead of obsessing about my hatred of myself has allowed me to find peace.
Alcoholism is a devil of a disease, but it doesn’t require treatment. Hard work and looking at your inner self helps. Finding out what makes you may be the one thing you need. Depression will always feed off of despair, don’t allow that in your life and you’re on the right track. Any day I wake up and find that life is going to be difficult, I smile and say bring it on!
Here’s to all the other alcoholics out there and the people that are trying to help them. Stay strong and believe in yourself (or them). It’s a long process, but it’s not un-achievable. This is just my path and my story of how I overcame it. Do you have your own story that you want to share? I’m all ears. All any alcoholic/addict has every wanted is for someone to listen to there story. Well, I am here and will always will be around to listen. In future posts I will elaborate on specific situations and what it did to my life. I am posting this so people can start to understand the disease and how horrible it is. I feel it’s important for people to understand that before I share my experiences.
It Wasn’t True
Unfortunately, a lot of what J wrote here wasn’t true. He thought it was true at the time, I’ll give him that. But shortly after writing this, he relapsed again, and we broke up again. Finally, I was able to get him out of my home for good, and begin to heal from my own struggles with codependency.
After everything he put me through, I don’t hate him. I feel for him. He is a very sick individual. Alcohol still has a powerful hold over him. I hope that one day, he receives the treatment that he desperately needs and is able to get better. Unfortunately, this type of treatment is a privilege that most people don’t have.
I didn’t want to edit his words, because they show how pervasive alcohol’s hold over someone is. He didn’t want to believe it was as powerful as it was, and that was one of his downfalls.
If you are in a similar situation – get help. There is no shame in seeking treatment for an illness. If you are the partner – well, all I can say is don’t set yourself on fire to keep someone else warm. People won’t change unless they want to. Stop putting yourself through hell for someone who refuses to help themselves.
For a more intimate look at my relationship with J, check out my e-book, This is Abuse available at Barnes and Noble.
Melanie launched Partners in Fire in 2017 to document her quest for financial independence with a mix of finance, fun, and solving the world’s problems. She’s self educated in personal finance and passionate about fighting systematic problems that prevent others from achieving their own financial goals. She also loves travel, anthropology, gaming and her cats.