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With the recent spotlight here about caregiving for someone addicted to a substance,I just had to ask this question in the hopes others will respond and help me to understand.
We all know alcoholism is a disease...and we all know what AlAnon is about. I have called our local agency a couple of times on request by my brother in law in regards to his wife, who is an alcoholic. They blatantly tell you to totally cut the person out of your life, no helping, no talking, no nothing ....hence your ability to NOT enable any more. He, like others I know are unable to do this. It is sort of a viscious are damned if you do, damned if you don't.
My brother in law's attitude of running and helping his wife at the drop of a hat with everything and anything is to say the least, maddening to me. But my husband says it must be hard for him and as much as he feels distaste for his brothers wife, he says he can understand why he can't let go.
My question is for anyone who is living/caring for an alcoholic. If, according to Alcoholics Anonymous, being an enabler and letting the alcoholic have control is so negative towards their disease, how do you cope with this fact?

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Hi Prarie Gal,

This is an excellent question. Unfortunately I really haven't had much experience with this. I know that when you are entrenched with loving someone you sometimes feel deep within that your support and love will help them to change. Unfortunately the only ones we can change are ourselves. When living with someone it appears that you get so entrenched you really feel and believe they can change.

After posting the current spotlight, I spoke more with zophiel. She was in an incredibly good space centered and balanced before meeting her husband. The situation swept her under without her even realizing that she was losing her own identity; her own truths; her own authenticity.

As a result of zophiel's writing the spotlight I think she was able to see very clearly what had transpired which is a healing in itself, as she is now taking steps, perahps many thought she should have taken long ago. I guess people want to also believe that the other will make it if they are supported and they truly lose site.

In leaving, many feel that they had made a wrong choice in partnering with their loved one. I think if one looks at it from the perspective that partners mirror the good and the bad points of ourselves, the negatives and the positives, our self confidence and so much more, it is difficult to accept that the relationship came to be in order to grow and heal from themselves.

In letting go of their partner, they must in turn go within and do their own inner work, not thinking of themselves as a failure, but use the loving reasons they were attracted in the first place, along with the good qualities they recognized, and understand that they still exist so it doesn't dimminish their choices, but also accept and do the work from within that will heal them from the negative reasons, they went into the relationship as well.

I hope this clarifies it a bit. I am sure there would be lots more information on the Internet at the AA site and so many others.

Thanks Gail...

I know what you are saying, and I know it must be hard for one married to a substance abuser. I have read some sites on Alcoholism and from speaking to them on the phone, they pretty much all say the same thing. Not to be an enabler and not to let the abuser have control.
Guess it's just aggravating to me now that my brother in law has been living with have to watch him not getting on with his life....just enabling, and enabling, and enabling...
I have made it clear to him his wife is not to come to my home, mostly because before with caring for my mother I did not need the added stress of having a viscious drunk in my house, plus the fact that she has lost several jobs because of her drinking and has resorted to stealing to get money to buy her bottle.
I guess I am hoping someone will respond to this with a more personal insight rather than the typical answers I am finding from researching AA sites.
Any helpful hints, anything I can or should be doing to try to help him, anything I shouldn't be doing...I think my biggest fear and apprehension is that he will ask one day if she can come live here too, making us all enablers/caregivers, so to speak. Her drinking has left them both in debt, and he is worried about her suicide threats.

Thanks for listening...
If you are out there and read this I just wanted to thank you for the chat last night...Your honesty is just what I was looking for...Sometimes we know what we can or cannot do but to have someone who has "been there" spell it all out can really make one see the light...
You have given me a lot to think about...


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