Do You Love an Alcoholic? Ė Setting Boundaries For You
article is in our new book, The
Loving an alcoholic is
not about taking care of them, but about taking care of you. You have a
responsibility to protect yourself from any of the alcoholicís
negative and destructive behavior. Setting boundaries for you is how to
become healthy, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. You may have to
change a few personal things and schedules around the house a bit to
accommodate your boundaries, but this is how you protect yourself from
the insidious disease of alcoholism. All the boundaries I suggest are
always detaching from the alcoholic in a loving way.
Donít be around the
alcoholic when they are drinking. Does
this sound difficult to do. Well it isnít if you have your own
bedroom, or other room, with a television, desk, phone, cell phone,
laptop, etc. Be prepared to
leave any room the alcoholic is drinking in. When the alcoholic asks you
why you are leaving the room, let them know the truth; you are powerless
to control their behavior and you do not want to be around them while
they are drinking; itís as simple as that.
You are taking care of you!
Donít argue, plead, or
yell at the alcoholic no matter how difficult it gets. This is what the
alcoholic wants you to do. If you argue, fuss and fight, it takes the
focus off of them and their drinking and on to you. See how that works?
This is how the alcoholic drives you into the disease with them. Every
time you try and control the alcoholic through words or argument, you
actually lose the battle; they won! You stay in control by staying
silent. You are in control when the alcoholic wants you to argue with
them, but you walk away instead. This is taking care of you!
Donít give the
alcoholic money, booze, or pay their bills. By doing these things it
will only enable them to continue drinking and also enable their
irresponsibility to the household. If they pay part, or all of a utility
that will get shut off if it is not paid, then of course pay it, but
keep all receipts so they can pay you back. Let them know you are not
taking over their financial responsibilities, but you certainly canít
live without heat or water.
Donít have sex with a
drinking alcoholic. You do not have to have sex with sloppy, booze
smelling person, even if it is your spouse? By giving into the drinking
alcoholic sexually, you are allowing yourself to be abused in a way that
will cause much animosity and resentment later on down the road. Let
them know when they are sober they can come to you for sex. And donít
have sex with a cheating alcoholic. This is a no-brainer. Do you want to
catch the latest rash of venereal diseases?
Set your boundaries.
Remember that setting
boundaries for you is not a threat or a way to control the alcoholic. On
the contrary, your boundaries have nothing to do with them, and
everything to do with you! The alcoholic may not like your new attitude
and that is why you explain to them why you have set boundaries.
Explain to them that you will not be around an argumentative or abusive
alcoholic, but when they are sober, you would love to talk with them.
Tell them, ďI Love you, but I donít love the disease.Ē
For those of you with
children, it is your responsibility to talk with your children about the
parent with the alcohol addiction. They also need to detach from the
drinking alcoholic for their spiritual and mental well-being. They
desperately need to know it is not their fault that their mom or dad
drinks. Let them know they are still loved by the alcoholic even if they
get angry with them.
Search out God for your
life in everything that you do. You will need the help of God for the
strength, hope and faith to carry out with your boundaries. The minute
you stop relying on God is when you will be tempted to give in and allow
the alcoholic to trespass against your spirit. Donít let that happen!
ďProgress begins when
we stop trying to control the uncontrollable, and when we go on to
correct what we have the right to change, (ourselves)Ē
The bottom line is you set a boundary to define your area, to protect your space - physical, emotional, mental, sexual, spiritual, financial, etc. You set the boundary because it is what you need to do for your self. The great aspect about this whole boundary thing is you will be helping the alcoholic to look at himself for a change and actually see that he does have a drinking problem and he needs to deal with it accordingly.