What is Alcoholism?
If you love an alcoholic, or wonder if the person you love is an alcoholic, these points may help you:
- Alcoholism is a complex, progressive addiction involving both body and mind. There is no cure, but alcoholism can be arrested through abstinence.
- Alcoholism also shows itself in recognizable patterns of behavior. These patterns can be passed down in family environments whether or not there is active drinking in the home. Family members and children of alcoholics often carry or act out these patterns of behavior too.
Definition of Alcoholism
Here are links to two definitions of alcoholism, one from a well-known dictionary and one from a respected medical facility:
A chronic disorder marked by excessive and usually compulsive drinking of alcohol leading to psychological and physical dependence or addiction.
Am I Married to an Alcoholic?
It’s a very scary thing to face the possibility that the person you live with and love may be an alcoholic. We are dying to know, because we want to be right – but we don’t want to know, because we keep hoping we’re wrong. The first checklist below is from Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation, probably the foremost name in the country for addiction research and treatment. The next two are from Alcoholics Anonymous and the Mayo Clinic.
Realizing that your spouse is an alcoholic may cause an odd mixture of fear, relief, panic and peace. Your own denial about his problem is not likely to fall away immediately. Accept that. Accept that you’re not ready to accept it yet. It’s okay.
Please stay and learn how you can make a difference in your situation. If you are feeling overwhelmed and can’t continue – please come back and visit the site again. Feel free to leave comments or questions at the blog too.
What is Codependency?
The essence of codependency could be defined as rescuing. People who grew up in alcoholic homes, or who live in an alcoholic relationship develop rescuing behaviors. They work diligently every waking minute in an attempt to manage or control other people’s responses, rescuing them from their feelings or the negative consequences of their actions.
It’s impossible. And exhausting.
If you are living with an alcoholic, you understand the phrase ‘walking on eggshells.’ An alcoholic instinctively draws all the members of his family into a dependent relationship, often using anger and fear as the primary motivators. He will create situations that cause everyone in the household to spin in a perpetual emotional orbit around him. If you are the spouse, your dependency may be emotional, financial and sexual. Children are even more vulnerable, being completely dependent on the addicted parent for their physical as well as emotional needs. The alcoholic has developed a dependency on alcohol; his family has developed a “co-dependency” on him.
Codependents also react. We react to other people’s actions, emotions, moods, statements, threats, promises, and the tiniest nuances of facial expressions. We react to situations and perceptions. We even react to an alcoholic’s inaction!
Codependents tend to absorb other people’s feelings. We take on the emotions of others around us as if they are our own. Then we react to those emotions. A person struggling with active codependency may be pulled into and out of many moods in one day, believing she has no power over how she feels. Reacting sparks a number of other codependent behaviors too. People-pleasing, apologizing and placating behaviors all tend to stem from reacting.
Most people who struggle with codependency grew up absorbing these behaviors from the non-addicted adult in the household. They may have learned and practiced them at an early age with an alcoholic parent.
Serenity101 offers an educational blog and an emotionally safe place for you to come and learn about codependency, rescuing, reacting and recovery. Please stay and make yourself at home.
What is Recovery?
Recovery for people in an alcoholic marriage or family situation is different from the recovery program an addict will need to be free of his addiction. However, the family’s need for recovery is still very real. People in a relationship with an alcoholic will develop unhealthy patterns. They will have hurts and emotional scars and an ongoing need for fellowship with other people who have experienced the same type of situation. Recovery helps family members learn new and healthier ways to interact with the alcoholic and others. Recovery offers families a sense of freedom and a better quality of life – whether or not the alcoholic continues to drink.
Recovery is first of all a process. It’s something you can start today. It’s something that will help you almost as soon as you start. But it’s not something you can obtain overnight. The fullness of recovery is two-fold. One facet helps you understand your present situation and teaches you how to see and implement options you didn’t see before. The other facet helps you study your past and learn how that past is still affecting your life today.
Recovery frees you from old habits and negative patterns. Serenity101 is a place where you can learn about these patterns, gradually dismantle them and replace them with positive new habits.
Serenity101 is a Christian resource for people in a relationship with an alcoholic. It’s a caring place where you can find understanding and support. You can safely share tears, fears, heartbreak and humor with people who have walked the same trail. You do not have to be a Christian to hang out here. Biblical recovery is helpful for everyone!