I never thought I would hurt my ex…but it happened.
When we first began dating, we were young and wild. We had actually met a few times prior but simply hadn’t noticed one another. The reason for this was that it was at a familiar bar and club scene we both frequented on the weekends.
Eventually we decided to go out to the normal spot together and we had a blast. The connection clicked instantly, and I knew that this woman was going to be my other half. Unfortunately, lurking in a deep place inside me was an addiction.
My family has a long history of alcoholism. Being young and naive, I didn’t consider it a real risk.
I was extremely loving to this wonderful woman; I would do anything for her because she completed me. It was unfortunate that alcohol was the darkness that became my undoing and because of it, I haven’t quite recovered since. I had something wonderful, but I let the darkness consume me.
Believe me, we worked together on the issue. Nothing was ever taken too far, but there were plenty of times of heated, verbal arguments and time away from another. It was heartbreaking for both of us.
That heartbreak couldn’t continue, and eventually we began to drift apart. I saw it happening and there was little I could do to fight the demon. She did the best she could to help, but I knew it was a lost cause because I was too young and dumb to realize what was happening.
I’m telling you this because time has passed, we are both in better places, we are on friendly terms and we help another each day to overcome obstacles. I’m telling you this because I know there are many of you that may be reading this, right now, who are falling down this same hole.
So I wanted to share the pivotal moments that aided with the long road to recovery, so that you may bring your loved one back into the light and have a wonderful relationship without the darkness of alcoholism consuming your life.
1. External help is truly needed, whether that’s deciding to attend AA meetings, attend therapy (which could include couples) or seek alcohol rehab treatment if it has become very noticeable in their physical health and mental well-being. Yes, this does take commitment and it can be a financial strain during the time of recovery, but the end result is that your significant other comes out as the person you fell in love with; they regain their life, their vigor, their passion for you and the world. It’s a hard decision to bring this to the attention of your loved one, but when you are serious and supportive, they will realize the pain they have created and make the right decision.
2. Communication is crucial in any relationship and doubly so when another individual has a history of pursuing a vice. You and your significant other need to be comfortable talking about these issues and truly diving deep into understanding what may have been the causes of these feelings, whether it was abuse as a child, a traumatic event such as a death or if there are genetic factors in place, such as alcoholism or depression.
3. Stress becomes an inhibitor that leads to drinking (especially in men). We are in a constant state of worry between finances, work duties, personal relations, aging, existential thoughts, lack of sleep, social pressure, mental illnesses and so much more. The stress becomes so much that what would be a drink after a long day of work becomes a six pack; that six pack then becomes a handle of hard alcohol and from there, it only gets worse. The two of you need to find what is causing stress and take a proactive approach to eliminate as much of it as possible.
I only wish I took these steps sooner, but I’m glad that despite all the darkness I went through, I can be here today to say a few words that may improve the relationships of others. The road to recovery is long and never-ending, but at least I’m on my way — and hopefully your and your significant other will be so, too.
–Sara Stringer is a freelance writer who most enjoys blogging about lifestyle, relationships and life as a woman. In her spare time, she enjoys soaking up the sunshine with her husband and two kids. Consideration was received for the editing and publishing of this article.
[Photos via We Heart It]