I am going to share a little bit of background here and my feelings to show my level of understanding of this program and the support I have for my loved one. My loved one in this here feels that I am too supportive sometimes and he states he feels that I hide my feelings with optimism and postivity. Like Ted Lasso, well I can see where he is coming from so I have tried to be a little more open with my feelings. Today when I was a little more open about them he stated he felt it was unfair as to how I was feeling.
I will share our story here so far then I will describe a little bit with what i am struggling with here.
lapses and relapses—commonly seen as crises—are a natural part of getting better for most people. They are not failures to change but opportunities to learn. Most people go through many stages of change—resistance, willingness, learning and progress, frustrations and setbacks, more resistance, more willingness, more learning and progress. Understandably, your loved one’s setbacks may try your patience and equanimity. With new understanding, resilience, and skills to tolerate the downs with the ups, you won’t have to feel as though your life is on hold (or coming apart) until she gets it perfectly.- beyond addiction how science and kindness help people change.
I want you to know your not in this alone in loving someone with a substance use disorder. It’s difficult. With the right tools it does get a little easier, but remember we are dealing with behavior changes in this too.
There is no black or white answer on how to live, love and support someone with a substance use disorder. It’s challenging and disheartening. I came home from working an overnight last night and knew right away when I walked in my loved one had been drinking last night. The smell hit me right away, my heart instantly dropped. It’s been 70 days days since his last drink. He spent 30 days of that in rehab. I am now bracing myself for what this could mean and what this does mean. I am already stressed I am already overwhelmed with work and trainings coming up.
I need to take a step and Exam my emotions, I don’t feel angry at him, or disappointed at him, I love him. He is has a substance use disorder, he went close to 70 days, 70 days of not drinking that is a fantastic behavior change. He made so many strides going forward in this. I love him no matter what in this for I know it’s not a moral failure, I know it means there is something more going on that needs to be addressed.
I love someone who is kind, witty, charming, adventurous, stubborn, supportive, intellect, fun, curious. He has values for love, friendship and family, he values purpose and self-acceptance, he has a value for music, and art and technology. He loves to tinker with objects and repair things, he loves to relax and play video games. Connection is big for him, and being connected gives him a sense of purpose. He wants to be valued and accepted
This is a person this the person who I love. This is a person who has a substance use disorder to alcohol.
Looking at my loved one this way helps me navigate emotions about his substance use.
I am trying to be present with my emotions and acknowledge them, for I do feel scared worried, anxious and overwhelmed. My anxiety is on high and I feel triggered by all of the things substance use has brought us in the past.
In the past before I knew my limits, before where I had no boundaries our relationship got rough. I ultimately did not have any value or love for myself and I was using our relationship as a way to gain some sort of self gratification, i thought I could fix my loved one.
The relationship became verbally and emotionally abusive on both sides. I yelled, nagged, controlled and became obsessive with his substance use. I called him names and shamed him. He too when drinking called me names and was emotionally abusive.
There came the time where I had to make the changes I needed in order to live a healthy life for myself. I made to choices and I discovered my limits, set boundaries and valued myself. I no longer would tolerate abuse in anyway.
I then started working on switching my understanding of substance use and changed my perspective which helped a lot. I used the CRAFT family training approach and started to apply the skills needed to help guide my loved one towards treatment. The program worked and i had new skills and understanding of substance use, new ways of interacting with my loved one and new ways of taking care of myself, and understanding and accepting my emotions.
My loved one spent 30 days in an amazing rehab facility, he learned all kinds of news things there, They were amazing and fantastic and provided all kinds of resources there and he made so much real world changes in himself. He has been 70 days sober, the longest on more than 6 years. I am so proud of him, but he has drank again and I feel scared.
I know now with my understanding of substance use that it is not a moral failing, but I understand it’s behavior change and change takes times. He has not failed, he merely has more ways of learning how to make behavior change.
Even in having this understanding I feel stressed, I feel overwhelmed and anxious. I do not know where this slip in behavior change will take him or us, and that sends fear through me. In rehab he told me he was scared that if he ever drank again he would never be able to stop… In this right now all he can do is see himself as a statistic, he feels shame. He is trying to prove to himself he can do this… I fear he is pushing himself too much… but I believe in him, and I know, he will accept help when ready… but accepting I am out of control is hard.
I do know now what I do have control over though, I can’t control the drinking. I can’t control him nor can I control any person. I am in control of myself, so that means i am in control of my words, my actions and my response to my loved one. I am also in control of knowing my limits and setting my boundaries so I will not experience the consequences of substance use. I can take care of myself, I can choose to not interact with my loved one when he is using. I can choose to remove myself from any situation I feel uncomfortable. I can choose to reach out for support where I need. I can choose to communicate my needs in a direct non conformational way that allows my voice to be heard without hurting another individual.
I know this is not going to be easy going forward, but I feel I do have the tools and resources available to me now to support the person I love. I also know it’s okay to accept my emotions and to be aware of them. This is hard.
What I need to address in this is my emotions my feelings. I know I need self care, I am just sad right now and scared. Loving someone with a substance use disorder is hard.
Last night I shared this exact thing here i wrote with my loved one because he stated he wanted me to be more open with him about my emotions. Which I am trying to be more open about them in this. He states that is hard for him to see all the support he is getting from friends and Family because him on the inside he feels like a complete failuar and just an addict and a satsic. He really has a lot of negative self talk and a very poor image of himself. He is loved by family and he is loved by friends he is an amazing person, but he does not see his own value or his own worth. He states that the support is hard on him. He states he is afraid that I am hiding my true emtions in this. As I stated I did use to yell, nag, scream. I have worked really hard to change that and he has seen that and has said so, but I think maybe he fears that under this new found support I have that I really am upset at him.
Today there was a incident where I asked him " How do you feel about going to class out patinent treament tonight" He said he did not want to go, so I was trying to be supportive but he read my emotions in this and he was not wrong honestly. I felt disappointed and scared at to what it could mean for him to not want to go into treatment I am afraid of losing him. My emotions showed, but I was trying to shift that and change my thinking and behaviors to show support. So I replied with okay I understand lets go to the bedroom and read your book together, that is what he was wanting to do, but he stopped me and stated " No you dont" Tell me how your feeling “oklahoma” its from ted lasso it means tell me your feelings… So I did I expressed them my fears, and he stated " I feel that is unfair" I got upset because he asked to tell him them, so he packed up his things and got ready to go to treatment, but he stated he did not want to go. I never told him in this to go. I did not try to control or anything I was being accepting but he told me in this " I feel unhappy how things went down tonight" He felt like he did not have a choice in the matter and I communicated that.
This is so hard. I just want to see him contiune treatment but I dont want to force him. He has done all of this on his own so far, but this lapse has been hard on him and I am scared he will spiral again. I feel I need to just take a step back and just let happen, whatever happens.