You know it’s not your job to help them, but you just can’t help but try.
If you’ve ever dated an alcoholic (or anyone else with a complex issue), I know you can relate.
Dating an alcoholic is a choice. Or at least it should be – and not a passive state that becomes your reality. Because let me tell you, it comes with its fair share of challenges – challenges that I know, all too well.
I dated someone in my early twenties (who I had known back in high school), who was a very interesting kind of alcoholic. He was a weekend binger, who didn’t have a sip of alcohol Monday through Thursday. And because of the nature of his addiction, it revealed itself slowly.
But I’ll be totally honest.
Deep down, I knew from the start that he had a problem. And if I’m being really honest, I knew from the first few days, that this was not where I belonged.
But I stayed…for two years.
Of course, there were some good things, like there always are. But when he drank, it was far from fun.
I wouldn’t know where he was or when he’d surface. I worried about his safety and what turns the weekend would take. Going to any event gave me total anxiety because I knew he’d likely drink too much and embarrass us both. I always felt like I didn’t know the truth about certain things, because he wasn’t in any state to know them either. He was inconsistent, unreliable and if we’re talking on the real, undeserving of my light and potential. But ultimately, I did this all to myself.
I stayed for two years and tried with all of my energy to help him heal and live his full potential, but nothing ever changed for long enough. He wasn’t committed to getting better. So, I came face to face with the reality of his addiction- and tuned into the one thing I knew for sure: this was not the way I wanted to live.
Here’s the thing, however bad the addiction is now, it’s only going to get worse – unless that person is deeply motivated to make some serious, life changing moves.
It’s not up to you to change anyone, and the chances of you ever being able to aren’t so good either. So if that person isn’t taking the true and very real steps to get better, I’m telling you, you’re facing this battle alone – a battle that you don’t need to fight.
Looking back now, I can’t imagine still being on that same chapter. Spending so much of my time crying because of pain I inflicted on myself, because I chose to stay where I had no place being.
The “here and now” me sees this beautiful place I’m now in, way out on the other side and how far I’ve come; and that the feelings I once had for this person, that helped me build the walls of my own prison, are no longer even a memory – they’re just an experience I once had.
And now, I’m living a (much) happier, more fulfilled and “true-to-me” life. And because I’m not wrapped up in my own insular bubble of self-created problems, the world gets a much better version of me too.
I’m grateful to my 23 year-old self – for choosing to live consciously – and consciously making a choice.
Dating an alcoholic is an individual choice, that isn’t right or wrong, if that person is actively taking the steps to free themselves of the addiction.
…but dating someone who isn’t committed to healing – well, that’s on you.
Peace, love and consciously choosing,