Living with Alcoholism & Loss

Living with an alcoholic or problem drinker, either currently or in the past can mean we experience losses in many areas of our lives which stay with us over time. It is only by acknowledging, understanding and accepting these losses that we become able to move forward to a more fulfilling way of life.

The losses experienced can range from a marriage falling short of our expectations, relationships with friends or family members that have broken down, financial hardship or even the loss of not having the happy childhood we would have wanted or thought we had. We learn to cope with the painful reality of these losses in different ways by perhaps minimising our problems, ignoring our feelings or creating a fantasy in our minds.

Grief is not just about death it’s a natural response to the losses we suffer as the result of a loved one’s alcoholism. Initially we may not recognise our feelings of grief and loss for example a mother couldn’t understand the way she felt when her daughter left home until it was suggested to her that she may be grieving. Initially when her daughter moved out she felt a sense of relief but at the same time guilt and shame for having those feelings. Through counselling she came to identify her own loss and grief as she came to realise how her daughter’s years of alcohol abuse had taken her away emotionally long before she moved away.

The losses we encounter living with alcoholism can leave us feeling ashamed, depressed, isolated and alone. By finding a safe and supportive space where we can start to gain awareness of sometimes hidden thoughts and fears and recognise the truth behind our feelings we can begin to move forward to a better future. One to one counselling can provide such a space where we can gain the inner resources to see our lives more clearly, recognise and name our losses helping us to face our grief and move onto a better life whether the alcoholic is still drinking or not.

A support group such as Al Anon (http://www.al-anonuk.org.uk/) is another place where we can find solace alongside people who understand. By listening to other people’s honest sharing, we can gain insight into our own situation and no longer feel so alone

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Unplug 

“Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you”

Anne Lamott

Words of wisdom indeed!  This is what a counselling session helps me do in the face of a busy life with no time for me.  I can make time, step back from everything and, with the help of someone else, gain some perspective on my life.  Showing up for my life is the single most powerful thing I can do to take care of myself and live a happy life 🙂

Bereavement – Thank you Harry

Prince Harry was incredibly brave in acknowledging publicly how after 20 years of ‘not processing the death of his mother’ he finally sought professional help.  For me this is welcome on many levels.  First of all it helps reduce the stigma of anyone reaching out to a counsellor.  It’s OK to feel down and out of sorts long after a ‘problem’ has passed, sometimes it doesn’t even feel in any way related !  It’s never too late ask for help.  I often have clients who will say ‘but my Mum / Dad died years ago why am I feeling like this now?’  It just goes to show that just because we don’t deal with an issue, such a bereavement, at the time doesn’t make it go away.  The British stiff upper lip may get us through a crisis but I believe that it only serves to store up problems for the future.  When we sweep things under the carpet for long enough it will eventually trip us up !

Thank you Harry

Courage

Courage does not always roar.  For me, sometimes, courage is that quiet voice inside me that says ‘I need help’ and encourages me to reach out.  I realise that what is important to me is feeling connected with those around me and whilst many of my problems I can deal with myself for the bigger more emotional ones I often need to ask for help.  For many of us, this takes courage !

South Manchester Seeds of Happiness

When the seeds of happiness in you are watered, you will become happy. When the seed of anger in you is watered, you will become angry. The seeds that are watered frequently are those that will grow strong. ~ Thich Nhat Hanh

I love this quote as it reminds me to keep my mind from veering off into negativity.  Easier said than done I know but it’s worth bearing in mind that what we focus attention on grows.  It’s as simple and as difficult as that.    Just for today I’m going to focus my attention on good food, music, people laughing and take time to notice the birds singing outside my window, autumn leaves, children laughing and see if my day is better for it !

Bruce Springsteen on Depression

It easy to think that depression is something to be ashamed of.  That’s why I think it’s so refreshing when celebrities like Bruce Springsteen share their experiences and reveal their ‘whole selves’ helping to smash the stereotypes.  By exposing himself and being vulnerable he’s helping us see that depression can be debilitating but it can also be a source of inspiration – a force that fuels and feeds our creativity.

 

http://uk.businessinsider.com/bruce-springsteens-depression-could-help-change-how-we-understand-mental-illness-2016-10