No better place to start then the beginning, I suppose.
Sometimes, our ego can get the best of us. We might believe we are helping the addict in our lives, but we are merely enabling them to continue using alcohol and (or) other drugs. Sure, we can remove the alcohol from the house; stop drinking in front of them, but this can really only help on the short term.
My experience isn’t around alcohol or drugs, at least not in this case. My spouse is an over-eater; anything with fatty content, gorging through stress, gorging through boredom, and gorging through control. Without even knowing what I was doing, I found myself hiding the foods that I wanted to enjoy, otherwise I wouldn’t get any. It would be gone before I knew it. Oddly though, the places I would hide food would be discovered, and in an act of defiance (which is the only way I know how to describe it) the bag of chips, package of cookies, container or whatever would be sitting empty in the hiding space.
Like most addicts, I love a good challenge, but there really wasn’t a place I could find that would not be soon discovered. So, thinking that approaching my spouse about over-eating would be a good idea, I did. I was met with anger, resentment, and ‘misunderstanding.’ My immediate reaction is that I know addiction and I am here to help. That’s a crucial mistake, although I didn’t know it right then, because I am too close to the ‘subject.’
The next step was just like what most alcoholics and spouses go through; curbing food intake, working out, eating healthier, and losing weight. All of these sound great on the outside, right? Well, little did I know, and I know nothing sometimes, is that the addict eventually has to be on their own. What I mean by this is this…I can’t keep an eye on a loved one 24 hours a day. It is way too much work for me. I can only really handle my own life. I can help with others of course, but in my specific case. I found myself only buying low calorie, low fat, low sugar, and low this and low that type foods and drinks. I was essentially changing my life to fit my spouse’s life, which isn’t necessarily a ‘bad’ thing. I could stand to also eat a little healthier.
But, after a while, just like an alcoholic, if the person is not doing anything to get better, to admit they are powerless over their addiction, well, they just end up relapsing and/or becoming resentful.
Here’s the kicker though. I found I was also angry and throwing passive-aggressive jabs at my spouse. It would start a spiral and I quickly (not as quickly as I would have liked) discovered I was powerless also over my spouse’s eating disorder. Once that realization hit me, the bits and pieces fell into place. I needed to let my spouse do whatever. I can be aware of what I am doing to help support a better way of life, but I cannot control the outcome. I can only bring to the table, pardon the pun, the knowledge I have. The knowledge of my own addictions, and use this to get through today.
For the first time in 48 years of life, and over 19 years of recovery, I started attending Al-Anon. I am doing this program today….it may be a good fit. At least I hope so because I am powerless.
Recovery Rob BIO
Recovery Rob is a 47-year-old man who has more than nineteen years of sobriety, whose drugs of choice at one time were alcohol and drugs, and he has worked in and around the field of addiction for more than 20 years. Recovery Rob is a professional writer who has published two novels and is currently working on his third. He has been writing and working as Pat Moore Foundation’s premiere blogger and content writer, which helps keeps Pat Moore Foundation’s addiction and recovery blog top-rated.