It’s sometimes difficult being a positive life-affirming person when you’re cohabitating with a person who is bent on self-destruction and is trying to do their best to shorten their lifespan.
I read in the news that the rate of suicide for Baby Boomers has risen significantly. However, I’m not talking about someone who “accidentally” hung himself in a closet like David Carradine.
“Was it a sex accident Grasshopper?”
I’m talking about a person who’s subtly taking their own life through substance abuse. We saw many in our Baby Boomer generation do this in the ’60s and ’70s. They abused drugs and occasionally flew out of windows on LSD. Sex wasn’t officially dangerous until the early ’80s. However, some Baby Boomers are still abusing substances, having unsafe sex, or drinking themselves into a pickle. (literally)
I make it a point to write positive and encouraging articles about longevity, healthy eating, and happiness. But it’s also important to discuss the struggles we all go through in life. They take a huge toll on us. In this post, I’m putting myself way out there and making a statement that’s difficult to say out loud.
I live with an alcoholic bent on self-destruction.
There. My . . . gulp . . . admission is now streaming out on the blogosphere. The entire world now knows I’m not a perfect human being.
“What do you mean? He’s got the problem, not you.”
“Yeah, but I’m the one who got myself stuck with it.”
Sometimes I secretly call him Otis. If you came of age in the 1960’s you know who Otis was. He was that “funny” drunk Andy Griffith would put in jail every night so he wouldn’t hurt himself or harass his wife. I’m sure Otis’s wife appreciated having a break from his stinky booze breath. Andy always released him to get drunk again the next day. In reality, “real” drunks are much more dangerous than Otis, especially if they’re driving a car. I end up being the designated driver most of the time. I hate to say this, but I secretly wish my Otis gets charged with a DUI as a wake-up call before he hurts someone, or himself.
The reality of living with an alcoholic:
You can’t help a person who’s choosing to die slowly by their own hand. You have to focus on helping yourself instead and work to achieve your happiness.
A person bent on self-destruction has to make the choice to help themselves. You can try throwing all the booze in the trash, but then you’ll find some hidden away in a closet. You may end up being the only one in the house not drinking. That happened to me. Otis was stashing away bottles of vodka and my son, who was a teen at the time, was having a few beers in the garage with his friends. I was the only one in the house prudently sipping tea. Silly me. My son straightened up. Otis has not.
I eventually gave up hiding the alcohol. I like to have a relaxing glass of wine now and then and resented not being able to drink because Otis couldn’t control himself. One glass is usually it for me. Otis, on the other hand, will drink the entire bottle then pop another one open and down most of it. Fortunately, he’s not abusive, like some alcoholics are. If he was I’d be gone.
If you like an occasional glass of wine or a cocktail here’s a good rule of thumb: Drink no more than 1 glass of wine (5 oz) per day if you’re a woman and 2 glasses if you’re a man. Red wine has antioxidants and helps prevent heart disease if consumed in moderation. Alcoholics don’t know what that means. If someone you know is still drinking like a 20-year-old frat boy after the age of 50 they won’t last long. They need to get help immediately and go into rehab.
Diseases caused by heavy drinking include anemia, cancer, cardiovascular disease, cirrhosis, dementia, depression, seizures, gout, high blood pressure, infectious disease, nerve damage, and pancreatitis.
The Substance Abuser and You
In most cases, an alcoholic or other substance abuser doesn’t think about the fact that someone else will have to care for them once their body breaks down. They’re in denial that they have a problem at all.
What they don’t realize is:
“We can smell you a mile away.”
Okay, enough said about people bent on self-destruction.
As I said, an alcoholic or anyone else with a substance dependency has to want to help themselves. If you live with or know someone like that, how are you coping with it? How is it affecting your life and your health? Is it stressing you out? Is it causing your anxiety?
Of course, it is.
If you let it, it can shorten your life simply because of the stress you endure dealing with it.
If this is you, you’re probably saying to yourself,
“What the hell is wrong with me? Why don’t I just leave and run away from this idiot?”
In my case, I’ll probably have to leave eventually, unless he suddenly turns over a new leaf, but I can’t at the moment. I’m working on it. Life is complicated and right now staying here is more advantageous to me financially. What can I say? It’s true. I know I have to have a Plan B. He could roll his car over a cliff and then what?
In the meantime, I’m focusing on my health and happiness, even though his drinking problem is more than annoying at times.
People are put through all sorts of challenges and they still manage to keep their sanity. I’ve already dealt with a husband who died of a terminal illness and was able to carry on. Others have endured way worse tragedies than I have and still lead happy and productive lives. If you’re in the midst of a difficult situation, you can overcome it too.
- focus on your own goals
- keep out of harm’s way
- to remain positive
It’s important to be aware of what’s happening. It’s just as stressful to shove a bad situation under the rug and pretend it doesn’t exist. You have to take steps to find the best way to deal with it. It’s also important to talk to someone you trust about it.
One way I’ve found to maintain my mental health is to write about it. I also repeat positive affirmations that help me visualize myself living the way I want my life to be as if it were already happening. I can attest that this practice has made a tremendous impact on my life in multiple ways. It’s helped me achieve personal and financial goals as well as maintain my health, fitness, and sanity.
Don’t let someone who is a substance abuser cause you to go into self-destruction mode yourself
You can overcome any challenge that comes your way. Strive for your own happiness and live a long and fulfilling life.
Update: He died Feb 2020 after a long battle with Pancreatic Cancer exacerbated by his alcoholism.
Do you live with someone bent on self-destruction? How are you coping with it? Please leave a comment below.