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Carole Bennett, MA Headshot

The Global Pain of Alcoholism

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Through the blogs I write about addiction and recovery I am fortunate to find many clients from all walks of life, all over the world. I encourage my clients to keep an ongoing journal about how they are feeling, what they are experiencing and how they are coping. Like all of us dealing with life on life's terms, some weeks are naturally better than others, but living and loving an alcoholic/addict is sometimes a roller-coaster ride by the hour or day.

I have been counseling a woman in Monte Carlo for a few months. She was born into royalty and continues to live that lifestyle. With her permission, I have shared her current journal of confusion, anger, pain and suffering regarding her husband's alcoholic condition. I disclose this for two reasons -- it is moving, candid and a heart-rendering interpretation of her life with her loved one, and because this disease knows no boundaries as the family struggles regardless of what their bank account looks like.

In her own words (English is not her first language, so please keep that in mind), I have altered nothing other than the layout for easier reading. Meet a bold, empowered woman living the life of luxury from the outside, but tormented on the inside.

Why telling you my story, it is about sharing that this disease affects all kind of people: rich and poor, young and old. None of the tourists taking snaps of us in our fancy cars could imagine that behind the wheel there was an alcoholic and on the passenger seat the smiling lady behind her sunglasses was a terrified wife fearing for their security.

Tears are tears whether in a Bentley or an old Ford, in sunny Montecarlo or a foggy raining city.

The first time my husband's alcoholism showed its face I reacted the same as any other wife not having the information that it wasn't a bad habit and behavior and nothing to do with me. I was called crazy and I can understand why. Despite my education I was yelling, screaming, crying, begging, leaving in the middle of the night, threatening just name it.

I was exhausted and I prayed every night for God to take me to end my misery , HE wouldn't here my prayer so I took action and tried to kill myself just to rest, not out of despair, but just to put the word THE END on that bad movie.

It was my alcoholic husband wanting to continue harassing me who realized that I was not responding who called 911 and saved my life but continued to drink even more than before putting the blame on his crazy wife's behavior: so frustrating having your despair used (so not a solution). Soon, I found Al-Anon and was relieved to know that others were going through the same things I was.

The second person affected was our lovely daughter: I now understand why it is called a family disease. Our daughter left home or maybe escaped to study and work in Paris useless to say that each holiday, birthday or Christmas was sabotaged. I was at the same time relieved when s he was leaving and resentful that I was the only one carrying the burden.

That was unfair to my daughter because even far she was affected: alcoholism is for me like a giant octopus with tentacles reaching you or others wherever you are.

My daughter is a brilliant TV war reporter, very brave covering disasters, ugly pedophiles crime trials, massacres etc. ... She had her share of what awful things a human being is able to do .In all her reportage she brought a lot of sensibility on top of the facts.

My frustration was she was not showing the same towards me. Now I understand why: she was dealing with her own despair seeing both her parents suffering and being helpless to do anything about it. We cleared the air and today there is no resentment left: we were dealing in different ways with our pain, but talking about it when it's not too painful. If it is too difficult, we go our separate ways respectfully and lovingly.

After my husband asked for help and she was the one driving him to rehab, an awful 10 hours drive for her, she seemed to understand me more and what I had been going through.

Then we had 11 years of not drinking (I can't call it sobriety) and me walking on eggshells, letting him have all the expensive toys men like maybe to console for leaving or being dumped by his beloved bottle.

That didn't work and soon he relapsed. I was pissed off because I realized my life was stolen and I had a responsibility in that. I decided to let him hit rock bottom even if there was a risk of death. He did hit rock bottom sooner than I thought because I stopped enabling him and allowing him to blame me.

Today he is leaving rehab and I know that my finger is going to be very near the pause button as I continue to take care of me.

Sadly, after 24 hours at home, he returned to his beloved lover -- the bottle. Alas my life and my daughter's will now have to be on a path that can't include my husband/her father. She and I both refuse to allow him to bring us down into his pit of self pity and despair.

We are stronger with each day though disappointed that our life path has brought us to this conclusion but we will always maintain a ray of hope for his recovery.

This story is as similar as whoever is reading this or the stranger around the corner. I thank and salute her for sharing this with me and my readers.

If I can be of service, please visit my website www.familyrecoverysolutions.com and I invite you to explore my new book Reclaim Your Life - You and the Alcoholic/Addict at www.reclaimyourlifebook.com.

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