Thank you so much for sharing your journey right now–it is not easy to go through it, and it’s especially not easy to sit down when you are in an exasperated state and type it all out!
My fiance is currently in active addiction with alcohol, and (I believe) moving towards seeking recovery. It is a slow and painful process for all involved for sure. We are only a year into him “coming out” as having a problematic relationship with alcohol, so I’m fairly new to all this, but I can hopefully share what has and hasn’t worked for us so far.
Almost every time he drinks, I find myself immediately fall into a panic attack, so my first order of business is to take care of me and get that under control. (I think it’s my body’s way of reminding me!) When I’m in this state, the urge to punish him is almost overwhelming. I want to shame him, shut him out, call him out, or leave him… or all of the above. I have to take some quiet time to sit and think, why is he acting this way? Why is he lying, and why has his behaviour not changed? The answer is always because of his own pain and shame, which has nothing to do with me. I remind myself that adding shame to his existing shame only feeds the Addiction (sometimes it helps to think of it as a literal monster), and puts the addiction between us rather than in front of both of us as a common enemy. So in that moment I do what I need to do to create connection and remind him I’m on his side. Usually grabbing his hands, making eye contact, breathing evenly, and not letting him let go. I know he is feeling shame because he has such a hard time keeping eye contact, so I just allow him to take his time, but keep the connection. (this is just what works for us, fyi.)
Once he is sober (as soon as possible), we always have a conversation. I tell him that I’m ready to talk when he is, and we do, and we go over boundaries and next steps. I tell him honestly how his actions made me feel and I try to use facts only.
I’ve only really be doing this since I’ve found the Village, and it has helped more than I can even say. These days, my constant mantra is “connection is the opposite of addiction.” I remind myself that if I really want THIS relationship to work, I need to make connection the priority. We are choking out the addiction monster, one connection at a time. And this past weekend, he told me that he is ready to make a change, and to get help to fight this thing too.
My point is that removing the connection as a consequence is likely only feeding and validating the addiction, rather than teaching any lessons. For the people we love, we have to be their foresight. We have to be the reminder that love and worthiness exists on the other side of the addiction. And remind yourself that if you can’t bear that responsibility right now, and you need to remove yourself from the situation, that’s okay too. Take care of you first so that you can be there when she needs you.