People who live with an alcoholic have a tendency to spend a considerable amount (if not all) of their time trying to manage the alcoholic. They are trying to anticipate whether he will drink, when, how much and what the outcome will be. Or if he has already started drinking then they are trying to make sure that no harm comes to the family, home or the drinker or trying to get him to stop drinking. Do you identify with this situation? Do you spend most of your time looking after, worrying about or wondering how you can change your drinker? Do you find yourself exhausted with no time for you or the rest of the family? When was the last time you had a good night out? I mean actually went out and relaxed and really enjoyed yourself. I suspect that it could have been some time ago.

If you are going to survive living with an alcoholic then you need to start to look after yourself. You are probably thinking – yes that is ok for you to say but it is easier said than done, after all when do I get the time to spend on me?

That is a fair point. However no matter how busy you are, no matter how much time you spend trying to keep your life in some sort of balance, you can still have time for you, even if it is only a short time. Start by making a point that each day you will do something for you. It does not need to be anything large, time consuming or expensive. It can be as short as five minutes or as long as you like. The point is that this time will be YOU time. It will be a time when you ignore everything else in your life, your drinker’s wants, the telephone, any distraction, and you will just spend your time on doing something that you enjoy.

Start small, for example you could take a ten minute coffee break in the morning or in the afternoon. You could make yourself a cup of coffee (or tea or whatever you like) exactly the way you like it, find a quiet spot and sit quietly, push worry out of your head and just try and relax. You may find it difficult the first, second or fifth time, because your head keeps picking up lots of worry and anxiety about what he is doing, is he drinking etc. Persist in trying to be peaceful and relaxed, like everything else practice will improve your ability to do this.

Once you can sit quietly for ten minutes, do something else that you enjoy. Start to reclaim your life for you a bit at a time, go for a walk, meet some friends for lunch or dinner. Start to get more out of your life. You will find that your stress will reduce and your self-esteem will rise and you will be able to cope better with your life situation. Try it now, make a decision to try it for two weeks and you will see the difference in how you feel.

Author's Bio: 

John McMahon Has worked in the addiction field over 25 years as therapist, university lecturer and researcher and published widely including two books and a website to Help for people living with an alcoholic

Do you live with a problem drinker? Do you want information, help and support for living with an alcoholic? Find out about a brand new website