If you live with an alcoholic you will almost certainly feel shame. Some people will experience it to a very high level others less so but almost everyone who lives with an alcoholic experiences it to some degree. You will probably feel anxious that people will discover your secret, that they will judge you and, inevitably, will find you unacceptable to be around decent people.

Seeing it written down like that it probably seems stupid. How could anyone feel that. However as I have heard some of my clients say many, many times “Intellectually and logically I know that these thoughts are stupid, but….”. And it is a really big but! No amount of reassurance takes away that shame. Sure it works at the time, maybe for a whole day then – but!

When you live an alcoholic you take on this burden. He is the man you loved, maybe you even married him. He has admirable qualities – normally. It is just at the moment things are a bit difficult. He is not normally like this, so you will just hide his secret for a while. No point in making him anxious, angry, depressed, (whatever his trigger is) it will just make him worse. You know deep down inside that some day soon things will change, he will change and everything will be good again. Till then you will just hide the problem so you will both emerge from this period as if nothing had happened and the world will never know a thing about it.

But! This period was not supposed to last this long. It was just a temporary thing till he got over his disappointment, his depression, the stress at work, the whatever. Now it seems to be the pattern of your life and you have somehow been given the role of the person who keeps the secret. You are the one who has to make the excuses to your friends who invite you to parties, or meals at their house (No point going you know he will just get drunk and start an argument - again). You are the one who has to phone his mother and lie about why he hasn’t visited. You are the one who has to keep people from visiting your home unannounced in case he is drunk – again! You are the one who has lost touch with your best friends, given up the social times, become increasingly isolated. Why has this happened? It is because of the shame of living with an alcoholic.

So is there anything that you can do about it? Yes there are many things that you can do to reduce your feelings of shame and rid yourself of them completely. We will look at some strategies that you can use in the second article on this topic.

Author's Bio: 

John McMahon Help for people living with an alcoholic

Has worked in the addiction field over 25 years as therapist, university lecturer and researcher and published widely

Live with a problem drinker? Do you want information, help and support? Go to Bottled-up and find out about a brand new website