Loving an Alcoholic is not Enough

NB Book Festival

Look at me with all my books on alcohol addiction from living the actual life with two alcoholics and losing both. Who can give stronger advice than the one who lived through the pain? 

It’s so true with the survivors asking, “What if, I should have, I could have, why didn’t I. The list can go on, because I’ve tried to answer all of them. 

We seem to think that loving a substance abuser is enough to have a loved one stop their addiction. If only it had been that easy. 

We have to understand that the addicted has to want the habit to stop more than life. How? Who really knows. Maybe a family member can pull them through the darkness, a professional, another addict, a stranger. 

I’ve tried the most important one to me, which was turning to God with prayer. Yes, I lost both after years of rosaries, novenas and just opening up my heart to Him. God, for His own reason, wanted them. He gives us a loved one and takes them back. Hopefully, we will come to learn why when we meet again. 

For now, I try my best with book signings at festivals, talks in private to the addicts or in public to reach the hearts of another addict or a family member suffering along watching their loved one slowly killing themselves. 

I think support is needed for both the substance abuse and the family member. My husband, Richie, tried for two months alone with a counselor and two with me in the private meetings. He walked away thinking he still had no problem, because his friends were all drinking. 

Richie died at forty-five years of age at the VA Hospital in Providence, Rhode Island. I had a small breakdown trying to keep the family together and becoming mentally exhausted trying to figure out how, I alone, could get him to stop his drinking. 

Lori refused from the age of 37 until her death at 39 at the Charlton Memorial Hospital in Fall River, Massachusetts to allow her sister and I into her meetings with a counselor to help her. A heavy load for me to carry. 

Death of a loved one is not something you tell someone to get over. The pain will always be there seeing a certain friend of theirs, a location you went to together or the raw moments with holidays looking at that empty seat. 

My peace comes from God. Why? Because He made us from love and wants us to be happy. God doesn’t hate, never wants us to suffer. He looks down at us with our hearts torn out from a loss and tries to comfort. 

This is not easy for me to say; it tears me apart to even write this statement. Richie and Lori had choices. They alone had to want to give that life up. I will die believing that all alcoholics, drug users, and prescription users, have deep rooted problems that happened to them and the incident was too painful to not only handle, but were too embarrassed to talk about the hurt with family or counselors. 

For now, I pray they are both at peace, buried together, at the St. Patrick Cemetery in Somerset, Massachusetts. There will always be that empty gap in my heart.

Alberta Sequeira

Purchase Alberta’s books at http://www.amazon.com/author/albertasequeira

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