My Heart Hurts

Have Faith

Wow. What a couple of weeks. Last week, we were on our annual family vacation to the beach and on Monday, the day after we returned, I celebrated my “belly button” birthday as we refer to it in recovery – as opposed to our sobriety birthday.

And, in the middle of all this, I got a phone call that caused me to stop, think and seriously evaluate my relationship with someone very close to me. For their privacy, I will write in general terms, yet I feel I must write about it because it’s heavy on my heart and I aim to speak the truth here.

For most of my life, I’ve been a people pleaser. I’ve always wanted people to like me. Often, this meant sacrificing my own thoughts and beliefs in order to appear more likeable to others. I guess I didn’t truly realize this until I got sober and took a hard look at my behavior and motives behind certain decisions. I wanted praise, accolades, pats on the back and “I’m so proud of yous” – especially from this particular person. I needed these things to feel worthy – to feel like I had achieved something.

So, when I got this phone call, I realized I was going to have to make some really hard decisions – decisions that could cause anger and jeopardize my relationship with this person. The person I speak of is an alcoholic and their drinking has become unmanageable.

I prayed, I thought about it, I talked it over with my husband, and in the end, I knew I had to take the steps to establish some boundaries. I could no longer stand by and subject myself or my family to their unpredictable alcoholic behavior. I knew without a doubt, I had to respect myself enough to speak up. Alcoholism is a disease and, while I can’t control or cure someone else’s disease, I can take the steps to protect myself from its consequences.

My love for this person is immeasurable. But, I also know that with love often comes pain and heartache. With love comes hard decisions that are scary, intimidating and gut wrenching.

The future of our relationship is unknown. I hope and pray for recovery. For a connection and faith in a Higher Power. But, I also know that I control very little of the outcome. I can take small steps to establish boundaries, but, in the end, my God is in control.

I can’t control the future, but I have an immense amount of faith in God’s future. A future that will know peace and serenity for those I love.


11 responses

  1. You are so strong! That is a comment that needs to resound in your mind! He has given you this strength and will continue to provide it, you just need to remember to rely on Him. Your story touches my heart not just this post, but I have come to love you and pray for you. Honestly I subscribed to your blog as an entry into a giveaway, and wasn’t sure if I could stay subscribed…I was raised in an alcoholic and abusive home, my step-father was a terrible and mean drunk who beat my mother and emotionally abused us with his words and by his controlling behavior. Everything in our lives was regimented including our diets which left me as a young woman with horrific food issues. My mother suffered from mental illness and was unable to care for or protect us. I grew up to HATE alcohol, in fact I didn’t have my first drink until I was 32. I wasn’t sure if I would be able to read your posts without putting some of my childhood anger in your direction…but again, our Lord is amazing! The healing that comes from his love is overwhelming…That love covers a multitude of sins thing…SOOO True! I have been blessed in my life with an incredible hubby and 2 lovely young boys! Thank you for your posts, in many ways it reminds me to be patient with others as we do not have a clue what they are going thru, as well as your walk with recovery is teaching me new ways to heal! Thank you for your hard and heart wrenching post, you are amazing! In Him,Jessica

    Date: Wed, 10 Jul 2013 22:40:18 +0000 To:

    • Jessica, I can’t tell you how much your comments and support mean to me. It takes a lot for someone like yourself who grew up in such a painful situation to have compassion and empathy for someone like myself in recovery. You’re so right – God’s all encompassing love is amazing in its healing power! Your words encourage me to continue to tell my story. Thank you!

  2. Well done, Chenoa. You know firsthand the sickness that lies within the alcoholism…it IS the illness. And with that comes a lot of pain and hurt and suffering – for the alcoholic first and foremost and then for those around them, rippling along until it hits the shoreline. It’s felt all along. So to remove yourself from this is a healthy, if albeit difficult, thing to do for you and your family. It’s that whole detachment with love thing they talk about in Alanon. We care *about* the alcoholic, but we don’t care *for* them, you know? You can offer yourself and your experience to them, but as you know, if they don’t want to stop, well that about as far as you can go with it. It needs to come from them. I pray for them. Great job and great post.

    And happy belated B-day!


    • Thanks, Paul. It’s so hard, especially knowing what I know and having been there. It’s funny. I keep a little “detachment” book marker in my daily devotional just to remind me when I start falling into that “I can fix it” mode. Ugh. I’m so grateful for your support. It’s times like these when I realize what an amazing and supportive online community we’re part of. Hope you’re doing well. Seems like everyone has been taking it easy now that it’s summer. I kind of miss the regular interaction! But, it’s also nice to be lazy sometimes!

  3. Happy Birthday Chenoa!

    I really applaud your courage, both in writing this, and in making the decision you did. This is the exact kind of thing that is most difficult for me (as you may have surmised from reading about my Monday meeting incidents!), and I am always so impressed with anyone’s ability to do so. I hope you will write a follow-up post and let us know how things are going with this relationship.

    I am praying for you and your friend!

    • Thanks, Josie! Ugh. It’s so hard. I hate confrontation and setting boundaries, but I knew I had to do it this time. It sucks. It’s not fun. But, in the end, I think it will be a blessing – at least that’s what I’m hoping for. I will be sure to write a follow-up. I’m a little nervous about the initial response as there’s a lot of anger there. Hopefully, the anger will be followed by some serious reflection and discussion – I can always hope!

  4. It is so hard to set boundaries with people we care about but so, so necessary. It’s especially hard when the person is lost in their addiction. The person may not see it as a gift now, but hopefully they will someday. I know there were times when I wanted to be fixed by people and pushed them away at the same time causing them to have to set boundaries with me. I appreciate it now that I’m sober. I’m praying for you to find peace in your decision and to know you did the right thing.

    • Thanks, Karen. I hope you’re right. I would like to think, that eventually, they will realize that I’m doing all of this because I love them and care about them. It’s ironic, because I’m having to ask them the same questions that my husband asked me – is alcohol the most important thing? Of course, when we’re in the midst of our drinking that’s a hard question to answer. I pray that they’ll “see the light.” Thanks again for your support.

  5. Pingback: When Enough is Enough | Life Corked

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