Some people know things others do not. That a home is supposed to be a place you feel safe. Comfortable. A little haven from the rest of the world where you can relax and just be yourself.
Some people do not live with a drunk.
The elephant in the room. Tip toeing around it so it does not rouse. Walking on eggshells. Biding your time. Listening out for tell-tale signs that the ticking time-bomb is about to go off. Again. Knowing that the only real calm that exists is straight after one episode as it buys you at least a little time before the next build up reaches its climax.
It’s not ok to live like this.
But if you were raised by a drunk, married a drunk or have one as a child then you’ve perhaps grown totally accustomed to this being your life. I know you won’t take my word for it. Some people do live in nice calm homes where they do no have to train themselves to walk into a room and immediately judge the mood of it without using words. People do it everyday. You are allowed to want this too. It’s not shooting for the moon.
Living with a drunk is essentially living with a stranger. Take the label of father/husband/son off them during their drinking because this label does not apply. It puts you in danger. Lulling you into a false sense of security whereby you feel you know their personality enough to judge how far their behaviour will go. Instead treat this person like a stranger in your house. Protect yourself accordingly.
It’s not ok to have a drunk volatile stranger in your house.
But if you are too afraid to kick them out. If you fear that they will end up dead on the floor of a bar after another altercation, or choking in a pool of their own vomit in a strange part of town. If this fear is too great to let them out of your house? Then at least put a lock on your bedroom door so you can sleep at night during their binges. This is especially important if you are a women living with a drunk man. Un-PC? Probably. Accurate? Unfortunately. A man in a black-out drunk is able to overpower a woman very easily. Their strength is terrifying actually. And they aren’t conscious of their actions. You can’t reason with them. Make them stop.
If you think that you are safe because the drunk in your life has so far only verbally abused you during binges?
It’s not okay to let anyone verbally abuse you. It’s also nowhere near the massive leap you think it is for it to turn physical. And odds are they won’t remember doing either- so they will never learn from their “mistake” -no matter how sorry they may seem when confronted about their behaviour once sober.If they don’t remember it won’t count. If it has happened once it will happen again.
But if you do get into a verbal altercation with them out of sheer frustration. If you do insist on treating your drunk stranger like the sober person you know? Try and do so in a room that has two exits, so they don’t block your one chance of leaving if it does get too much. Always have your phone and keys on you so you can get out or call for help if things get out of your control. Because things do escalate very quickly as binges gets worse and black-outs get longer.
There is no excusing a drunk’s behaviour if it is making you feel unsafe or hurting you.
It’s not ok to try to deal with this on your own.
But you may feel too ashamed to ask for help. Don’t be. None of this is your fault. It is frighteningly common. So have a person you can tell. A safe person who will not judge you. A sister, best friend. Someone who you can go stay the night with if it gets too much. Who you can go to if the stress gets too much to bear. Nobody should have to live in isolation with a person whose addiction is making you feel unsafe. It’s not supposed to be like this.
What I want to do is tell you to call the police. What I want to do is come round to your house, pack your bags for you and beg you to consider that by refusing to go you are refusing to let there be consequences for this person’s actions. That this is what the heart of enabling an addict is. Hurting ourselves out of fear they will be hurt instead.
It’s not ok for me to tell you what to do.
But I’d really like it if you reached out to somebody today and told them how life really is for you. Break down that first barrier of silence. Start protecting yourself. Start doing it. Start reaching. Start talking.
Until your world feels like the safe place you deserve it to be.