Married Under the Influence

By: Harmony Rose

Harmony Rose is the author of "Married Under The Influence," a finalist for The National Indie Excellence Award. She is also the wife of a recovering alcoholic, and a mom and step-mom. She and her family hope to spread the message of hope to everyone searching for it.

The Emotional Impact of Alcoholism

Jul 28, 2015

Alcoholism is a disease; however as with any addiction there are deep emotions that must be addressed in order to achieve true sobriety. Some people believe that if you quit drinking your problems are over, but that could not be further from the truth. I have seen my husband go through the “dry drunk” stage several times when he tried to quit drinking on his own and the only difference between drinking and not drinking was no alcohol was being ingested. His behaviors remained the same. In order to live a truly sober life you must be willing to follow a program like AA because it shows you how to heal from the inside out.

Alcoholism has a deep emotional impact on the alcoholic; however it also has just as deep of one on the spouse and family. When you have someone that has lied, abandoned, manipulated and hurt you repeatedly for many, many years it isn’t as simple as putting down the bottle and saying “okay everything is great now!" It is a long hard emotional road to get through all the wreckage that is in your path. Sometimes it takes years to rebuild what was destroyed and sometimes unfortunately there is no way to repair it. Sometimes people have to salvage what they can and move on.  

Alcoholism is a very selfish disease but it rarely affects just one person. My own personal experience with the emotional damage caused by my husband’s alcoholism is far greater than anyone could ever imagine. If you are lucky enough to have your spouse still with you then you already know that being sober is simply not enough. When you make your amends it is usually the first opportunity that you have had without your drinking goggles off to really see all the damage you created and it is heartbreaking for you. Alcohol numbs you to the realities that were occurring while you were drinking and now to feel all the years of pain it is sometimes too much for one person to bare and you have to take it one moment at a time.

My husband is almost three years sober now and I wouldn’t be honest with you if I said that the emotional damage still doesn’t haunt me at times, but it is no longer a daily issue. I couldn’t tell you that all my triggers are gone because they are not. I can also say that you do heal more every single day.  Some days it may not seem that way but this is what I have learned being the spouse of an alcoholic: surrender and forgiveness are important for you.  Like the Serenity Prayer says, “accept the things I cannot change”: you won’t change what happened, but you can change what happens from here on out. You have the ability to use your pain and turn it into the lesson life is teaching you. It can be a very humbling experience.

All those emotions come at you like a freight train, but believe that you are strong enough even in your weakest moments to get through it. Nobody can fix it for you, but you also don’t have to do it alone.I would have never thought looking back almost three years ago that I could be as strong as I am today. I went from being a defeated, deeply hurt woman contemplating taking a handful of pills to stop the pain to being a voice for those who still suffer. I put myself out there to be an example for other spouses, families and alcoholics to see that you are not alone and you have no reason to feel ashamed. Helping someone else when you are hurting is probably one of the greatest things you can do for yourself and for another individual. You might save their life and not even know it.

Allowing yourself to heal is a great gift. Sometimes you have to sacrifice everything in order to achieve anything! Life is about giving and helping others, going the extra mile to make your spouse feel safe, proving every day that you are a person that can be trusted. Today I am happier than I have ever been; my husband is the absolute love of my life & my best friend.  We are blessed to be one of the miracles they talk about in AA. Today I stand tall and proud side by side with my husband and I am not ashamed to say “he is an alcoholic and this is our story about how we made it out the other side of alcoholism together."

Wishing you Peace & Serenity………



Arlyn Pacheci  1752 days ago

Really well written into a condensed version to get the reader to see and feel effects of living with an alcoholic. Her strength is very evident in the family recovery and her husband trusted and loved himself and his wife to get the help need to heal from within.

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