Charlie, thank you for writing your blog. I’m the mother of an alcoholic son. My baby, my first born. He’s 28 with a new baby. They live with my husband, younger son and I and for years he has made my life a living hell on earth. He has abused and hurt every family member and friend he has. The only reason I allowed him to move into our home is because of my new grandson and the fear I had of what would happen to him. He’s now in rehab for the 3rd time and I hope this time will work. My husband threw him out of our house yesterday because after several warnings he kept being verbally abusive to me but Monday it was going to get physical. My heart is broken and I don’t know if it will heal. I know it’s just the alcohol but he ALWAYS makes it about him and ALWAYS turns himself into the victim. To be honest, I’m ashamed because when he put his hands on me and asked me if “you wanna throw some punches” and told me I was “messing with the wrong devil” I punched him in the jaw!! That’s when my husband had enough. He was so drunk he couldn’t form a correct sentence or stand straight yet he drove home!!!! Please tell me there’s hope. The worst thing is that his girlfriend (the baby’s mother) is currently in jail and an opioid drug abuser and in turn heroine addict. What a drama I have. Why doesn’t my son see the big picture and why does he hate me so much?
He doesn’t hate you. He lashes out at you to avoid the truth about himself. Addicts and alcoholics have the most anger towards those who love them the most because a) we care what you think of us more than anyone else and b) you are usually the only people who stand in the way of us killing ourselves and using/drinking the way we want. As well, we use anger as a narcissist uses it, to turn the situation around in an effort to distort and change reality. It’s a petulant defensive mechanism, that by projecting what we are onto others and turning everything around on them, we can successfully avoid who and what we are, what we are doing, and most importantly, responsibility for our actions.
Imagine the shame he would feel if he suddenly woke up sane, clear and healthy? It’s almost as if we are so ashamed that we are blind to it. We bury our shame and lock it up in a box to pretend we are not crazy, abusive drugs addicts who are doing wrong by so many. Feeling shame, of course, would be the best thing for him, despite what you hear from these progressive nutjobs about how there is no shame in addiction and there is nothing immoral about it. Yeah, okay. Talk to some moms, some dads, some children and some spouses and then come talk to me. Everybody (including addicts) knows it’s wrong to use drugs, lose control and behave this way. He needs to be humbled in order to get better.
He is delusional, and the lashing out is standard addict behavior. None of it means anything and it certainly doesn’t mean he hates you. In fact, as nuts as it sounds, it most likely indicates that he loves you. Addicts often start fights with their loved ones purely in an effort to continue using, drinking and doing whatever we damn well please. We believe we have the right to drink and use drugs even if that comes at the expense of abusing you. I suspect that if he has the capacity to be honest with himself and ever took steps, he will deeply regret the way in which he has treated you – his mother, the woman who birthed him, sacrificed herself, raised him, changed his diapers, fed him, nurtured him, comforted him, loved him and tirelessly worked to protect and nourish him. So it is not you. His alcoholism and his behavior has nothing at all do to with you or your husband. Zero. He is simply insane and broken and by his own hands.
Addicts engage in this degree of narcissism when their minds and spirits are broken and their selfishness reaches its peak. The only way we can justify our lunacy is by seeing ourselves as (fake) victims and turning everybody who disagrees with us or who is honest with us or who tries to help us into the enemy. Addicts are the ultimate snowflakes. I will pray for him, that he in fact reaches new depths of hopelessness and finally sees the futility in alcohol as a solution… and then reaches out to God with all that is in him.
I also will pray that his pathological selfishness and abusive behavior does not scar his son to any lasting degree. To have a child as an active addict is the ultimate sin – the sin being the failure to get better, stay better, grow up and act like a responsible adult for the sake and life of your child. To me, the idea that addicts have children and fail to get better shows an unparalleled degree of cowardice, let alone immaturity and self-centeredness. That their comfort and using drugs/alcohol remains more important than the well-being of a child is nothing short of abomination.
That said, I believe with all my heart that anybody who can be honest with themselves can recover. The only people who cannot recover lack the capacity to be honest. Psychopaths. So the truth is that every addict or alcoholic out there who is capable of honesty but fails to recover, especially the ones with children, are simply cowards.
May God comfort you, nourish you, guide you and give you strength. Your resolve and your tough love is absolutely the right approach. He will ride the train as long as anyone will put up with it, as long as his loved ones will continue to shower him with privileges such as food, money, housing etc. Only when we remove these things from addicts might they have a chance to question themselves and their fate. Otherwise, his only priority will remain self-comfort and drinking alcohol. That said, I’m so happy to hear your grandson is under your roof, not only given the condition of his father but that of his mother as well. Much could probably be said about her own lack of courage and duty as a mother as well, I’m sure.
P.S. You can and you will heal. You must take care of and nourish yourself, whatever that means and whatever it takes. Do not let anything prevent you from nourishing and loving yourself, and remove what you must to enable that to happen. In our darkest moments and in our deepest pain, we are in fact closest to God.
Great post! I know this was a response to the comment above, but this message is really what I needed to hear tonight. Thank you for clarifying what all the crazy-making really means.
This is the definition of my son. It is just a continual thing. My older son is afraid he will hurt me but I am afraid if I lost my temper I would beat the crap out of him when he is drunk. All he does is lay on the couch crying he can't find a job. He has burned every bridge with his big mouth when he's drunk. We took him back because of the cold winter but spring is almost here and his days are numbered. I am tired of the lies. Every word out of his mouth is a lie. I ask God, \”What have I done to have deserved this?\” I am wracked with guilt that he might die if I throw him out but just can't stand to look at him anymore. I have gone to psychologists, etc. and know what to do; just have to do it.
Charlie you’re the bomb! This was my life with my husband. I slapped him in the face, I wish I punched him in the jaw! But seriously it was a horrid moment. “You’re no better than me” was the first thing he said. I knew then it was over. He was so narcissistic that I knew this was just fuel for him to further ruin me and tell everyone so they would feel sorry for him. I was devastated. Living with a narcissistic alcoholic there is no room for mistakes. They watch your every move, mark every mistake and tell everyone about it. Whether it’s true or not. That was 16 months ago and I’ve been divorced the last 5. Sad but Yay!! It’s a roller coaster. He never told me in a calm rational voice that he wanted to divorce me so I did everything I could to hang on. I’d been praying for the truth when God finally revealed it to me, I found out about the affair with his friends wife. I pushed the papers through and divorced 8 days later. It’s been hell. I’m heartbroken, but so glad he’s gone. I found Alanon the last nine months before the divorce and while it didn’t save “us” it helped me tremendously. For so long I prayed for God to bring him back to us but now, if and when I pray for him, I ask for God to bring him to the brink of despair or death. Anything to wake him up. Narcissism and lies are his first nature. I don’t know if he’s capable of the truth. A coward or psychopath? I do know I don’t want to ever see him again unless he’s well. I changed my number, stay away from his side of town and I’m doing the best I can. So far he’s leaving me alone and I hope it stays that way. He never admitted to me or apologized for the affair. He was even worse than I knew. So horrific and appalling, the selfishness of his actions, needs and wants. Truly they destroy all good and it’s just so devastating as you know. My life revolved around him since I was 19. A 26 year marriage was destroyed and another family too. He hurt so many. Our adult children don’t talk to him. We are close and I thank God for that. They tell me I did everything I could and I’m so glad they see that because I truly did. The change has been hard but good. I take care of myself and take my life slowly and grieve when I should. I’m not where I want to be yet but I’m getting there. I have been feeling a little angry at God lately. I prayed so hard and did the best I could. How did it all end up this way? It’s hard to understand. “In our deepest pain we are closest to God”. Thanks for the reminder. I appreciate that. Even though I’m mad at Him sometimes, He’s there with me. When he was getting worse I reached out to his family. It didn’t help. In fact after the divorce I didn’t hear one single word from any of them. So be it. He is also a veteran. I’m afraid he will be coddled and enabled and it’ll be the death of him. I fear he won’t ever get well and become a decent human being again and father to his kids. “Thank you for your service” oh the level of BS! If he ever reaches out to me I’ll be sending him your blog and book. Never before have I fully understood and appreciated the saying “he’s in Gods hands now”. So thank you Charlie for calling out the BS. I even fell for it in Alanon. “No one chooses to be an addict, they don’t choose to live like this”. When I found you I was so relieved. I knew that shit didn’t feel right! But I tried so hard to believe it. Thank you thank you thank you. Please clone yourself and put one in every AA and Alanon meeting, rehab and veteran center. 🙂 But seriously you have a gift and I hope you keep going as long as you have something this good to give. Life with an addict is devastating as you know, you bring the comfort of peace, strength and understanding to those of us that love them. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.