This morning I woke up thinking about all the married people in the world who are living with an alcoholic and suffering greatly over it and something became aware to me that I never thought of before. I get some of my best awareness moments first thing in the morning when my mind is fresh and clear.
Well, this morning I got to thinking that some people might be apprehensive to detach, and for many reasons. Perhaps they are afraid that if they detach their spouse will leave them; or maybe they are in fear to detach because of what the alcoholic may do to them; or perhaps they aren’t ready to take that leap of faith to detach because of the unknown consequences. Perhaps there are even more reasons.
The point is these are normal feelings to have. I never thought about this before, that there are people who are apprehensive about detaching, until this morning and I’m thinking about updating the Detach from an Alcoholic Spouse eBook with some encouraging biblical wisdom to help people understand that, “it’s ok to emotionally detach yourself from that which is hurting you”.
We know that detaching emotionally from the alcoholic works, not only is it proven to work and is something that is so very helpful to you and the alcoholic, but it is biblical. Part of learning to detach is being able to forgive, and turning the other cheek, both of which are positive character traits taught to us through God’s Word.
Emotional detachment from the alcoholic is the best remedy for dealing with an abusive alcoholic and that is why we wrote the book “Detach From an Alcoholic Spouse”. Detaching begins the healing process for the spouse who is married to the alcoholic which as a result, gets the alcoholic to have to take responsibility for his or her drinking problem.
It’s Ok to Emotionally Detach Yourself from that which is Hurting You
After all no one is made of steel, God gave us feelings so we could understand how to use those feelings appropriately with the people we interact with in life. He gave us His Wisdom and now we just have to apply His wisdom into our relationships. It begins with forgiveness, patience, turning the other cheek…
Think of detaching like this: Detaching is not being accepting of the alcoholic’s behavior, detaching is simply not allowing yourself to be a part of the alcoholic’s behavior. See the difference? You need to take care of you.
God explains to us that we are to “Turn the Other Cheek”
But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. Matthew 5:39
What is Jesus asking us to do here? Is He really telling us to allow ourselves to be browbeaten and mentally and emotionally abused by the alcoholic we are married to?
Not exactly, but…
He is asking us to “suffer patiently” rather than “retaliate with our emotions”.
God teaches us how to use our feelings for the GOOD rather than for the bad.
What happens when you detach from that which is hurting you?
When you learn to emotionally detach it not only helps you but it also helps the alcoholic. Yelling, screaming and name-calling back (emotional retaliation) does not make the alcoholic look at himself and his problem, but rather look at you and what a mess you are. Christ says, “Turn to him the other also”. This just means “walk away” rather than “seek revenge” or “retaliate” or “get a divorce”, or “treat badly”, or…
“Turn to him the other also” does not mean to stand there and take the abuse but it does mean not to seek vengeance through how you react and behave towards the alcoholic. Turn to him the other also is what detaching is all about. You see, God knew that tuning the other cheek (detachment) shows the abusive one (alcoholic or other) that THEY are the ones that in fact DO have a problem; not you, the person they are married to. It makes them have to take responsibility for their actions and behaviors.
When you detach you are releasing yourself from the problem! Essentially you are giving the alcoholic their problem (then they have to take responsibility) and when the alcoholic realizes this is when he or she can finally come out of denial, which is the first step towards healing. You’re not responsible for the alcoholic, even if you are married to them. You can’t control what an alcoholic does or doesn’t do while they are drinking. So shed yourself of that responsibility and detach from that aspect of the addiction. The ebook on detachment goes into much more detail on this.
Turning the other cheek or detaching is using your feelings for the good! This is the way God intended for us to use our emotions. Now, let’s go back to what we were talking about in the beginning about being apprehensive to detach.
Sometimes when we do something new, not in our normal way of behaving it can be intimidating because we do not know what to expect. This is because we are so used to using our feelings as a defense mechanism. We feel a certain way and then use those feelings as a way to guard ourselves and to, well, retaliate or be abusive with those who are abusive with us.
The problem with that is the alcoholic does not know how we are feeling and why we are retaliating; they just see us as having a problem, especially if we are blaming them, accusing them, calling them names, yelling and screaming, and even enabling them to drink. All of these things from you shows the alcoholic that YOU have a problem and it takes him or her off their problem, the drinking problem. Do you get it? It is time to come out of the trap of alcoholism!
You Must Put Your Faith with God, Not in Your Feelings
Well, these are the times to remember that you are not alone! You must put your faith and trust with Jesus Christ. He knows what you are going through. Reading Psalms gives us a reminder of this. God has shown us that He is our Protector and Provider, no matter what we are going through.
For he hath not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted; neither hath he hid his face from him; but when he cried unto him, he heard. Psalm 22:24
The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower. Psalm 18:2
Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you will revive me: you shall stretch forth your hand against the wrath of my enemies, and your right hand shall save me. Psalm 138:7
When you first stop retaliating back with your negative feelings and actually detach it will take the alcoholic off guard. They’re use to you name-calling, or screaming and yelling, not walking away. They may not like it because it is so foreign to them that it intimidates them.
Turning the other cheek or detaching, whichever you want to call it, can be difficult to do, at first, because it is not your normal way of behaving, but after a while you will begin to feel a sense of peace and contentment come over you that you never experienced before when living with the alcoholic.
Your healing has begun: This is because you realize that you don’t have to be a part of the addiction but only a person on the sidelines or a person for moral support to the alcoholic, if they ask for it.
Only when you stop taking responsibility or when you stop reacting with your negative feelings will you understand your role in being married to an alcoholic. You love the alcoholic but hate the addiction. Ask God for discernment to know the difference between the two, and reading eBook “How to Detach from an Alcoholic Spouse” will be one of your greatest ammunition sources, besides the bible, when dealing with an alcoholic and wanting to learn how to detach and applying loving detachment into your marriage and life.
Your role is not to retaliate or defend yourself but to simply be a loving spouse on the sidelines, who will not take responsibility for the drinker, and who will not help the drinker to drink, and who will not allow the drinker to think YOU are the one with the problem. Once you have rescued you from the addiction the alcoholic is then burdened with the responsibility of the problem instead of you. You see how that works?
How Do I Detach from an Alcoholic Spouse – shows you how to detach from the alcoholic and get your life back!