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Living with Alcoholism - the Final Chapter
There is no hierarchy when it comes to pain. It is deeply personal and impossible to measure with accuracy. It is the same with grief.
What can bring on grief? The loss of a loved one or cherished possession, the break up of an important relationship, the trauma of a life event that alters the trajectory of your life, and so on.
Sometimes the event happens in a millisecond, leaving shattered fragments of hopes and dreams in its tragic wake. At other times it is a slow burn, a tortuous wait, interspersed with moments of reprieve and fresh hope.
I've known such grief over the best part of the last decade. It's felt like witnessing a careless driver heading towards certain destruction in ultra slow motion. When I think back to those years, I have experienced the different stages of grief - denial, anger, bargaining, depression, interspersed with hope and optimism. Last week I finally reached the stage that will set me free: one where I experienced acceptance, and forgiveness.
Alcoholism takes many prisoners, most of whom are not even drinking. It comes with many social taboos and deep seated shame. Most people feel reluctant to share their story for fear of judgment, or because they simply want to forget and move on. The stigma that accompanies the condition can make people in the inner circle feel guilty, resentful, and worst of all, alone and helpless.
I am sharing my family’s story today because I believe we need to look at the topic of alcoholism with greater compassion and openness. The "careless driver" in my analogy continues to weave uncontrollably, unstoppably, but at least I have made peace with my own role in his final lap.
In this latest episode of my podcast Interesting Lives of Ordinary People (iLoOP), I offer a glimpse into the internal conflict that families of alcoholics face every single day.
This is a recording of an intensely personal coaching session, one I had no idea I would go on to share with the world. I am very grateful to my coach Dipti Singh for making me feel heard and held. There were several preceding sessions with other coaches in my Deep Coaching Intensive peer group that laid the foundation to this one. It is an example of how coaching, when done well, can help create a powerful shift in being and result in transformational change.
A word of caution: the episode is a fly on the wall experience: unfiltered, replete with raw emotion and with one swear word! I am hoping my story, which is just one story amongst millions, will spark a conversation and invite greater compassion for alcoholics and for those who have to live with them.