Making Excuses For Substance Abuser

01 April 2017 Written by 

Is Covering Up Always A Bad Thing: What is the harm in excusing someone’s bad choice? Very little when it involves a one-time glitch. Anyone can have a perfect storm of crazy and need a little grace from their loved ones.  When someone abuses the honest compassion and understanding of loved ones over and over there is a problem.

Drunken Behavior Is One Area Where The Cover-up Fails On Every Level

Recently I listened as a friend made excuse after excuse for her husband’s rude behavior at a party. It was the fifth time he had abused alcohol and offended his friends. As I listened to his wife make excuses again, I began to wonder does she really believe this?

Here Are Some Of Her Excuses

  • He was stressed out at work
  • The kids were acting out
  • The bills were piling up
  • The stock market was falling
  • It had been a tough week.
  • He drinks to unwind and relax

Doesn't Everybody Have These Problems 

Lots of people get stressed out by work, kids, and bills and don’t abuse alcohol. Why did she think her husband's doing it made it understandable or okay.

Making Excuses Is Draining For An Embarrassed Family Member And It's Dangerous

It allows someone to continue to harm themselves and others with no consequences or responsibility. When my husband was nearing the end of his disease (and his life), he would often sit for hours in front a TV staring at it blankly. The children would ask about this behavior, and I would say their father was tired or needed his quiet. I was making excuses for him. He wasn’t tired. He was intoxicated. Our children knew this was not normal behavior. My lying to them made them feel crazy. It allowed my husband to continue his self destruction, and it harmed me by reinforcing my belief in the unbelievable.

My Excuses For My Husband Included A Wide Variety of Medical Conditions That Didn't Exist

  • I told everyone he was dizzy because he had low blood sugar
  • His ranting was caused by brain tumor
  • His poor driving was caused by cataracts
  • His constant crying was due to epilepsy

Many People Simply Don't Understand The Nature or Symptoms of Substance Abuse

I didn’t know alcoholism was a disease so I used all the other diseases to excuse his symptoms. To me it was an embarrassment that needed to be kept hidden from everyone. My shame and guilt kept it alive and well in our family for decades. Had I known the deadly cost of keeping up appearances I would have not entered the dangerous world of covering up for a disease.

Making Excuses Hurts Everyone

Addiction is ugly and selfish. It causes our loved ones to do strange and unbearable things we didn't think them capable of doing. When we make excuses for substance abusers, we deny them the opportunity to feel the real consequences of allowing this disease to go untreated.

Learning Not To Be Embarrassed

At one of my Al-Anon meetings, a wise woman said she met her husband at a fast food place for dinner. He was drunk and literally passed out into his roast beef sandwich. This healthy woman took his keys and went to the manager and said,” My husband has passed out in his sandwich. When he wakes up please have him call me. I will come and get him. I have his keys. Thank you.” And she walked out of the restaurant holding her head up. When I asked her why she wasn’t devastated by her husband’s behavior she simply said,” I had done nothing to be embarrassed about. This was his decision. Why would I be embarrassed by his decisions?”  

Her Story Helped Me To Stop Making Excuses For My Husband’s Decisions

When my children asked why their father wasn’t coming to their game, I would say, “You need to ask him that.” When he would fall asleep on the living room floor in his underwear. I would cover him up and go on my way.  I didn’t need to answer for my husband or be cruel. I could simply state what I did know and often that wasn’t much. I would try to help my children understand their Father was sick and these were his symptoms.

There Was A Time He Had To Go

When his behavior became too strange and bizarre I asked him to leave our home. No longer angry and embarrassed or willing to make excuses for him, I was able to help him find a place and made sure his bills were paid. His brain was affected by the years of alcohol and I knew this was a sign of the last stages of alcoholism.When my husband passed away from this disease shortly afterwards  I was able to be at peace with how I had treated him. Near the end he had joined Alcoholics Anonymous and was trying to understand his disease. I was proud of him for getting past all his excuses and seeking help. I was proud of me for doing the exact same thing.

Reach Out Recovery Exclusive by Madeline Schloop

If you need help with a substance user in your life, click on the link below for a free resource to locate addiction and mental health professionals near you.

Read 3421 times Last modified on Friday, 13 October 2017 09:26
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Madeline Schloop

Madeline is the widow of a man who died of alcoholism and the mother of 5 young adults whom she parents with the tools of Al-Anon. Her children continue to be affected by the disease of alcoholism. Her stories  deal with life's daily trials and what has and hasn't worked.
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