So You Love An… Alcoholic? By Grace Wroldson begins with a series of questions for the reader:
“-So you love an alcoholic?
-Are you a woman who loves an alcoholic man?
-Are you a woman who has spent years trying to love a man who drinks?
-Do you want to stop your very unhealthy, toxic love and codependent ways?
-Are you ready to leave, heal, and live again?”
Grace Wroldson starts the book off with these questions to make sure the reader is ready for the tough advice that is about to be thrown their way. Change is hard. Loving a person with a substance use disorder is hard, even if that person is in pain, too. Wroldson knows the reader is in for a tough chapter of their life – she’s been there herself. She wants to make sure they are ready for what she refers to as the “emotionally difficult phases” in their transformation process.
Wroldson builds her credibility by sharing her own story before delving into the 25+ powerful lessons she has for the reader. She loved an alcoholic for 15 years.
Codependent with depression and lost in life, she compares herself to the caterpillar in the famous children’s book The Very Hungry Caterpillar:
“When I started loving an alcoholic, I myself was a very hungry, codependent caterpillar! Like the caterpillar, I crawled along the ground looking for food and easy meals, which I equate to the loneliness of looking for relief from the pain of being in an alcoholic relationship.”
Packed with encouraging quotes, questions to push for change, and personal anecdotes, Wroldson speaks to the reader like an old friend ready to be by their side as they undergo this difficult but life-changing process. While the quotes and questions break up the text to allow the readers’ eyes to rest, at times, it did detract from the main portion of the text. As a reader, I was ready to dive into the advice promised, but I felt like I was bogged down by quotes and poems at times.
Wroldson has on her side the power of an all-too-common story that so many women can relate to. She attended Al-Anon meetings for ten years without being able to face the truth that she was indeed in love with an alcoholic. It was the moment that she moved from denial into truth that she was able to change her situation.
After gathering the strength to leave her alcoholic, she found out she was pregnant. Knowing she had a daughter on the way only gave her more determination to stay away from her alcoholic after she left. But how?
“Fearing my alcoholic was an important awareness. Fearing that he needed me in order for him to stay alive and be cared for, or fearing that I needed him to stay alive… was fear.”
Once she faced her truths – I love an alcoholic. I’m codependent and afraid to be alone – and her fears – I’m afraid of the changes that will come when I am alone. I’m afraid that my alcoholic needs me to survive – she had to trust in her higher power to carry her through the necessary changes. This part in the book is where the 25+ powerful lessons come in.
3 out of 5 Stars
25+ Powerful Lessons
Because the book is oozing with useful lessons, I picked a few of my favorites to give you a glimpse below:
“-Ask yourself if your love is based in the fear of being alone, which would force you to grow and change.
-Ask yourself if you stay because you feel that you need to keep him/her alive (this is mothering and not an equal adult relationship).
-Seek spiritual solutions and release control.
-Pray and give control over to your higher power. You cannot save him/her. Stop trying to play God and let God do that.
-Acknowledge that you may have been unknowingly focusing on his/her problems to ignore your own.
-If you choose to leave, don’t do it to change him/her, and don’t expect it to. This is about you.”
Wroldson breaks codependent recovery down into steps with proof from her own life that they work. Deeply personal and encouraging, the reader knows they have at least one person that supports their decision to change their life.
She touches on countless important topics that are relevant to anyone who loves an alcoholic, including:
- Losing the victim mentality
- Setting boundaries
- Moving your focus to your higher power instead of your alcoholic
What stood out to me were her realizations during pregnancy:
“The only thing I could do was wait patiently during that time of gestation and take prenatal vitamins. I had to sit in the unknown because there was no other stress-free alternative. Thus, I chose to surrender to a Loving Source versus surrender to my own fears, mental demons, and nagging negativity.”
Even as she grew a new life inside her, Wroldson felt utterly alone. In her loneliness, she sought solace in her higher power. As her baby grew, so did she.
By the end of the book, she is the strong, independent butterfly in her metaphor. Through recovery, she created a new life for herself. Through her book, she hopes to help other women create a new life for themselves, too.
My only concern was the presentation of the idea that we are finally “whole,” instead of actively working on ourselves. There is not necessarily an end date to healing, and I did find it hard to believe that Wroldson was suddenly healed just because she was patient, prayed, and focused on herself during her pregnancy. I would’ve like to see more concrete details about her struggle, rather than more bullet-point questions for the reader and quotes.
➡️Have you read this book? What were your thoughts?
About The Author:
Josie Thornhill is a freelance writer and student. She is probably having a panic attack in a fast food restaurant or doing yoga with a cigarette between her teeth. She is working on her first novel. You can learn more about her at her website.
*A free copy of this book was provided in exchange for an honest review.