Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Alcoholic Open Letter - To YOU

An Open Letter to You (the person living in the chaos of alcoholism);

Date: Today (the new day dawning for you.)

Dear You.

You are a good person. You are a person who cares. You are a person who deserves to be happy. And you are not the cause of the alcoholic's problem and you cannot cure it. Period!

No matter what your qualifier does, his or her drinking or addiction, should not be allowed to take you down. And if you have lost your self-esteem and you feel you don't matter, shame on you. Get it back. And get it back for yourself and/or your children.

You have to get better no matter what your qualifier does. What I mean here is your qualifier may never get well. That is up to him (or her). You cannot fix it. You must work on yourself to get your sanity and health back.

We all feel the effects of alcoholism. It makes us feel "Worthless" and "tired" and "confused" among other feelings.

This loss of self-esteem and being run-down doesn't happen overnight, which makes it dangerous. It happens over time, and it is so gradual we don't notice it occurring. What is abnormal now becomes our "new normal."

If we took you back in time and showed you a video snapshot of the future and a video snapshot of the way life was, you would be surprised at the difference between how you were and how you are. You - in fact - would say probably, "I would never allow that to happen." But because of the gradual changes - we change subtly and over time - we don't notice it and because the changes are a "few inches a day, the changes are drastic."

I have found that going to Al-Anon allows me (and others I have met there), understand this fact of change consciously or unconsciously.

We have to get our sanity back;

  • No more looking for bottles
  • No more calling in sick for the alcoholic
  • No more fighting or arguing - especially when drunk
  • No more threats you cannot enforce or live by
  • No more sacrificing your schedule because the alcoholic didn't live up to their commitment
  • No more allowing ourselves to be called names or made to feel bad
  • No more anger
  • Not checking to see if the alcoholic is feeling OK today to see how we should feel and act

Now we have to do what is really normal that now feels selfish;

  • Eating properly
  • Eating when we are supposed to
  • Exercising
  • Meeting friends for coffee
  • Working
  • Not doing other people's work at work
  • Knowing what "codes of value" we will live by and not allow others to intrude upon
  • Being happy (and not feeling guilty about it)
  • Dressing up/Showering/Getting out of the house
  • Not covering up for our qualifier
  • And so on

Al-Anon allows us to get sanity back after a few months. Then, and this is important, YOU react and respond differently toward the alcoholic. The alcoholic sees that there are changes because of your changes. What he sees is: You don't get mad anymore, you stop taking care of him (remember he is not a child but will act that way to be taken care of). Therefore he HAS to change, but now you don't have to tell him, you show him by your actions. So often we do for the alcoholic what he or she has to do for themselves (parents do this too). This will feel uncomfortable at first. It will seem selfish. But it isn't, it's the most necessary thing you have to do.

Second, and this is important too: Even if he does not get better, you now have the sanity to where you decide - you decide sanely - whether you want to stay in this environment and live the rest of your life this way. Right now, you cannot decide this properly.

Also - last and this is important too, by getting well, you begin attract new people, events and circumstances into your life that will help you and this help gets you well faster.

I hope this helps YOU.

Joe

PS - If you look back at my first posts, you will see I was crazy because my qualifier was arrogant, demanding, and deceitful. I was reactionary, hurt, depressed, and did not know the tools of Al-Anon. I am not perfect. But I know I have gotten better. I feel it and I see it from the first posts to today's posts. Again, I am still in recovery and have a lot to learn.

PPS - Remember, there are people who really love you and care for you. You are loved by them and by God. God does not make any junk. You need to love your self again. This is not selfish. Feel it and live it. Today is your turning point. See the new dawn rising.

11 comments:

Lorraine said...

This is really weird...my girlfriend...the one who was suppose to go to the Al-anon meeting with me and was a bigger chicken than I was...were discussing this very thing this morning. The snapshot from years ago I would have been a fighter....a go getter..trusting and believing God at His very word. But then life "comes at you fast"...Layer upon layer it covers the real you. You begin to hide, pretend, cover up...remain angry and sad. You have trouble seeing that the glass is half full and not half empty. It is like the frog in the boiling water...it doesn't jump out because the water heats up subtly. I have professed this on this blog before...and I will say it again...I want to live. I want to choose to be happy...and stretch, grow and learn! I must choose to stop believing the lies I have been led to believe. I only blame myself for that one...My God loves me unconditionally...He is my source, my refuge and strength. It is up to me to run to my Father's arms and not to the comfort of old familiar patterns and ruts.
Thank you Joe for this letter...You gave me a gift in your words....they are words of life and encourgement.

Joe said...

Lorraine - you are a good person. We have all been affected by the alcoholics in our lives. They have an illness. We need to remember this and have compassion for them. But we should not put their life ahead of ours and our health (mental and physical). And certainly not subjugate our children for the alcoholics demands and needs for assistance. The moment we give up and let them "figure it out" - on their own is the turning point. This is not cruel. This is not a punishment. This is for their own good.

PS - To all who don't know me. I provide advice or guidance at times. But I am really just giving myself advice because I have to keep reminding myself of these very same things. And knowing what I know, it is sometimes easier to spout this off than it is to break the pattern! But break it - you (I) must!

PSS - There is a story of the boiling frog somewhere in this blog. And the weird part is, once you break this addiction of helping the addict, you will have more weird experiences. This is called synchronicity.

Joe

Anjel said...

WOW!!
That is exactly what I needed to hear (or should I say read). I stumbled on this site by accident, but I guess there really are no accidents :-)
"Just for Today", 3 small words that are so hard to live. Daily life with this disease takes such a toll on us sometimes that we forget that "we" are just as important as everyone else.
I guess I needed a little push and reading this today was the push I needed.
I know that when I take on more then I should, I get angry, harbor resentments and spend a lot of time on the "pity-pot". If I just start off by saying the phrase daily I know the action will follow :-)
Again, thanks

Joe said...

Angel - there is a link on the side bar (ooops that is a bad word) to the right of this blog. You will find "Just For Today" verses. They are not mine - they are Al-Anon's. They are excellent.

Also you will all find post topics under "Labels" on the right hand side as well that may help you.

Joe

KevinB said...

Wow...!

In being new to this whole journey, what a wonderful place to stumble across!

It shall be a place I visit daily to strengthen my will and spirit in my quest to be a better me, both for my own sanity, and what I can share with those so close to my heart.

Keep doin what your doin!

Joe said...

Welcome KevinB. Please join us and comment on the blog post. Please take the opportunity to share your thoughts feelings and anything you'd like. Whether it is related to the blog post of the day or not.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Joe

Anonymous said...

Good Morning Joe,

Boundaries, wish I would have known them so much sooner. Alcoholic wife (soon to be ex) of almost 5 years is out and running on her own, and her life is falling apart all around her, her job, friends, all of it.

She has been gone almost 3 months now, most of the time I hear from her when she needs money, or is in a brief state of sobriety. I have learned to say "no" however it is still very difficult to do so.

This new journey for me I know is going to be difficult, but I need to re-build me, and will take the steps and time required to do so.

One Day At A Time.

Joe said...

I know what you mean Anonymous. I definately know what you mean. It is tough. I have learned at many meetings at family night (where my spouse is going thru their recovery center) that boundary setting is critical to establish. And then following thru when the boundaries are broken actually keeps us from "enabling" the addict. When they see we are not serious, they keep on acting the way they do. This is because there are no consequences, because we always "rescue" them.

It is tough. It is very tough, because we are compassionate people and cannot stand to see someone we love fall apart.

Except that they are going to hit bottom sooner or later. Maybe we, thru setting boundaries and stop enabling them, bring the bottom up to meet them. AND at the same time protect us from a long drawn out, heart wrenching experience.

I hope this helps. And welcome

Hope to see you on-line this weekend!

Joe

Syd said...

Joe, thanks for some good words that everyone who has been affected by alcoholism should read. And the program does work if we remember we are powerless.

Anonymous said...

Joe,

Anonymous is KevinB, just can't remember my darn password.

Anonymous said...

Hi Joe,

Anonymous this morning was KevinB,
forgot my password.