Thursday, February 28, 2008

Addressing Some Questions Around Alcoholism

Al-Anon Books and Literature - About Alcoholism, Detachment, Is the Spouse to Blame? It never ceases to amaze me how these books and the words impact me every different time I pick them up.

There must be some people who wrote these books who we just absolutely brilliant.

Here are a few Quotes from the Book "How Al-Anon Works for Families and Friends of Alcoholics"

[Engaging - Why They Engage and What We Can Do]
P30 - "Recognizing Our Options" is the heading. [brackets are my words]
"Alcoholics act and family members and friends react. .... We react because we don't realize we have a choice. ..... if the alcoholic has one end of a rope, and we have the other end, and they give it a tug, we would tug back. It never occurs to us that we don't have to play [referring to the alcoholic's game]. What if we dropped the rope? There is no tug-of-war unless both players hang on to the rope ..... [envision this - dropping the rope. I get it. I am going one step further to make it fun. We drop the rope and the other team on the other side, all fall down! Remember that one?]

.....For example, some alcoholics feel guilty about their need to drink and find it easier to blame the drinking on someone else. Some alcoholics often provoke those around them, trying to start an argument or create a crisis. We who live with them tend to react to this provocation, arguing back, defending ourselves against unjust accusations, making accusations of our own. In the end the alcoholic gets what he is looking for, an excuse to drink. Dry or sober alcoholics use the same tactics to create a diversion so that every ones attention with be drawn away from the topic or situation with which they are comfortable. Dropping the rope means we recognize the behavior pattern and choose not to play the same part any more.

[Enabling] [not the heading] p32
....We don't realize that, by playing our part, we actually contribute to sustaining the disease of alcoholism. We may serve as the enabler, rescuing the alcoholic from unpleasant consequences of their own making. Or we may play the victim, unwillingly stepping in and covering for the alcoholic.

Changing The Part We Play In The Family Disease [Heading] p32
...the most helpful and most loving action any family member can take is to get help for ourselves. By recovering from the effects of this disease we become able to stop playing our part in the family disease. The balance is disrupted. Suddenly it is no longer so comfortable for the alcoholic.

We cannot make choices for other people, even those most important to us. We are not gods, and we can't truly know what is best for anyone else, no matter how obvious a particular course of action may seem to us at the time. Most of us had to hit a "bottom" in personal agony, before we were ready to make real changes in our lives.


Laurie said...

The rope game...the other team all fall down into a deep, dark hole never to be heard from again...sorry, dealing with anger today. Yesterday I read a couple articles in Newsweek about What Addicts Need. It said in the future there could actually be an addiction "vaccine". Bring it on! Put an end to this insanity!

Syd said...

I can let go of the rope but grab hold of my HP's hand before I fall. That really helps me.

Laurie said...

You're right Syd! My anger has subsided some since I posted and I know it's because I sought my HP's guidance. Thanks for keeping me grounded!

Fred Joiners said...

I've been in the program for a few yaers now and I am always amazed that when I read something again - years later - it means something different to me than it did before.
Sometimes when I read something I think 'I must have read this before, but I do not remember it having such a meaning.'

Cyd said...

I know about the rope game. I also like the expression of dont throw the ball back. I am sorry you feel this way. My counselor and i talked about just looking at the person and not responding. It is very difficult For me just saying how i feel about something so simple such as not to spray a chemical in my kitchen using liquid wrench in my microwave to fix the latch on it. I went to an appointment yesterday which ironically touched based on boundaries which my qualifier doesnt get. He was cleaning which is wonderful but the minute i told him i didnt appreciate him spraying chemicals in my microwave. He took an attitude and said Dont worry i wont do it anymore clean and went upstairs to the room. Extremely childish. As he said i wouldnt have know what he did if i didnt come home. Always trying to create the victim. He is 23 days sober or should i say dry.
Anyhow as hard as it is I love him but that area of boundaries i cant take it. I know i am not crazy I spoke with my counselor and she said he has issues with boundaries. He changed by screensaver the other day Mind you the picture was a picture of me my friend and my daughter but the point i am making is it is my right to do as I choose. If i say something, of course i am the bad guy. I love this man very much At times i do question why. I try not to get mad because he is a sick person no doubt. I just wish we could have a normal realationship. The vacination idea would be excellent but think about it I have heard many times I want to be sober. Try the shot on for size I would guess the alcholic would find another excuse for that.

Cyd said...

This alanon Diary is excellent Living with an alcholic can be to much for any of us to bear Thank God for Alanon. Which i look forward to going to my meetings I am now looking for a sponsor in the South Jersey Area.

Laurie said...

Cyd - I agree, this blog is so helpful! I know I've been reading hoping to "gear myself up" to attend an Al-Anon meeting. I've decided today that I'm going to attend a meeting in my area on Monday. I write this to make it real for me. My husband also does not get boundaries - and I have never really tried to set any cause I'm not sure how. He likes to horse around with me, just showing me he loves me he says, but it violates my space and is always when I'm trying to do something. Like this morning I'm getting ready for work and he keeps popping in the bathroom to tickle me or just stand too close to me. It drives me crazy and I ask him nicely to stop, let me get ready for work and he keeps on. Finally I get so furious I yell or push him away - then I'm the bad guy. It's the dance, the game, I know it is. I just don't know how to deal with it. So, Monday, I'm going to a meeting. My life is unmanageable.

Cyd said...

Laurie I have been in group since last September and one of the most rewarding things i feel is i can say exactly how i feel and noone judges me for it. Yes right now my friend is up in the room pouting and whatever it is but the three C in Alanon are cant control didnt cause it and cant cure it. I do the dance or throw the ball just what he is looking for to have an excuse Not a chance today because if i get angry i hurt me plain and simple He has one in his mind and i choose not to dance the dance.
I find it hard to do but detach from the situation we say lovingly if possible. Doesnt mean we accept unacceptable behavior.
I find if i say something once and not engage which is really hard. Whatever his response is back or if he takes it wrong because they do. It is there own inadequacy about themselves Back away. I cannot fix him and i dont want too. That isnt my job. Sometime it works and sometimes it doesnt The least said soon mended. I was told that i cant get my buttons pushed unless i let him and the only button i have is my belly button. Alanon is a great program It gives me sanity when i feel like i am loosing it. That is what we are made to believe about ourselves Not a chance I know i am not perfect and i have issues too That is the point we can accept the things we cannot change and change the things we can. So i am trying I am in school now and i hopefully will get back to work so him and i arent in this house together because he doesnt do anything at all except laundry tv a few meetings and that is it. So when he is done being sick of being sick of himself than he will get it Until then get alot of support Go to meetings and stay sane. When we change our lifestyle and behavior the alcholic does change theres. Seems impossible but i have seen it. Recovery is possible.

Laurie said...

Thanks Cyd. I need to release the emotions I've been stuffing deeper inside. I need to know how to do that. Your words are encouraging and I'll remember them if I get nervous about attending the meeting on Monday!

Joe said...

Laurie - really nothing to "be nervous" about. The people at the meeting are some of the warmest most understanding people you can meet. Because they've been where you've been, where I've been, etc.

Laurie said...

Joe - thanks! I don't think I'm neverous about the people that might be there. My nervousness comes from admitting the issue. I guess it's called denial. And like your first Getting Unstuck post says, I don't want to be wrong or for people to see me any other way than the way I've worked so hard to present. Silly. And I know I'll cry. I won't even have to say anything. I'll still cry. But I'm going. I know it will be good for me.

Enjoy your time with your daughter this weekend!

Anonymous said...

I want to learn to detach. Not react and live my own life. It is difficult espiecally when you have a child who is impressonable You try to teach them that and they dont really understand that. I want to be happy and live my life that way. I dont know how it is possible when living with an active alcoholic or a supposedly sober one or dry one. That personality is one of utterly frustration. You do see the good side but i personally cant trust that person at all. Sixty days or whatever and back to here we go again. Not I am in school getting better.
I definitely know i need meetings and i need a sponsor period No excuse. When i am stronger i will make a decision So if anybody has any suggestions please feel free. Need help with detachment and not reacting.

Lynne said...

I too think detachment is very hard especially in the beginning. I have been going to Al-anon for about a month (5 meetings). And in the beginning when I started to try to detach I did it with anger and being mean. Thur Al-anon I am trying to doing it with a little more kindness. I think you should diffently get a sponsor right away. I got one right away... and she has been my life line... she has listened to me several times in tears! But, they know they have been thru all the emotions and yuckiness that we are feeling..


Anonymous said...

I had a father who died a hard core alcoholic.I now have a brother who has been using since his early teens. "When he gets sober",...lately it's been for three months, his healing process brings back the haunting memories of his childhood and he stays awake at night with dreams about "unfinished business." He also has been a hard core street fighter,the result of anger issues... it's a long story. When he is sober, he wants to talk and I listen, after all I was there too in his growing up years. I have my own memories and issues which I sometimes share with him. I personally have been living free from alcohol use for thirty years.(I got lucky and changed my lifestyle after a health problem nearly extinquished me)I live four thousand miles away from the problem, geographically, but the disease of alcoholism never goes away. Also,I feel like I only deal with the disease when "he" is sober. Then I call and "listen" to him and reason with him as much as possible. At times I make the effort to share my own experience(he is trying to stop smoking but is on the patch)I seem to make things too complicated for him at that point What am I missing?

crisis intervention said...

Alcoholics need help as they are struggling to recover from the addiction. The road to recovery is not easy for them because of the many temptations, which entices them to drink alcohol. But with constant guidance and supervision, they have the capabilities to overcome alcoholism.

Anonymous said...

I have been struggling with my in-laws mostly my mother-in-law she fights horribly with her husband and will text my husband and I in the middle if the night mostly to make her husband mad she will say the most disgusting horrible things you can possibly imagine to him, of course there is the financial difficulties them needing money for x y and z, my husband and I have a very strong marriage and he is a good man who was scared of drinking because of the effects it had on his family life. I just don't know what to do, it's like we will ignore these terrible fights and pretend like nothing happened nobody ever talks about the elephant in the room and the tension just grows and grows until I want to explode. My husband wants to tell her we aren't going to be a part of their life until they stop drinking. I think it's wise and brave of him to do this but I'm worried about how she will react... Endless drunken texts I could see her making life very difficult and hard, maybe I'm just not wanting to create conflict maybe it's easier to pretend like their isn't a problem. I'd say in the beginning we played the game with them, holding the rope, and it literally almost destroyed our marriage then we dropped the rope and marriage is so wonderful it feels like lately we picked up the rope again and are giving them money and bailing them out