Relapse is part of recovery... even for family members :)
I have to post this, it may help someone somewhere down the line. I was raised by an alcoholic mother. Then I got involved with an alcoholic relationship for about 5 years. I had a lot of healing and recovery in between there, but I just want to say that recovery takes practice. We can even relapse into our old behaviors when certain triggers prompt us no matter how many years it has been we too can have slips.
One of the reasons I keep coming to the forum, is to always remain fresh, to always have those reminders from others posters on what it was like and what I needed to change in myself to not get sucked up into another person's addiction.
We can remove ourself from the alcoholic--- have physical distance between us and then one phone call can start the triggers up all over again.
What helps me is to "stop" first and evaluate the situation before reacting. Think before I speak. Will what I say fuel the fire? Is a response even required of me? Is the person actively drinking and speaking out of anger?
Sometimes no response is the best response. It's hard, it's difficult, but under certain circumstances it falls under the "letting go" category. Keep talking everyone, it helps others so much to hear what you are going through and how you are going through it.
No response is the best response when dealing with an active alcoholic. There is no reasoning with them. I have gotten to the point where i feel sorry for them, not in the way like oh poor you but in a way where i remember the insanity of my life when i was drinking and i found my way out, they could too but they dont.
It's nice to have choices now and to know when to apply those choices. Congrats on getting you back and making good choices for you~~sara
I pray for the alcoholic indeed. It's my way of feeling like I am helping them without hindering them. And truth be known taking away the alcohol is not always the cure-all for their behaviors. Sometimes they get worse in their patterns and yes to be able and make choices whether or not you want to participate is the key.
That's where our own strength has to come in. We have to be strong and choose not to interfere even though we might be used to doing so.
I would agree with you, but I also think some kind of support is needed from friends and family. But no one has to do that. And if addict shows he "can`t"(because it`s possible) stop, it`s a waste of time to help him...
We all have a right to make our own choices, and if we want to walk away sometimes, we can and that`s not wrong. I think the point of life is to be who you are and be accepted by persons who you spend time with. Everything, what`s not fully accepted, is just fake... I see it that simple.
When the addict is a loved one and especially a relative... I was getting attached to the "label" and not the person if that makes sense. But I have to break it down into simplicity always. If someone...anyone--- does not have my best interest at heart and continuously takes actions to harm me or be against me, then no matter who they are to me, I have to make the conscious decision to let go.
If I want to help them, I can pray for them, but that's the only thing I can do. And I want to say this isn't something you come up with after 6 months etc. because you do have to give the alcoholic or addict and opportunity to change. However, if after they have sobriety the unhealthy behaviors still continue than yes you have to make the choice to to create a healthy environment for yourself, regardless of who they were to you as a "label."
I agree about the label part. If you can`t accept someone`s behavior, it`s necessary to leave that "someone" to find your own freedom and happiness.
But I don`t agree the person hurts you. He hurt himself and you are in pain because you care and can`t watch him that way. (I don`t include stealing money in this part, or something similar. that`s a direct damage). But that`s just my opinion. You have a right to have your own.
And I agree with the 2nd part of your post completely...
I know for me personally it's a pattern in the family to rationalize someone's behavior, letting them get away with the crime so to speak by saying "well you know how they are"
Some people are the way they are because others allow them to continue to the same pattern over and over instead of setting that boundary that let's them know that this is not acceptable behavior. And yes they do hurt themselves in the process but usually also hurting other bystanders as well.
I disagree with boundaries. Where is the freedom then?
By my opinion, every person should build their life as she wants. Who can accept it, should be with that person, and reverse. I strongly believe no one has a right to force other person to change himself. He can suggest, but not expect from someone to do what he don`t want to.
We have a right to leave if someone is not good company for us. Then we are lords of our own body.
Quote: "What makes other`s thoughts and feelings any more valid than your own?"
As much as behavior of alcoholics hurts you, your leaving hurts him. And you put yourself at the top of your list, as much as that person put his needs there... We all have the same rights. We can decide what we want to do with ourselves...
I believe we are who we are and have a right do do whatever we want to no matter how stupid, self-destructive, or retard it is. We can do anything (as long as we don`t harm anyone else directly).
I do believe alcoholics or ppl, who killed themselves, r selfish. But we have a right to be selfish.
Maybe i`m too much liberal... I know many of you here don`t agree with this way of seeing the world...
P.S. Hope I didn`t offend you somehow. That wasn`t my intention... That`s just my way of viewing things.
no offense at all taken-- when I say boundary too I mean personal boundaries, this can either be boundaries you set for yourself or boundaries you set with other people.
I started honestly sticking to my boundaries even more so when I had children. It was like a light bulb went off in me. Before I might compromise myself in certain ways and now that I have a family I am sticking to them. Definitely a funny lesson for myself.
And yes alcoholics/addicts are people... they do have feelings... and they do suffer. There is no doubt about this at all. However like you said we have to stick up for ourselves and make whatever decision is right for us or healthy for us to improve our own quality of life.
You said it ---- "It's not easy dealing with this at all." So it helps when you don't have to deal with it alone. Even when you hear about other people's experiences with alcoholism or drug addiction, not everything always applies to your direct personal situation, but it helps give us a perspective. Always like the slogan "take what you like and leave the rest".... how true that is.
It IS very hard to deal with an alcoholic, actually it is impossible. We are very selfish people when we are actively using. That is why it is so important to make you the No1 priority and do whatever it takes to get better. It doesnt mean you dont love the addict, it just means you love yourself more.
dominosarah you said "It doesnt mean you dont love the addict, it just means you love yourself more."---- very good point and what is the most challenging in a codependent relationship is the codependent initially lacks that self love and the love of the addict/or alcoholic is greater than the love of self. It's a mixed up balance that leads us to the initial need for the relationship in the first place.
That's why it is so helpful when we are able to "reconstruct" ourselves with a support system in place. For some that means Al-anon, counseling, or maybe just another outside source that helps us evaluate our own reality truthfully. Awareness if the first step of our own recovery.
I think what is difficult for family members is that we are usually the "sober" ones so we have no way of "blocking" out the trauma. Where as in both cases with my alcoholics, they thought a smile and a sorry would help me move on because they couldn't even remember what they did in the first place. It wasn't a reality for them like it was for me.
And yes this causes other issues along the way in the relationship especially with trust issues. For me personally I never was really into drinking at all, I have more fun sober and being present. But when I was in an alcoholic relationship years ago I did find that I would try to drink with my alcoholic just to cope with them drinking. The difference with my behavior and theirs was that I had a shut-off valve.
I thought I would mention this because I do see this a lot, where the partner tries to be a drinking buddy to the alcoholic. If you are an addict/alcoholic than you both participate equally. But there are also partners that try to adjust their own behaviors and alter their own boundaries that are simply not a natural state for them in the first place.
When you rediscover yourself and re-establish that love for self, you have a strong foundation that to stand on. It really does make a huge difference in how you behave and react in the relationship.
I have been in my alcoholic relationship for 8 years now. Recently I have started working on ME by doing what I want to do. I feel if he can spend $60/week plus then I should be able to do the same but we are on a budget so I get creamed for it b/c I don't MAKE the money... So it doesn't matter that my kids need something, but he always finds money for what he wants!!! I'm just sick of being treated like crap and then getting an "I'm sorry" the next day and expecting everything to be fine. After 8 years and 2 kids I'm just sick of it. Even our 16 y/o (from his first marriage) doesn't know how I deal with it!! She's only here b/c her mother is a serial wife/user and daddy promised her a car this summer....
Please someone tell me what to do about this mess I've made for myself by staying...
I have seen women stay until their children hit 18 and split, but for me life is far too short to put your life on hold for someone else.
I put up with the situation for 5 years and that was enough. It physically just took a toll on me. My body was even throwing in the red flag. And you can't sit there and try to "medicate" yourself to just tolerate someone.
I remember getting .50 cent washcloths and getting yelled at for it, even though I worked as well. So yes I know exactly what you mean. Keep talking!
I just cut my husband off at the knees after a three-day binge that culminated in me driving 90 miles for 90 minutes to pick up his sorry drunk arse. No more money; no more marriage; no more life; no more pretending to have a life; no more lies; no more hiding from him; game over. Rehab intake on Wednesday morning. I believe the word I'm looking for is "liberating."
Wow!!! Good for you indeed. It does feel liberating when you grab the bull by the horns. I'm so proud of you, most people would not have the strength to take so many steps at once. Keep us posted on the progress we are here for you!
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