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"DETACH FROM HOW THE ALCOHOLIC BEHAVES"
by Toby Rice Drews
by Toby Rice Drews
IT'S SO HARD FOR US FAMILY MEMBERS TO EMOTIONALLY ''DETACH'' FROM HOW THE ALCOHOLIC BEHAVES. PART OF THE REASON IS THAT WE GET SCARED THAT IT WILL COME OFF AS IF WE DON'T CARE ABOUT HIM ANYMORE.
WE UNDERSTANDABLY OFTEN WANT TO KEEP THE RELATIONSHIP.... AND WE'RE SCARED THAT IF WE ACT MORE ''DISTANT'' FROM HIM WHEN HE ACTS OUT, HE'LL LEAVE US.
Toby Drews, author of "Getting Them Sober", says, "Many times, when I've been called to consult with sober-in-A.A. alcoholics, I am told by the recovering alcoholic, that part of the reason that they got so scared that they ran to treatment--------- was that their partner didn't seem to care anymore. AND I was told that they TOTALLY understood why no one would want to care about them anymore------- they KNEW they acted so horribly.
This does NOT mean that when/if one gets to the point of 'not caring anymore', that the alcoholic will -------or won't -----run to treatment.
And this does NOT mean that other things might make him want to run to treatment, too.
Hopefully, reading this will help take away any irrational guilt for when many of us get to that point of really just not caring anymore about what they say -- IN OTHER WORDS, REALIZING THAT WE DON'T NEED TO PAY SO MUCH ATTENTION TO WHAT THEY SAY ABOUT THIS OR THAT BECAUSE WHAT THEY SAY COMES FROM A TOXIC BRAIN.
We get to that point of paying less attention to what they say//not say-------- .....not because of anger (which does not last.....but is TOTALLY understandable, and often we are driven to it)........but because of realizing, down deep, that they will just get worse without sobriety....... and that our lecturing and talking about it and promises on his part--------mean nothing if he doesn't actually GET SOBER.
WE NEED TO START TO PAY ATTENTION TO WHAT THEY DO------------NOT TO WHAT THEY SAY.
1.)) About our anger ------ it almost does not matter whether ---------or not --------we're angry with them, in terms of whether or not it has 'an effect' on whether or not they will get/stay sober and clean.
We often need to vent/process the anger FOR OURSELVES so that we are not out of touch with OUR needs.
**** Again, what we SAY has almost no effect on his behavior........it's what we DO that they 'hear'.
THE CLOSER WE GET TO "WHAT'S GOOD FOR THE FAMILY IS GOOD FOR THE ALCOHOLIC" IS THE HEART OF THE FAMILY RECOVERY. And often, when we even think about that, we are at first, relieved.......but when we start to act on it, then what kicks in is the irrational guilt for doing what's good for US......ESPECIALLY when we're (for now) past the anger stage, once again.
* * * WHEN OUR ANGER STARTS TO DIE DOWN--------WATCH OUT FOR THAT IRRATIONAL GUILT THAT OFTEN IS ACCOMPANIED BY 'THAT POOR GUY' FEELING. THAT FEELING DOES NOT -----NOT-------- NOT-------- NOT HELP HIM. HE USUALLY INTERPRETS IT AS "AHA!!! SHE'S HOOKED INTO ME AGAIN! I DON'T HAVE TO DO ANYTHING TO CHANGE!" (He often does not even consciously know he feels this way.......his DISEASE KNOWS IT THOUGH! AND LOVES IT!)
2.) It sounds so awful to 'not feel compassion' for him (that's what it feels like). But when get 'get to that point' (which we often think we will never get to)------ we don't just have a BALANCED view of the situation....... we go all the way from rage -------to 'that poor guy' ---------and UNCONSCIOUSLY then go right to ''irrational guilt for being so angry with that poor guy that we've been so angry with''.
********* THAT'S THE KICKER FOR US........... going to irrational guilt because we EMOTIONALLY FORGET THE FACTS OR MINIMIZE THEM TERRIBLY....... and get right back into the junk..........and then he 'does it again'......and then we get angry again, of course.......and back and forth and back and forth and back and forth etc etc etc etc etc.
3.) What to do? TRY TO MAINTAIN SOME KIND OF BALANCE when we 'start to feel sorry for them'.
TRY TO DO WHAT HEALTHY PEOPLE DO------------when they've been burnt more than once, by someone.
WHAT'S THAT? THEY GIVE THE PERSON WHO'S HURT THEM------- AN EMOTIONAL WIDE BERTH.
THEY MAY FEEL SORRY FOR THEM THAT THEY ARE SO SICK.
BUT THEY GET AS EMOTIONALLY NEAR TO THEM AS THEY DO TO AN ANGRY PORCUPINE.
They pray for them..because they KNOW that they have human limitations. They keep a healthy emotional distance------to not get sick from that person. And they turn around and spend their energy and time, doing what is good for THEM. Just like their God wants them to do.
****** This is NOT saying one should leave OR that one should stay in the relationship....... but getting an EMOTIONAL distance from the junk is imperative for our peace of mind whether we stay or leave. (Because we often get just as emotionally involved when we leave when we don't get family recovery help, although we don't think that will happen to us.)
4.)) And for all of us, it's different........some of us need to leave in order to get any peace of mind from the insanity.......others of us can stay and be able find ways to focus on OUR peace of mind.
******* It's all SO individual whether we decide to leave or stay......... depends on so many things----- how awful he is...... the trade-off of whether there's enough good in the situation for us, at any given time (and because of the progression of the disease-----that keeps changing).
c.) WE OFTEN KNOW THAT WHEN WE PRACTICE "WHAT'S GOOD FOR THE FAMILY IS ALSO GOOD FOR THE ALCOHOLIC" THAT IT IS GOOD FOR US-----BUT WE ALSO NEED TO REMEMBER, WHEN THE IRRATIONAL GUILT KICKS IN, THE PART THAT SAYS, ".......IS ALSO GOOD FOR THE ALCOHOLIC".
IT OFTEN FEELS 'WEIRD' TO KEEP GIVING THE PERSON WITH THE DISEASE OF ALCOHOLISM A WIDE BERTH, WHEN WE ARE NOT ANGRY----------BECAUSE WE ARE SO USED TO WRINGING OURSELVES INSIDE-OUT FOR THEM-------
BUT WE NEED TO REMEMBER, WHEN THE ANGER HAS DIED DOWN------- THAT IT DOES HIM NO GOOD WHEN WE ADJUST ONCE AGAIN, TO THE NEEDS OF HIS ALCOHOLISM/ADDICTION.
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