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"Drinking Problem, Irrational Guilt "
by Toby Rice Drews
by Toby Rice Drews
When you experience that awful irrational guilt when saying "no" to gift-giving to active alcoholics/addicts or to anyone who mistreats you, here are some ideas to consider -----
a.) it does not have to be an "all or nothing" thing..... if you know, in your heart, in your gut, that it is best for your recovery to not go "to the limit" (either money-wise and/or in time spent looking for the "perfect gift") ---- then, it can just be "less" this year
b.) EXPECT the guilt!......Just knowing that the irrational guilt will kick in-- somehow greatly lessens its impact. Expect it // know it will come.
c.) Know that the irrational guilt IS PART OF THE PROCESS of the family disease of alcoholism "talking to us" ---- that, too, helps to tone its impact way down.
d.) This irrational guilt tries to "guilt-us" back into that vicious cycle of "from pity to punish". (Here's how that works ------ We are angry that they have not gotten sober or clean // we decide to not them get gifts// we feel guilty because "it is Christmas" // we pity them; i.e., we remember that they are alcoholic and then feel sorry for them because they are so sick, so we "make up" for our "bad thoughts towards them" by giving them really lovely things // they are happy for a little bit // then they revert to the behavior of their active disease and are rotten again to us (maybe even while wearing the gifts we gave them!) // we get really angry again because we "rose above it all" and were kind and gave them gifts and they spit on us again // and the roller-coaster continues.
e.) When the irrational guilt hits and tries to make you go "all out" and give so much to people who will like it for awhile and then be awful to you again shortly afterwards ----- just say "hi, guilt! Thought you'd be coming!...... well, you just go sit in the corner where you belong until you are ready to go back to the mole-world where you belong!" And go about your business. Each time it tries to raise its ugly head, talk to it, make it seem quite silly, quite useless, and let it know that YOU KNOW it is part of the disease and CANNOT DISGUISE ITSELF ANYMORE AS A VIRTUE!
f.) Try to allow your program of recovery to continue ITS process even during gift-giving season. After all, the DISEASE PROCESS will continue during Christmas! So, try to allow your recovery program to be there for you, too ---- it's your precious gift to yourself ---- and to your children.
g.) Re-read the "holidays and vacations" section of this website for more ideas.
h.) What's good for the family is good for the alcoholic -- best in recovery to all, Toby
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