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for families of alcoholics

copyright 1999 by Toby Rice Drews, author of 'Getting Them Sober'

Always have plan-B. Alternative plans help make you much less vulnerable to the whims of the drinking alcoholic. It can be as simple as having a phone number of a friend who lives near the vacation spot you are visiting; a friend who will let you drop in in the middle of the night, if necessary, to get away from the junk.

If not a friend's house, try to think of a 'safe place' (another motel?) to go to. This 'safe place' does not just apply to physical violence, but for the chronic emotional battering that often goes on...a place to get your breath and rest for awhile from it all.

In that same vein, have 'mad money' available.

Take phone numbers along; persons to call to keep your sanity. Keep the numbers safe from prying eyes.

See if there are Al-Anon meetings (for families and friends of alcoholics) at or nearby the vacation area.

Ask yourself "is this travel/vacation with this person really necessary/good for me, to go along? Can I go somewhere myself or with a friend or a family member that I feel good with? Can I do this safely? Is this good for me, emotionally, at this time? What about my children?"

Try to see the drinking alcoholic as not-as-powerful as you've been seeing him/her. THIS PERSON IS JUST A PERSON. And a pretty vulnerable one, too; NO MATTER HOW THEY PRESENT AS POWERFUL, THEY ARE NOT. Try to at least partially make up your mind about what to do for yourself and your children based on those thoughts.

Ask yourself, can you bring along a third party? A buffer? Will your alcoholic act nicer when a person is along who both of you like, and that the alcoholic wants to impress with how nice he or she is? Will that make your time on vacation more fun?

Can you plan to make the time away shorter? More frequent and yet shorter trips? Will this make you feel less vulnerable, knowing you'll be back home sooner?

Just mulling these things over can trigger more ideas. Thinking like this, your mind is open to options. And therefore, the alcoholic will sense (they have radar!) that you are less vulnerable, which, in turn, often makes a drinking alcoholic much less attacking, because when they sense your power over yourself, they know their junk is landing on less land than ever before.

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The information provided herein is not intended to be considered counseling or other professional advice. Please see a health professional about your particular situation.