Saturday, December 3, 2011

They ALL know how to 'push our buttons'

1. OUR problem is that we so very easily go into shame about how they hurt us ---- when we cannot stop reacting to them.

We often feel shame (even if we are not aware that is what we are is often unconscious) when we 'react' to being hurt.

This kind of shame is a result of our perfectionism.

Our feeling that we are not "doing the program of recovery" well enough or good enough.

It happens when we compare our progress in recovery to others' progress.

2. It also happens when others in recovery kind of imply to us that "we are reacting still, aren't we?!" It's a subtle put-down... a sideways snipe------ and we often feel awful inside, when we hear that from others.

It is a way for others who do that, to make themselves feel temporarily puffed-up about how "much better they are doing than we are"........ at our expense.

They are usually not wanting to actually hurt us-----they are 'just' using us for the moment to feel 'better' about themselves.
They do not usually realize that they are even doing it.
Persons who do that, are usually doing it on a rather regular basis.

When, instead, we receive compassion for our hurting so much, when we are unable to 'be' at a different place in our recovery-------THAT helps us so much to get out of that stuck-place so much easier.

3. And about that perfectionism...... it's one of the family's most difficult issues to remember to think about.

But it happens so frequently that it is usually a knee-jerk reaction for most of us.

It's about the perfectionism that we have towards OURSELVES.

When we are comparing our progress in recovery with others-----we forget to remember that our circumstances are often so difficult------and our histories can be so awful-----that it is so irrelevant to compare ourselves to others.

For instance......... if "Cindy" (not real names) cannot detach from his mouth as easily as "Judy"....... Cindy often goes into shame about it...... but she often forgets that her father did the same junk to her as a little child......and that she is still probably hurting from those years of belittling and abuse. Judy might have had decent parents......and has, then, a history of self-esteem.
For Cindy, it is miles harder.

4. For those of us who have perfectionism in a huge way-------- when we've spilled our guts about our vulnerabilities, we often follow it up with wanting to feel better-than-better to 'make up for it'.
This is usually not a conscious process.

When this happens, is when the put-downs of others often follows, to temporarily feel better.

But, it doesn't really work....... the process is like a bottomless pit. For, when this is going on, it does not fill the void at all.
Other means of feeling better about oneself need to be exchanged for that old behavior.
It takes a lot of self-honesty to see that pattern in oneself.

From Toby Drews, the author of the million-selling "Getting Them Sober'' books, endorsed by 'dear Abby', Dr. Norman Vincent Peale, and Melody Beattie:
phone 410-243-8352

More Topics:

Monday, November 28, 2011

Irrational guilt when he's being nice, but still drinking.

Alcoholics usually go through MANY times when they want to be nice......and the acting-out // unavailable behavior just is not there.

And that's when we often start to feel like "why am I such a b*tch...thinking badly of him....thinking he's going to do 'it' again.... and he's been so nice!"

We're forgetting about the progression of the disease, when we think like this.

Even with the BEST of intentions-------- the next drink makes the disease of alcoholism progress forward.

And with that progression, brings more brain damage, more broken promises (that he really DID mean to keep).

That's what A.A. means when it says, "POWERLESS over alcoholism".

OF COURSE you don't feel trusting!
You want to trust the MAN------ but it would be silly to trust his DISEASE.

And the disease is what propels his behavior, his feelings, his abilities, his motivation.

As the disease progresses forward, one can usually expect what a friend described so well---------- "Last year, he was nice 5 days a week and nasty for 2 days a week. This year, it has reversed. He's nice 2 days a week, on average.......and nasty 5 days a week, on average. Nothing in his life has changed------except for the fact that he's been drinking for yet another year."

From Toby Drews, the author of the million-selling "Getting Them Sober'' books, endorsed by 'dear Abby', Dr. Norman Vincent Peale, and Melody Beattie:
phone 410-243-8352

More Topics:

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Does Al-Anon say to tell them what they did?

Al-Anon says, "Tell him about his alcoholism one time and don't keep talking to him about it."

a.) If you get a chance to do an intervention that would work------- you have a much higher chance of it working out, if you haven't told him over and over, about what he's doing and what he should be doing and what he has not yet done that he should have done because he's promised, etc.

When you have talked over and over about his drinking---- the intervention often then seems like just another time of lecturing him.

b.) Some alcoholics do listen to what you say-------- and then get help. MOST DO NOT.

Most alcoholics do not listen to what you say------only to what you do.
No matter how much they say they listen to you.

c.) Alcoholics love it when you tell them how to be-------what they should be doing, etc.

I've told the story that Isabel did, on this bulletin board, a year or more ago. It bears repeating.

(Isabel was the co-founder of Al-Anon in Baltimore over 55 years ago.)

She had a neighbor who always 'wagged' her finger at Isabel------even repeatedly told her, "If I had your husband, I'D be able to straighten him out!"

Well, one holiday weekend, Isabel took her up on her offer!

She told her she could 'have' her husband for the weekend. She said there was one thing that must be adhered to-------- The woman could not return him until Monday evening.

The woman readily agreed.

Isabel packed the children's clothes and prepared them to go with her to the beach. She brought her alcoholic husband to her next-door neighbor's house, to be in the custody of the woman and her husband til the following Mon. evening.

Well, the woman sat up and told Isabel's husband all about alcoholism and what it was doing to his brain and his body and his family and his soul......etc etc.

Isabel's husband was very very attentive.

He listened 'seriously' and nodded and told her how much he was learning from her.......and how much some of the information surprised him ....... and how grateful he was.........and how close he felt to her and her husband, now!

The woman glowed with success.

She went to bed. (They had had their talk in the finished basement.)

The next morning, she went to the basement, and saw that he had drank up the entire bar that he found in a cupboard in that finished basement.

She called Isabel, frantic, "take him back!"

Isabel said, "oh no. Our agreement was that he stay there til Monday night."

That was the end of the neighbor's putting Isabel down for not telling her husband in just the right way.
Yes, most alcoholics love it when you talk to them, repeatedly, about their drinking.
They see it as a safety valve for you....... 'go ahead and talk......get it out of your system."

Now, it often is effective if you've been a person who has pretty constantly told the alcoholic off when you "change tactics say it only once" and don't talk about it anymore------- he often then gets scared.

"How come she's not talking about it anymore?!"

It's because you've given the disease back to him.

He then knows he has it all by himself.
The cheese stands alone.

Many an alcoholic has run to A.A. because he got scared because his wife no longer paid any attention to his drinking.

He SAW her detachment-------- her Al-Anon detachment that gave his disease back to him.........And that gave her peace.

d.) Now, there are alcoholics who do respond to your talking to them about how they really are and what they have really done.

But if you've already done it repeatedly, it's what I just wrote------- it's usually counter-productive.

But if your alcoholic has never heard you say what is really going on...... it can be very effective to say it once........ and not again..........until and unless you are prepared to DO something about it if he does not get help.
THAT is an intervention.

e.) What is another kind of intervention? When we let the crises happen (there is a chapter in "Getting Them Sober, volume one" called "let the crises happen) ------- when we let them happen........when we don't clear up the messes.........OFTEN, that is MUCH MUCH louder than ANYTHING you can say to him.

Example......... if he comes home and passes out on the floor------- providing it is not life-threatening -------- it is usually best to let him lie there.

If you pick him up and put him on the sofa......or put an afghan over him------- he'll wake up and think, 'oh, I have no problem'.

But if he wakes up and sees he is lying in his own mess-in-his-pants......... he KNOWS he has a problem.

And if you don't talk about it--------- THAT is loud!........louder than words.

Yes, some alcoholics do get help when you talk with them about alcoholism and what it is doing to them and what they have done that they do not remember-------but MOST do not respond well if you do it more than once.

If it worked to lecture them (and that IS what it is called when you repeatedly tell them what they did and what they should have done and what they do not remember and etc etc) --------- THEN 99% OF ALCOHOLICS WOULD BE SOBER.......because we almost all lectured them all night, night after night after night.

WE lost sleep and had to work the next day.
THEY don't remember most of what we said........and if they do remember our 'talks'------they get upset and just drink again and blot it out.

Some do remember what we say--------- but the longer they drink alcoholically, the sicker they get, and the worse their memory is.

They're often lucky if they remember what year it is.
Often, too, when we 'speak' less about what their problem is----- we usually appear to them as less vulnerable.

When we chronically tell them what is wrong and how it is affecting us----- they somehow often interpret that as they have us 'in their clutches'......i.e., that they have power over us.

The opposite often happens, then........ if we stop the constant telling them they are hurting us------ they often start to get worried that they have LOST that power over us.

They can escalate-------but WE usually get to a point, then, where we realize that we "have seen it all".......... NOT that it doesn't hurt when they 'do it again'.........but they somehow lose the power to totally devastate us anymore.

Not that we don't reel when he does something particularly awful......... but when we are in family recovery, OUR ability to get centered again to what WE need--------- is much quicker ------- and their ability to devastate gets lessened.

Of course, this does not mean we need to stay with them......... this is just what happens when they throw zingers and we are involved with them....and how family recovery does heal us.

Of course, too, even when separated, they throw zingers. (For more on this, you can read the chapters from the "Getting Them Sober, volume 4"
book in the section on this website called "DOZENS of GTS book chapters". (That book is all about the hidden issues when we are separated............. good to know even if you decide to stay with him...... it helps prepare you if you ever do decide to leave).

From Toby Drews, the author of the million-selling "Getting Them Sober'' books, endorsed by 'dear Abby', Dr. Norman Vincent Peale, and Melody Beattie:
phone 410-243-8352

More Topics:

Friday, October 28, 2011

Divorce settlement--when $//pension//etc. is involved

Sometimes, when there is a divorce from an alcoholic, there are lump-sum settlements options......or one can get the money monthly or in years to come (as in shared pension).

Sometimes, it is an excellent idea to agree to accepting a lump-sum settlement ------- even if the total amount of money is less than what would be if one got it in payments over years.

Alcoholic men die, on an average, around 13 years earlier than other men.

Alcoholic men OFTEN lose their ability to make money, as they progress into late-stage alcoholism.

The brain damage does that.

This is not advice for anyone-------just options to consider in order to protect yourself and your children.

AND------- if there is ever a reconciliation later between the two of you ------- it would be very good to still have half of that money left.

I've heard literally thousands of cases told me ----- where he lost it all----- on booze/women/jewelry and trips to fancy places with women........etc etc.

If you get the half of the money---------while there still IS money left------and while he still can make a living-------- it might be a really good idea to consider.

From Toby Drews, the author of the million-selling "Getting Them Sober'' books, endorsed by 'dear Abby', Dr. Norman Vincent Peale, and Melody Beattie:
phone 410-243-8352

More Topics: