Wednesday, August 31, 2011

We pretend our issues are our virtues

Was reading what some one wrote today "it's hard to trust an alcoholic, if not impossible".


One of the ways we get pulled into trusting them, is that we (especially women) like that self-image of "the sweet, trusting girl".

It's not just that the world likes women better who are never angry.... are 'sweet little girls'.

It's that we've internalized it------- and it's so deep in our psyches, that 'femininity' is tied up with an almost-naive kind of trusting of others.

Back in the '60's, when I was a young woman, the image we often tried to give forth about how we were---- was a long-haired, long-skirted, bread-making, always-smiling, soft-talking, "wow" saying, woman------ who looked up to her garrison-belted, bearded, van-driving guy.

Earth mother, trust-everyone, chew your food 35 times per macrobiotic bite Child of the Sixties.

I suspect that the 'gentle trusting of everyone woman" persona is deeply imbedded in most women's idea of how we want to be perceived.

I think we often find it difficult to 'marry' this persona ----with having to have a chronic distrust of a partner who is not trustable.
Hard for women to 'put this all together' in one woman-person.

So-------to stop 'fighting upstream'------ to feel more like we've been trained to feel and to get the feedback from others that we are, indeed, nice people, not 'shrews' ----- we tell ourselves, that 'all-trusting-ness' is a virtue.

That it makes us Good Women.

And that it makes us desirable.

When it's really an issue of minimizing and denial.

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

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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

People drinking more--AND more often--in last 10 years

Thanks to an email from Griff (who does a lot of web research on alcoholism and regularly emails me the studies ------ for which I am very grateful)..... I learned that the latest studies show a huge increase in both the amount AND the frequency of alcoholic drinking, in the last 10 years.

Not surprising, but good for us to know that it is going on.

Why? When the alcoholic says that you see alcoholism everywhere ----- and that you are paranoid for thinking that............. it helps to know this information.

When we have facts, we do not get nearly 'as thrown' by their crazymaking put-downs of our perception of reality.

Amazing isn't it ------- THEY have the toxic brains that see things skewed--------and they call US crazy ......... love, Toby

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

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Monday, August 22, 2011

"Why do I keep wanting to be in touch w/him?"

a. If one chooses to separate from an alcoholic, the statistics show that almost all partners of alcoholics/addicts, need the 'space' to go back and forth an average of 8 times before final and complete separation.

Now, OF COURSE that varies!

Some of us have such awful persons, that we can separate in one session.

Some of us have had lots of alcoholic relationships, and 'this one' is easier to leave, than were others.

Some of us have had no abuse done to us------ever------. Those persons' childhoods were truly wonderful. Those persons often leave and do not return, on the first try.

b. When we leave, most of us do not think we will ever go back. It feels usually shocking to us, when we do. And others shame us for doing so (unintentionally, usually). And we feel great shame for it....often leading us to lie about it.......or just leave things out of what we tell them. All of this is so normal. If we realized how many millions of people are going through this, daily, just in the U.S.--------- we'd be able to drop a lot of that shame.

Shaming ourselves for going back is such a waste of time.

When we do go back-------it's just part of the process.

c. Look at a stockbroker's chart---------- looking at it from afar, all we see is the forward growth (when it is a stock that performs well for us). But looking close-up, there are lots of little back-and-forths.


The "backwards" lines ------- akin to when we go back and leave and go back and leave, etc, until we don't have to do that anymore------ are just 'blips'.

"Blips" everyone in life.

Life is not a straight line.

d. Why do we need to 'touch base'-------- go back, in a way? Because the pain diminishes over time.

e. Sometimes, we get hooked into 'helping them'... and sometimes, when there is a terrible history, the only thing they can hook us with, is when they are in truly life-threatening situations. So, we try to help, and then try to dis-engage......and find ourselves unable to, again.
What can help us not be the rescuers? Often, we can contact government agencies (like protective services for adults) that can take over that role, so we can finally step away entirely without that terrible tug to help someone who is in a life-threatening situation.

f. Why else do we get back involved, even if we don't go back to living with them?

We 'remember' the 'stuff' less and less, over time. We give more credence to the 'good' stuff......and less to the junk.

It's a form of minimizing......denial.

And it is totally normal.

That's why in the "Getting Them Sober, volume one" book, there's an entire about "remember the facts". And in the "GTS, volume 4" book----a chapter called "I dropped the divorce proceedings 6 times".

Why two chapters on this? Because our natural instinct is to minimize......... to find the good....... to minimize....... to be willing to go through hell and back for someone we love......... to minimize........ to give them the shirt off our backs------and still buy them 3 suits on top of it... and to minimize.

Yes, it is totally weird to have to curb our natural, good instincts to love and trust people, when dealing with an alcoholic.
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

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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

"what's WRONG with me-----that I didn't see it before?!

a. spending time, beating oneself up, for not 'seeing what he's really doing' ----- is USELESS, WASTED TIME

b. We didn't 'see it' because WE'VE BEEN TRAINED to deny. We've been put in a NO-WIN.

If we saw it and named it------we were told we are crazy.
If we didn't see it------we are told we are sticking our heads in the sand.

IT'S A NO-WIN that most of us have been subjected to since birth-------for, most people who get involved with alcoholics, are born into families where a parent is either alcoholic/addicted or an abuser.



c. Knowing that ------- leads to the next step-------

What IS effective?

Start to REALLY believe that you have been trained to MINIMIZE what is really going on. THEN-------- do your best to not minimize. Stay in family recovery.

d. What is "recovery for the family"------how does it work?

A combination of being VERY self-honest about the situation ---- PLUS staying in recovery ------ THAT combination will ease you along------ like being on a treadmill------- to healing.

"Keep coming back to recovery------and staying honest------ and you'll get better, despite yourself".

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

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Saturday, August 13, 2011

He can be replaced---by tomcat or large crow!

a.) Years ago, I had my cellar repaired, and had to be out of the house for weeks.
I stayed with a good friend, and had to leave the windows of my house open during those times.
Well, when I moved back in, guess who had moved in?
A HUGE tomcat and several small my bed.

Well, took one look at them------and said, "OUT!"
They came scurrying down the stairs (I was at the bottom of the stairs and looking at them like a stern schoolmistress) and ran out the door------- ALL EXCEPT the tomcat.

HE came down the steps SLOWLY.
And Stared at me, as he took one step at a time.
Glaring at me with arrogance!
I just looked at him and said "this was your last party in this house".

He stopped at the bottom of the steps and tried to outstare me.
I just pointed at the door and repeated "out!"
He slowly threw his chest out------- swung back and forth on his 4 legs---- and walked out still glaring at me.

Well, I tell you------ had to laugh!
Who do you think he reminded me of?
Mr. Arrogant......Mr. I'll Do It My way...... Mr. I want what I want when I want it....... Mr. I don't care if it is your house------ I squat here-----I stay here.

b.) Another time, was taking a car ride in the city, and saw a huge crow, just walking slowly, and getting down off a curb into the street, to cross the street.
Ever watch a huge crow getting down off a curb?
SAME body language as the tomcat!
Pure Arrogance!
Chest puffed-out big-------- head thrown back----- one leg at a time, taking its time, swinging its leg out (believe it or not, crows can even walk arrogantly!!)

c.) SO----- folks, if you're ever on the verge of "leaving him"-----and you fear you just might miss him a little bit------you might consider getting a huge crow or a tomcat!
You'll get to see the arrogance a lot each day--------but you won't get the mouth to go with it.
You'll just have an adorable kitty kat or crow-hunny-bunny to love.
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

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Thursday, August 11, 2011


FOR C.E.U.'s for MENTAL-HEALTH PROFESSIONALS------- If you are a health or mental-health professional--- and need CEU's (continuing education units)--- please go to the website.

There are 4 CEU-courses there for health and mental-health professionals, based entirely on material from 4 of the 'Getting Them Sober' series of books by Toby Rice Drews.

The 4 courses are........

Separation and Divorce from an Alcoholic
Recovery Barriers for Adult Children of Alcoholics
Alcohol Problems in Family Relationships
Counseling Non-Addicted Partner of an Alcoholic

All the courses are nationally-accredited by NAADAC (National Association of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselors), by the NBCC (National Board for Certified Counselors), and by many Statewide accreditation agencies.

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

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Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Do we have 'the right" to say someone is alcoholic?

Here is a small excerpt from the chapter on 'intervention' in the "Getting Them Sober, volume 4" book-----------

"Families sometimes ask if they have the right to say a family member is alcoholic. They ask this after they hear someone in a family recovery program say that "no one has the right to 'call someone' an alcoholic". 

Probably someone said that in a meeting years ago-----and someone else took it for gospel because they 'heard it in a meeting'.

But what does it mean? It means that if you say no one has the 'right' to 'call you' an alcoholic------- then, in your gut, you feel itis a "name-calling".

Alcoholism is a disease or it is not. There may be a stigma about it, but we just contribute to the stigma by saying we can't 'call someone' an alcoholic.

How come I can 'call someone' a diabetic?

You know, it's amazing------------- we can plan to leave a marriage for the effects of a spouse's alcoholism on us--------but then we hear that we can't say that we're planning to leave for the reason that we're planning to leave??!!

What do we say?---------- "I can't name what you have, but I'm leaving you for it??!!"

Deep in our guts, it's very hard to believe it's a disease....... but if we don't break the shame--------the silence------- we continue the stigma.
(And that means if our kids get the disease------- they have the stigma on THEM, too).

Now, it's true that in the final analysis-------the only diagnosis that will KEEP a person in treatment and/or A.A. is self-diagnosis. But hearing from others that one HAS the disease, can sure help crack through one's own initial denial!  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

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Monday, August 8, 2011

"Just reduce drinking" ('new intervention' program)

There are now "intervention" programs out there, being touted as the "new way to intervene with your spouse who has a drinking problem"... These 'intervention' programs espouse a few things that certainly are not new!

a. They tell the spouse that she must learn to find ways to help him relax so he will not want to drink when he gets home at night! (please stop your laughter!)

b. They tell the spouse that she must adjust her concept of what is "sobriety" to INCLUDE the idea that total abstinence is ONLY ONE way to be "sober"!

c. And she must accept the idea that "only the drinker has the right to choose whether or not he wants to learn to cut down on his drinking ----or whether he wants to stop drinking! (oh myy, how interesting!)

d. AND--- these new "intervention" programs say they are much more successful than the "Johnston Institute Model" (the most proven model in the U.S., for decades).

Is it true? OF COURSE they are more successful than the Johnston Institute---because the alcoholic who agrees to complete their program only has to show that DURING THE TIME OF HIS ATTENDANCE THERE he has cut down on his drinking to some degree (AND THAT AMOUNT IS TO BE DETERMINED BY HIM! ANY AMOUNT IS "SUCCESS"!)

These "new programs" also say that they do not agree with "alcoholism is a disease" (as opposed to the American Medical Association saying that it is).

Why, I wonder, do these 'new programs' say this? Could it be because if you know that it is a disease, you learn that one of the KEY medical truism's of this disease is the fact that it is PROGRESSIVE? That means that as long as you drink any amount at all, it keeps the disease progressing----getting worse------- and therefore, "controlled drinking" can, at best, be only a very temporary measure.

No, these new program for 'intervention' are not new--- therapists who do not understand alcoholism and its process, for decades, have tried to teach alcoholics how to drink successfully; i.e., how to "control their drinking". It just doesn't work.

In fact, it contributes to denial and the continuation of alcoholism.

I think it is usually a good idea --- if you are considering calling a treatment center or a professional "intervention program" for your family member -- to ask them ahead of time, "is your policy modelled after the Johnston Institute program where "sobriety" is defined as total abstinence? And is that your goal, rather than "controlled drinking" or "cutting down on drinking"?

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Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Once abused, we can be 'sitting ducks' for non-alc. abusers

If we have a history of having been physically and/or emotionally abused, especially in childhood------ we are often 'sitting ducks' for abusers.

And those abusers can come in 'disguises'.

If we're 'used to' alcoholic abusers--------we can often, when dating again, think 'oh he must be great' because he's not alcoholic.

But if we've been very abused in the past------- especially by multiple or serial abusers------ we can fall prey to charming abusers with personality or character disorders.

Especially those who 'come off' with the 'right words'.

I've had countless counseling clients whose 'next guy' was actually "in the program" of Al-Anon or ACOA (adult children of alcoholics)------- someone who 'came off' so charming and "knew how to be intimate'-------- but who, just like the alcoholic, had that 'fatal flaw'.

What are some of these 'fatal flaws' (i.e., the things that destroy the relationship-------not the 'little things').

a. 'gaslighting' is a biggie ----- that term was coined by the 1940's (or 1930's) movie with Charles Boyer and Ingrid Bergman. It was called "Gaslight" --- it was about a charming, good-looking husband who kept emotionally 'pulling the rug out from under' his wife..and denying he was doing it......making her feel really crazy......then alternating with such sweetness.....that she wound up feeling totally nuts.

Good movie to rent.

b. a "fair weather friend" ...... this is an old term that refers to the 'partner' who is 'there for you" (and always tells you he is there for you!) ....... but, when the junk hits the fan-------he pulls back and is NOT there for you.

Why do we fall for this? We are SO used to "listening to their words and not what they DO".

c. sexual-making-you-crazy ...... this is the guy who 'comes on' to others ....... and is constantly 'predatorily' looking at others.......but who does not actually have sex with others. He often is the kind who strokes all the women's backs when he speaks with them..... or he hugs them all "a bit too long".

He tells you that you "are over-reactive". More crazymaking.

d. The one who does 'xxx' behavior that is soooo nasty......over and over and over...... and says that you are "just over-reacting because of your history".

Funny, isn't it? When you date a guy who does NOT do these things----- you don't seem to 'see' the junk that he said you are "always seeing".

e. We tend to 'stick with' these non-alcoholic abusers longer, when we are still confused about whether we are being abused.

Or we stick with them because we think that "we're too picky". (After all, we've been told that).

Or we stick with them because, underneath, we can't really believe that someone who is not an alcoholic--------and who goes to Al-Anon, for goodness sake------ is awful!

It's like meeting someone in church--------who thinks that someone you meet in church and who's a deacon......can be awful?

f. When we have been so abused, our radar is not, to say the least, honed well.

And we tend to not trust ourselves as much as we think we are doing.

If we've been in Al-Anon, after years of meetings, we often tend to WANT to overlook the abuse we see when it is more subtle.......because we are ashamed that we might have picked "yet another" abuser. We take that shame that HE should be feeling about BEING an abuser-------and take it on ourselves that we 'picked' him.

That's "toxic shame" .....undeserved shame that we take on and don't even know we are doing it.

It's like an abused animal......... we cringe.......we flinch....... But with us, when we do flinch and cringe, we get ashamed that we are doing that.

Our GUTS know when we are being abused again.

We can get ashamed of our gut feelings.
We think, "oh there I go again..... thinking that this guy, too, is awful."

g. How to not pick them?

1. not deny when we see the red flags that do show themselves at the beginning of the relationship..... and if we don't see them, get counseling help to go over the 'little things' ---- get feedback about being real about the things that we tend to overlook........ not MINIMIZING them.

What if one says, "he didn't show any red flags".
That's what people say when they don't see them......... it does not mean that there were none.

Therapists will help one see the red flags....... they are cues that do display themselves.

Does not mean that we don't decide to go ahead with the relationship.

Many times, we decide to go ahead-----even when we do see red flags.

But just as often, we don't really understand the implications of those red flags..... that they can present themselves later, with tremendous hurt to us.

We think that we can handle it.......we think it is a 'trade-off'.


Sometimes even looking back........ it was a good idea, at the time, to get into that relationship because the good outweighed the bad. Of course, we all think that, at the beginning of a relationship. But sometimes, for MANY reasons------ even if we see the junk-------- it IS a good idea to get into that relationship.

NO ONE ------- NO ONE -------- has the right to lay down rules FOR YOU that "this one was a good idea" and "this one over here was a bad idea" (to get into a relationship with).

It's just a good idea to very realistically, without denial and without minimizing, look at one's own patterns and decide what we want to put up with and what we don' that we don't repeat the hurts that WE think are just not worth it........ NOT whether or not SOMEONE ELSE thinks that a particular behavior is "not worth it".

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