Life With Alcoholics- Lesson #3843

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I’ve spent twenty years of my life trying to understand alcoholism. I have gone to Alanon for families who deal with alcoholics. I’ve tried a more spiritual route such as prayer and church. I have read articles, books, and case studies.

I retired in my role as the provoker years ago. And I have exhausted myself as the martyr in recent years. Oh yes the martyrs. They are the ones who hope there is a day of awakening for the alcoholics in their life. Those that they either love or have loved.

The martyr has moments of hoping there will be a day the alcoholic feels bad for the deeds they have done. They just want to see apologies and recovery. Most of all, they want healing.

I have gone head to head with the ones who maintain the roles of being “the rescuer”. Years ago I was considered the rescuer too, so perhaps that is why their rescuing affects me like it does. I’d clean up the messes, apologize for many horrific social scenes of drunken stupor and I’d make excuses for the drunkenness all the time.

Over the course of time I got sick of being the provoker. I was tired of demanding respect, maturity, love and so forth. I got tired of telling stories of the things I would wake up to. I was tired of feeling embarrassed, mistreated, and unloved. So, I went on strike after that.

To me, the rescuers seem just as bad as the alcoholics themselves. They appear to have every excuse under the sun for the behavior of the alcoholic. Nothing is the alcoholics fault. And I mean nothing. Everything is blamed on people in the past or present days of the alcoholics life.

The rescuers claim they love their alcoholic but tough love has gone astray. They can’t find it no matter how hard they look. And they just can’t stand up to the alcoholic in effort to get them the treatment that they need.

Sometimes the alcoholic wants help but they do not have one person whom they respect to look them in the eyes and say: “Man you have a problem and you need serious help. Are you ready to get better yet? Because I can’t keep watching this. It is hurting everyone around you but mostly you!”

Questions of the day for the rescuers:

If your loved one had any other disease like Multiple Sclerosis, Cancer, Heart Disease, Kidney Disease, Liver Disease etc. and everyone around them could tell just by looking at them…..wouldn’t you try to help them?

Or would you make a bunch of excuses and blame others for the loved one not being in their best health? Would you claim other people gave them their disease? Would you say they had no disease regardless of their diagnosis?

Or would you continue to say: “Screw those people, they are all crazy. You’re just fine dear. Now I would help you but I just love you too much. And if I help you then that means I’d have to admit that I was wrong about you to all those people! So we will just keep this between us and go on about our business. Okay?”

Respect

respectThere will always be those people in the world that no matter what we do or how hard we try, we will never have their respect. And that is okay. It is out of our control. We can not force someone to respect us.

Instead, we should only worry about what we can control and that is whether or not we allow others to disrespect us. (We are in charge here! We decide our worth. Hooray!)

No matter who you are, you do not deserve to be disrespected. Period. It does not matter who it is. We never have to agree with someone to be respectful and show compassion. And if we aren’t getting those…… it is up to us to change that. Only we can.

We set the bar for what we are worth. If we aren’t getting the respect and love we deserve then perhaps it is time to change our price-tag. There is no need to mark ourselves down to a close out price. We are worth more than that.

What Happens When We Help Our Kids Too Much?

As parents we all want to see our children become successful adults. And sometimes it is hard not to give them exactly what they want and when they want it. (Especially if it was something we wanted as a kid too.) But it is important that we force them to wait on some things, work for some things, and develop a respect and appreciation for life itself.

“We can not give them everything they want or we are creating huge barriers for them in their adult life” 

There are ten obvious personality traits I have observed in adults who grew up with parents who helped just a little too much. See if any of these apply to anyone you know and reflect on their childhood and upbringing. I assure you that there is a link. 

Entitlement – Pampered children feel entitled to everything they have. They make some of the greatest bigots with their “my way or the highway” attitude. What is yours is theirs and what is theirs, is theirs. You will often hear phrases such as: “I deserve this because____”, “It’s mine”, It’s my (house), and so on. They have a horrible time sharing as both children and adults. They often appear to have a holier than thou attitude.

Emotionally Immature – Pampering your children stunts their emotional growth and makes them needy.  They find it very difficult to be alone. They have major communication barriers and throw their own type of temper tantrum but in an adult format. They have a hard time controlling their emotions and are known for such outbursts. Again, these outbursts were visible long before adulthood.

These personalities have anger, rage, and resentment for anyone or anything who/that prevent them from getting their way. They are known to hit things, throw things, and punch walls, etc. They preach for truth from others and believe in giving others constructive criticism but they absolutely despise those who return the favor. Anything you say negative about/to them is an assault on their character. They feel attacked. And boy do they become defensive!

Codependent – Pampered children never learn to do things fully on their own as an adult. So whether it be their parents or someone else they will spend most of their life depending on others for something. They will stay in toxic relationships in fear of being alone. And they will call their parents for every aspect of their adult life. They have a horrible time making adult decisions on their own, and every bend in the road is a meltdown. They crack easily under pressure.

Socially Awkward – It is as though they do not fit in any particular social circles. The people they do associate with typically only accept them because they are like minded, or because they use to know them when they were kids. They have very few close friends. They make strange statements at inappropriate times and often have no filter. They come across as extremely ungrateful.

Lack of Empathy –  Pampered children try very little to understand people or where they have been in life. They do not feel they have to or need to. They believe you get what you give and had you been a better person, then perhaps it would not have happened to you. At times they appear just plain old heartless. They can not even attempt to understand because they are busy thinking about what you are saying, and how it will affect them. They hear what they want.

Little or No Self Control – Pampered children have a hard time controlling their emotions and their actions as both children and adults. This is terrible news friends! They often become drug and alcohol addicted, they drive recklessly, and they have an attitude of being invincible. Nothing can destroy them… until it does. Again. And again. And again. But they keep doing it anyway because they just can’t control it. And all their parents have ever done is make excuses for their behavior. So they continue on their path of self destruction. The end results, are horrifying.

Verbally Abusive –  Because the pampered child feels bad about themselves deep down inside they will routinely attack others verbally. They feel best about themselves when those around them are at their lowest. It gives them a sense of power and control. To them they are superior. Their words pierce like knives and due to their lack of empathy they have for others they remain unmoved by any pain they have caused you. Things elevate quickly sometimes leading to physical abuse. (It only takes one witty response.)

Relationship Issues – It is hard for pampered children to have successful marriages and long term relationships. There are communication issues, addiction issues, financial issues, and so much more. Nine times out of ten they will need a very submissive partner for the dictatorship they desire. For they are king/queen of the castle.

Lazy Parents – Many who grew up pampered become lazy parents themselves. They depend on their spouse to do the bulk of the housework and child rearing. They rely on their spouse, grandparents, aunts, uncles etc. to get anything involving the kids done for them. And although their laziness rears quite independent children, it has its repercussions too. They appear to have poor relationships and rapport with their children.

Zero Balance – Pampered children never fully grow up and and it seems that they are unable to maintain their balance. One area of their life is consistently lacking and when that area pulls together, the next area falls apart. But they do not worry a bit about not being a balanced person. Why? Because they know that no matter how old they are, mommy and daddy will always come rescue them. “It isn’t their fault”. “Bad things just happen to good people!”…….and so the cycle continues.

So there you have it folks! Those are ten personality traits of an adult who had their parents help them just a little too much as a child. Yes, a child whose loyalty was bought with money in a home where free thinking was condemned. A child who never learned how to truly love who they are. A child who got bigger, taller, and older but still today….. they still just can’t seem to grow up

ABC’s of Life Series — Day 9 Letter I : Instincts Are There To Guide Us

ABC’s of Life

Day 9   Letter I

Our Instincts Are There To Guide Us

Instincts are the bodies’ natural way of helping us avoid harmful situations. These harmful situations could be anything that hurt or destroy our mind, body, or spirit.

Our instincts or intuition can be used to help us lead more fulfilling lives, and help keep us aware of what is going on around us. Instincts are the bodies natural compass to navigate through life and keep ourselves protected.

Some people refer to instincts as that little voice inside of them. Other people may refer to it as “getting vibes”. Some people may call it God’s voice, and some just simply call it listening to their gut.

Whatever one decides to call it, intuition is something that we are all capable of tapping into. It is something we can likely recall from a young age, and a gift that we are all born with.

I believe that our instincts become stronger the more in tune we become with ourselves. I have also noticed that once we decide to live a calm life in pursuit of happiness; intuition appears to become stronger. It  becomes louder, and easier to hear.

As we age we tend to learn from all those times in life where we said : ”Something told me not to go, that could have been me.” Or perhaps we have said something such as “Something told me to wait so a waited, and thank goodness I did.”

Another example we could probably all relate to at a younger age: Have you ever taken a test and then changed your original answer? While reviewing the scored test, did you see that your original answer was correct? That was your natural gut instinct, and the majority of the time it is correct.

There are many situations where intuition has allowed us to question our surroundings. Intuition removes us from bad situations, and often opens the doors for many opportunities. Listening to it can save our lives, not listening can destroy them.

For Today: Go to a quiet place and relax. Reflect upon a current life situation that is troubling you and tune into your instincts. What was your initial reaction to the situation? Was there something in the beginning that warned you of this problem you now face? Did instincts guide you around parts of the situation then get ignored at other points?

Take today to be lost in your thoughts for a bit. It is a great day to tune in.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 © Angela Bininger and The Empowerers, 2009-2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this websites author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.  

ABCs of Life; Day 1, Letter A – Actions Speak Louder Than Words

It has been requested by a reader that I expand on my ABC’s of life poem. They felt a need to read more on each topic and I felt the idea was borderline genius. For the next several days (26 to be exact) I will begin to develop each line into thoughts for each day. Hopefully by the time we get to Z, we will all have more insight on life.

Day 1 Letter A

Actions Speak Louder Than Words

Both words and actions have two faces. Whether they are in a positive or negative fashion, our words and actions will leave a mark somewhere.  They will have an impact and bring about change. They will build and they will destroy.   

I put the phrase “actions speak louder than words in the poem ABC’s of Life and thought particularly of my ex-husband at the time that I wrote this line.  It is a series of words I have heard him say countless times over the years and something that I didn’t fully comprehend; until I was in my thirties. But now I can admit it, he was right. Actions speak louder than words.

I believe we put so much stock into words because religions teach us all that we are judgmental when we base our opinions on one’s actions. Society has taught us to deceive ourselves, and let people use their words to manipulate us.

If we paid more attention to the actions of others and less attention to words they speak; we wouldn’t find ourselves in some of the most hurtful situations. Instead we would be further along. We would not only feel stronger and wiser but we would probably find ourselves much happier too.

I have carried what was once an annoying statement in an argument with my ex husband with me. Upon reflection I can see where a bit of his philosophies rubbed off on me. Particularly this one, because in my mid thirties I do not need words of affirmation so much. When I hear things, they go in one ear and out another. It is more about what I see that speaks to me. Words are just words.

As I went from a girl to a woman I adapted to the philosophy that actions speak louder than words. Instead of needing lip service from others, these days I am more about: Don’t tell me that you love me, show me. Don’t tell me you will be there, just be there. Don’t tell me that I can trust you, instead display that you are worthy of my trust.  Don’t tell me you are there if I want to talk, call me for once. Don’t tell me to come over and see you, you can come see me too.

It is amazing how much more clearly you can see with this motto. It eliminates a lot of garbage. People weed themselves out because its obvious who cares and who doesn’t. There is nothing left to question.

 “While some words are merely whispers, people’s actions will always manage to shout out the truth.”

For today: Observe the actions of others and compare it to their words. If one’s actions do not coincide with their words, take a deeper look. Sometimes the answers to life’s problems will appear by just sitting back and watching, quietly. Make mental notes as needed and then begin applying the necessary changes.

Day 2 – Letter B

Be Careful Who You Trust 

© Angela Bininger and The Empowerers, 2009-2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this websites author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

Families Of Alcoholics And Their Contribution To The Disease

The definition of alcoholism can vary from person to person. It is defined by Miriam Webster as continued excessive or compulsive use of alcoholic drinks. Or, a chronic disorder marked by excessive and usually compulsive drinking of alcohol leading to psychological and physical dependence or addiction.

(For me personally an alcoholic is anyone that depends on it. It is someone who needs it to get through a day, or week. It is someone who binge drinks. None the less, it is anyone dependent on it  or its effects.)

It is important for family, friends, and loved ones of an alcoholic to realize that they can not fix, cure, or control the disease. The alcoholic must decide for themselves to quit, bottom line.

You can however find support by attending Al-Anon meetings in your area.  Al-Anon is a 12-Step program modeled on the well-known program for alcoholics, Alcoholics Anonymous. It provides wonderful support for families of alcoholics. These support groups offer a lot, and will help keep you sane while battling such a nasty disease.

If there are addiction signs such as regular consumption or binge drinking, it is important to know what role you play in disease progression. Alcoholics tend to surround themselves with like-minded people or people who will enable them. By enabling them we allow the disease to progress further.

Friends, family, and loved ones of an alcoholic often fall in to one of the three categories below. Many do not realize that they are actually contributing to the disease.

The Rescuer

The rescuer basically “covers” for the alcoholic. This person will clean up after the alcoholic, deny the problem, and hide the issue. They may take over responsibilities for the alcoholic such as finances, and other areas. The rescuer feels that he/she is protecting the alcoholic. When in reality, covering up and covering for the alcoholic is only contributing to the problem. The rescuers are in denial, therefor they lie to themselves and lie for the alcoholic.

The Provoker

The provoker is one who will punish, chastise, and ridicule the drunken behavior. The provoker doesn’t care who hears, and will tell everyone what an awful person this alcoholic is. The provoker is angry, and the anger brews. The provoker often leaves the alcoholic over time. And takes a grudge with him/her when he/she goes.

The Martyr

The martyr is ashamed of the alcoholic and his/her behavior. The martyr speaks of their misery in dealing with the situation or withdraws completely.  The martyr tries to get the alcoholic to feel guilty for his/her behavior by using emotions and feelings as a tool. What the martyr doesn’t realize is that the only emotions and feelings that can be seen, felt, or heard by an alcoholic is their own. The martyr is often at risk for depression.

It is very important to seek help if you are battling this disease with a friend, family member, or loved one. Although we can’t control the alcoholic or the disease we can control ourselves. By seeking help we can prevent ourselves from being destroyed by the disease.

Their disease is not our fault but if we allow it to dictate our life and happiness, then that is our fault.

Who Do You Love?

Love is the willing sacrificial giving of oneself for the benefit of others, without the thought of return. With that being said, how many of us truly love? We say things like “Well I did this for them, they can at least ____.” We keep score in our head of who has done what in the relationship such as who visits who, who calls who, etc. We don’t always admit that we do this, but we do.

So, I guess the question here is “Who Do You Love?” How many people have you loved to this degree? When is the last time you loved someone and expected nothing in return? Have you done a favor for someone you love, and when the time came for you to have a favor done for you nobody came through? Were you irritated? Did you expect them to do for you what you once did for them?

If everyone memorized and lived by this definition, we would all be a lot easier to love. Love isn’t easy, but certainly was never intended to be a battlefield. It was intended to be the “willing and sacrificial giving of oneself for the benefit of others, without the thought of return.” Yes, that is love. True love.

© Angela Bininger and The Empowerer, 2009-2010. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this websites author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Angela Bininger and The Empowerer with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.