It is so difficult to find your role in the life of the Alcoholic/Addict. You desperately want to help, frustrated by why they can’t just stop, angry because they won’t. It is like a roller coaster of fear, sadness and anger. One day there is hope, the next day, disaster. The consequences get worse and their thinking gets crazier. It is maddening to be involved in this disease on any level. Even the simplest tasks become overwhelming. You start doubting your own sanity.
When someone mentions the word Codependency you bristle with resentment. It seems like you are being chastised for your steadfast love and support. That’s not the case at all. Anyone that knows anything about Codependency will tell you that this is one of the most difficult roles a person can play. But just like Alcoholics/Addict, you are not to blame. In most cases you have no idea you are n this sort of dysfunctional relationship, until you get the information and diagnose yourself. Once you know however, it is your responsibility to take care of it. Just like the Alcoholic/Addict, it is not their fault they are sick, but it is their responsibility to treat the disease once they accept they have it and they are given the solution.
It is not the matter of helping that is in question, but when and how to help. This is like learning a foreign language. It will challenge everything you know about love. The way someone helps an Alcoholic/Addict often makes the difference between failure and success.
The disease of Alcoholism/Addiction is a subtle and cunning foe. In its grips, people will do surprising and unthinkable things. They will lie, steal and cheat to get what they want, and what they want, is to stay loaded. If you look up the word manipulation in the dictionary it should just say “SEE AlCOHOLISM”.
Hearing this, you can see it’s the why and how to give that is so very important to them and to you. If you help and enable the Alcoholic/Addict you are putting him in a position to be insincere. You may be aiding in his destruction rather than in his recovery. He must put his dependence on God and not in you. If he is to find help through professional treatment and then AA/NA he must put his dependence in those that know the disease and are experienced in helping.
It is human nature to try to find the easier softer way. So why would a person take suggestions and do the work needed to get and stay clean & sober if someone is willing to take care of him? Why would you work if someone is giving you money? Why would you change your diet if your fat pants still fit? I think you get the point.
So if getting help for yourself doesn’t seem worthwhile or that it would help the loved one in your life, you are wrong. By seeking help yourself, you are making it possible for them to take action and responsibility for their own illness.
You can not drink from an empty cup. You must find the support and direction from others who have walked this path before you. One of the first books I encountered on this subject was “Codependent No More” by Melody Beattie. I highly recommend it. As always, I highly recommend Al anon or Nar anon meetings. Go until you like it. It will help you in every area of your life.
Saying No is a complete sentence. You do not have to explain or justify the word no. You can always say, “let me think about it” until you run it past someone with more experience. You can also say “not now”. There are a lot of variables of how to handle an Alcoholic/Addicts request (or demand). The most important thing is not to act out of panic, fear or urgency. That is the Alcoholics strong suit. To make everything seem like an emergency.
Alcoholics and Addicts are the most resourceful people I have met. When they want or need something they usually get it. So if you don’t give it to them the moment they ask, don’t be surprised if they get it somewhere else. Addicts will say they need money for a Uber or the bus because they are cold and tired and can’t get to a meeting but yet they can walk 300 miles in a snowstorm with no shoes to buy a bottle or a bag. So don’t be so panicked every time they call for something. If they are sick and going to die unless you Western Union them money right now, then tell them to go to the Emergency Room. If they say someone if drug man is going to kill him because he owes them money tell him to call the police. Take the urgency out of the equation. You will be able to think more clearly, seek some advise and make better decisions for you and for them.
There is experienced and qualified help for your loved one. You can direct him to that help but you can not help them. If they want to get sober and stay sober, tell them you will do anything to help. That does not mean paying for expensive treatment center after treatment center, paying their bills, paying for attorneys and dealing with their boss. If they decide they want help and truly will do anything to stay sober they can do that at any facility free or private. Recovered Alcoholics and Addicts are standing by waiting in AA/NA rooms all over the world to help.
If someone is ready to get sober there is nothing you can say wrong and when they aren’t ready to get sober there’s nothing you can say right.
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