For Family and Friends

Discussion in 'Recovery' started by Aerianne, Jan 10, 2012.

  1. Aerianne

    Aerianne Lifetime Supporter Lifetime Supporter

    This thread is for people whose lives have been affected by the alcoholism or addiction of a family member or friend.

    Tell your story here, please.
  2. Aerianne

    Aerianne Lifetime Supporter Lifetime Supporter

    (This is an anonymous letter found on the internet.)

    Letter from an Alcoholic
    An Open Letter to My Family

    I am an alcoholic. I need help.

    Don't allow me to lie to you. If you accept my evasions of the truth, you encourage me to lie. The truth may be painful but try to get at it.

    Don't let me outsmart you. This would only allow me to avoid responsibility and would make me lose respect for you at the same time.

    Don't accept my promises. The nature of my illness prevents my keeping them, even though I mean them at the time. Promises are only my way of postponing pain. And, Don't keep switching agreements; if an agreement is made stick to it.

    Don't let me exploit you or take advantage of you. If you do, you become an accomplice to my evasion of responsibility.

    Don't lecture, moralize, scold, praise, blame, or argue when I'm drunk or sober. Don't pour out my liquor; it may make you feel better, but it will make the situation worse.

    Don't lose your temper with me. It will destroy you and any possibility of helping me.

    Don't allow your anxiety for me make you do what I should do for myself.

    Don't cover up or try to spare me the consequences of my drinking. It may reduce the crisis, but it will make my sickness worse.

    Above all don't run away from reality as I do. Alcoholism, my illness gets worse as my drinking continues. Start now to learn, to understand, to plan for recovery.

    I need help. from a pastor, doctor, a psychologist, a counselor, from a recovered alcoholic who found sobriety and from Deity. I cannot help myself.

    I hate myself, but I love you. Please help me.

    Your Alcoholic

    My Family Story
    by Aerianne

    I did my share of steady drinking for a number of years (from about age 17 to about age30; excluding the times I was pregnant and nursing) and luckily was able to walk away from it when I felt that I was sick of it. However, in the early years I did get 2 DUI's and cause an accident which totaled my car and two others.

    My father was an alcoholic, as was his father. Dad was on the wagon for most of my life but by the time I was growing up the drug use and drinking by my older brothers had begun to cause chaos in our family life.

    All 4 of my brothers are/were alcoholics and/or addicts.

    My son and my daughter are afflicted with the alcoholic gene, as are my nephews and my niece.

    One of my brothers, who was an addict for 30 years, died alone in the woods of a Meth overdose at age 47. He wasn't found until a month later. This brother sexually abused me from the time I was 5 until the time I was 11. It stopped when he got married and became a father at 16.

    One of his sons is serving 33 years in prison for strangling his girlfriend to death when he was extremely drunk and using drugs.

    My daughter, a single mother, has toyed around with recovery programs (Christian based on AA principles) so she knows she has a problem but isn't willing to make the changes yet.

    My son is attempting to fight his demon at this moment. He has a precious family that is being torn by this. It is so hard to watch and know that I cannot take the necessary steps for him. He has been to rehab for 72 hours a year ago. He went to jail for 24 hours in September for domestic issues while drinking. He is about 12 days into his latest cold turkey effort now (I think).

    I have invited him here. I hope he decides to come. He doesn't really care for AA meetings.

    That's the Reader's Digest version of my story. Thanks for having me here.
  3. wisp

    wisp Member

    This is so true , it sums up all of in one short powerful letter
  4. lovelyxmalia

    lovelyxmalia Banana Hammock Lifetime Supporter

    Thank you for sharing your story, Aerianne.

    I grew up around alcohol. My father was a workaholic and an alcoholic, so needless to say, he wasn't around much.

    Alcoholism runs in his family-both of his parents, one of his brothers is completely absorbed in his addiction and he hasn't stopped for 30 years. Even after my family spent hundreds of dollars on a special intervention for him, he still got out two months later and picked up the bottle.

    My father's addiction ruined two marriages for him. I wasn't in his life during his second marriage...he threw me away (long story-but alcohol was a factor) and when we finally started talking, nearly 5 years later, the only time I could visit with him was in a barroom.

    Alcohol scares me. I don't drink and neither does my brother (thank God)....the gene runs fierce on both sides of our family, so I'm very thankful neither of us have taken up drinking.
  5. stinkfoot

    stinkfoot truth

    Good idea for a discussion.

    I'm very fortunate not to be addicted to drugs or alcohol but there is alcoholism in my family. My father was deeply addicted to alcohol- which most likely factored in his death at 52... when I was 15- and in foster care. I had long been a target of physical as well as emotional abuse- including some very detailed threats as to how I was going to be put out of my misery by virtue of his .22 caliber pistol and a box of bullets- each one destined for a body part/ These threats had begun when I was 12... and I'm remarkably unscrambled because of them- though I went through my own shit upon finding a more remedial home environment.

    These days I look at my dad's efforts as a twisted sort of favor in that I cannot be intimidated by anyone as I have faced the devil incarnate and lived to tell about it. My dad also favored me with types of physical mistreatment that left very colorful bruises which were my ticket out of that hell... an escape I effected at 14.

    Addiction is a funny disease in that it robs different sufferers of different things. My interest in the addiction and in particular in addicts who have achieved positive recovery is likely an attempt at understanding who dad might have been had he sought help for his disease. I am told that he had a very tough go of it when he was young- losing his mom- with whom he was quite close, when he was 17.

    In my case, alcoholism does not seem to be genetic, as I did my own share of binge drinking coming out of high school... and as I went through my 20's and into my 30's my drinking became a little less regular over time. These days I rarely have a drink. the only other recreational substance I've used regularly has been marijuana and I'm on an indefinite hiatus from that which began 4 months ago. While I suspect that I may have a somewhat "addictive personality" I seem to be blessed with a lack of physical predisposition to addiction... so the key for me is purely self discipline.
  6. uitar9

    uitar9 Member

    I'm an alcoholic, my son is an alcoholic, my father was an alcoholic.

    It's true that you can't tell a drunk anything, we are to self centered.

    Maybe a big book? The chapter on the alcoholic or the doctors opinion may hit a nerve.

    Every body has a different bottom, but the aa rooms are the place to be if you want to stop drinking today.

    It's a baby steps process. For me the secret is to go to meetings. The rest has come, one step at a time.

    Good luck
  7. Aerianne

    Aerianne Lifetime Supporter Lifetime Supporter

    My son seems to have been doing pretty good for a few weeks but he fell off the wagon today.

    I say "seems" going by what his wife has told me. I kind of think he might have been nipping some before today.

  8. uitar9

    uitar9 Member

    One thing I have learned as a father of an alcoholic-I enabled his behavior. I was letting him kill himself one sip at a time.

    Al Anon is a good place to start
  9. Aerianne

    Aerianne Lifetime Supporter Lifetime Supporter

    Yes, I know about enabling. I learned about that in 1980 when my brother was in rehab and I went to Nar-Anon.

    My son has been enabled but not by me. His wife is his enabler. I have tried many times to get her to Al-Anon but she won't go. It would be so helpful if she did. She is in denial about alcoholism in general and it's very difficult to get through something she won't even educate herself about.
  10. uitar9

    uitar9 Member

    Have you tried AA your self-try an open meeting, share-and talk to a sponsor-is your son open to a visit from a couple of sober AA's?
  11. Aerianne

    Aerianne Lifetime Supporter Lifetime Supporter

    He has attended a couple of meetings and said he "doesn't see what good they could do with just a bunch of guys sitting around talking about drinking."

    When I talked to him about is cravings, etc. a few weeks ago, he told me he wasn't having physical cravings. He said his problem is that he equates drinking with fun and that if he isn't drinking then he doesn't think he's having any fun.

    He doesn't want to stop drinking. He doesn't feel like he should have to stop drinking. He thinks his wife, me, and his step-father are just being unreasonable. He doesn't see his drinking as causing any problems. He doesn't realize that he turns into a belligerent asshole when he drinks.

    So what do you do with that?
  12. wisp

    wisp Member

    You wait , as hard it to do- thats all you can do , he has to realise himself that he has a problem , nobody else can do that for him . I know it hard as a parent to sit back and watch it happen but until he reaches rock bottom , there is nothing you can do but pray and hope that he reach the turning point before its to late .

    These may seem like harsh words but this is the reality of addiction , we've all been there done that , each ones journey is unique and must be taken alone till they ask for help.

    By talking to him about when he doesnt think that he has a problem can have the complete opposite effect , you can push him away -tough love is the best option -sad but true .
  13. lovelyxmalia

    lovelyxmalia Banana Hammock Lifetime Supporter

    My father used to think that way. He thought he wasn't hurting anyone, so why stop?

    When he got sick, I told him how his drinking made me feel (since he was sober at the time).

    I think it takes waiting until the right moment, when you know that there will be no arguments and he won't get defensive, and just tell him exactly what its doing to YOU and how YOU feel...not anyone else, as it will be YOUR conversation.

    Especially being his mother, he will take your judgment and feelings more seriously.

    And I agree with attending AA meetings yourself. I think that anyone who faces addiction or is a relative of an alcoholic should attend. I learned so much while attending those meetings with my father. I saw the hurt in peoples eyes and felt the pain people felt. Those one-hour sessions were the most moving times of my life when my father was at his lowest point.
  14. uitar9

    uitar9 Member

    Sigh!!! Yup, probably has to hit his bottom.

    Went to a speaker meeting yesterday-the speaker was describing his career as taking an elevator down to the floor where he finally got off. The 12 steps were the only way he could get back up to the main floor.

    Everyone gets off at a different floor.

    Make sure you look after yourself-then you are there for him when he is ready.
  15. Aerianne

    Aerianne Lifetime Supporter Lifetime Supporter

    My son is doing better. I think his wife is finally "getting it" too. She had wanted to travel to a family wedding this coming weekend and my son had spoken to me about it. Her family drinks big time and this event would have been a huge drunken party.

    Yesterday his wife told me that they will not be going out of town for this wedding. She used the excuse that the children had recently been sick and she didn't want them around alot of other kids. Whatever!

    I'm just glad that she and my son have the sense to stay away from that at this early stage in his recovery.

    Previously, the wife had been pretty much sabotaged his efforts because of her wanting to drink with various of her family members, citing that it wasn't fair to her.

    Maybe, she finally "gets it".
  16. stinkfoot

    stinkfoot truth

    Small steps... hopefully she is indeed "getting it".

    Sometimes people have to hit their own bottom before taking charge.
  17. Aerianne

    Aerianne Lifetime Supporter Lifetime Supporter

    Yes, sadly some people need a "Clue x 4" to the head.

  18. stinkfoot

    stinkfoot truth

    Liking the play on words. "Clue x 4" Gonna use that.

    The problem is that an interventionist approach can backfires as much as succeed in that someone else making it a matter of obedience to them or taking their advice almost more important than taking the advice.

    Conversely a person in need of a change may dig their heels in when another person tries to "make them understand" something.

    In a sense it cannot happen until enough pain is experienced with the hope that long term health issues or death don't happen before that point. In the case of my father, the point of "enough is enough" didn't happen and he checked out prematurely.
  19. Aerianne

    Aerianne Lifetime Supporter Lifetime Supporter

    I really don't know which one of these two is the more passive aggressive. It is so hard to live with people who use that tactic.

  20. stinkfoot

    stinkfoot truth

    Sometimes the best thing to do after speaking your piece is to disengage and back off. I've run across way too many people who insist on making it a batle.

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