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For those of you who are dealing with an alcoholic or addict.
December 2, 2008
11:47 pm
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atalose
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I’ve posted this many times over the years and I am posting it again for all of you who are dealing with an alcoholic/addict.

What Alcoholics/Addicts Do

My name's ----------- I'm an alcoholic/addict. And this is what alcoholics/addicts do. You cannot nor will not change my behavior. You cannot make me treat you better, let alone with any respect. All I care about, all I think about is my needs and how to go about fulfilling them. You are a tool to me, something to use. When I say I love you I am lying through my teeth, because love is impossible for someone in active addiction. I wouldn't be drinking/using if I loved myself, and since I don't, I cannot love you.

My feelings are so pushed down and numbed by my drinking/drugs that I could be considered sociopathic. I have no empathy for you or anyone else. It doesn't faze me that I hurt you, leave you hungry, lie to you, cheat on you and steal from you.

My behavior cannot and will not change until I make a decision to stop using/drinking and then follow it up with a plan of action.

And until I make that decision, I will hurt you again and again and again.

Stop being surprised.

I am an alcoholic/addict. And that's what alcoholics/addicts do.

Atalose

~~Hope has a place, but not above reality~~

December 2, 2008
11:49 pm
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.
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Wow. thanks for posting this.

December 3, 2008
6:16 pm
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free
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I printed this out and had it on my fridge for a long time. Printed it out the last time it was posted here.

What was so good about this, for me, is that the shock factor of "my" alcoholic's behavior wore off. When he'd do his stuff, I'd think of that line "stop being surprised, this is what I do" (I shortened the last line in my head)

So today, while I didn't expect him to do many of the things he is doing, I'm not surprised. It's weird.

It's like I can hear his voice

"this is what I do"

free

December 9, 2008
10:49 pm
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_anonymous
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bump

April 6, 2009
8:14 pm
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Hurtnmommie
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I am going through so much right now, Reading this...just...it just really hit home. I just e-mailed my boyfriend whom i have two kids with, I just e-mailed him a lonnng e-mail about how hurt i am about his actions...about him taking off to drink on us...and how it makes me feel..and blah blahb...i went on for ever..Like i've been doing for years. Reading this, it just...Ahh it helped me! So thanks

May 25, 2009
10:51 pm
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mezzo3
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I'm bumping this up again because it's good to remember.

I did not cause his addiction, I could not control his using, and I cannot cure him.

May 25, 2009
10:54 pm
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mezzo3
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Ok, I see I didn't do it right. This is the original post I was trying to bump up:

atalose
2-Dec-08

I’ve posted this many times over the years and I am posting it again for all of you who are dealing with an alcoholic/addict.

What Alcoholics/Addicts Do

My name's ----------- I'm an alcoholic/addict. And this is what alcoholics/addicts do. You cannot nor will not change my behavior. You cannot make me treat you better, let alone with any respect. All I care about, all I think about is my needs and how to go about fulfilling them. You are a tool to me, something to use. When I say I love you I am lying through my teeth, because love is impossible for someone in active addiction. I wouldn't be drinking/using if I loved myself, and since I don't, I cannot love you.

My feelings are so pushed down and numbed by my drinking/drugs that I could be considered sociopathic. I have no empathy for you or anyone else. It doesn't faze me that I hurt you, leave you hungry, lie to you, cheat on you and steal from you.

My behavior cannot and will not change until I make a decision to stop using/drinking and then follow it up with a plan of action.

And until I make that decision, I will hurt you again and again and again.

Stop being surprised.

I am an alcoholic/addict. And that's what alcoholics/addicts do.

May 26, 2009
9:15 am
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atalose
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((mezzo3))

Thank you for bumping this one up.

It certainly is a cold hearted truth. A truth that is so hard for codependents to accept.

I am grateful that the alcoholics/addicts in my life have made the decision to stop drinking/using and have maintained that plan with follow up actions.

If only I had learned that lesson {you can’t make an alcoholic/addict stop until they chose too} I think I could have saved myself years of misery and heartache.

Atalose

~~Hope has a place, but not above reality~~

May 29, 2009
1:28 am
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bblue
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One question - how do you let go without guilt?

BBlue

May 29, 2009
9:00 am
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atalose
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I think first you need to ask yourself exactely what it is you feel guilty about?

Atalose

~~Hope has a place, but not above reality~~

May 29, 2009
10:54 am
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fantas
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BBlue,

From my experience, it's not possible for a codependent to start asserting themselves and drawing boundaries without guilt and fear. This is what keeps us in the drama of hurtful relationships, because on some level we feel responsible for another' well being. We do not yet understand that we have no control or power over anyone. This is why we need support while we do this. We aren't equipped to handle distressed people without having the need to fix them, at first.

Accepting this fact may help you feel better about making the decisions you are making regarding the types of relationships you want with others and yourself. Kind of like the saying, "feel the fear but do it anyway". With therapy and growth, we get stronger, wiser, acquire a more realistic idea about our role in relationships, and increase our self worth.

I would suggest going to Al anon, get a sponsor and start working on yourself. No decisions have to be made right away, if they don't involve danger to yourself and others. All the best!!

May 30, 2009
12:18 pm
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Lulubell
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This is so true, I watched my husband go from a loving person to a dark and selfish stranger. I am thankful that he is now working on his recovery. What saved me and started me on the path to my own recovery was saying over and over again "I am powerless over alcohol".

June 2, 2009
12:41 am
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bblue
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As I have faced myself I realize I enabled the situation by always just taking care of things..

And I find I still do that - partially to keep myself in financial favor with creditors etc.

I am at a point though where I have to find the strength to face the fear - I know my family (parents and son) are supportive, and I know I have a couple really good friends

And as stupid as this may sound I expect that if I say get out he will hit the gambling and drinking and end up in trouble financially and with his health (existing issues) and I feel guilty but...

I also fear that he may just move on and that just that he gets on with life...

I guess I always wanted to feel I really mattered to someone and maybe I don;t to him anymore..

but then the other logical side of me says then you just have to move on..

I think sometimes I think too much..

BBlue

June 2, 2009
10:16 am
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Lanigirl
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Hi bblue,

Nothing you've said in here sounds stupid.

I so get the feeling responsible that if I do A or B, he'll do something to hurt himself. And I want him to go and yet what happens if he does?

I'm praying hard every day because I know I've used him as my alcohol = to ease the pain and emptiness in my life. I've spent my life taking care of similar people and I want to start living my own life. That is so scary.

I also think "too much" but it's always about someone else.

June 2, 2009
11:43 am
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atalose
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We are NOT their cure, if loving alcoholics/addicts and being there for them, taking care of things was the answer, they be a shining example of recovery today……sadly, their addictions has nothing to do with you………anymore then the color of their eyes or the fact that when they were young they were allergic to stawberries……..

If they DON’T chose recovery for themselves, their addiction will remain long after you are gone, it will remain whether or not they move on and find someone else or sit alone in their pity, booze/drugs as their company.

We make the big mistake of convincing ourselves that we are their only hope, their only salvation, the only one who can take care of them other wise they may flounder and die. That thinking is like placing ourselves in a jail cell and tossing away the key.
I believe that “our help” “our taking care of bills” “making excuses for them” is really a major way to HELP them continue on their road to destruction.

Two words that changed my life: I CAN.
• I can let go of the people and situations that stand in the way of my happiness.

• I can find a good job.

• I can remove him from using credit cards

• I can close out credit cards to keep my financial security

• I can afford to live on my own.
• I can take care of myself and my children.

• I can find a healthy and supportive partner.
• I can live a happy and peaceful life.

In order to change my life, I had to stop believing I can't and start believing I can.

Atalose

~~Hope has a place, but not above reality~~

June 4, 2009
1:08 am
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bblue
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No we are not their cure and nothing I can do will change his addiction unless he chooses to change himself...

I do realize that... its just hard to see someone do that to themselves ..especially when you have loved them.. and spent alot of years together.

Its tough changing yourself and not feeling guilty...

because its the behavior that is familiar...

Oh well just keep stepping ahead in my tiny steps - at least it is forward...

BBlue

June 4, 2009
10:09 am
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atalose
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I believe it was Bitsy on here who said:

Recovery is being asked to give up all we've ever known to get something better that we can't yet understand………
This is so true, and someday that heavy burden of guilt you are carrying on your shoulders will become a lot less.

Yes keep moving forward inch by inch tiny step by tiny step at least it is forward….

((bblue))

Atalose

~~Hope has a place, but not above reality~~

June 9, 2009
1:04 am
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bblue
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Thanks - I'm still inching but at least its forward..
((atalose))

BBlue

June 9, 2009
11:03 am
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atalose
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bblue,

Are you still living with him? What is your life like these days?

Do you or have you attended any al-anon meetings?

Atalose

~~Hope has a place, but not above reality~~

June 9, 2009
6:09 pm
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haythere
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hello,
I'm new to this, but I think I maybe able to find some support from this group, (I am codependent).....in reference to the original thread about what an addict is, my son (he is only 20) basically told me all those things about himself and how he was using me and the whole family,(he was quite emotional when he talked about being this way)...... He finally checked himself into rehab, after trying to get himself detoxed and off narcotics since the first of the year.
He has dived into the program. I think he wants to get better, HOWEVER, (and it's been only 10 days), I still see alot of the behaviors of the addict and I'm finding it hard to trust that he is there for all the right reasons. Its up to him to do the program and find what he needs.
But I now need to work on myself so I can deal with whatever happens when he decides to check himself out. Unlike a spouse, I don't think I'm to the point of divorcing my child. Suggestions?

June 10, 2009
12:11 am
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billy bob
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My son relapsed and now he is asking for financial help after blowing hundreds of dollars. I said no. Is this too hard?

June 10, 2009
6:34 am
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Serendy
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No it is NOT too hard.It is the right thing to do to help.Otherwise you are enabling him to carry on his addiction...Stick by what you feel is right otherwise you will be bought down and not be able to be thier when needed...All strength to you.

June 10, 2009
9:11 am
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atalose
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haythere,

Welcome, glad you found this site. 10 days is nothing, so no you can’t believe or trust him, yet! And no you don’t need to divorce y our child, you need to set your own boundaries with this young adult in your life. You mentioned he’s been trying to detox himself since the first of the year yet he’s only been clean the last 10 days. What has he done for the last 6 months to get himself clean? Has he gone to meetings, counseling, out-patient? What is his plan now that he has 10 days to remain clean?

Billy bob,

ABSOLUTELY NOT to your question of….. is this too hard. Your son got himself into this mess, he needs to man up and get himself out of it. The easier you make it to clean up his messes the easier it is for him to continue making them.

Atalose

~~Hope has a place, but not above reality~~

June 10, 2009
9:45 am
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stressed mommie
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June 10, 2009
12:00 pm
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haythere
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Thanks for the welcome. As to what my son has been doing the last few months to get clean. He is addicted to opiates, he had found some info on suboxene and asked me to help him get some. He has no job and is currently not on our health benefits so I made an appt with a Dr. close to our home and took him myself. The doctor recommended counseling, in conjunction with the prescription, but my son thought he could do it on his own. We are a family of "do it on our own types" which doesn't always work very well. I am a co-dependent enabler so I did not insist on the counseling or meetings in conjunction with this very expensive prescription. But I did control the medication because I knew he could/would abuse andor sell the stuff to his "friends". He did really well, for about a month until his girlfriend broke up with him.
His coping skills are lacking to say the least. My husband thought as long as he was going to school and coming home at night all was well. I was dealing with a sick family member who is a cancer patient and also has had open heart surgery in the last 2 months so my attention was somewhat diverted as well. (seriously, I can only deal with so much at a time)
He stopped asking for the suboxene, said he didn't need it anymore, and I started observing all the signs he was using again. I take all this stuff on myself, my husband is not a great communicator and ends up talking at our son instead of to him. We've been thru enough with our son to know we can't force him to change, he has to want it himself. He's been in various forms of rehab, none of it his choice over the last 6 years.
Anyway, the suboxene fell to the wayside and a month ago he went thru the withdrawal cycle again, on his own. We offered to get him whatever support he wanted, but he didn't want to do anything but be left alone. Fine, until he started using out of control, stealing from us (once again) to buy drugs for himself and to share with friends so he wouldn't have to use alone.....great friend that he is. Once we shut down the money wagon and confronted him with what we had determined was missing he went into this whole thing about what a bad son he was, how he didn't belong in the family, how he wished he'd never been born, on and on.
Interestingly enough, he always threatens to leave, and this time he said "you could have saved your son's life if you had just given him that $100", but this time I said no. I told him "We will be here when you are ready to get help". Didn't ask him to come home, just let him go. But then he realized he had no where else to go, none of his "friends" will feed him or put a roof over his head for more than a day. And, I think, he doesn't like being this way. He came home, said "let's go" and we had him at a rehab facility within two hours. He checked himself in. The program is 30 days, they will try to convince him to stay at least 30 more. He seems happy to be there, but working the 12 steps is bringing alot of stuff out that he is really having a hard time with. But that is for/about him.
I'm looking for help for me now. My husband and I (and his sister) were really shell shocked the first few days after all the drama. Each of us is looking for ways to heal, our pain is at different levels. And we all deal with it differently. I'm looking to help myself, because I'm worn out from taking care of everyone else.

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