My Addict Famly Member... PLEASE HELP!!!

Some alcoholics still have families when they get to AA. This is a place to ask questions and share experiences about relating to family members sober, especially when newly sober. (If you are not an alcoholic, please use the "Our Friends and Families" forum.)

My Addict Famly Member... PLEASE HELP!!!

Postby dlt9310 » Thu Jun 27, 2013 9:46 pm

I am writing because I am in desperate need of advice on my relationship with my sister who is an addict. The details of this persons addiction is really not the important part. The most important part is that she is sober!!! Thank God!!! This person has been sober for I believe 3 or 4 years and I am very very proud of them because I know how hard they have fought to get their life back and I am so happy that her life has turned around.

Here is where the problem lies. Currently I am dealing with some issues myself, not with drugs or alcohol but with depression, my health and where my life is headed, kind of a mid 20's life crisis. I am the type of person who really needs to talk things out when I am having a problem and I often need a lot of advice to help me resolve my problems. Another problem I have had reason is being honest with my family. I have a tendency to tell half truths about things that are going on in my life because I don't want to get yelled at/judged/lectured by my family, often times when they just don't seem to understand. I have to admit being honest with my family is not strong habit of mine and it is something that I really need to work on in order to make my relationships better and stronger.

However the last time I talked to this specific person in order to get some advice from them this person acted very very short with me. When I called them on it, they finally told me what I feel they had been holding in for a while. This person basically told me that I am becoming emotionally draining, and she didn't know what to believe out of me anymore and that I need to stop lying and that they didn't really know what to do or how to "help" me anymore. When this person told me all of this, I literally started seeing red however I listened and then just said, I'm going to go and hung up the phone.

I was furious, so completely furious I didn't even know what to do with myself. I do agree that I have to start being more honest with my family, it will help everyone involved. But to hear it from this person who spent years and years and years and years lying to us about their addiction, who faced spending years of their life in prison, who put such a strain on our family for years has the nerve to get upset and lecture me about honesty with the family. Like I said I didn't even know what to do with myself.

It honestly feels like now that she has gotten a few years of sobriety behind her that she has gotten up on to this pedestal and is acting like she is living the model life. Its like she has completely forgotten everything she has done in her past. I really hate to blame anything for this attitude that this person has now but part of me wants to blame it on the 12 step program. I know that it has done so many good things for so many people but at the same time I feel like to a certain extent it has changed her attitude towards life. We have a family get together coming up in the near future and honestly I don't want to go at all. I want nothing to do with this person right now, I have to get over my anger towards her first.

I am asking people who are in the program because I want to better understand what she may be thinking and her attitude. In no way do I ever want to jeopardize her sobriety, I want to be able to support her in any way I can. Would it be better if we just didn't have a relationship for a while, what should I do? How do I get over my anger?
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Re: My Addict Famly Member... PLEASE HELP!!!

Postby AlisonT » Fri Jun 28, 2013 3:08 am

Alcoholism is a family disease. It affects every member of the family and there is a major upheaval in family dynamics when one person gets sober. I suggest you try some Al-Anon meetings.
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Re: My Addict Famly Member... PLEASE HELP!!!

Postby coachdonsul » Fri Jun 28, 2013 4:49 am

This is a very common phenomena for recovered addicts and alcoholics. She is doing what she thinks is best for you whether you think so or not, and she is doing what is best for her. Alanon may help you, but I'd suggest letting some time pass before you react and see if you can just let this go. I also sent you some other suggestions to your email account.

Best wishes,

Don
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Re: My Addict Famly Member... PLEASE HELP!!!

Postby avaneesh912 » Fri Jun 28, 2013 5:41 am

But to hear it from this person who spent years and years and years and years lying to us about their addiction, who faced spending years of their life in prison, who put such a strain on our family for years has the nerve to get upset and lecture me about honesty with the family.

Looks like they have moved on but you are clinging to the past. This is what my wife does too sometimes. If you are in a 12 step program you may want to look inside you. See what is causing this emotional upheaval. Couple of years ago, I had to put my foot firm and tell my wife to back off, else, we may end up divorced. That shook her being and she started seeking help and joined a spiritual organization and did a program called inner awakening and now is much much better, resentments are gone and she has emotionally spiritually growing and it really helps the relationship now.
Show him, from your own experience, how the peculiar mental condition surrounding that first drink prevents normal functioning of the will power (Alcoholics Anonymous, Page 92)
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Re: My Addict Famly Member... PLEASE HELP!!!

Postby JohnZ » Fri Jun 28, 2013 6:14 am

Well, you've admitted to being dishonest with your family, so that's your shortcoming. It's natural to feel some resentment when somebody points out your faults, whoever they are. Nobody is perfect after all, so who are they to judge, right?

I spent many years in a drunken haze of lying, cheating, and stealing. Does that mean I should put up with such behavior from other people, now that I'm sober? I don't think so. It would paralyze me as a parent, for one thing, and I don't think it does any good to enable someone else's bad behavior. It just reinforces it.

Al-Anon is probably the place to start. They have a 12-Step program similar to AA, in which there is a specific method for dealing with resentments. I'm not sure if the AA steps would be helpful or not, but here is how we deal with resentment...

1. We set it down on paper.
2. We admit our fault to God, ourselves, and another human being.
3. We become ready to have God remove the resentment. (This is important because most of us love to hang on to our shortcomings - we feel they define us.)
4. We humbly ask God to remove our shortcomings.

These are steps 4 through 7, and they go a long way to cleaning our inner house.

All that being said, some families just aren't worth the trouble - they are so dysfunctional and judgmental that it's better to walk away for the sake of your sanity, or at least have minimal contact. My wife is exactly in that type of situation. But you can still do the right thing for yourself by dealing with your inner struggles.

If you have an alcohol or drug problem though, go to AA or NA. I went to Al-Anon for a year before I made it to AA, because I felt like my problems had to be somebody else's fault. As it turns out, my problems were entirely of my own making, and I had to fix myself first.
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Re: My Addict Famly Member... PLEASE HELP!!!

Postby Tommy-S » Wed Oct 15, 2014 2:17 am

Hi there, dlt9310

I come from a family where one is either in a program, or needs to be. I found help wiht the Alcoholism in my family through Alanon, which is for friends and family of Alcoholics.

There is a program just fro Friend and Family of Addicts called Nar-Anon. Through their site you can find others who understand, have been in similar situations and found a way to get through it.

Try it, the call is Free & Confidential... http://www.nar-anon.org/

Thanks... Tommy
Together, we don't have to cave in or wimp out to that Fatal First One, no matter what today!
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Re: My Addict Famly Member... PLEASE HELP!!!

Postby Layne » Wed Oct 15, 2014 8:36 am

dlt9310 wrote:Would it be better if we just didn't have a relationship for a while, what should I do? How do I get over my anger?


Better for who and why?

I get why you are angry and have empathy. In order to resolve it requires getting past the surface and to the core of your anger. In your next to the last paragraph you used the words "she/her/this person" eleven times. Your answer will not be found in those words.

Any time that I find myself getting angry, I try to eliminate those words from my vocabulary, in order to get to the core of my anger. It is not easy to do by any stretch, but once I can accomplish that, I find it much easier to get to the root of my issue.

The amazing thing is that once I finally get there, after a brief period to let it soak in and to accept the answer, I find peace and serenity.
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Re: My Addict Famly Member... PLEASE HELP!!!

Postby harry71 » Wed Oct 15, 2014 8:51 am

Are you mad at her for telling you the truth? Part of recovery is being honest. How ever honesty with out compassion is cruel. So not being part of the conversion I only have your side. By your own admission,you play fast and loose with the truth. No matter how thin the pancake it still has two sides. Al-Anon sounds like a good idea for you. Alcoholism destroys families, recovery can put them back together. This advise is worth exactly what you paid for it!!!
God Keeps Me Sober AA Keeps Me Asking
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Re: My Addict Famly Member... PLEASE HELP!!!

Postby ezdzit247 » Wed Oct 15, 2014 11:18 am

dlt9310 wrote: I am asking people who are in the program because I want to better understand what she may be thinking and her attitude. In no way do I ever want to jeopardize her sobriety, I want to be able to support her in any way I can. Would it be better if we just didn't have a relationship for a while, what should I do? How do I get over my anger?


Hi dlt9310,

You've received some really good feedback on your questions and mine will be similar to what others have shared.

It's good that you want to support your sister's sobriety and, as others have suggested, the best way to learn how to do that is to attend some Alanon or Narconon meetings. Going to those meetings to both listen to the experience, hope and strength of others who have been in or are in your situation and then sharing with them what you have shared with us is the most direct route to finding the answers you seek.

That said, it sounds like your sister is learning how to be assertive about expressing what she thinks and feels instead of drinking or using drugs or remaining silent over them and allowing them to become resentments. Assertiveness is an acquired skill which all alcoholics and addicts in recovery must learn how to use in order to stay in recovery. None of us are very good at using this tool in the beginning, and we make a lot of mistakes, but we do get better at it with practice and your sister will too.
“To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children...to leave the world a better place...to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.” -- Ralph Waldo Emerson
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Re: My Addict Famly Member... PLEASE HELP!!!

Postby Brock » Wed Oct 15, 2014 12:42 pm

All of the advice being addressed to dlt9310 is good and I hope it may help someone, but it most likely won’t help him. Recently many old threads are being revived; no problem with that, but in this case the person was here in June of 2013 and has not been heard of since. Like I say maybe someone will be assisted, perhaps our efforts would be better given to someone with a current problem, or in reviving a golden oldie we might look for a subject that has current interest, or one of those that never get stale.

None of my business I guess, just like the talents of our contributors to be used where they might be of maximum assistance.
The seed has been planted in his mind. He knows that thousands of men, much like himself, have recovered. B.B. P.113
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