“The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” (Lao-tse)
I think it was Einstein that defined insanity as ‘continuing the same behaviour and expecting a different result’. Let’s face it, if your loved one continues drinking or using, his/her life is only going to continue to get the same results.
The same goes for you. If YOU keep on reacting to their behaviour and continue to blame them for your resulting life, than your life is not going to get any better either.
It takes two to tango, and you are participating in this duo, which isn’t improving your life.
I was surprised to hear in rehab counselling that I was as sick as my husband, my mental illness was feeding off my reactions to his actions. I had been severely affected by alcohol without being the drunk. You too need to look at your own recovery and stop spending time reacting to your addict’s life decisions and wishing your life was different.
Taking responsibility for the choices you make is an empowering energy. Decide today that your life is your own. Make the decision to take steps everyday to a better life. The step may be so small that no one but you will notice but make the conscious decision that you are going to do at least one little thing everyday to improve your life and your future.
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Dealing with Your Own Anger
Anger is a powerful emotion and it is important to vent it in some way, but in a way that is not regretful.
When you feel the need to lash out, you need to call someone or go for a walk or do something that relaxes you and removes you from the situation. Take the children and go to the park, call a friend and go out for coffee. The more you keep the situation in control and the less you fight with the alcoholic, the more he or she will come to realize that it is their behavior and not yours that causes them to drink. They will begin to own their behavior as you own yours. You cannot control their behavior and it is not your responsibility to do so. The only thing you can do is control how you respond to their drinking. No response is often the best response.
Call To Action! The next time you feel that anger bubbling up inside and feel like you need to vent a humiliating attack on the alcoholic, walk away from the situation. Get a paper and pen and write every nasty thing you want to say. Writing is a great way of venting your anger! Once you have done this, you can burn the paper with the nasty words and be proud of how you dealt with the human being in your life rather than feel ashamed of your own behavior.
If possible or appropriate, find a time when the person is sober and communicate in a more calm and constructive manner. Ninety-five percent of what an alcoholic says when drinking is manipulative and hogwash anyway. Don’t start believing in the lies of the disease, even if the lies include hopeful messages such as “I’m never drinking again!”