Is An Alcoholic or Drug Abuser Driving You Crazy?
Living with an alcohol or drug abuser can be frustrating, and exhausting!
Alanon is an organization that allows the friends and families of alcoholics and drug abusers to get together and talk about their feelings and frustrations. Many of the people at the Alanon meetings are living with alcoholics that are still drinking. Others live with dry alcoholics who have stopped drinking, with or without alcohol treatment, but are still difficult to live with. Some Alanon members may live with an alcoholic who is currently going through alcohol detox, and they are nervous about what to expect when their loved one comes home. Others have loved ones with drug addiction problems instead of, or in addition to, alcohol problems.
The Alanon Experience
There is no simple way to describe what life is like for a typical Alanon member. In a meeting, members are asked to talk about their personal experience, strength and hope. For most members, that means they talk about what it has been like living with an alcohol abuser or drug addict. This is true even if the addicted person is a recovering alcoholicor addict. It is often easy for new Alanon members to spend all their allotted time talking about the latest antics of the addict in their life. However, Alanon members are supposed to talk about their own experience, and what they are trying to do to improve their own life. Because so much of their life has revolved around someone else, it is often hard for the Alanon members to talk about themselves.
Sometimes people are not quite ready to go to an Alanon meeting. They may feel shy or embarrassed. If this is true for you, you may want to use this direct link to Alanon literature on Amazon. You will find a full selection of Alanon books that will help you, including books on the 12 Steps and daily meditation books.
Alanon Strength and Hope
Many members of Alanon get a lot of strength and hope from attending Alanon meetings and hearing what other people have done in similar situations. It also helps them to get the chance to talk about their own feelings and experiences. However, often an Alanon member will continue to feel frustrated by the behavior of an alcoholic or drug addict for years, without finding a solution. What has to change in order for them to get beyond these feelings of frustration?
Recently, at a meeting, I heard this definition of frustration. Frustration … having goals for someone else that they don't have for themselves.
Immediately I realized that this is why so many of us remain stuck for years with our feelings of resentment and frustration. It is because we have goals for the alcoholic or addict that they don't have for themselves!
If we want an alcoholic or addict to stop abusing drugs and alcohol, and they don't have that goal, we feel frustrated. If we set a goal for an alcoholic that they should take on more family responsibility, and they constantly seem to shirk the duties that we give them, we feel frustrated. If we want them to stop lying to us, stop changing jobs, stop partying, or stop hanging around with other alcoholics or addicts, and they don't change, we feel frustrated.
Anytime we have goals for someone else, which they don't have for themselves, we are going to feel hurt, angry and frustrated. This upsets us, keeps us from having a sense of serenity, and makes us feel crazy! It is easy for us to see that the alcohol or drugs are making the abuser sick, and causing them to have a variety of problems. However, if they can't see it for themselves, there is very little that we can do about it. Arguing with them, pointing out the reasons they should change, and nagging them is not going to do any good.
That is why the Alanon literature teaches members that we should let go of trying to fix other people, turn them over to God, and start taking care of ourselves. After all, the only people we can actually change are ourselves!
To learn more about Alanon, and how it can help make your life better, you may want to read some of the articles below:
A Helpful Al-Anon Book Available from Amazon
Amazon Price: $14.69 Buy Now
(price as of Sep 17, 2014)