Dear Alcoholic

Dear Alcoholic,

I have a lot of feelings concerning you and your behavior, and I’ve been working towards not being so angry with you. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not letting your alcoholism be an excuse for your actions, I just know that I can no longer be a person who is affected by you. I can’t say that I understand what you’re dealing with or what drives you to drink, as much as I wish I could. I wish I could understand so I could think more of you as a person, because to me, you are just weak. We all have struggles in life and by you drinking and lashing out on your family, friends, and coworkers, you are showing just how weak you are. I refuse to call your alcoholism a disease, that word has too many feelings of sorrow, devastation and sympathy attached to it. Your problem is sad, devastating, and pitiful, but unlike the millions of people with unfortunate and undeserved diseases, you posses the power and ability to control yours.

I don’t understand how you can knowingly destroy both your personal and professional relationships. In your sober moments, can’t you see what you are doing? Or are your sober moments too filled with the longing for a drink and the void you feel inside when alcohol isn’t there to dull the pain. What do your sober moments feel like? Do you feel shameful for your behavior when you were drunk? Do you even remember what you said and did? I wish I could enjoy the black outs the same way you do, then maybe I wouldn’t have such a hard time handling my anger towards you.

Over and over again, I try to rationalize your behavior but I know that you simply can’t rationalize with an alcoholic. Priorities are confused in your brain, I finally understand that. Always, your first priority is alcohol. Do you admit to yourself how much of a slave you are to a drink? Maybe you don’t care. Your second priority is making sure your alcoholism is kept secret. You do your best to make those around you seem like the crazy ones, the liars, the irrational thinkers, when the whole time it is you.

It’s incredibly difficult to avoid letting the actions of others affect me. I want to bring justice to situations, to make the wrong person realize his or her faults and make them repent. However this is not a realistic way of thinking, especially when dealing with narcissists and/or alcoholics. I deal with your type both in my personal and professional life, and it is exhausting. Walking on my tip-toes, trying to read your mood, trying to decide which version of myself I should be to best suit your mood of the day, or hour. I’ve learned how to cope through trial and error, research, counseling, and Al-Anon brochures. Those things combined are helping me work towards a way of life where you don’t affect me and I can maintain inner peace and happiness, even if I can’t completely remove myself physically from you.

Before you, I never really understood the point of Al-Anon. I didn’t know just how much destruction and damage an alcoholic in your life can cause, if you let them. What I’m learning is that you don’t hold the power, the ball is not in your court. Sometimes it feels like it is, alcoholics have a way of trying to control situations and manipulate others, but it’s not. The ball (my attitude and emotions) are mine and mine alone, and there is nothing you can do or say to change me. I am not the sick one, that is you. I am not the unhappy one, that is you. I do not spend my life trying to clean up the messes I’ve made while under the influence, that is you. You have had to become an expert manipulator in order to survive, in order to keep your charade going. Your charade being “everyone else is irrational, too emotional, and wrong. I am right.”

Alcoholics are people we love and once used to trust. Perhaps that is what makes dealing with you so difficult and painful. I look at you and see the person you used to be, or even sadder, the person you could be. Instead you are manic, unpredictable, self-absorbed, closed off, and hurtful. Again, it is not up to you to change, it is simply not my business to change your way of life. I can only change my way of thinking and dealing with your irrational outbursts and path of destruction.

It’s not easy, but is necessary for happiness.

Detachment according to Al-Anon:

Detachment is neither kind nor unkind. It does not imply judgement or condemnation of the person or situation from which we are detaching. Separating ourselves from the adverse effects of another person’s alcoholism can be a means of detaching: this does not necessarily require physical separation.Detachment can help us look at our situations realistically and objectively. Alcoholism is a family disease. Living with the effects of someone else’s drinking is too devastating for most people to bear without help. In Al-Anon we learn nothing we say or do can cause or stop someone else’s drinking. We are not responsible for another person’s disease or recovery from it. Detachment allows us to let go of our obsession with another’s behavior and begin to lead happier and more manageable lives, lives with dignity and rights, lives guided by a Power greater than ourselves. We can still love the person without liking the behavior.

In Al-Anon You Learn:
• Not to suffer because of the actions or reactions of other people
• Not to allow ourselves to be used or abused by others in the interest of another’s recovery
• Not to do for others what they can do for themselves
• Not to manipulate situations so others will eat, go to bed, get up, pay bills, not drink, or behave as we see fit
• Not to cover up for another’s mistakes or misdeeds
• Not to create a crisis
• Not to prevent a crisis if it is in the natural course of events

Detachment ALANON Click the link to save the detachment brochure from Al-Anon for yourself. Hang it up at work, keep it at home, put it in your purse- it helps!

3 thoughts on “Dear Alcoholic

  1. Huh, I don’t know how I missed this post when you did it. Having spent most of my life dealing with an alcoholic I cannot escape or help recover, this really resonates with me. It is just so very hard to let go, to accept that it’s not my fault, it’s out of my control…especially hard when someone dear to me has accused me of abandoning her to deal with the alcoholic alone. I know I need to, to move on, but…it’s so very hard…

  2. Pingback: 2013 In Pictures | The Other Courtney

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