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Stepping Away From Madness

Affected by someone else's drinking?

Communicating with an intoxicated person is like eating jello with chopsticks, pointless and irritating.

Many say when a person is intoxicated they tell the truth. I call bullshit! Everything a person says when they are intoxicated is utter toilet dribble.

Have you ever been in a conversation with a drunk loved one and they say the most distressing things? Does Armageddon begin?

Do you find that you converse with them and then in the morning they have forgotten all about what was said the night or day before? Alcoholics say hurtful things, that is part of the behaviour of alcoholism. It doesn't mean they mean it. In fact, what they are saying is mostly to do with themselves. They carry guilt and shame of the drinking which they try to pass onto the person they are closest to. This is usually the spouse or parent. Our alcoholic's continue on as if nothing has happened, they really can't remember what was discussed the previous day.

I have found myself in that rabbit hole quite often. It's difficult knowing what to do in these times. I have previously argued back, I felt as if I had to defend myself against his distasteful words. I mean, who did he think he was? There is absolutely no point arguing with a drunk. It's pointless--a waste of time and energy. It's like stepping on the merry-go-round ride at a fairground. When we step on we know exactly where it is going! The good thing about the merry-go-round is that we can choose to get off at any point. We don't have to keep getting on and going around and around. Simply step off. Yes, it's that simple!

I have found that when I get sucked into the vortex of communicating, I begin to feel crazy, angry, and frustrated. This leads to the collection of resentments. Resentments hurt no one other than myself. It's like drinking a bottle of poison and expecting the other person to die. I get angry and start engaging in a battle with my loved one and it's a real struggle. The more I defend myself, the more hostile my alcoholic loved one becomes. The more hostile he becomes, the more hurt I become. This is where Armageddon occurs, a very heated argument. There are no winners in this. Most often what occurs next is laying awake all night worrying about what can be done next? What does the future hold? Why doesn't he just stop drinking, can't he see what he is doing to me and our family?

Is he really doing all of this or is it that what you want to believe? He has this much power over you that you can't choose for yourself, or that you don't play any part in his alcoholism? Reality is, we all play a part in someone else's alcoholism, it's not a spectator sport!

To save me unnecessary stress, pain, suffering, anxiety, the arguments, and resentments I have set personal boundaries. These are not rules for another person. When I set rules for others, I am hurt again, by my own expectations of my rules being respected. How can I expect an irresponsible and unpredictable person to respect these rules, when they are incapable of respecting themselves? My boundaries are for me. A line in the sand that I won't cross. Things I will and won't do. They promote self-care, self-worth and self-respect. They protect me from gaining resentments, getting irate and being involved in Armageddon. My first boundary is that I will not communicate with intoxicated people. When in a situation where I am uncomfortable or around an intoxicated person, I will remove myself from the situation, by leaving the room, going for a walk, staying with a friend or at a hotel for the night. I have choices and so do you. it's up to you to do the best for you, no one else will!

Another technique I have found incredibly helpful is detachment with love. This is a healthy attitude towards my alcoholic loved one. I have accepted that I am powerless over him. I can't change, fix or stop him from being who he is. I have accepted that he is going to drink regardless of what I do. I have accepted he is an alcoholic. This does not mean that I have to accept his unacceptable behaviours, it also means I will not participate with my unacceptable behaviours in the madness of his addiction. I have learned to detach myself emotionally when the behaviours of the drinker are unacceptable (this meaning I don't allow my emotions to control my mouth. I don't react to his behaviour). How important is it? It's not that important at all. He can say whatever he likes, but I do not have to take it personally. I can remove myself from the situation temporarily. This is something I can do for myself to protect me. It is not accepting unacceptable behaviour. Accepting it is sitting there and arguing with it.

I don't know anyone that can win an argument with insanity!

Not communicating with an intoxicated person is freeing me. I am protecting myself from losing my damn mind. There are 101 things I could be doing that are more productive.

I don't have to attend every argument I am invited to.

If you're exhausted from being roped into the ramblings of an intoxicated person, you have choices. You can allow them to control your emotions, steal your serenity, your mind, your time or you can simply choose to allow them to get on with themselves. My drinker often sat there muttering to himself because I would not cross my boundary. He probably made more sense to himself anyway!

Read next: Wet Brain
Laurie Summerfield
Laurie Summerfield

I am a single mother of one daughter. I support people affected by someone else's addiction(s). I am currently studying psychology, with the view of it assisting me with life coaching.

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Stepping Away From Madness
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