I thought I would never be able to stop responding to the troublesome things that the alcoholic in my life would direct toward me. I learned how to not respond by attending Al-anon meetings and through praying for help. I’ll never forget how hard it was to relinquish the old behavior patterns. They say that habits can be broken in twenty one days. It seemed like twenty one years had past before I was able to gain self control over the things I was doing that were just adding fuel to the raging fire. Finally… I realized that God began to do for me what I could not do myself.
Here are some suggestions as to how you can have more self control…
There are three things that we will need to begin to understand:
Awareness: If we can start noticing when the alcoholic is pushing buttons that disturb our emotions, we can move onto the next step. Every time the problem drinker in our family did things to make me mad, I was so clueless as to the merry-go-round that I would get on. Some of the things I became aware of were name-calling, and how the alcoholic uses anger and anxiety. Once I started identifying the things that were affecting my peace and serenity, in the presence of the family alcoholic, I was able to change some things. The first step prior to making the changes was accepting my faults.
Acceptance: Once I was able to identify the situations where I was responding in really negative ways, I had to accept these character defects that had come to the surface of my understanding. This is the place where I set a conscious goal to do things differently and continued to learn what those things were through attending support group meetings.
Action: Here’s where we begin to respond to the alcoholic’s button pushing in a totally different manner. Please understand that progress is the idea here, not perfection. This type of personality change on our part takes time.
Ideas that will help you not respond negatively to an alcoholic’s behaviors:
1) Once you recognize that your peace is being effected, make a decision to not argue. Remember it takes two people to fight. If you refuse to respond in a negative way then there’s really not much to be argued about with an alcoholic.
2) Learn to say things like; “I’m sorry you feel that way” or “That’s not true.” These short, but simple statements can save you from the old patterns of responding to everything that is thrown in your face in negative ways.
3) Before saying anything, ask yourself these three questions. Is what I have to say kind-is it necessary or is it true? This video is a great: Communicating With An Alcoholic
Learning how to not respond to an alcoholics constant ridicule or anger is going to be a tough job with out help. Please consider finding a support group meeting designed for family or friends of alcoholics. At first this may be a little embarrassing for you to deal with, but as you attend more meetings you will begin to learn how to respond differently to the problem drinkers actions that you are constantly dealing with.