All of the screaming, begging, pleading, arguing and manipulating was continuously rendered powerless over the alcoholic in my life. No matter how hard I tried to control their drinking habits, I encountered one disappointment after another.
Do you have any idea how powerless that you are over the alcoholic in your life? Take a moment to think about what you have done in the past week or so to try to influence their decisions to drink.
Here are a few questions that can help you identify with your behavior:
- Have you tried to convince them that they have a drinking problem?
- Did you tell them how much that they had to drink?
- Did you try to get them to do something other than drinking or going to a place where you knew they would have an opportunity to be with other alcoholics?
- What things did you do to try to keep them with you so they would not drink?
- Did you ask them what their plans were and then tried to pursued them to do something different because you knew they would be drinking?
- Did you search for their liquor and then poured it out once you found their stash?
- Did you nag them about their drinking problem?
I’m guessing that you probably tried to exercise some form of power over the alcoholic in your life during the past week. I would also have to guess that your efforts failed, yes? This is where twelve step groups start with beginners. The first of the 12 steps of the Al-anon program says: “Came to realize we were powerless over alcohol and that our lives had become unmanageable.” For those of us dealing with an alcoholic, this step means that we are powerless over another person’s choice to consume alcohol.
If you really think about all of the things that you have tried to do in order to control the alcoholic in your life and realize that nothing has worked, then you can begin to see just how powerless that you really are over their choices.
What benefit is there for you in realizing that you are powerless?
This is where change can begin that will eventually lead you into having more peace in your life. It is the infancy stage of learning how to let go of an alcoholic. Once you can honestly realize that the things you are doing are having no effect on their decisions to get drunk, then you can begin to let go of trying to control their drinking habits. This is where the “priceless” gift of serenity is found.
This process of changing our behavior is not necessarily an easy one though. For the simple reason that our efforts to try to control the alcoholic’s choices have become a way of life for us. We have literally lost ourselves in this process of trying to change another person. I used to obsess over the alcoholic all day. From the time I rolled out of bed until I went to sleep, I was always wondering what the problem drinker in my life was doing.
When I was a teenager, living with an alcoholic mom, I would try my hardest to make my mother stop drinking. I would yell at her, slam doors, find her Vodka bottles and pour them out, and beg her to stop getting wasted. I was so frustrated with the alcoholic and I was trying everything to convince her to stop. Nothing that I did worked. If I poured out the booze, she would just go and get more. I remember taking away her car keys and leaving the house after I’d poured out all of the liquor. She just called a cab and went to the store to get more. I’ll never forget how she was as mad as a hornet when I came home. I wanted her to quit so bad and everything just ended in her always winning the battle. I was truly powerless over my alcoholic mother.
In order to realize just how defeated we are in trying to control an alcoholic, we must identify with the experiences of others. This is why alcoholism support group meetings are so vitally important to our recognizing that we are powerless over the alcoholic in our lives.
If you want to see positive changes in “your” life, start learning how to deal with alcoholism in the family. The best place to start is by finding an A-anon meeting in your area.