6 Ways To Mind My Own Business With An Alcoholic


I hope you can grasp the power in learning how to mind your own business. Learning how to detach from and let go of an alcoholic is the key to finding serenity. When I mind my own business there’s a lot less stress in my life and the lives of others.

1. Practice the habit of only saying things once. If we find ourselves expressing your opinion over and over again that’s a sign of trying to control an outcome. Doing this sort of thing only frustrates us because the other person refuses to see things our way. It can also frustrate the other person because we may be making them feel less than, stupid or inadequate.

2. I can never get in trouble from something I never said. When I think of the things I should have said, didn’t say or could have said, I find myself in an unsettled state sometimes. If I can embrace the power of not interjecting my negativity into a situation, I always have more peace in my life.

3. Refusing to engage with an alcoholic is difficult, but necessary. An alcoholic will try to push every button they can find on us to try to get us to engage in an argument. Minding my own business means I live by the rule to never argue with a drunk.

4. I don’t have to be involved in others affairs. It’s not my responsibility to be the mediator in others relationships. I am not the one who has to fix everyone’s mistakes. The only behavior I am responsible for is my own.

5. Don’t meddle in the alcoholics personal things. Respect the addicts privacy. This means don’t go through phone records, check up at them at work or open their mail. Keep healthy boundaries between their life and yours. The less you obsess over an alcoholic the more emotionally healthy you will be.

Finger Over Mouth6. Step Back, Shut Up And SmileThis is a great way to have more self-control over our unruly tongues. When we feel the frustration mounting and we want to let someone know what our negative opinion of them is use the three S’s approach.  This method works wonders when we desire to practice more restrain over the things we say.

My daughter recently moved into a rental house. At first glance the neighborhood seemed to be acceptable. After living there for a few weeks, her and her boyfriend discovered that there were drug dealers living down the street. She began to share with me how uncomfortable she was with some of the riff-raff that traveled in the front of her house. I heard stories of prostitutes, cocaine addicts, alcoholics and homeless people that disrupted my daughter’s serenity. When she first told me that she was fearful to be home alone, I suggested that she consider moving. This was a solution to the problem since they were on a month-to-month lease. I offered to help them move whenever she was ready. Over the coming weeks, she continued to share new stories of new travelers with me. As her father, I wanted to drill her with the importance of finding another place to live, but I didn’t because I had already made the suggestion for her to move. I could have said; “I told you it wasn’t going to get better, only worse,” but I didn’t. As long as she decides to stay there, all I can do is be a compassionate dad by listening and reassure her that I am here for her when she is ready to move. I believe because I haven’t been judgmental or critical of her and only stated my opinion once that this is the reason that she continues to share with me about what is happening on her street.

woman practicing restraintIt’s not always easy minding my own business. When I was living with an alcoholic, I had to do many things in order to maintain self-control. I think it is important to get things out on paper by keeping a journal. I also exercise to relieve the tensions associated with how others that are close to me live their lives. I attend Al-anon meetings regularly as a reminder that I cannot control others choices. I have also learned the power of letting out my frustrations with the alcoholic on a good friend who understands the pain and frustrations associated with dealing with an alcoholic.

I was actually in a 12-Step meeting recently where the topic of discussion in the meeting was “minding your own business.” There was a lady who shared how her holiday was ruined because of her choice to get involved in a fight between two of her relatives. Two men, a dad and son got into an argument that escalated into a wrestling match. The woman overstepped her boundaries and tried to physically separate them. The experience was awful as she recalled how she had gotten all dressed up to only end up rolling around in the dirt with the two men. As she shared, she seemed to be greatly remorseful for the decision she had made in the moment. Had she just minded her own business, let the alcoholic and the other person wrestle it out, she would have never gotten all dirty on this special holiday. What started out to be a wonderful day with promise of good memories ended in ruin. She shared that if she had only just called the police, rather than jumping in to separate them, things could have been different. Now she is desperately trying to let go of yesterdays’ mistakes and embarrassment so that she can enjoy today.

Finally, just try to incorporate this short saying in your toolbox of life skills: “mind my own business.” When you hear something that ruffles your feathers or are compelled to meddle where you don’t belong, just think: “mind my own business.” If you start practicing this powerful method of having more self-control in your relationship with the alcoholic or anyone, you will find serenity on more occasions than not.


4 comments to 6 Ways To Mind My Own Business With An Alcoholic

  • uncadiane

    Thank you, JC, for these great suggestions. I think I’ll have them tatooed to the inside of my arm, so I can see them at all times!

    My Thanksgiving was ruined because I became emotionally invested in the alcoholic’s behavior. He didn’t ruin it; I did. I needed to stay out of his business and mind my own, but I didn’t do that. And then I suffered for it.

    I’m going to work very hard in the coming day and weeks to MIND MY OWN BUSINESS.

  • Jule Allen

    Control, it seems to be the problem enablers have. They want control much of the time. My mother is a controller and I have to be very careful not to be that way. I’ve noticed that when arguments develop between me and my alcoholic, it’s always because one of us was trying to control the other. My guy goes on a rant about his venomous sister, he expresses his fear that I don’t share his hate / resentment for her. I tell him that it’s none of my business but he still tries to convince me that I’d be better to share his hate. Beware, you can still be accused of doing the wrong thing even when it’s right.

  • Debbi

    Julie:
    Same thing here (except A did the controlling)–my ex-A would say awful things about his mother, sister, daughter and if I so much as agreed with him he would repeat those things back to them & tell them I said then when in fact it was him. He did this with friends also & set me up by asking me to call him at a certain time for something & when I would he would tell the people he was with when my phone call came in that “that’s my controlling wife”. I learned & made up my mind to never call him. I thought to myself I would never call him even if the house was on fire. I did not take his calls unless I could not help it because every phone call he placed to me was also a setup in some fashion. It was awful way to live & I should be glad I’m out of that controlling relationship but I have a long hard road ahead of me now dealing with all the problems of the aftermath.

  • Jule Allen

    Debbi, I’m sorry to hear what you have been through. It’s one of the worst traits of an alcoholic…the slander, lies, and damage control they commit so that they can continue to hide behind another person. I’ve suffered the same in the past when my AH used FB to try and ruin my reputation. I’ve forgiven him and it took me five years to shame him out of ever doing it again. But there are worse things in the world to live with, like paralysis or cancer. I’ll choose something external any day of the week. After all, I’m always looking on the bright side. So I’m accused of by pessimists. Best wishes to you and yours!

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