Go Back   SoberRecovery : Alcoholism Drug Addiction Help and Information > Friends and Family > Friends and Family of Alcoholics
Forgot Password? Join Us!
Register Blogs FAQ Calendar Arcade Mark Forums Read Chat Room [2]


Welcome to the Sober Recovery Community

Already registered? Login above ---^
OR
To take advantage of all Posting, Chatting, Gaming, and all the features available at SoberRecovery, join the over 100,000 current members, and become a member of our supportive community today! Ads will no longer appear on the forums, once you register.



Reply
LinkBack Thread Tools
Old 02-16-2011, 10:23 PM   #1 (permalink)
Member
 
FindingPeace1's Avatar
 

Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: rural west
Posts: 1,366
Blog Entries: 3
is an ultimatum a bad thing?

I am finally boiling down to my bottom line.
Acknowledgement of the dysfunction of lying, overdrinking/addiction/drinking to soothe depression, and depression and the need for active treatment of these issues.
I am finally saying I will accept no less.
My AH is saying I am giving him an ultimatum and that is dysfunctional.

Is he right?
When I think about ultimatums, they don't bring up warm fuzzies.
Maybe I need to just walk and not tell him I require these things.
Maybe it is giving him the chance to comply that makes it dysfunctional (when I already know he doesn't want to).
Maybe it is irrelevant to fuss over it because he won't and I'll be done and it won't add up to a hill of beans one way or the other.

Do you think ultimatums are dysfunctional or the same as setting a boundary of your bottom line and the consequences if not respected?
__________________
We are the ones we have been waiting for. - Alice Walker

formerly named wifeofadrinker, now focusing on myself.
FindingPeace1 is offline  
Digg this Post!Add Post to del.icio.usBookmark Post in TechnoratiTweet this Post!
Reply With Quote
The Following User Says Thank You to FindingPeace1 For This Useful Post:
brokenheartfool (02-17-2011)
Old 02-16-2011, 10:31 PM   #2 (permalink)
Member
 
LaTeeDa's Avatar
 

Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: behind the viewfinder...
Posts: 6,256
Honestly, I think if you have to coerce someone into being who you want them to be, then you're probably better off without them.

Think about it. Even if he did (grudgingly) agree to your demands, he would always resent you for it. And it would probably be held over your head whenever you didn't live up to his expectations.

Is that the kind of marriage you want?

A boundary doesn't demand change. A boundary allows each person to do and be who they are, and make the personal decision of whether the relationship is working or not. A boundary means you stay if you can accept him the way he is. It also means walking away if you can't. It doesn't mean either of you must bend to the others will.

L
__________________
The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it.--Henry David Thoreau

I never lose sight of the fact that just being is fun.--Katharine Hepburn
LaTeeDa is offline  
Digg this Post!Add Post to del.icio.usBookmark Post in TechnoratiTweet this Post!
Reply With Quote
The Following 6 Users Say Thank You to LaTeeDa For This Useful Post:
Helenlee (02-17-2011), MissFixit (02-17-2011), nodaybut2day (02-17-2011), sailorjohn (02-28-2011), stella27 (02-17-2011), wicked (02-17-2011)
Old 02-16-2011, 10:45 PM   #3 (permalink)
Member
 

Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 448
Blog Entries: 3
I personally think there is a fine line btwn an ultimatum and a boundary.

I personally don't think they are bad if your willing to follow through.
But I'm new...what do I know. LOL
blwninthewind is offline  
Digg this Post!Add Post to del.icio.usBookmark Post in TechnoratiTweet this Post!
Reply With Quote
Old 02-16-2011, 10:54 PM   #4 (permalink)
Member
 
LaTeeDa's Avatar
 

Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: behind the viewfinder...
Posts: 6,256
The fine line is this:

An ultimatum requires the other person to change.

A boundary requires you to change.

Boundaries are much more difficult, but ultimately the only lasting and effective solution.

L
__________________
The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it.--Henry David Thoreau

I never lose sight of the fact that just being is fun.--Katharine Hepburn
LaTeeDa is offline  
Digg this Post!Add Post to del.icio.usBookmark Post in TechnoratiTweet this Post!
Reply With Quote
The Following 12 Users Say Thank You to LaTeeDa For This Useful Post:
bookwyrm (02-17-2011), desertgirl (02-18-2011), FindingPeace1 (02-16-2011), Habit (02-17-2011), Learn2Live (02-18-2011), Linkmeister (02-17-2011), nodaybut2day (02-17-2011), sailorjohn (02-28-2011), smacked (02-17-2011), SoloMio (02-17-2011), theuncertainty (02-17-2011), wicked (02-17-2011)
Old 02-17-2011, 05:21 AM   #5 (permalink)
A work in progress
 
LexieCat's Avatar
 

Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: South Jersey
Posts: 8,767
An ultimatum might be considered the final boundary. I felt like it was only fair to let my alcoholic husband know I was considering leaving because of the drinking. I let him know a couple of times that I was reaching my limit of tolerance for the drinking, and if it continued then I would leave. Finally, I told him that the next time it happened I would leave, and I followed through on that. (I didn't say that until all my preparations were in place so I could leave promptly).

Did it "work"? Sure did, I got myself out of the situation with a minimum of tears and drama. I felt like I'd given him every chance to choose recovery, I'd waited long enough that I was satisfied he simply wasn't ready to quit. And there wasn't a big nasty fight, I just quietly left with my stuff (I'd already removed my most precious possessions and irreplaceable papers). I didn't divorce him immediately, but when it made sense to me to do it (he was talking about leaving the country to live with a sister in Africa), I did it.
__________________
Lexie
~ one breath at a time
LexieCat is offline  
Digg this Post!Add Post to del.icio.usBookmark Post in TechnoratiTweet this Post!
Reply With Quote
The Following 5 Users Say Thank You to LexieCat For This Useful Post:
craven (02-17-2011), Learn2Live (02-18-2011), StarCat (02-17-2011), Tuffgirl (02-17-2011), wicked (02-17-2011)
Old 02-17-2011, 07:44 AM   #6 (permalink)
Today is a New Day
 
StarCat's Avatar
 

Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 1,761
Quote:
Originally Posted by LexieCat View Post
An ultimatum might be considered the final boundary.
This is my thought.

"Never drink or else!" - Ultimatum
"I can't be around you when you're drunk, so I'm going to see the movie without you." - Boundary
"I cannot be married to an alcoholic, so the next time you drink, I am filing for divorce." - BOTH

As long as you set your Boundary Ultimatums wisely, with full intentions to follow through on them, I believe it is very healthy.
__________________
Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ I am human, I make mistakes, and that is okay, I have my own permission. <3

The value of words can be measured by the actions behind them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by anvilhead View Post
Imagine if trees mourned the loss of every leaf in the fall, and stayed so sad they never grew new ones...
StarCat is offline  
Digg this Post!Add Post to del.icio.usBookmark Post in TechnoratiTweet this Post!
Reply With Quote
The Following 6 Users Say Thank You to StarCat For This Useful Post:
brokenheartfool (02-17-2011), craven (02-17-2011), Cyranoak (02-17-2011), smacked (02-17-2011), Tuffgirl (02-17-2011), wicked (02-17-2011)
Old 02-17-2011, 09:10 AM   #7 (permalink)
Member
 
Tuffgirl's Avatar
 

Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Anchorage, Alaska
Posts: 4,719
Blog Entries: 3
Quote:
Originally Posted by StarCat View Post
This is my thought.

"Never drink or else!" - Ultimatum
"I can't be around you when you're drunk, so I'm going to see the movie without you." - Boundary
"I cannot be married to an alcoholic, so the next time you drink, I am filing for divorce." - BOTH

As long as you set your Boundary Ultimatums wisely, with full intentions to follow through on them, I believe it is very healthy.
This came up yesterday in a different thread - I ask around, after posting that I have no problems with ultimatums, but more in line with what Star Cat is saying here. The feedback I got is the word itself has negative connotations to it that are big triggers to alcoholics who already don't want to be controlled. So from this point forward, I am going to use the words "terms" and "boundaries" instead of ultimatum, and knowing my RAH, he will say its an ultimatum and I will say, whatever you want to call it is fine by me! They're just words.

That said - I stated my ultimatum very clearly. If he quit drinking and sought recovery and made some healthy changes in his life to begin participating in this marriage and family, I would stay married and do the same. If not, I have to leave. He went to AA for the first month - went being the emphasis - and I left. He was pretty angry, but I think now is beginning to understand that I meant participating in recovery, not attending! There's a difference.

But I was ready to follow through, that was the difference at that point in my life. I was scared to death, but ready. My life had become unmanageable and that's not ok. Plus - there is NO WAY to have a healthy, successful marriage with an active alcoholic, its not going to happen. TakingChange999 posted some great links last week; I read them often because it reminds me of how absolutely impossible it is to have a relationship with someone who already has a relationship with a substance. I'll never be a priority with that in the picture.
Tuffgirl is offline  
Digg this Post!Add Post to del.icio.usBookmark Post in TechnoratiTweet this Post!
Reply With Quote
Old 02-17-2011, 09:26 AM   #8 (permalink)
Forum Leader
 
Seren's Avatar
 

Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 5,768
Blog Entries: 2
Well, ultimatums are useless unless you are willing to follow through with the "or"......

In other words, are you telling him this in an effort to force him, manipulate him into changing, or are you truly telling him what the choices are and what the consequences will be.

"I need X, Y, and Z in order to continue on in this marriage. If that does not happen, then I will A, B, and C." Are you prepared for the A, B, and C......?

If yes, then it is not a bad thing, just a boundary for yourself that has been enforced.

Hugs, HG
Seren is offline  
Digg this Post!Add Post to del.icio.usBookmark Post in TechnoratiTweet this Post!
Reply With Quote
The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Seren For This Useful Post:
Learn2Live (02-18-2011), LexieCat (02-17-2011)
Old 02-17-2011, 09:31 AM   #9 (permalink)
Member
 
SoloMio's Avatar
 

Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: USA
Posts: 863
The other thing about ultimatums that I've finally gotten is that you are taking on the responsibility for someone else to change, and I frankly, don't want that responsibility. So, you give an ultimatum, they comply and change, but that means you are holding the keys to the future--he might be mad that he's missing out on what he REALLY wants to do. You might find it didn't give you the happiness you wanted.

If you simply set a boundary and act on it, that's more of an "in the moment" thing. It means, "I'm not holding you accountable in the future." It's easier to detach from the results.

I say this, because my little winter place is waiting for me at the end of the month. I REALLY don't want this to be, "I'll be back IF you change." I just want it to be, "This is what I'm doing now because I can no longer tolerate my life as it is. You can do as you please."
SoloMio is offline  
Digg this Post!Add Post to del.icio.usBookmark Post in TechnoratiTweet this Post!
Reply With Quote
The Following 4 Users Say Thank You to SoloMio For This Useful Post:
brokenheartfool (02-17-2011), FindingPeace1 (02-17-2011), sailorjohn (02-28-2011), Sylvie66 (02-28-2011)
Old 02-17-2011, 09:49 AM   #10 (permalink)
Member
 
JenT1968's Avatar
 

Join Date: May 2006
Location: UK
Posts: 1,149
Blog Entries: 1
yes that's the difficulty with an ultimatum, I wanted ex to stop drinking and be happy about that, not all miserable and resentful of me for taking his toys away.

When I left AH, I said that I could no longer live with someone whose drinking and behaviour was the way his was. He asked if there was anything he could do. I stated that the only way I would consider giving it any further chance was if we seperated and he got sober for 3-6 months and then we could look at whether we had any marriage worth working on, he accepted the latter terms, but didn't give up drinking for a single day, and bitched about the seperation constantly, I can't imagine how resentful he would have been if he had given up drinking to maintain the relationship.

was that an ultimatum? a gazillionth chance? or a boundary? I neither know nor care, it's over now.
__________________
Ceridwen

is embracing a pre-caxton approach to spelling

JenT1968 is offline  
Digg this Post!Add Post to del.icio.usBookmark Post in TechnoratiTweet this Post!
Reply With Quote
The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to JenT1968 For This Useful Post:
Roon (02-18-2011), sailorjohn (02-28-2011)
Old 02-17-2011, 09:57 AM   #11 (permalink)
Member
 
zrx1200R's Avatar
 

Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Del Rio, TX
Posts: 380
Everyone is different, and they can be effective or not. No clear answer.

My opinion is an ultimatum is really not much different than coming clean. It is simply me saying this is what I need. Period. They alcoholic abuses the relationship in so many ways and on so many levels, then we are told they have to do it on their own. That their recovery can only be successful when they choose to make it, on their terms, and we have no control over it. Fine.

However, setting a minimum standard of behavior you are willing to continue to suffer through, vocalizing it, and sticking to it is well within a reasonable course of action for someone who lives with an alcoholic.

In my particular case, the ultimatum worked. Finally. After years of trying everything else. I had the divorce papers filed and sitting on the table. I said, "you go to rehab today, and do what ever they say. You start working on getting well. These steps are no promise we'll stay married. But not going today is a 100% certain the divorce will be final in 60 days. There will be no second chance". Initially even this didn't work. When my daughters both independently threw in they would never speak to her again or allow contact with her eventual grandchildren, the clue bird came and landed on her shoulder. It was her defining moment. The paths were clearly set. And she could see where each one led. There was no yelling, no fussing. Just clear communication.

This ultimatum, combined with resolve to follow it through and her initial efforts for sobriety have resulted in a huge improvement in my life and my kids life. Still no promise of a fairy tale ending in our story.

But without this "ultimatum" all 4 of our lives would be more difficult.

So I say, YES. They can and do work. And I ask, what do you have to lose by setting one? Once you decide to leave if they can't get well, giving them one more last chance isn't really going to harm you. Perhaps people like us need to do this in order to know we've done everything within our power to honor our commitments. Then with things clearly spelled out in a simple "if, then, else" format our path is clear.
zrx1200R is offline  
Digg this Post!Add Post to del.icio.usBookmark Post in TechnoratiTweet this Post!
Reply With Quote
The Following 4 Users Say Thank You to zrx1200R For This Useful Post:
hwsm (02-27-2011), Learn2Live (02-18-2011), LexieCat (02-17-2011), Sylvie66 (02-28-2011)
Old 02-17-2011, 10:06 AM   #12 (permalink)
Member
 
FindingPeace1's Avatar
 

Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: rural west
Posts: 1,366
Blog Entries: 3
LTD's post is so simple.
It is really resonating with me.
That's why my AH is complaining. He feels controlled! Well, of course he does. I am trying to control him.
100% that is clear and no bueno.
I can see where some of you are coming from, but I think I need to stop that.
I think I need to accept he is who he is (how long have I been saying that...but these things do take time!) and respect his choice to be himself.
"Step away from the addict" - isn't that what they say?
Then there is just my circle of influence left. What am I going to do or change in me to get my needs met?
I think I am getting there!
All the other things I want to happen don't appear to be happening. Wanting them to happen doesn't influence them happening at all! LOL!
This feels right. Not controlling is the respectful way to treat him, regardless of the choices he makes.
That expresses my love for me and him.
And the natural next step to be done here.
Wow.
__________________
We are the ones we have been waiting for. - Alice Walker

formerly named wifeofadrinker, now focusing on myself.
FindingPeace1 is offline  
Digg this Post!Add Post to del.icio.usBookmark Post in TechnoratiTweet this Post!
Reply With Quote
The Following 7 Users Say Thank You to FindingPeace1 For This Useful Post:
bookwyrm (02-17-2011), brokenheartfool (02-17-2011), craven (02-17-2011), Learn2Live (02-18-2011), sailorjohn (02-28-2011), Tuffgirl (02-17-2011), westbank (02-27-2011)
Old 02-17-2011, 04:49 PM   #13 (permalink)
Member
 

Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Pacific Northwest, USA
Posts: 1,777
Just a quick note Tuffgirl...

...and you know I think you are pretty damn cool.

As far as,
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tuffgirl View Post
I'll never be a priority with that in the picture.
My wife and I, who are still together after all the bullshit we put each other through, have had to prioritize and set boundaries based on the following list (it is the only way we can stay together):
  1. AA for her, Alanon for me.
  2. Our Daughter.
  3. Our relationship.

Sadly, neither one of us will ever be a priority over our recovery or our daughter. Happily, we are both really pleased with the results of prioritizing in such a fashion. I can truly say that the last 8 months have been the best months of our relationship (which began in 1998).

Take what you want and leave the rest.

Cyranoak
__________________
Aspiring realist
Cyranoak is offline  
Digg this Post!Add Post to del.icio.usBookmark Post in TechnoratiTweet this Post!
Reply With Quote
The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Cyranoak For This Useful Post:
Tuffgirl (02-17-2011), wicked (02-17-2011)
Old 02-17-2011, 05:32 PM   #14 (permalink)
Member
 
Tuffgirl's Avatar
 

Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Anchorage, Alaska
Posts: 4,719
Blog Entries: 3
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cyranoak View Post
...and you know I think you are pretty damn cool.

As far as, My wife and I, who are still together after all the bullshit we put each other through, have had to prioritize and set boundaries based on the following list (it is the only way we can stay together):
  1. AA for her, Alanon for me.
  2. Our Daughter.
  3. Our relationship.

Sadly, neither one of us will ever be a priority over our recovery or our daughter. Happily, we are both really pleased with the results of prioritizing in such a fashion. I can truly say that the last 8 months have been the best months of our relationship (which began in 1998).

Take what you want and leave the rest.

Cyranoak
Ahhh...shucks...I am blushing! Thanks!

But I am also making close note of your priority list because this is what I am striving for. It's a bumpy road to get there, isn't it? But we seem to make progress...one step forward and sometimes two back...but at least there's the one step forward.
Tuffgirl is offline  
Digg this Post!Add Post to del.icio.usBookmark Post in TechnoratiTweet this Post!
Reply With Quote
The Following User Says Thank You to Tuffgirl For This Useful Post:
wicked (02-17-2011)
Old 02-18-2011, 06:03 PM   #15 (permalink)
Member
 
utopia's Avatar
 

Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Australia
Posts: 798
i wonder if an ultimatum is just my way of trying to punish someone for not doing as i will.
if i just do not want to admit my powerlessness over them and look back at myself, my own life.
utopia is offline  
Digg this Post!Add Post to del.icio.usBookmark Post in TechnoratiTweet this Post!
Reply With Quote
The Following User Says Thank You to utopia For This Useful Post:
stella27 (02-28-2011)
Old 02-18-2011, 07:24 PM   #16 (permalink)
Member
 

Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Pacific Northwest, USA
Posts: 1,777
Look...

...ultimatums are not necessarily a bad thing. They are just different from a boundary, exactly as Starcat so capably described in this thread.

The thing is, you only use ultimatums when they are just that-- ultimatums. And, an ultimatum is only an ultimatum if you are willing and able to manifest whatever consequence you have attached to it. Otherwise, you are just talking out of your ass, and you will lose all credibility.

Bottom line. Use boundaries when it is appropriate. Use ultimatums when they are appropriate. Only you know which is which. None of us can tell you.

Take what you want and leave the rest.

Cyranoak
__________________
Aspiring realist
Cyranoak is offline  
Digg this Post!Add Post to del.icio.usBookmark Post in TechnoratiTweet this Post!
Reply With Quote
The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to Cyranoak For This Useful Post:
bookwyrm (02-19-2011), naive (02-19-2011), wicked (02-18-2011)
Old 02-27-2011, 10:03 PM   #17 (permalink)
Member
 
hwsm's Avatar
 

Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Maryland
Posts: 115
This reminds me of parents who tell their kids "if you don't stop hitting your sister - you're not going to Disney World with us". They have no intention of following through with that threat. And that is exactly what it is - a threat. They know it and the kids know it too. If you make an ultimatum - you have to be willing to follow through with the consequences. Bounderies are broken all the time. They get over-stepped little by little until you don't even remember what they are. My humble opinion is that an ultimatum means "if you cross that line, it means that you are willingly accepting the consequences".
hwsm is offline  
Digg this Post!Add Post to del.icio.usBookmark Post in TechnoratiTweet this Post!
Reply With Quote
Old 02-28-2011, 09:05 AM   #18 (permalink)
Member
 
keepinon's Avatar
 

Join Date: May 2010
Location: central coast, ca
Posts: 1,652
Over on the other f/f board Cynical One just posted How to Help Someone Recover..on there it said that ultimatums ALWAYS work..most people are just not willing to actually follow thru...now obviously this doesn't mean the person will comply, but rather if you say"If you drink..I'm leaving" He either stops drinking OR you leave..so ultimatum works, just maybe not the way you wanted
keepinon is offline  
Digg this Post!Add Post to del.icio.usBookmark Post in TechnoratiTweet this Post!
Reply With Quote
Old 02-28-2011, 09:33 AM   #19 (permalink)
Member
 
FindingPeace1's Avatar
 

Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: rural west
Posts: 1,366
Blog Entries: 3
Quote:
Originally Posted by keepinon View Post
Over on the other f/f board Cynical One just posted How to Help Someone Recover..on there it said that ultimatums ALWAYS work..most people are just not willing to actually follow thru...now obviously this doesn't mean the person will comply, but rather if you say"If you drink..I'm leaving" He either stops drinking OR you leave..so ultimatum works, just maybe not the way you wanted
point taken and well said.

what's the "other f/f board?"
__________________
We are the ones we have been waiting for. - Alice Walker

formerly named wifeofadrinker, now focusing on myself.
FindingPeace1 is offline  
Digg this Post!Add Post to del.icio.usBookmark Post in TechnoratiTweet this Post!
Reply With Quote
Old 02-28-2011, 09:53 AM   #20 (permalink)
Today is a New Day
 
StarCat's Avatar
 

Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 1,761
Quote:
Originally Posted by FindingPeace1 View Post
what's the "other f/f board?"
I would guess this one?
Friends and Family of Substance Abusers - SoberRecovery : Alcoholism Drug Addiction Help and Information
__________________
Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ I am human, I make mistakes, and that is okay, I have my own permission. <3

The value of words can be measured by the actions behind them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by anvilhead View Post
Imagine if trees mourned the loss of every leaf in the fall, and stayed so sad they never grew new ones...
StarCat is offline  
Digg this Post!Add Post to del.icio.usBookmark Post in TechnoratiTweet this Post!
Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing this Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off



All times are GMT -7. The time now is 01:29 AM.


 
National Drug and Alcohol Treatment Centers
 
Drug Rehab | Best Treatment Center | Detox Center | Residential Treatment Center
Cocaine/Crack Treatment | Alcohol Rehab | Heroin/Oxycontin Treatment Center | Crystal Meth Treatment | Marijuana Treatment | Methadone Treatment | Suboxone Treatment
 
Local Treatment Resources and Events
 
Alabama | Alaska | Arizona | Arkansas | California | Colorado | Connecticut | DC | Delaware
Florida | Georgia | Hawaii | Idaho | Illinois | Indiana | Iowa | Kansas | Kentucky | Louisiana | Maine
Maryland | Massachusetts | Michigan | Minnesota | Mississippi | Missouri | Montana | Nebraska | Nevada | New Hampshire
New Jersey | New Mexico | New York | North Carolina | North Dakota | Ohio | Oklahoma | Oregon | Pennsylvania | Rhode Island
South Carolina | South Dakota | Tennesee | Texas | Utah | Vermont | Virginia | Washington | West Virginia | Wisconsin | Wyoming

© 2013 Internet Brands. | Privacy Policy | Terms of Use | Health Disclaimer
A proud member of the SoberRecovery® Network of Addiction and Recovery Websites