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? about non-drinking behavior

Old 01-19-2010, 06:22 PM
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? about non-drinking behavior

I posted this under another post....but this is an answer I need. How come an alcoholic who stops drinking without working any program, still acts the same whether drunk or not. Someone descibed it as "muddy" thinking process...even when not drinking. Why wouldn't they have a "normal" reaction to things when not drinking? How is it that their minds think differently? I really need to know. Seems that I still try to negotiate reasonablly with him when he's sober, but he is incapable of that conversation. Would love any thoughts.
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Old 01-19-2010, 06:26 PM
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Mentally, was your husband ever a kind, sweet, gentle, responsible man who would sit down with you and listen to your complaints, and work things out with you? Was he ever someone you could establish boundaries with, and have him respect you, and them, without getting angry? How long ago, and for how long?

Sometimes it is not the alcohol that makes someone a jerk. Are you sure you're not expecting him to be someone he's not?

If he has been an alcoholic for a long time, he hasn't had to face reality for a long time...coupled with this new reality, that you're not willing to be his doormat any more. It is bound to be a huge shock to his system.

On top of that, he still wants you to change your behavior. He wants that doormat back.

And he knows that getting angry is the key to getting you to do what he wants.

Look at you now, right here: You are coming unglued because he's angry, rather than just saying "I don't want to be around that, so I won't." You're scrambling for a medical reason why he's treating you like dirt.

He knows you well.

You can be civil with him (for the kids' sake) without suffering his abuse. If you're willing to stand up for yourself. You are worth it.

Last edited by GiveLove; 01-19-2010 at 08:06 PM.
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Old 01-19-2010, 06:42 PM
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Men...I responded to the question on your other post.

Alcohol chemically changes the brain...and the damage will never fully repair. This causes the WTF moments when they see the reality from inside their heads...and nothing ever matches. My kids and I compare notes...he says one thing to me and two different things them.

Here is my post from your other thread:

Mentallyexh-I have asked the same question. My counselor helped me understand.

Imagine a blown up balloon made of play doh...nice smooth surfaces. Blood flowing in all directions...exactly like it should. Oxygen moving around nicely.

Then take a pencil and stick it all the way into the play doh balloon. In one side and out the other. Now you have a hole. Make many of these all over the play doh balloon and you have the damaged brain of an alcoholic. Blood and oxygen do not make full rotations around the brain because of the holes. Over time those parts of the brain become so damaged...hence the insane behavior. She showed me a book where these things were illustrated. If they stop drinking...the holes close up a bit...but the brain never gets back to its original form.

Brain cells do not regenerate themselves...once gone...they are gone for good.


I hope this helps...
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Old 01-19-2010, 06:48 PM
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My AH was easier to deal with when drinking. Not insanely drunk mind you, just when he was working his way to that point. Once dry, and not working his program, he got totally bizarre. Bizarre thought processes and judgments, manipulations, all of it.

I say he was dry, I really don't have any proof or indication that he was drinking before I left.

He's still insane though - based on what he says to friends and family. Dry, and insane.
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Old 01-19-2010, 08:00 PM
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Dry drunks (those that stop drinking without a recovery program) are the same flaming, manipulative, assholes as drunks. The only difference is that they don't have the excuse of the alcohol.
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Old 01-19-2010, 08:55 PM
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Cool

Over the years I've found that some folks give way too much credit to alcohol. I totally agree with GiveLove, "...Sometimes it is not the alcohol that makes someone a jerk..."

Yes, alcohol kills brain cells (but since we only use about 10% of our brain, there's plenty left), but when the alcohol is removed, the synapses and neurotransmitters find new directions.

I've known many alcoholics (not a majority, but many) who, for their recovery, all they did was put down the booze; they were quite happy, joyous, and free, and lived contented lives. Of course there are AAer's out there (the "I'm right and anyone who doesn't agree with me is wrong" kind of AAer) who will say that if a person doesn't work some program of recovery (preferably AA), then that person cannot be sober, happy--just a mean 'dry drunk.' ...and to show they're 'right' if someone shows up to say that they are sober and all they did was put down the booze.....well, that AAer will usually say that person wasn't a 'real alcoholic' to begin with; probably just a heavy drinker---.....(just gotta be right....LOLOL).

Yes, many folks who just put down the booze can be flaming, manipulative a'holes, but then I know a lot of non-alcoholics who are just that way. Alcohol does NOT make folks act in any specific way, shape, or form, although it does lower one's inhibitions.


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Old 01-19-2010, 09:25 PM
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Not sure if this is the characteristic you're getting at, but a fair proportion of addicts of any kind seem to have hardwired impaired emotional processing, separate from being addicts: google "alexithymia" for more information-- it's more or less the opposite of emotional intelligence. This is my ex husband in a nutshell. But that's about emotional ability only. (Reading up on this personality trait did help me view him with more sympathy and less rage.)

And then there's the idea that alcoholics stop maturing when they start drinking. My former husband is bizarrely naive about a lot of things in a way that most of us outgrow somewhere between 10-20. It has nothing to do with whether he's drunk or not-- the difference between good and bad ideas, and what constitutes the logical consequences of one's choices, seems to escape him. It's not that he doesn't care, he just can't see what you and I would say is obvious.

Good luck!
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Old 01-20-2010, 06:50 AM
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My experience with recovery:

I haven't been sober more than a few months at a time since I was 12. I'm told that there's a ton of emotional development that is supposed to occur in people during puberty and well into their 20s. With me being drunk or high pretty much that entire time, I missed out on a lot of that development. One could say I was emotionally retarded (for lack of a better term).

So I removed alcohol and drugs from the equasion. But that didn't magically repair all the lost emotional development. So now I have to work really hard to catch up. My program of recovery (AA, 12 steps, etc.) includes never-ending work toward self-improvement.
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Old 01-22-2010, 03:25 AM
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I would have to remind you that it is a combination of factors - many mentioned above that put together to make out what you are describing.

Mostly I think three things are important to understand - first when a person stops drinking there is a period of time for the brain an body to clear out and heal from the toxic effects. Second, the person has numbed themselves from every emotion and experience of life, reentry is overwhelming and overstimulating to cope with and include the lack of experience in coping. Third, is the possibility that are not nice people underneath it all and it gets masked by the alcohol.

When my RAH stopped is when I discovered that he had real problems which the A was masking. The degree of repair and reconstruction depends upon how much the person works at it - just the same as any other condition in life.

But I will say this - I share the heartbrokenness of having a spouse become sober and still look the same. I spent two years blaming the A for his behavior and the past year realizing that he has real problems. The hardest part for me is understanding that it is not his fault that he has these problems and he does not feel the same need to work on it as I feel. So it puts the burden of the decision making on me which I am working at slowly.

This is my time to take care of myself as well, so I try not to overwhelm myself and deal with one thing at a time- no hurrying, less stressing. I really don't like how things are but I have to admit that after reading many of the stories here - my life and relationship may not be the way I want it - but it is better to not have to cope with the drinking.
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