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Are alcoholics really sociopaths?

Old 11-10-2010, 09:26 AM
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Originally Posted by acdirito View Post
Are alcoholics really sociopaths?

Been there, done that, but had that lightbulb moment.

What difference does it make to my recovery?

This was someone that I chose to be a partner/lover.

Might be best if I just ask myself, why would I make that choice?
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Old 11-10-2010, 09:55 AM
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I think it's quite healthy to ask why, or how. After all, if we don't understand we can't overcome and move on.

One of the most important things I learned by doing research into alcoholism was that there is no reasoning with a drunk. You cannot discuss things with them and expect sane replies. That definitely mimics a mental disorder, I just don't know which one.

And to the many many spouses and partners of alcoholics and addicts who became that way long after the relationship started - no, it's not you and it wasn't some failing on your part in your choice of a partner. You didn't cause it, and you can't control it.
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Old 11-10-2010, 10:09 AM
  # 23 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by Still Waters View Post
I think it's quite healthy to ask why, or how. After all, if we don't understand we can't overcome and move on.

Yeah, I would agree 100%, it's part of the process, I can relate to feeling that raw at one time, and using that precise term in these forums.
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Old 11-10-2010, 10:29 AM
  # 24 (permalink)  
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Thank you for your responses. I didn't post this with contempt, disdain, hostility or self-righteousness in mind, only something for insight. I'm sorry my post upset some people. I clearly wrote the thread was about the comparisons between a sociopath and an alcoholic. The traits I listed were for sociopaths based on the checklists of H. Cleckley and R. Hare. The checklist was not made by me. I just found the comparisons a codependent could make between our knowledge of an alcoholic and the checklist for sociopaths kind of eerie.

********************************************* ****************

"I came to Al-Anon confused about what was and was not my responsibility. Today, after lots of Step work, I believe I am responsible for the following:

• to be loyal to my values
• to please myself first
• to rid myself of anger and resentment
• to express my ideas and feelings instead of stuffing them
• to attend Al-Anon meetings and keep in touch with friends in the fellowship
• to be realistic in my expectations
• to make healthy choices
• to be grateful for my blessings

I also have certain responsibilities to others:

• to extend a welcome to newcomers
• to be of service
• to recognize that others have a right to live their own lives
• to listen, not just with my ears, but also with my heart
• to share my joy as well as my sorrow"
(from Courage to Change, One Day at a Time in Al-Anon II, page 85). Reprinted with permission of Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters, Inc., Virginia Beach, VA
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Old 11-10-2010, 10:30 AM
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Are alcoholics really sociopaths?

The reason the above title and post offends me is because it is so generalized.
If it had been, "Are SOME alcoholics really sociopaths?", I would not have replied the way I did.
I also qualify as friends and family as well as being an alcoholic.
For this reason I know both sides, and that there are different types of alcoholic.
It has also been stated above, that the guilt and remorse felt by the A is for themselves. I respectfully disagree.
It is very upsetting to have a friend/family member an alcoholic, but it is also not fair to paint all alcoholics with the same brush or make blanket statements about how we "feel".
I also have resentment toward my NON alcoholic parent for not taking action.
Poor choices and actions are not only on the part of the alcoholic.
Yes, it is a family disease, but if I am to respect the right of someone to post this, I will also expect others to respect my right to disagree.
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Old 11-10-2010, 10:40 AM
  # 26 (permalink)  
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Hollyanne,
I don't think anyone here can paint all alcoholics with one brush, but they can feel and express how they feel and express about the alcoholic that they live and deal with.
I know I have made poor choices and actions in response to my loved one being an alcoholic. I am quite sure everyone here has, and most of them know it, as well. That's a big part of the reason why we are here posting.

I think that I do not understand you statement about having the right to disagree with Acridito, as she made no statement, but rather posed a question.

I am sorry that it hit you the wrong way. Keep posting. Nobody begrudges you or anyone for having difficult times, for feeling angry or defensive.

Just curiously, in response to you harboring resentment towrd your parent for not acting, I wonder how old you are? Your profile only lists start date and location.

Please do keep posting. We are here to have these discussions. Her posts trigger your posts trigger other posts trigger other questions. Everyone finds something here. It is good work to do.
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Old 11-10-2010, 10:47 AM
  # 27 (permalink)  
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Dear Hollyanne, you are RIGHT! I should have been more specific. There is an old adage that states I may not always agree with what you say but I will defend your rights to say it.

********************************************* ****************
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Old 11-10-2010, 10:55 AM
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I try hard not to hang out my shingle on armchair psychology, personally.

Are there a lot of those traits that I had while active in alcoholism? You bet.

Did my EXAH have a lot of those traits? You bet.

Are there non-alcoholics who have some of those traits? You bet.

To the best of my knowledge, there is no cure or treatment for a sociopath. They are what they are.

Today I am not the same person that I was when drinking, thank God.
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Old 11-10-2010, 10:56 AM
  # 29 (permalink)  
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I used to enjoy nothing more than a good verbal bashing of alcoholics...

...but not anymore. As many of us do, I know several alcoholics. I'd say none of the ones I know are sociopaths based on your description, though at times their behavior has resonated of sociopathy. To me it looks more like selfishness elevated to a super-human level. Alcoholics being alcoholics. It's like being mad at dog for barking, or a snake for biting. Good God, it's what they do-- they are dogs and snakes!

I do know that my wife could not have done most of what she did without my support and help. Without me cleaning up the messes, covering for her, paying for everything, taking care of our daughter, and pretending like it was going to go away most of it would have been, literally, impossible. I'm a piece of work.

That said, as catharctic as this post probably felt, I'm not sure it's doing anything for the greater good.

Take care,

Cyranoak
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Old 11-10-2010, 11:12 AM
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Originally Posted by acdirito View Post
Dear Hollyanne, you are RIGHT! I should have been more specific. There is an old adage that states I may not always agree with what you say but I will defend your rights to say it.

********************************************* ****************
acdirito,
ya got me with voltaire.


i am a recovering alcoholic, i never acted like a sociopath, i was completely withdrawn in my major depressive disorder.
but, my father, well, he had many of those traits and died of cirrhosis of the liver.

i felt defensive as hollyanne did, and i have not had a drink in 14 years. i know you were speaking of one alcoholic, but the title was misleading.
you are a good woman acdirito, who has been through hell.
i admire your ability to express yourself and to accept others opinions.

thank you for this thread, and what i have learned from it.

Beth
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Old 11-10-2010, 11:15 AM
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do know that my wife could not have done most of what she did without my support and help. Without me cleaning up the messes, covering for her, paying for everything, taking care of our daughter, and pretending like it was going to go away most of it would have been, literally, impossible. I'm a piece of work.
Ya know cyranoak, you are great at taking responsibility for your part.
wow, that is tough i know. cause not only was i an alcoholic, i began my recovery by diving headfirst into my ex husbands alcoholism.
i might have a crush on you, but i think my heart belongs to coyote.
LOL

you are a good guy cyranoak, and i appreciate your input here.
i look forward to it.

Beth
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Old 11-10-2010, 11:34 AM
  # 32 (permalink)  
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This sure has been an interesting thread although I'm sorry people felt uncomfortable with it.

My xah showed some of those symptoms. I certainly do not think of him as a sociopath and never did.

I think my mom was probably in the beginning/middle stages of alcoholism when she died of other causes. It is hard to reflect accurately but I don't think she really had any of those symptoms.

I'm a little to fearful to think what kind of mental illness label might be tacked on to a raging codie I'm not going there.
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Old 11-10-2010, 01:48 PM
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The alcoholic partner that was in my life sure was troubled, that's for sure. Was this woman thoroughly evaluated by a qualified psychologist...no. Did I slap a crazy label on her...yes I did. Did it help me move past the anger and into healing for myself...no.

I could easily recognize that living with AGF was no longer an option. What helped most was to take the wasted scrutiny I was spending on her and divert my attention to what I need to do in order to live safe and sane.
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Old 11-10-2010, 02:37 PM
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Hi everyone......it seems to me that further discussion of this sort by us only leads to more misunderstandings. Just so I am perfectly clear, this is just my opinion, and your mileage may vary.
  • It is true that I do not understand what it is to be an alcholic or an addict because I am not one.
  • It is also true that many alcoholics and addicts have experienced being the "friend or family" prior to becoming addicted, so they have seen both sides of the fence.
  • It is also true that just because I have not experienced addiction that I am somehow less valuable and that my opinions and ideas don't count.
  • I do frequently read the other forums in an effort to better understand addiction even though I know I will never fully understand.
  • I do not often post on the other forums except to congratulate an accomplishment, nor do I take addicts to task because of any issue I have with my "qualifier".

Speaking for myself, the only thing that I can do is decide how I want to be treated and what I am willing, or not, to put up with behavior-wise.

We all have our own path to trudge along, and hopefully we can have more and more days when trudging becomes skipping, hopping, whistling or even dancing!

Hugs to all, HG
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Old 11-10-2010, 03:21 PM
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I don't know if all alcoholics are sociopaths, but I can check every single thing on that list as far as my not-soon-enough-to-be-ex-AH goes. Seriously.
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Old 11-10-2010, 03:34 PM
  # 36 (permalink)  
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I see many of those definitions in the one I know. Gladly my attention has shifted to what I can do with my day today. I accepted I will never get the why's about someone else. I do not even know the why's about me, lol.

I already thought too much about why he says, acts,the way he does. Anti social? you bet, drunk driving.. how more anti social and self destructive can you get? anyway reality is still the same for him.

If I do the same study-why I say, act the way I do- I find a deeper understanding of myself and I find many tools to keep this ship on sea and taking the course I want it to take. It is more fruitful.
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Old 11-10-2010, 03:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Buffalo66 View Post
Hollyanne,
I don't think anyone here can paint all alcoholics with one brush, but they can feel and express how they feel and express about the alcoholic that they live and deal with.
I know I have made poor choices and actions in response to my loved one being an alcoholic. I am quite sure everyone here has, and most of them know it, as well. That's a big part of the reason why we are here posting.

I think that I do not understand you statement about having the right to disagree with Acridito, as she made no statement, but rather posed a question.

I am sorry that it hit you the wrong way. Keep posting. Nobody begrudges you or anyone for having difficult times, for feeling angry or defensive.

Just curiously, in response to you harboring resentment towrd your parent for not acting, I wonder how old you are? Your profile only lists start date and location.

Please do keep posting. We are here to have these discussions. Her posts trigger your posts trigger other posts trigger other questions. Everyone finds something here. It is good work to do.
No, she didn't make a statement. She did ask a question.

I find it interesting the reaction to this in the thread made about it in the Alcoholism forum. It's not like "one of those people" drug this over there.

Denial is an amazing thing.
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Old 11-10-2010, 03:43 PM
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This is a ridiculous topic. I feel if you want to hear the answer you prefer to this question then go pay a professional to validate it.
I wouldn't be hurt to see this thread end. And the other one that was posted in rebuttal. I hate to see us break down in a "us or them" mentality. We are all better than this whether addict/alc. or friends and family.

We are stronger together!
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Old 11-10-2010, 04:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Still Waters View Post
I find it interesting the reaction to this in the thread made about it in the Alcoholism forum.
I was really kind of surprised by that also. My layman's impression of 'sociopath' centers around lack of remorse or guilt, which really doesn't fit most alcoholics. We tend to be plagued by that, in general, although few of us can admit it. Scared little people putting on a tough act. But otherwise, I was kind of stunned that so many of my fellow alcoholics don't recognize some of those traits in their own behavior.

Maybe it's only me who was the sociopath. Or maybe I just see things differently today.
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Old 11-10-2010, 04:30 PM
  # 40 (permalink)  
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The Jekyll and Hyde aspect of addiction, the people we married or fell in love with, or the children we raised - as opposed to who they become when under the influence of these poisons....

Yeah, while active in addiction most if not ALL of the things on the list are there. We have lived with them, lived in fear of them. Cried buckets over them.

That Hyde, that horrible demon that took over the person we knew, luckily is treatable. But to deny that alcohol or drugs create characteristics like those listed...well, I'll just say that I've witnessed it firsthand.
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