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I set a boundary

Old 11-29-2010, 10:01 AM
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I set a boundary

Woohoo! I set a boundary yesterday and told my dad not to call me if he's been drinking. If he does I will tell him I don't want to talk to him. I told him that these conversations aren't beneficial to him and they are hurting me, so I needed to put my foot down.

He was a little taken aback, but he seemed genuinely willing to make an effort so that's progress as far as making this situation manageable *for me.*

Next step is telling him I won't take him to buy wine when he comes to visit...this one may be trickier and I'm not sure whether I need to give him a heads up beforehand or not. I have a few weeks to decide.
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Old 11-29-2010, 11:28 AM
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Congratulations Daughter! Set those boundaries!
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Old 11-29-2010, 11:32 AM
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Congrats! IMHO it may be easier not to tell him about the second boundary. Giving them anything turns easily into manipulation, anger on their part, etc...
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Old 11-29-2010, 11:44 AM
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Originally Posted by daughter333 View Post
Next step is telling him I won't take him to buy wine when he comes to visit...this one may be trickier and I'm not sure whether I need to give him a heads up beforehand or not. I have a few weeks to decide.
I did this with my XAH--It was actually my first boundary: not buying him booze anymore. At first, I just told me I had no more money. Eventually though, he figured out that I wouldn't buy him booze whether I had cash or not. All I needed to do was tell him I was broke a few times over. My stomach was in knots every time I had to do it, but eventually, he knew where that line in the sand was drawn.

congrats on your boundary!
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Old 11-29-2010, 12:14 PM
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Thanks all for your support!

To clarify, he won't ask me to pay for it, but the other two times he's come here to visit he typically starts looking for a wine store on our way home from the airport.

I think I may wait and see if he asks to stop and then respond if it comes up. Part of me thinks he deserves a fair warning and part of me thinks it's stupid to warn an alcoholic ahead of time that it's BYOB. Hopefully after our conversation last night he's a bit more aware that I'm not OK with being around him while he's drinking. If not I'll have to set the record straight when he gets here!
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Old 11-29-2010, 01:25 PM
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Good for you - that is an excellent boundary.

Personally - if this new boundary (about stopping for wine) is surrounding a visit things could get so stressful. I think I'd say ahead of time that you no longer allow alcohol in the house before he gets there.

I can't imagine going from airport to house, refusing to stop at the liquor store, get home, assuming he doesn't have a car, and then what? He goes nuts without alcohol, he gets riled up for you to go get some? I'm not sure how that would play out.
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Old 11-29-2010, 02:46 PM
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Hi Thumper,

It's a tricky one that I feel conflicted about. He's aware that I'm uncomfortable (at best) with him drinking, so he may not even try. He's usually a wine drinker but I know he sometimes keeps a bottle of something harder in his suitcase when he travels -- (a backup plan?) As much as I'm just flat out uncomfortable with my dad drinking, my guess is he'll come prepared.

My husband and I are social drinkers, so I don't want to say that we don't allow it in the house -- it's not true. In this case I'm leaning towards not making it an issue until/unless it becomes one. If I tell him in advance that I'm not taking him on liquor store runs it's kind of like I'm encouraging him to bring something -- right? Whereas if I say nothing until it comes up it's more like I'm setting a boundary...

What have others experienced along this vein? I realize a lot of people have had much more painful experiences with alcohol than mine (I had moved out by the time my dad got out of control) and abstain from alcohol themselves. For many it's a bit more black and white.
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Old 11-29-2010, 06:24 PM
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It's about darn time we started standing up for ourselves and REFUSE to allow others to walk all over us, abuse, blame, and drag us into their misery. They can have their misery all to themselves.
I once read an excellent book on setting boundaries. I still refer to it. You might check it out. They refer to boundaries like this.
You live next to a neighbor who is constantly throwing his garbage all over your yard.
You continue to pick up the garbage yourself even though it's their mess.
One day you build a fence. This fence is high enough so that they can not throw the garbage in your yard any more. They have to deal with their own garbage.

The book is:
Boundaries: When To Say Yes, How to Say No by Henry Cloud and John Townsend
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Old 11-29-2010, 06:28 PM
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It's not easy in my opinion...

...so I stopped trying to look for the easiest way after about five years. Now I set my boundaries up front and enforce them when necessary. It only took a few years in Al-Anon and a ton of pain for me to get to this point.

I would advise only this-- whatever boundaries you set must be enforced. If you don't all is lost, starting with your credibility. Do not set any boundaries you are not committed to enforcing, no matter how painful that might be.

Take care and good luck.

Cyranoak

P.s. My wife always tested my boundaries because prior to Al-Anon I never enforced them. She doesn't test them now (though she occasionally violates them) and doesn't complain when they are enforced. That's progress Baby!!! I'll take it.

Originally Posted by daughter333 View Post
Hi Thumper,

It's a tricky one that I feel conflicted about. He's aware that I'm uncomfortable (at best) with him drinking, so he may not even try. He's usually a wine drinker but I know he sometimes keeps a bottle of something harder in his suitcase when he travels -- (a backup plan?) As much as I'm just flat out uncomfortable with my dad drinking, my guess is he'll come prepared.

My husband and I are social drinkers, so I don't want to say that we don't allow it in the house -- it's not true. In this case I'm leaning towards not making it an issue until/unless it becomes one. If I tell him in advance that I'm not taking him on liquor store runs it's kind of like I'm encouraging him to bring something -- right? Whereas if I say nothing until it comes up it's more like I'm setting a boundary...

What have others experienced along this vein? I realize a lot of people have had much more painful experiences with alcohol than mine (I had moved out by the time my dad got out of control) and abstain from alcohol themselves. For many it's a bit more black and white.
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Old 11-29-2010, 08:45 PM
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That is a huge accomplishment!

You're starting to understand that you're a valuable person who deserves to be treated with respect. When you're ready to take the next step, tell him on the phone you're not willing to stop at a liquor store.

Keep on keeping on!
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Old 11-30-2010, 03:50 AM
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Daughter,
You have started on your journey of setting boundaries with your alcoholic father. You started by telling your AF not to call you when he is drinking. "I set a boundary yesterday and told my dad not to call me if he's been drinking. If he does I will tell him I don't want to talk to him. I told him that these conversations aren't beneficial to him and they are hurting me, so I needed to put my foot down." You are now concerned about him buying wine while he is visiting you over the Holidays. You wrote "Next step is telling him I won't take him to buy wine when he comes to visit...this one may be trickier and I'm not sure whether I need to give him a heads up beforehand or not. I have a few weeks to decide." "If I tell him in advance that I'm not taking him on liquor store runs it's kind of like I'm encouraging him to bring something -- right? Whereas if I say nothing until it comes up it's more like I'm setting a boundary..." However, you are uncomfortable being around your alcoholic father while he is drinking. You wrote "Hopefully after our conversation last night he's a bit more aware that I'm not OK with being around him while he's drinking. If not I'll have to set the record straight when he gets here!" Yet you and your husband will have your alcohol in your home and will be drinking socially around him. You wrote "My husband and I are social drinkers, so I don't want to say that we don't allow it in the house -- it's not true. In this case I'm leaning towards not making it an issue until/unless it becomes one."

Daughter, you may need to go back to your drafting table and rethink your boundaries you want established with your alcoholic father. I do understand what your intentions are with your father. It's coming from your love and concern about his excessive amount of drinking. I, also, can see enforcing these boundaries as if you were a parent talking with their teenagers about the dangers of drinking while you're drinking a glass of wine or a can of beer; or talking to your teenagers about the dangers of smoking while you are holding and inhaling on a cigarette.

I understand the difference between social drinking and the drinking of an alcoholic, but the alcoholic doesn't! The alcoholic denies they are drinking in excessive amounts, and views their amount of alcohol as normal or as social drinking.

Just my opinion......take what you like......and leave the rest!

*******************************
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Old 11-30-2010, 06:25 AM
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Hi daughter

Great boundary, very clear, precise for both of you and you have given him something to think about - that you dislike talking to him when he has been drinking.

After reading the thread it sounds to me that you have become anxious about stopping at a liquor store on the way home from the airport and feeling uncomfortable about it. My suggestion is not to make a big deal about it, you are driving and if your dad suggests stopping, just say there is no need to stop and that you have some wine at home that you can both share. (you mentioned you are social drinkers) If he persists, just repeat that you have some wine at home but it can be reaccessed tomorrow but for now you just want to get home as its been a long day (or something along those lines).

Have 'one' bottle of wine at home.

You cannot control your dads drinking just by not supplying it or allowing him not to buy his own. He is an adult alcoholic and will find a way to drink even if you dont want him to. Trying to control his drinking is only going to upset you more as you are setting yourself up for failure.

You have already explained that you can not have the boundary 'I will not allow alcohol in the home' as you do.

To me, this is not really about his drinking but his behavior when he has been drinking that you don't like and this is something that you can control of how it will effect you. Set up some boundaries for yourself whereby if your dads behavior is starting to annoy you, simply say I am tired and I am going to bed or you are going for a bath, visit a friend or anything really to take you away from it/him. This is detachment and many of us living with alcoholic partners practice this frequently otherwise they would drive us mad.

Hopefully I have contributed to another alternative boundary to think about and you end up having an enjoyable visit with your dad.
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Old 11-30-2010, 09:39 AM
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I really appreciate everyone's thoughts and support.

Phoenix, you are right that he will not accept why it is different for me to drink than it is for him. Even though I drink socially it's not enjoyable to do so in front of him, so I doubt I will even feel like it.

Many have emphasized that it's important to enforce the boundaries once you've set them. For that reason I want to be sure I'm comfortable and can stick to whatever I decide. I don't think I can know exactly what that boundary should be until the situation presents itself so I think it's best if I wait and see how things play out. Maybe that's unfair to him and may even bring on more stress in the long run, but I guess I'm tired of trying to *****-foot around him. I will just worry about myself and if he's really upset we can always turn around and go back to the airport.
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Old 11-30-2010, 09:40 AM
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Oops, I was trying to say pu$$y-foot and apparently that's a naughty word...

I'm tired of tiptoeing then!
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Old 11-30-2010, 10:33 AM
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IMO (and this is ONLY my opinion) inviting someone into my home knowing they are an active alcoholic but taking steps to force them to detox is not a good idea and is kind of cruel. Depending on how much he drinks, this may not be medically advisable. If he has no ability to get the alcohol while staying with you, he should be given the choice whether or not to come there.
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Old 11-30-2010, 05:00 PM
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Learn2Live, I see what you're saying. I'm not really forcing him to detox though. Like I said there is a good chance he'll bring something with him, which I'm not going to try to monitor or control. There may or may not be a few beers in my fridge by that point, and liquor in our kitchen cabinet. There's even a nice wine store within walking distance of my house. If he really wants it he can get it, but I don't really want to hand it to him or drive him to the store to buy it...is that really a forced detox?
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Old 11-30-2010, 07:07 PM
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I see. No, you're right, not forced detox. I was just thinking of my dad and how much he drinks. It's not safe for him to detox himself; heavy drinkers apparently can have heartattacks detoxing. Thanks for clarifying. Hope the visit goes well.
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Old 12-01-2010, 10:12 AM
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Learn2Live -- I'm glad you brought up that point though. I hadn't really thought about the effects that not drinking can have. Guess I'm still grasping the ins and outs of this problem and need to keep reminding myself that "not drinking" doesn't equal recovery.

This is probably another thread in itself, but how is an alcoholic actually supposed to detox safely? Check themselves into treatment?
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Old 12-01-2010, 10:34 AM
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Detox should happen under medical supervision either at home or at a hospital/treatment center. They are usually given medications to prevent seizures.

IME a person going through detox, or even a shortage of alcohol, is miserable to be around. My xah had a lot of anxiety, irritability, inability to sleep, nervousness, and that was just with cutting down and/or trying not to drink until later in the day. Detoxing itself was under medical supervision (and with medication) and resulted in even more misery.
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Old 12-01-2010, 11:01 AM
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Originally Posted by daughter333 View Post
Hi Thumper,

It's a tricky one that I feel conflicted about. He's aware that I'm uncomfortable (at best) with him drinking, so he may not even try. He's usually a wine drinker but I know he sometimes keeps a bottle of something harder in his suitcase when he travels -- (a backup plan?) As much as I'm just flat out uncomfortable with my dad drinking, my guess is he'll come prepared.

My husband and I are social drinkers, so I don't want to say that we don't allow it in the house -- it's not true. In this case I'm leaning towards not making it an issue until/unless it becomes one. If I tell him in advance that I'm not taking him on liquor store runs it's kind of like I'm encouraging him to bring something -- right? Whereas if I say nothing until it comes up it's more like I'm setting a boundary...
Your discomfort probably is not going to make any difference. I think you are smart to think about this ahead of time. To get clear in your head what you are looking for.

Boundaries are to protect yourself. To keep your life safe and serene.

If you put an alcoholic in a house without enough alcohol and they have no way to get it, you are going to have an issue. If you want your holiday to be peaceful, I personally think you need to be upfront, and not wait until he is sitting in your house to share your boundary.

Lets play this out....

Why are you not taking him to the liquor store? (I'm not really clear on it but that doesn't mean you aren't!)

A: Is it because you simply do not want to participate in facilitating his drinking? You tell him in advance and he brings his own and/or finds another way to the liquor store. He drinks as usual at your house. How do you feel? You tell him when he arrives and he either walks to the store and drinks as usual - maybe he's a little mad at this point - or he drinks every drop of alcohol in your house. How do you feel? Or he is going to have to manage/ration/detox which has a high risk of unpleasant side effects. How is this going to make you feel?

B: Is it because you do not want him drinking around you? If this is what you are trying to get, I think you'll have to be more direct and state it up front, because that is going to take some planning. Your boundary will not change the fact that he is an alcoholic. The boundary can change what you allow in your life and in your home but it isn't going to change him. If he drinks every single day, he is going to drink every single day at your house, or he is going to suffer side effects. If this is your real desire, there are options (he doesn't come, he gets a motel so he doesn't drink at your house but has his own free time to do as he wishes, he stays for only one day, he says he won't drink but does anyway) but they will need figuring out.
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