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I just don't get it.

Old 12-09-2010, 07:36 PM
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Thumbs down I just don't get it.

I know it's a disease and a compulsion and it's just different for him than it is for me.

But really I just don't get it.

Why. Can't. He. Just. STOP???

ARRRRRGH!

Okay, back to being patient now...
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Old 12-09-2010, 08:07 PM
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It is a question that plagues us alcoholics also...read through the New To Recovery forum or the Alcoholism forum. Chronic relapsers begging to know the answer to that question for themselves...Why can't I quit? And these are the folks seeking recovery. There are a lot more who don't ask or just don't want to quit. I hope the person you care about so much learns to care about himself and seeks the help he needs. It isn't easy. I drank for years and never gave a thought to it, never thought it was a problem. Then for a number of years thought I might be drinking too much. But didn't quit. Then for a couple of years I knew I had a problem because I could see it was getting worse. Seems recovery can be as progressive as a drinking problem can be.

Now I'm sober and here on SR hoping to stay that way.

Do you think if your BF read through some of these threads he might see himself and his drinking in our stories? Maybe not. Not until he's ready to admit he's got a problem, I'd think.

Wishing you the best,

Carl
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Old 12-09-2010, 08:50 PM
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I needed to understand that myself: Why can some people drink normally and why can't others?

I found a link here at SR that contains excerpts from the book "Under The Influence". I read the excerpts and immediately ordered the book. It helped me wrap my head around how some people become addicted and how far reaching the addiction can be. Here is the link:

http://www.soberrecovery.com/forums/...influence.html
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Old 12-09-2010, 08:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Pelican View Post
I needed to understand that myself: Why can some people drink normally and why can't others?

I found a link here at SR that contains excerpts from the book "Under The Influence". I read the excerpts and immediately ordered the book. It helped me wrap my head around how some people become addicted and how far reaching the addiction can be. Here is the link:

http://www.soberrecovery.com/forums/...influence.html
A great book - I agree. I have just ordered the follow up book too. This book was a huge factor in me being able to detach (with love) from my AH and really clarifys in a factual way, both physical and psychologically, why many alcoholics cant simply 'just stop'. Good for your nursing education too OP.
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Old 12-09-2010, 09:46 PM
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(((((highfunction)))))

I with over 29 years sober and clean, truly wish I could answer that question for you, however, I have never really been able to answer it for myself, except to say it is an obsession of the mind, and a physical craving of the body that develops for sugar.

I think when I read the line in the first paragraph in Chapter 4 of the book Alcoholics Anonymous I finally understood as much as I ever would:

"If when you honestly want to, you find you cannot quit entirely; or if when drinking, you have little control over the amount you take, you are probably alcoholic."

I can tell you that my life ended up FOCUSED around ALCOHOL. How much I had left, where was I going to get more, when was I going to get more, I couldn't run out, etc etc Alcohol became MY MASTER. Alcohol came before everything else, family, friends, jobs, commitments, etc Alcohol was KING.

Why some become addicted and others don't ............................ well I don't believe all the researchers have come up with that answer yet.

Go ahead and read "Under The Influence", "Beyond The Influence", and Co Dependent No more.

That should help you in getting some understanding, maybe of just what you are dealing with in friend or family member that has this affliction.

Please keep posting and let us know how you are doing as we do care very much.

Love and hugs,
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Old 12-09-2010, 10:33 PM
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It baffles me too. Even knowing that there is a chemical dependency issue in the brain etc, part of me just wanted to yell "Snap out it!!". or "Get it together!!". I also assumed it was going to be easy to rebuild or get in and out of recovery (like it was getting a new hair do or something). There is a term that is used in medicine and therapy: Caregiver and compassion fatigue. I'm very low on the compassion-o-meter right now so I am pulling myself waaaay back before resentment starts to spew out. I'm pulling back so that I can be in a better frame of mind to accept all he is going through in recovery. But most importantly is I need to reclaim MY life back.

It to me is a no brainer: How can you not know how what you do affects others? Read Under the Influence as it has been suggested. That book taught me soooo much but I know exactly your frustration as to what to us seems very obvious to us non-addicts, just STOP!! If I am doing something that hurts people, I stop. If I do something that could destroy my body, I stop. If I do something that even could have a remote potential to make me lose my job or loved ones, I stop and I definately would not do it again and again and again. But that is because I don't have that physical, mental or emotional programming which can lead to alcoholism/addiction.
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Old 12-10-2010, 06:52 AM
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I'll get the book. Can I buy it at the bookstore? I don't want to order it and have it show up at the house when he's home.

I even had my moments early on in the relationship where I looked at him drink and thought, "oh geeze, this is different for him," and I worried about it, but I've gone through a lot of phases of telling myself for SURE he'll stop at some point, because it's so obvious to me that he needs to. Now, after watching him and reading what you all have to say, I'm having my doubts.

I mean, his dad nearly ruined his life with alcoholism. And when his dad went sober, their family life improved ten fold. My bf is a very intelligent man. He knows his dad was an alcoholic, he saw all the damage it did, he watched him recover and saw the benefits. WHY ARE YOU MESSING WITH THIS????

I mean, it's JUST alcohol. How can you risk throwing away your life and health over it. I don't get it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And it upsets me because outside of this, he's so perfect. I love talking about babies with him, and watching him with his little nieces and nephews. I want to keep him!!!

Grumble. Growl. RMPH.
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Old 12-10-2010, 07:18 AM
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And it upsets me because outside of this, he's so perfect.

*sigh*
All of our As have marvelous qualities and can be wonderful loving people when not in the grip of alcohol. But the reality is: They are in the grip of alcohol. Accepting that for me took some real effort.

And I learned that the fantasy and magical thinking of "If they would only stop drinking they would be awesome!" is a complete and total fallacy, because the alcoholism is merely a symptom, and the hard work they would need to do to recover from that addiction - well, we just cannot predict what they will be like or who they will be or if we will be compatible.

If I find myself minimizing the difficulty of qutting alcohol - "Why can't they stop!!!???" I put down the magnifying glass and look in the mirror. Are there things about myself that I would like to change? (Procrastinating? Eating junk food? Short-temper? Magical thinking/daydreaming?)

Hmmmmmm, those are things I'd like to change in myself - and have at various times in my life waged campaigns to try to eliminate them from my bad habits list. Why haven't I been able to just *snap* change these habits? Why do the same issues keep popping up for me for 20 years? There is obviously some psychological need for me to continue these behaviors that overpowers my rational knowledge that these behaviors do me harm.

Now imagine how much more ingrained the addict's bad habits of mind are. The brain is physically addicted - the person has a physical dependence on alcohol. They have re-wired their brain so that - in the same way you or I could go for a certain amount of time without food, at some point we will just begin devouring any and all food in our path because our body needs it to SURVIVE. That's what alcohol has become to the alcoholic. They have so severely re-wired their brain that they need it to survive, that's why withdrawal can be so dangerous for an A.

Under the Influence helped me accept the powerful reality of alcoholism. I will never, ever, underestimate the foe that is addiction, nor judge a person who cannot stop. All I can do is focus on myself, on my own strengths and shortcomings and do whatever is in my power to change myself.

I grew up in an A family and the tendency to fantasize about how great a person could be, about their potential got me into a lousy and unhappy marriage and divorce- so try to stay very much in reality. Yes your ABF may be wonderful except for the booze - but try to accept him 100% for who he is - and that INCLUDES the drinking. And then choose what is best for you and your future based on reality.

peace-
B

P.S. Under The Influence was in my local library, it's a pretty popular title - Codependent No More also usually SEVERAL copies in the library!! :-)
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Old 12-10-2010, 07:28 AM
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It is difficult to quit a substance that I was mentally and physically craving. It runs along trying to get out of a relationship that is not healthy. I've been in both. It's hard to leave someone that is toxic even when you know they are toxic. It's hard to stop taking toxic drugs even when you know they are toxic. Imagine being totally addicted to your bf, needing him before breakfast to start the day, at lunch for a quick picker upper, then a full out binge on him in the evening. That's addiction. Try weaning, hard to do, try tapering impossible, try cold turkey, it gets painful and you want relief. It is not so simple as just stopping. It takes a person having some consequences to realize the situation isn't improving and getting worse. I know it's difficult to understand but it is a compulsion, it is not a moral problem, it's a mental heath problem.
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Old 12-10-2010, 08:22 AM
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Originally Posted by Bernadette View Post
And I learned that the fantasy and magical thinking of "If they would only stop drinking they would be awesome!" is a complete and total fallacy, because the alcoholism is merely a symptom, and the hard work they would need to do to recover from that addiction - well, we just cannot predict what they will be like or who they will be or if we will be compatible.

(snip)

Yes your ABF may be wonderful except for the booze - but try to accept him 100% for who he is - and that INCLUDES the drinking.
Had to repost this because it's so darn right. You rock Bernadette.
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Old 12-10-2010, 10:04 AM
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Originally Posted by highfunction View Post
Why. Can't. He. Just. STOP???
The bottom line is, highfunction, he plain doesn't want to stop yet. It is you who wants him to stop and that will never cut it.

One of our moderators said on a thread yesterday "I have never seen anyone here on SR fail if they truly wanted to stop".

Looking at some of the people posting on our forums, they are simply playing at quitting and as a result they are serial relapsers. IMHO, quitting alcohol has very little to do with the alcohol, it has a lot more to do with having the courage to face oneself in the mirror without a crutch. "Not drinking" isn't the half of it.

(I am only on day 32 but I think I am ready to accept the me without the alcohol this time around)
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Old 12-10-2010, 11:25 AM
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There is obviously some psychological need for me to continue these behaviors that overpowers my rational knowledge that these behaviors do me harm.
Word.

I know that I had coping behaviors while married to RAXH that I no longer need, now that I'm out of that context. I don't know how many As start out by "self-medicating" with alcohol to deal with deep-seated issues. I know my RAXH is even more difficult to deal with now that he's sober, because all he's done is remove the alcohol from the equation. He still hasn't dealt with the reason he started drinking in the first place.
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Old 12-10-2010, 11:38 AM
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I spent hours (? months if you add it up) trying to figure out why. I suppose it did me no harm in that I am a lot more informed, compassionate and empathic because of the knowledge I picked up. However, what really helped me was to realize that the "why" made no real difference to the situation. Unless and until he started to ask the same questions with rigorous honesty, the situation wasn't going to change, because I had no control over whether he drank or not.

The "why"s that really helped were the ones I asked about myself.
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Old 12-10-2010, 11:46 AM
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Originally Posted by NoAlcoholToday View Post
\MHO, quitting alcohol has very little to do with the alcohol, it has a lot more to do with having the courage to face oneself in the mirror without a crutch. "Not drinking" isn't the half of it.
Thank you NAT! I have OCD, and I know that an irrational compulsion is something that cannot be understood by those who don't have one: I've been asked more times than I can count why I don't just stop doing that. Similarly I could tell that alcohol did something for my aexh that it didn't for me; thank God. But it seemed to have the same psychological flavor as my disorder.

However, I don't feel that way about facing the truth. To me, the operative question was not, "why can't my aexh stop drinking", but WHY WON'T HE LOOK AT THINGS FOR WHAT THEY TRULY ARE? Why does he have to lie to himself so much?

I dunno. I'm sure my knowledge is limited, but it seems to me that we all do have the choice to look at ourselves honestly, or not, no matter what.
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Old 12-10-2010, 01:31 PM
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I totally understand the frustration. I still catch myself wantng to know WHY. Most of the time, I'm able to remind myself that I will never understand what it's like to be an alcoholic, and that HE will never know what it's like to be a non-alcoholic living with an alcoholic.

Highfunction, I also really found the book Under the Influence helpful. I found my first copy at Salvation Army, believe it or not. I hadn't been looking for it, just saw it and thought "Wow, this might help me figure out how to talk with him." My next thought was: "No one here knows who I am, so.... they won't know and they can't tell any one else." It felt like I was sneaking a dirty book home. Which in my need to keep XAH's addiction hidden for him, and in his ongoing denial, I kind of was...

After the first copy 'mysteriously disappeared' I found it at a used book store. While I waited to find it, I borrowed it from the library and actually had to request a hold for it because it was out most of the time.

Hugs
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Old 12-10-2010, 03:09 PM
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I love that site too
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Old 12-10-2010, 03:11 PM
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There's lots that I have learned over the past years about addicts - there are some excellent scientific studies out there, for example, that show how the pleasure/reward systems differ between people and this can have a bearing on how people get addicted and how it is more difficult for some to stop than others. That's how drugs like antabuse got developed. And there will be more being done all the time because there is money in finding a drug based "cure". Heck there is money in non-drug based "cures" too.

But unless the desire to stop is greater than the desire to continue, it all come to naught, doesn't it? As a society, we can't find a way to stop illegal drug use, let alone that of a drug that is legal.
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Old 12-10-2010, 03:14 PM
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Originally Posted by highfunction View Post
Why. Can't. He. Just. STOP???

ARRRRRGH!
My opinion: because he's not willing to put in the effort and discomfort, physical and emotional. Believe it or not, this is working for him on some level. People just stop all the time--when they choose to. He is not choosing to.
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Old 12-10-2010, 03:15 PM
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Bolina:
I spent hours (? months if you add it up) trying to figure out why. I suppose it did me no harm in that I am a lot more informed, compassionate and empathic because of the knowledge I picked up. However, what really helped me was to realize that the "why" made no real difference to the situation. Unless and until he started to ask the same questions with rigorous honesty, the situation wasn't going to change, because I had no control over whether he drank or not.

The "why"s that really helped were the ones I asked about myself.


I spent years (including my entire life, decades) asking. . . "the how's & why's" are great to ask. It demonstrates intellectual curiosity and can lead to problem-solving. . . As much as I am big on being "critical thinkers" and "knowedge = power," when it comes to someone else's addiction, I don't ever want to spend another nano-second, asking "why." It just *is.* And, he or she, as you said, Bolina, has to ask for him or herself. (Yes, I will do my best to practice compassion, understanding, & love with boundaries but no more asking "why" about other people's addictions.)

But yes, I spent many years asking. . . I so understand why one would ask this of our loved ones. . . (I just don't want to & will not ask anymore).
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Old 12-10-2010, 03:25 PM
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yorkiegirl, I am all about curiosity. Whenever I do any of those pyschometric tests, it is always one of my top results, along with a love of learning. I am rarely satisfied with the first answer to questions and always want to keep asking why until I get to what I think is the nub of the issue. But having all the answers for someone else's problem when they haven't even asked the question doesn't really help. It's arrogant of me to think that I can decide the questions and then answer those questions for them, it takes away their agency, it also takes away the personal growth that comes from asking those questions for themselves and it takes my focus away from where it belongs i.e. on me.

I know it doesn't always make sense when you can see someone hurting themselves in front of your eyes. I feel the same way now about reading posts on here and these are situations where I do have some true insight into a situation.
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