The Long and Winding Enabler Road. - SoberRecovery : Alcoholism Drug Addiction Help and Information
Go Back   SoberRecovery : Alcoholism Drug Addiction Help and Information >
Register Blogs FAQ Members List Calendar Arcade Mark Forums Read




Reply
LinkBack Thread Tools
Old 12-08-2017, 01:07 PM   #1 (permalink)
Member
 

Join Date: Dec 2017
Posts: 7
Lightbulb

The Long and Winding Enabler Road.


A short overview. I started dating my high school crush last year after meeting at our high school reunion. I knew he drank. I have had 30 years experience with Alanon and live my life by their principles. Why would I do this? I see beyond the alcohol. I see the man that has a heart of gold. That watches out for me, most of the time.

When we met he "was not an alcoholic, just an Irish Drunk that likes his drink." Today he "is an alcoholic" in his mind. He doesn't work and his "helpers", the network of family, all enablers, makes sure he is okay. Financially supporting his needs. His ex-wife ensures he has his best friend (the whiskey) with him.

In October I did an emergency visit to him because he was not feeling well. His family said you will be okay, just wait. I took him to the ER with a resting heart rate of 180. It was alcohol induced heart disease. If he didn't go to the hospital that morning, he would have died. He was told NOT to drink. He was in for 4 days and when he got out stayed sober for 2 weeks. The longest he had. Then the ex "helped" him out. He is back up to 2-3 gallons of whiskey a week. While in the hospital the nurse told me that he would need rehab out of the area, so I have found a center that meets everything he needs. I have been talking to him about it through the anger, bravado. He has told me he is not adverse to the idea, but it is never a good time. I am not giving up though.

Now my quandary. I reached out to his family to try and have them do a formal intervention. The kick back was horrible. Rather than try to do an organized intervention, they all called him and told him what I was trying to do. His aunts are mad that I had the audacity to think he had an issue, after all I was not family. He was just a binge drinker. Even his AA uncle said "I don't see where you need an intervention, you are just a binge drinker." A binge drinker is not almost every day and a gallon in a 24 hour period. I am battling a network of enablers and impossible odds.

My question is how do I talk around this network of enablers? I plan to talk about how he feels trapped and controlled by them. How he wants so much more. Beyond that I am at a loss. They have a longer history with him, than I do.

I am going up there this weekend and have an intervention letter for him. The center recommended giving it in person rather than sending it.

He knows I am not going to stop. I told him if he didn't want to hear it and was happy where he was don't call again. He also hasn't thrown the brochure away. Any guidance would be appreciated.
CarrenBlackwell is offline   Reply With Quote
The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to CarrenBlackwell For This Useful Post:
HardLessons (12-08-2017), ladyscribbler (12-08-2017), maia1234 (12-08-2017)
Old 12-08-2017, 01:22 PM   #2 (permalink)
Member
 
ladyscribbler's Avatar
 

Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: Iowa
Posts: 3,043
A big part of my recovery, and probably one of the hardest, was learning how to deal with other people who had been impacted by alcoholism. Every last one of them needs to get to Al Anon, like, yesterday.

Much like I'm powerless over alcohol, I'm also powerless over other people's decisions to enable an alcoholic, and whether or not the alcoholic accepts that enabling.
__________________
The hour of justice does not strike on the dials of this world. -Maurice Maeterlinck
ladyscribbler is offline   Reply With Quote
The Following 6 Users Say Thank You to ladyscribbler For This Useful Post:
CarrenBlackwell (12-08-2017), firebolt (12-08-2017), FireSprite (12-08-2017), glenl (12-08-2017), LifeRecovery (12-08-2017), maia1234 (12-08-2017)
Old 12-08-2017, 01:29 PM   #3 (permalink)
Member
 

Join Date: Dec 2017
Posts: 7
I agree I am powerless over their actions. I can only control myself. I wouldn't be doing this if he didn't say he wanted to stop. If he said he was happy where he was.

I am left navigating around the mines, across the atom bombs, hoping for Daisy's on the other side. All I have is hope. I recognize this may not work, but something is driving me to try against all odds. I don't know what tomorrow will bring, but today I have serenity that I am doing the right thing.

Congrats on your recovery!!!!
CarrenBlackwell is offline   Reply With Quote
The Following User Says Thank You to CarrenBlackwell For This Useful Post:
maia1234 (12-08-2017)
Old 12-08-2017, 01:33 PM   #4 (permalink)
Member
 
FireSprite's Avatar
 

Join Date: May 2012
Location: Florida
Posts: 6,782
Blog Entries: 1
Welcome to SR!

The thing that pops out to me most about your post is the dichotomy between these thoughts:

Quote:
I have had 30 years experience with Alanon and live my life by their principles.
Quote:
I am not giving up though.......... He knows I am not going to stop.
They don't line up for me.

He's been hard-core drinking for how long? And you've been dating for less than a year? How is this yours to manage or dictate?

His enablers certainly aren't doing him any favors, but it's not up to you to step in & speak on his behalf. That's HIS side of the street, not yours, IMO. If he wants this situation to change, it's up to him to create that change.
__________________
~FireSprite
FireSprite is offline   Reply With Quote
The Following 8 Users Say Thank You to FireSprite For This Useful Post:
biminiblue (12-08-2017), CentralOhioDad (12-11-2017), glenl (12-08-2017), honeypig (12-08-2017), LifeRecovery (12-08-2017), maia1234 (12-08-2017), PuzzledHeart (12-08-2017), SparkleKitty (12-08-2017)
Old 12-08-2017, 01:35 PM   #5 (permalink)
Member
 
FireSprite's Avatar
 

Join Date: May 2012
Location: Florida
Posts: 6,782
Blog Entries: 1
Quote:
Originally Posted by CarrenBlackwell View Post
II am left navigating around the mines, across the atom bombs, hoping for Daisy's on the other side.
Not true - this is a choice you are making, not something happening "to" you.
__________________
~FireSprite
FireSprite is offline   Reply With Quote
The Following 5 Users Say Thank You to FireSprite For This Useful Post:
CentralOhioDad (12-11-2017), glenl (12-08-2017), HardLessons (12-08-2017), honeypig (12-08-2017), maia1234 (12-08-2017)
Old 12-08-2017, 01:41 PM   #6 (permalink)
Member
 
AnvilheadII's Avatar
 

Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: W Washington
Posts: 11,294
i'm curious with all that Alanon under your belt, why you have made someone else's problems YOUR problems, someone else's fight YOUR fight?

you have a very strong desire to RESCUE. to the point you state you will NOT give up. what about live and let live? you seem to have taken everybody's inventory with the exception of one person................
AnvilheadII is offline   Reply With Quote
The Following 5 Users Say Thank You to AnvilheadII For This Useful Post:
CentralOhioDad (12-11-2017), glenl (12-08-2017), HardLessons (12-08-2017), honeypig (12-08-2017), maia1234 (12-08-2017)
Old 12-08-2017, 01:43 PM   #7 (permalink)
Member
 

Join Date: Dec 2017
Posts: 7
That is correct. It is NOT happening to me. I have chosen to take this path with full knowledge of what I am doing. I am choosing to tip toe through the mine fields and across the atom bombs.

I am doing this because he says he wants more than what he has now. He is not happy where he is. Because, he doesn't know how to stop. He is not allowed to stop by the support system around him. The give him implicit consent to drink and then tell him he is just a F*** up. Literally. It is a battle for what he wants. It is a battle for what he doesn't want.

Alanon, 30 years. Alanon is not about walking away, unless it is required. It is not about fixing the addict. It is about making sure you take care of yourself. That you are able to live serenely. I am doing that.
CarrenBlackwell is offline   Reply With Quote
The Following User Says Thank You to CarrenBlackwell For This Useful Post:
maia1234 (12-08-2017)
Old 12-08-2017, 02:16 PM   #8 (permalink)
Member
 

Join Date: Aug 2014
Posts: 2,713
Carren,
Welcome and glad you reached out. I also agree with the other posters. Hon, he is legal to drink and it is not illegal to kill himself drinking. It is not a "codies" responsibility to save our addicts, as you know from being a "30-year member" of alanon.

I tried to "save" my addict for 34 years. Sobriety never happened for "me". I nearly killed myself trying though, as I didn't give up easily. I am not sure what you are asking from us. It sounds like you know what is best for your boyfriend. Getting mad at his family for what they are doing is fruitless. You have been around one year. These people have lived with a lifelong addict and are really fed up with it, their attitude is "just keep" the "drunk" happy.

If he says "he wants more then what he has now," what part of that is your "job"? He can go and find that "more" if he chooses, as I am sure he knows that he has to stop drinking. Point him to the New to recover forum on SR and have him read the posts. Men and women every day are on that sight committed to sobriety, working a program, getting a sponsor, doing service work, doing 90 meetings in 90 days. I bet if you went to that forum and asked 1000 people if any of them ever got sober because of their spouse/loved one/ significant other wanted them too, they all will say No.

My advice would be to hit some alanon meetings or an addiction therapist. Reach out to your sponsor for support. Work on why you feel his sobriety is your job. We all get what you are trying to do as we have all walked in your shoes. But keep reading all the stories here of how all of us have tried to save our addicts, and it just doesn't work. Hugs to you and I am sorry.
maia1234 is offline   Reply With Quote
The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to maia1234 For This Useful Post:
FireSprite (12-08-2017), glenl (12-08-2017)
Old 12-08-2017, 02:29 PM   #9 (permalink)
Member
 
FireSprite's Avatar
 

Join Date: May 2012
Location: Florida
Posts: 6,782
Blog Entries: 1
Who suggested walking away? I suggested letting go of controlling other's actions - that's not the same thing.

"Living serenely", to me, does NOT include "tiptoeing through mine fields and atom bombs".

Truth is, no addict "knows how to recover", which is why so many resources are available if/when they are ready to reach out.

It's nice for him, isn't it, having all of you at odds over him while he happily drinks away? Do you seriously think he is incapable of saying No? Or is it more likely that he doesn't WANT to, but is willing to say whatever it takes to make you happy at the same time? Of course that's illogical, we're talking about full blown, advanced addiction here.
__________________
~FireSprite
FireSprite is offline   Reply With Quote
The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to FireSprite For This Useful Post:
glenl (12-08-2017), maia1234 (12-08-2017)
Old 12-08-2017, 02:38 PM   #10 (permalink)
Member
 

Join Date: Dec 2017
Posts: 7
It is not my job to make him sober or to tell him NOT to drink. I have no control over that. However continuing the dialogue about what he wants out of life and how to get there is something I can do. It is done without expectations, only hope.

You say it NEVER works. Never is a all encompassing word. My first husband is an alcoholic. He has been in recovery for almost 30 years. If I didn't have the conversations, he would have never sought AA. So Never is not a true statement. I appreciate your sentiments and there is a lot of truth in it. I am seeing that I stepped out of bounds by trying to get the family involved. I appreciate that.

When I say I won't stop, it means I won't stop the conversations. I don't stop him drinking. I can't it is out of my control. I don't even berate him about it. I also don't provide alcohol. We talk about what he wants and how he can get it. Saying give up is the easy way out.

I also will not put myself in harms way. It has to be his choice and not mine. I can't force him. I know that. I can show him there is more to life than what has been provided to him and what is enabled by his family. The choice is his a Life, or what he has. When he decides I will accept it. That is his choice, his life.
CarrenBlackwell is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-08-2017, 02:45 PM   #11 (permalink)
Member
 

Join Date: Dec 2017
Posts: 7
Thumbs up

Quote:
Originally Posted by FireSprite View Post
Who suggested walking away? I suggested letting go of controlling other's actions - that's not the same thing.

"Living serenely", to me, does NOT include "tiptoeing through mine fields and atom bombs".

Truth is, no addict "knows how to recover", which is why so many resources are available if/when they are ready to reach out.

It's nice for him, isn't it, having all of you at odds over him while he happily drinks away? Do you seriously think he is incapable of saying No? Or is it more likely that he doesn't WANT to, but is willing to say whatever it takes to make you happy at the same time? Of course that's illogical, we're talking about full blown, advanced addiction here.
Very true Spitfire. Triangulation is a great tool for a puppeteer. That is why I reached out to the family to try to get a consolidated front. Break down the triangulation.

Yes it is full blown addiction. His helpers have reinforced he is a F Up so much he believes he can't do anything else. That has changed since I met him.

I can only talk and what he decides is what he decides. I then have to decide if I want a LIFE or what he has. Guess what I want? A LIFE. I am not a martyr only a friend trying to help. But it takes two and if the other person doesn't want to help, then it is time for walking shoes. Yes I recognize, I can only do so much.
CarrenBlackwell is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-08-2017, 02:57 PM   #12 (permalink)
Member
 
NYCDoglvr's Avatar
 

Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: New York, NY
Posts: 6,119
Alanon taught me an important lesson: don't offer unsolicited advice. He's an adult and knows the risks. I understand the family being upset when an outsider tries to intervene. Alanon is wonderful and I've had to return for a refresher course when I try to tackle other people's problems when uninvited.
NYCDoglvr is offline   Reply With Quote
The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to NYCDoglvr For This Useful Post:
AnvilheadII (12-08-2017), biminiblue (12-08-2017), maia1234 (12-08-2017)
Old 12-08-2017, 03:04 PM   #13 (permalink)
Member
 

Join Date: Aug 2014
Posts: 2,713
"I bet if you went to that forum and asked 1000 people if any of them ever got sober because of their spouse/loved one/ significant other wanted them too, they all will say No."

"You say it NEVER works. Never is a all encompassing word. My first husband is an alcoholic. He has been in recovery for almost 30 years. If I didn't have the conversations, he would have never sought AA. So Never is not a true statement. "

I get that you feel that because of your conversations, he would never have sought AA. What I said what was "if any of them ever got sober because of their spouse/loved one/ significant". Meaning because we yelled at them, screamed at them, cried at them, begged them, threatened them. That is what I am saying. They don't get sober because we love them, they get sober because they are sick and tired of being a drunk. I hope that your boyfriend will find that peace one day. It's not easy to love an addict.
maia1234 is offline   Reply With Quote
The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to maia1234 For This Useful Post:
AnvilheadII (12-08-2017), FireSprite (12-08-2017), NYCDoglvr (12-09-2017)
Old 12-08-2017, 03:22 PM   #14 (permalink)
Member
 
AnvilheadII's Avatar
 

Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: W Washington
Posts: 11,294
I am doing this because he says he wants more than what he has now. He is not happy where he is. Because, he doesn't know how to stop. He is not allowed to stop by the support system around him. The give him implicit consent to drink and then tell him he is just a F*** up. Literally. It is a battle for what he wants. It is a battle for what he doesn't want.

he's how old???? by now it should be VERY clear, that regardless of what he SAYS, this is the life he has built and the life he seems quite unwilling to change.

i can say i want to be an astronaut or a millionaire, but just saying it don't make it so. if HE really wanted to stop, he would FIND a way. how to get sober is hardly a secret. you can't watch TV without getting hit with treatment ads. AA has been out of the closet for a long time now. The ER, detox, residential treatment are ALL available to him.............saying his "enablers" won't let him is a load of doo doo.

The choice is his a Life, or what he has. that just smacks of condescension....he HAS a life, and he is living it right now and was doing so for DECADES without you. YOU want him to have the life that YOU think he should have. you aren't leaving him to it, you have an agenda.
AnvilheadII is offline   Reply With Quote
The Following 5 Users Say Thank You to AnvilheadII For This Useful Post:
biminiblue (12-08-2017), CentralOhioDad (12-11-2017), FireSprite (12-08-2017), maia1234 (12-08-2017), SparkleKitty (12-08-2017)
Old 12-08-2017, 04:36 PM   #15 (permalink)
Member
 

Join Date: Mar 2016
Posts: 844
Wow

Kudos to you for knowing that your first requirement is to take care of yourself. Kudos to you for the willingness to help someone you care about get treatment for a deadly addiction.

I have found alanon to be a good resource for self care, and many other things stick in my mind about the program. Its said people get to take what they want and leave the rest (in the dust). Its said that people in the program are supposed to offer support based on their similarities and not their differences (of situation, opinion, and all that good stuff). One other important note is that since its based on AA and the 12 step stuff, in their big book it says that their programs are meant to work in correlation with the medical sciences - doctors, psychologist and the like.

The medical profession says that family and friends are great influencers and often help people identify substance abuse issues, realize the impact its having on their life, walk through the maze of treatment options to find what Might work best for their particular needs.

And didn't you say you had talked to someone and they advised you write a letter and even hand deliver it. and they recommended he get away from the people who are leaving him to his own devices, telling him he doesn't have a problem, or that he doesn't need any help to solve it. I think you did.

You are doing all the right things in my opinion. I also helped my husband get treatment, and it took a while. No regrets and its stuck so far.

We had a similar issue sort of with family. His parents knew he had a problem, and wanted him to get help, but his mom only wanted him to get help through surrendering and working the program she wanted him to work. Even though he made a choice to seek professional help, she could not be encouraging, supportive.

Our family and friends do greatly impact our emotions and ideas. While his mom had every right to have her own opinions, and to decide she would not be supportive - we also had a right to eventually consider her "toxic" to our family.

You asked how to navigate his family. And you already know you cant force them to do anything, or feel anything different. All I can say is share your facts about binge vs everyday drinking. Im assuming there is a chance they just don't understand or know whats going on?

With me, I basically did a lot of listening to my husband, research on what types of stuff were available, and encouraged him to try. Knowing it could take multiple attempts and maybe changes in his recovery plan along the way. If he wanted to make his life better then he needed to do something. Things wouldn't get better if he did nothing. And he tried, not crawling in for help or jumping up and down with anticipation, but he got in the door of the therapist office and it started a progression.

Also another antidote. Its not my business what anyone else thinks of me. If they have a problem with me, its their problem to wallow in.
aliciagr is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-09-2017, 12:20 PM   #16 (permalink)
Member
 

Join Date: Dec 2017
Posts: 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by aliciagr View Post
Wow

Kudos to you for knowing that your first requirement is to take care of yourself. Kudos to you for the willingness to help someone you care about get treatment for a deadly addiction.

I have found alanon to be a good resource for self care, and many other things stick in my mind about the program. Its said people get to take what they want and leave the rest (in the dust). Its said that people in the program are supposed to offer support based on their similarities and not their differences (of situation, opinion, and all that good stuff). One other important note is that since its based on AA and the 12 step stuff, in their big book it says that their programs are meant to work in correlation with the medical sciences - doctors, psychologist and the like.

The medical profession says that family and friends are great influencers and often help people identify substance abuse issues, realize the impact its having on their life, walk through the maze of treatment options to find what Might work best for their particular needs.

And didn't you say you had talked to someone and they advised you write a letter and even hand deliver it. and they recommended he get away from the people who are leaving him to his own devices, telling him he doesn't have a problem, or that he doesn't need any help to solve it. I think you did.

You are doing all the right things in my opinion. I also helped my husband get treatment, and it took a while. No regrets and its stuck so far.

We had a similar issue sort of with family. His parents knew he had a problem, and wanted him to get help, but his mom only wanted him to get help through surrendering and working the program she wanted him to work. Even though he made a choice to seek professional help, she could not be encouraging, supportive.

Our family and friends do greatly impact our emotions and ideas. While his mom had every right to have her own opinions, and to decide she would not be supportive - we also had a right to eventually consider her "toxic" to our family.

You asked how to navigate his family. And you already know you cant force them to do anything, or feel anything different. All I can say is share your facts about binge vs everyday drinking. Im assuming there is a chance they just don't understand or know whats going on?

With me, I basically did a lot of listening to my husband, research on what types of stuff were available, and encouraged him to try. Knowing it could take multiple attempts and maybe changes in his recovery plan along the way. If he wanted to make his life better then he needed to do something. Things wouldn't get better if he did nothing. And he tried, not crawling in for help or jumping up and down with anticipation, but he got in the door of the therapist office and it started a progression.

Also another antidote. Its not my business what anyone else thinks of me. If they have a problem with me, its their problem to wallow in.
The key is listening not berating. Someone said I had an agenda. Yes I do. Offering options. I have been asked by him not to give up. He wants more and listens. If he didnít want to hear what I bring to the table he would not reach out. It has been requested. How I do it is not always smart. It is one day at a time.

I listen to his concerns about the dynamics of the situation. I have no idea what tomorrow will bring. I believe there is always hope. I also donít care what the family thinks about me. They own that. I am doing this all for him without expectations. In the meantime we enjoy each otherís company.

Regarding being an old fart. Sometimes we accept what is because that is all we know. I know I have done that. I suspect all of us have. However donít accept something as is, if it isnít right. That is what I bring to the table. That is what he did for me last year.

I thank you for your input. The serenity prayer says to me do what you can, but know when you donít have a way to change something. Make sure you are smart enough to know the difference.
CarrenBlackwell is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-09-2017, 02:18 PM   #17 (permalink)
Member
 
NYCDoglvr's Avatar
 

Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: New York, NY
Posts: 6,119
Quote:
"I bet if you went to that forum and asked 1000 people if any of them ever got sober because of their spouse/loved one/ significant other wanted them too, they all will say No."
Bingo! I've been going to AA for 26 years, roughly three times per week, and I've never heard an alcoholic say he/she stopped drinking because of friends or family.
NYCDoglvr is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-09-2017, 03:05 PM   #18 (permalink)
Member
 

Join Date: Mar 2016
Posts: 844
Quote:
Originally Posted by CarrenBlackwell View Post
The key is listening not berating. Someone said I had an agenda. Yes I do. Offering options. I have been asked by him not to give up. He wants more and listens. If he didnít want to hear what I bring to the table he would not reach out. It has been requested. How I do it is not always smart. It is one day at a time.

I listen to his concerns about the dynamics of the situation. I have no idea what tomorrow will bring. I believe there is always hope. I also donít care what the family thinks about me. They own that. I am doing this all for him without expectations. In the meantime we enjoy each otherís company.

Regarding being an old fart. Sometimes we accept what is because that is all we know. I know I have done that. I suspect all of us have. However donít accept something as is, if it isnít right. That is what I bring to the table. That is what he did for me last year.

I thank you for your input. The serenity prayer says to me do what you can, but know when you donít have a way to change something. Make sure you are smart enough to know the difference.
I agree, the key is listening, and not losing self just as you said. To be honest, I treated my husbands issues same as I would most other medical problems. Funny how we as family are not generally told to avoid helping family get treatment for heart issues or the like. The only twist with dealing with addiction that I have found is the way the substances affect the brain. How my husband would rationalize things in such a different way, illogical was sometimes logical to him. But oh. he thought he was just fine. But when I would listen without so much emotion then it was all easier. The therapist I saw helped me with that part fortunately.

You sound like your doing fine to me, and I think he is lucky to have someone so supportive. I hope he find what works for him in due time.
aliciagr is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-09-2017, 03:15 PM   #19 (permalink)
Member
 

Join Date: Mar 2016
Posts: 844
Quote:
Originally Posted by NYCDoglvr View Post
Bingo! I've been going to AA for 26 years, roughly three times per week, and I've never heard an alcoholic say he/she stopped drinking because of friends or family.
I can see this because AA is often called the Last Resort for the addict. Everything else has failed. Without the constant working of the program .. decades perhaps.. there would be no sobriety most likely. Its wonderful such things exist.

But isn't preferable for people to get treatment sooner rather than later? There are many options these days. Many people I feel get sifted out before they reach as deep a bottom. Recovery still has to be an internal choice, but no one can know what brings about that choice for another person. I used to read the forum here, especially the newcomer section and many people talked about wanting sobriety for themselves, but so they could be good parents. The fire has to be within, but what starts the initial spark is an individual matter. All my opinion of course
aliciagr is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
enabler , recovery , rehab


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 06:47 AM.