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Who they really are...

Old 11-09-2018, 07:36 PM
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Who they really are...

Over the years, myself included, hundreds of people here have posted about their alcoholics, when sober, being great, loving, kind and funny people when they are sober and that's "who they really are."

And, if they'd just stop drinking, they'd be "who they really are" all the time.

The truth is, and I was very slow to this, who they really are is somebody who chooses to drink knowing they will become the selfish, narcissistic, destructive, dangerous, and horrible people they become. In that moment when they decide to take that first drink, for whatever reason, THAT IS WHEN THEY DEMONSTRATE AND BECOME "WHO THEY REALLY ARE."

To believe anything else in the face of repeated behaviors to the contrary is simply insanity.

WHO THEY REALLY ARE IS AN ALCOHOLIC, and there are only two kinds of alcoholics in my opinion-- the ones who are drinking and the ones who are not. Every time I hear people parse drinking alcoholics into groups (functioning, real, severe, mild, binging, etc,) I want to puke. THEY ARE ALL ALCOHOLICS-- who gives a **** what kind? Does that change anything? At all?

Kudos to each and every alcoholic who has found a way to not have that first drink, and who has found a way to change "who they really are" into a sober person. You prove it can be done. Thank you to each and every one of you.
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Old 11-09-2018, 09:54 PM
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Powerful post, Cyranoak, and I think a true one. Going into my "Wisdom of SR" folder.
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Old 11-10-2018, 02:01 AM
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I would say alcoholic 'types' do matter.
An openly aggressive drinker is totally different to secret drinker who drinks to maintain their habit. Binge drinkers are 'normal' for days at a time..but then go mad at it, over indulging in a short period of time. Yes..they all depend on booze in their own way and that's the common denominator but someone who works, who is well groomed and to the world looks in control but who drinks at night cannot be compared to a slovenly unkempt person who stumbles through every day from morning to night whilst living off the state.
But one thing can be generalized...they are all liars.
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Old 11-10-2018, 02:15 AM
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I can define myself from the moment I stopped drinking to that I was before.

Why did I drink, knowing it was destructive, damaging, hurtful etc? I cannot in all honesty answer that except to say addiction IS a sickness-and it defines no rules.

I do know that now I am more the'real' me than at anytime before- including before drinking.
I know that I did what I did- because I was a very, very sick person. I am accountable and responsible for all I did whilst drinking- no excuses. I do not hide behind the mantle of 'I am an alcoholic- I was sick and so am not to blame'..I did bad stuff.

The distinction is I did bad stuff and I was very sick- not because I was a bad person. This point has been driven home so often to me by health professionals- from psychiatrists, to expert addiction counsellors. They emphasise to me to judge myself as being a bad person- is a dysfunctional block to a my recovery- which feeds into relapse. Next time I will stay dead.. To turn guilt and shame- into remorse and positive action not to do bad things ever again.

I cannot recoup the past, but now I try to be a little bit more a better person today- than the one before- to 'do no harm' and help others as is appropriate.

I am well aware of the dangers of relapse- and posts like yours helps remind me of the depths of despair and hell I descended to.

Thanks.
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Old 11-10-2018, 03:24 AM
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I will weigh in on this one as it is a question I have pondered for decades … the mystery of this disease and how it affects different people and those they love.

How is it my dad and my brother were "high functioning" alcoholics who could drink themselves to insanity but get up each day and go to work all of their lives?

Does going to work somehow make someone a "better alcoholic"? The chaos, the cruelty, the arrests and crisis management by the attending codependents is always in play to some level - but we feel better because they earn the money for their alcohol. Usually the bills and the rest of their world is crazy insanity but they are elevated from the homeless alcoholic that is unemployable.

Both of my high-functioning family members died in their addiction just the same and my brother's death caused my codependent mother to go into an immediate grieving spiral that led to her death 9 months later.

Now my ex-fiancé was not high functioning - he would have a drink and within 48 hours he was blacked out and completely crazy - he would end up in a hospital handcuffed to the bed, in a jail cell or be on a plane to Las Vegas. But when he was sober which would be for 6 to 12 months at a time he was the sweetest most loving intelligent man on the planet... I adored him. … until he drank. I rode that roller coaster for 4 years - my old posts were so Pollyanna and ridiculous looking back on them now.

He's not dead yet... but he has almost died at least 10 times that I know of. I hadn't spoke to him in over 4 years when his mom called me and told me he was in a hospital in Los Angeles dying in August. I was at a conference out there and went to visit him and the handsome was wearing off after he has been in the streets for years. He had started injecting meth and was septic and he was literally dying … it was touch and go. He survived and after weeks of antibiotics they did extensive heart surgery and he got all new valves.

He was NEVER going to drink or use drugs again and the offer was there to fly him to a rehab he had done so well in many years before.
So he calls me and wants me to send him money and it is NO NO NO… flight only. I get these weird texts from him that say he is at LAX but he won't send me flight information... he's drunk and has gotten doctors to give him meds. He is strung out on opioids now....

This man was looking death in the face and was told if you use you die... quickly and he is using... it's only a matter of time.

Thank God I broke up with him all those years ago but this morning it is so sad... the vast majority of the alcoholics we have loved will keep drinking, break our hearts over and over again until we finally have to let them go and create healthy boundaries.

I now work in advocacy and the social justice movement for those with substance use disorders … I work for the families of those who struggle with their loved ones who are on destructive paths of untreated addiction.

Don't elevate your alcoholic on a pedestal because he is sweet when sober or works every day... the disease is progressive so his "success" is only a matter of time before the next crisis happens....

I do believe that the true heart of my loved ones was the "sober good person" and not the evil Hyde's they became drunk. I do think that God wants to return each person to who they were when created but it takes complete and absolute surrender and willingness to do whatever it takes to remain sober. .. for most this is long term residential recovery which almost all are unwilling to do. It takes really hard, hard work to retrain the brain which is plastic and growing new neural pathways does not happen overnight. It takes committed dedication and daily application of the principles of AA and living the steps and seeking your Higher Power which in my case is Jesus C.

I am surrounded by amazing men and women of recovery who have made those choices and are living proof that recovery is possible... but only if they choose to do the work every minute and with every breath they take.

Few are. very few. sadly many... many... will die in their addiction and will continue to break our hearts.

Take care of yourselves... learn all you can... don't be fooled. If they are not focused like a laser on their recovery then don't get all mushy because they are sooooo sweet when sober. Draw a line in the sand around your heart and your family and create healthy boundaries and give your A to God....

Love to you all in the struggle....
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Old 11-10-2018, 06:23 AM
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I think this also speaks to the idea of loving someone's "potential". If we can love someone as they are, where they are, without expectations of any change--great! If we expect someone to change in the ways that we want them to change once we become involved with them, then we are setting ourselves up for disappointment and building resentments.
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Old 11-10-2018, 06:39 AM
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Cry,

Whatever it takes to stay clean.

Looking forward another sober day.

Thanks.
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Old 11-10-2018, 10:06 AM
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Does going to work somehow make someone a "better alcoholic"?

I would say yes...at least they are still contributing to society in some way.
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Old 11-10-2018, 10:35 AM
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Separating the behaviour from the person is important as Phoenix mentioned.
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Old 11-10-2018, 10:43 AM
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Originally Posted by Awal View Post
Does going to work somehow make someone a "better alcoholic"?

I would say yes...at least they are still contributing to society in some way.
I'm not so sure. If they didn't go to work it would that much harder to buy their alcohol. On the other side of the street, there are alcoholics (that I know at least) who do care, on a basic level, that their families eat and have a place to live.
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Old 11-10-2018, 11:48 AM
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Awal and Wamama,

My perspective is that it doesn't show the level of care/love. It simply means different stages of the disease.

Cyranoak,

Thanks for this topic.
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Old 11-10-2018, 01:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Wamama48 View Post
I'm not so sure. If they didn't go to work it would that much harder to buy their alcohol. On the other side of the street, there are alcoholics (that I know at least) who do care, on a basic level, that their families eat and have a place to live.
better they earn to pay for their drink...some steal pawn or deprive their family out of the fundamentals in life.
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Old 11-10-2018, 01:16 PM
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I’m not sure there’s even such a thing as “who they [we] really are”. All that exists in the world is what we do. If we do bad things, that is what we become. There is no “real self” that exists apart from our actions.
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Old 11-10-2018, 02:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Awal View Post
better they earn to pay for their drink...some steal pawn or deprive their family out of the fundamentals in life.
**I** earned more money while drinking and never deprived my family of a monetary thing. It was actually the total opposite. Now that I no longer drink I'm more 'careful' with my investments/income. I no longer take the 'gambles' in my companies, I would take when drinking. This works out 'OK' for me, since I'm not splurging/spoiling other's with my cash,but I have seen a decrease in my actual yearly profits. Plus side is I know where every penny is going now,so in a sense I have more financially,but it's no secret to my family/friends that I'm not the same person sober vs drinking.


I'll flip/pose the question and ask "who's the real person that's codependent?" Is there a real person 'in there' that's not trying to change or control the actions/outcomes/enviroments of other's as they(the codependent) thinks is best for all envolved? I'm not saying alcoholics/addicts don't mess up a relationship,but at the same time...so does a codependent. To **ME** a codependent is not really capable,without help/ self work,of having a 'normal' relationship to where there's mutual respect. An even playing field,if you will. **I** think and have witnessed codies(myself included) self sabatoge a 'normal' relationship for the simple fact that the relationship lacked chaos.


Just my thoughts.
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Old 11-10-2018, 02:52 PM
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Originally Posted by DontRemember View Post
**I** earned more money while drinking and never deprived my family of a monetary thing. It was actually the total opposite. Now that I no longer drink I'm more 'careful' with my investments/income. I no longer take the 'gambles' in my companies, I would take when drinking. This works out 'OK' for me, since I'm not splurging/spoiling other's with my cash,but I have seen a decrease in my actual yearly profits. Plus side is I know where every penny is going now,so in a sense I have more financially,but it's no secret to my family/friends that I'm not the same person sober vs drinking.


I'll flip/pose the question and ask "who's the real person that's codependent?" Is there a real person 'in there' that's not trying to change or control the actions/outcomes/enviroments of other's as they(the codependent) thinks is best for all envolved? I'm not saying alcoholics/addicts don't mess up a relationship,but at the same time...so does a codependent. To **ME** a codependent is not really capable,without help/ self work,of having a 'normal' relationship to where there's mutual respect. An even playing field,if you will. **I** think and have witnessed codies(myself included) self sabatoge a 'normal' relationship for the simple fact that the relationship lacked chaos.


Just my thoughts.
My thoughts are this: l was just a wife who wanted a happy stress free life. Wanted the basics in my marriage, love respect TRUST happiness. All the things that a partnership should be about.

Instead l discover the distance between us that has become a part of my marriage is because my husband secretly drinks. This has destroyed my trust. The happiness we used to have is diminishing. And all of a sudden l am classed as a 'co-dependant' well...no lm not, im just an ordinary woman who wants an ordinary life. Not a life where we all dance around a bottle.
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Old 11-10-2018, 03:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Awal View Post
My thoughts are this: l was just a wife who wanted a happy stress free life. Wanted the basics in my marriage, love respect TRUST happiness. All the things that a partnership should be about.

Instead l discover the distance between us that has become a part of my marriage is because my husband secretly drinks. This has destroyed my trust. The happiness we used to have is diminishing. And all of a sudden l am classed as a 'co-dependant' well...no lm not, im just an ordinary woman who wants an ordinary life. Not a life where we all dance around a bottle.
I didn't mean to single you out at all and should have made 2 seperate posts,looking back..sorry about that.

So..what are YOU going to do to get to the life you want for yourself? I think a lot of the much needed self-reflection on exactly what we're going to do about our unhappiness gets lost on the 'labels' of the situations we find ourselves in. Whether,self-inflicted or from an outside person, our happiness comes down to what WE do about our situation(s).
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Old 11-10-2018, 03:21 PM
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Originally Posted by DontRemember View Post
I didn't mean to single you out at all and should have made 2 seperate posts,looking back..sorry about that.

So..what are YOU going to do to get to the life you want for yourself? I think a lot the much needed self-reflection on exactly what we're going to do about our unhappiness gets lost on the 'labels' of the situations we find ourselves in. Whether,self-inflicted or from an outside person, our happiness comes down to what WE do about our situation(s).
What l plan to do is enhance my life as much as possible. I am quite independent and for a while have been going on holidays on my own (with our dog) or with female friends. I have just arranged a week away next March. I have just purchased a mountain bike to get out there and have some fun, l have concerts booked with friends. I give my husband the option of going on hols or going out etc but if he declines (which is 95% of the time) l just get on and do whatever it is by myself. Im not going to turn my back on my husband as things stand currently. There are worse men out there. Its just not the way it could've been...it could've been amazing.
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Old 11-10-2018, 03:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Awal View Post
What l plan to do is enhance my life as much as possible. I am quite independent and for a while have been going on holidays on my own (with our dog) or with female friends. I have just arranged a week away next March. I have just purchased a mountain bike to get out there and have some fun, l have concerts booked with friends. I give my husband the option of going on hols or going out etc but if he declines (which is 95% of the time) l just get on and do whatever it is by myself. Im not going to turn my back on my husband as things stand currently. There are worse men out there. Its just not the way it could've been...it could've been amazing.
I feel ya and good for you! Again.. I didn't mean to single you out..it was meant to be a 'general' question for all.
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Old 11-10-2018, 03:49 PM
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I look at it this way - it's not up to someone else to decide who my AH is or isn't. It's pretty simple IMO.
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Old 11-10-2018, 05:41 PM
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I’m not sure there’s even such a thing as “who they [we] really are”. All that exists in the world is what we do. If we do bad things, that is what we become. There is no “real self” that exists apart from our actions.
I agree completely.
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