This has to be one of the most difficult things to do when living with or working with an active alcoholic. How do you handle the feelings of guilt that are associated with saying no and then feeling guilty. You see much of our illness is being caretakers; we always want to fix everything and everybody. So, we find ourselves always saying yes to everything. The problem is that we can get so busy fixing people, places and things that we forget to take care of ourselves.
May I suggest that you begin to evaluate everything that you are involved in and consider saying no once in awhile. This can be considered having tough love with an alcoholic, but can be emotionally healthy in regards to other relations as well.
It will do us all some good to learn how to say no, not only to the alcoholics in our lives, but also anyone else or activity that causes us to over extend ourselves and not take good care of ourselves.
So, how does all this tie into the subject of guilt an interacting with problem drinkers? Well, when we begin to realize that we are spending tons of our lives immersed with trying to fix the alcoholic and then we decide to make changes and focus on ourselves there will be feelings of guilt that are associated with the changes. The whole idea can fall under learning how to detach from an alcoholic.
Here’s an illustration. Do you think that there will be an opportunity for feeling guilty sometimes when you decide to; “just say no?” Think about that for just a moment. How do people in your life respond when you say no? Perhaps you very rarely say no.
When we make a decision to start focusing on ourselves, then we are going to have to learn how to manage our lives so that we stop taking care everyone else. As soon as we do this there are going to be people who will try to make us feel guilty about our decision to not help them.
When the guilt begins, I want you to remember this next statement; “we don’t do guilt!” We have a right to pick and choose the things that we will or will not do for others.
Here’s another great truth. It’s OK to “just say no” without explaining why. If you tell someone that you cannot do a particular thing, it might be giving the money or even a ride somewhere; they might try to make you feel guilty. This oftentimes is where they will try their best to get what they want by making you feel guilty about your decision.
Now let’s combine the two together to shield ourselves from feeling guilty. It’s OK to say no because it’s my life and I can do what I choose to do with it. Oh and one more thing, “I don’t do guilt.” You may also enjoy reading about How To Stop Taking Care Of An Alcoholic.