How long have you been living with an alcoholic? One of the things I learned early on in support group meetings was that I was living in a rut of the familiar. I’d become so used to obsessing over the alcoholic all of the time that it had become a way of life. Somewhere in the middle of trying to control their drinking habits, I’d lost myself. It seemed like every moment in the arena of my mind, I was thinking about them, either consciously or subconsciously.
Once I had the awareness that I had been spending the bulk of my time worrying about what they were doing, I decided to start making changes. This was not something that I mustered up on my own, no way. It was through the Al-anon program that I found helpful suggestions for making the difficult changes.
I like being comfortable and I’m guessing that you do too. Changing from what had become so familiar was hard. I was so glad that I started the process when I did.
Why do I need to change?
Well, let me ask you a question. Has the alcoholic in your life quit drinking because of any of your efforts. Have they stayed sober because of anything that you have done. Did any of the obsessing and worrying about them do a bit of good? Nothing we do is going to make an alcoholic quit drinking.
Do you think that it would be healthier for you to focus on enjoying a better way of life other than the one you have become so familiar with?
Did you know that we become addicted to the alcoholic along with trying to manipulate and control the things they are doing? Those were the behavior patterns that I started changing.
In order for me to begin, I had to identify with what the things were that I really enjoy in life. The best place to begin this process is by making a list of the things that you like to do. After that it’s a pretty simple, but extremely difficult process.
Breaking the familiar all started with doing a few of the things I enjoy in life. At first it’s hard because the real battle is in our minds. Even though we may be on a cruise ship, exercising, shopping or spending time with the kids, our minds are oftentimes still stuck on the alcoholic. As we continue to break the familiar mold, old behavior patterns fade. The process of changing takes a while. You know, “old habits die hard.”
A quick recap:
-Recognize that you are totally obsessed with an alcoholic’s behavior
-Realize that your efforts now and the ones in the past have NOT caused the alcoholic in your life to change
-Accept that you are the one who is going to have to make changes
-Make a decision to start changing what has become too familiar
-Jot down all of the things you like to do
-Start treating yourself to a different way of living
-Find a support group meeting designed to help friends and family members of alcoholics
-Make life matter, no matter what comes your way
You have walked many miles over a long period of time in this familiar territory. Don’t expect for things to get better quickly. It takes time, but the good news is that time moves quickly. Will you make a commitment to changing your way of life today or will you choose to stay stuck in a rut?