In support group meetings they say that expectations lead to resentments. I totally understand the truth of this statement within the context of someone disappointing us. I still think that there are a few healthy expectations that we can exercise that will help us while we are involved in alcoholic relationships.
When we begin to understand the personality of an alcoholic, then we can “expect” that they will act like an alcoholic. This is a healthy expectation to have, at least until they finally hit bottom and get help. If that happens, we can then hope that the process of change will have a positive impact on all who are involved. However, when an alcoholic does finally get sober and starts on a journey of recovery, it can take a long time before positive changes are seen in their attitudes.
When we want someone to be something that they are not capable of being, then we get frustrated and angry. This is why the concept of acceptance is so powerful. What is it we need to accept?
Let’s start with these few things:
- Alcoholics lie
- They deny that they have a drinking problem
- Alcoholics obsess over getting another drink twenty-four- seven
- They break engagements
- Depending upon how bad they are they may not be dependable at all
- Very rarely do they extend the type of common courtesy that we may experience in a so-called “normal” relationship
- They feast upon arguing and fighting
- An alcoholic can be extremely irrational
- They are masters at pointing a judgmental finger at others
- Many alcoholics have little respect for others feelings
- The most important thing to them is drinking
- They can be relentless when they want to argue
Can you see some pivotal points that can lead to frustrations in the previous statements? Of course you can. We all want people to be truthful with us. We also want to be treated with common courtesy. The thought that a drink to an alcoholic is more important than us is disturbing. The last thing in the world that anyone wants is to argue and fight with someone. The golden rule of “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” does not apply to how alcoholics treat us. Rarely are they kind and courteous to others.
Somehow we expect an alcoholic to act normal. This is why you have to expect the unexpected to happen. There is nothing normal about the person you are dealing with. So stop expecting that they will act normal. People who consume alcohol daily are a bread of their own. The sooner you can accept that the better off you will be.
Expecting broken promises to be broken by an alcoholic will save you from experiencing tremendous amounts of frustration and anxiety. Expecting that an alcoholic is going to chase after a drink until they get drunk will help you have more peace of mind. Accepting that they love to argue can keep you on your guard to “avoid” having an argument with them. Understanding that they are not going to call you and tell you that they are planning to stay out all night can help you to get a good nights sleep when they do not come home.
Can you see how expecting the unexpected can help you. You just have to start thinking a little backward when dealing with an alcoholic because there is very little that is normal about having a relationship with an alcoholic. Understanding and accepting the personality attributes of an alcoholic can help you gain a lot of peace and serenity if you can manage to stop expecting them to act differently than they are.