How To Handle Uncertainty And Fear In Alcoholic Relationships

This video about fear and uncertainty is from our new series, “Solutions For Alcoholic Relationships.” We will be releasing the entire 2hr. 40min. series in a couple of days. This lesson is just one of the twenty two lessons that will be included in the video series.

Video Transcription:
I want to talk about uncertainty for a little while. You know, we can be going along in life and everything is great. I’m in a good mood today. I’m in a good mood the next day and then all of a sudden life happens and uncertainty happens. It stirs fear.

You know, one of the things that I’ve learned is that there are several acronyms for fear. There are two I want to mention here. One is “F. Everything and Run” and the other is “Face Everything and Recover.”

What happens to me when I’m faced with uncertainty, I have a tendency to have to wrestle with those few different acronyms that have to do with fear. Part of me doesn’t want to deal with the difficulty of uncertainty or the difficulty in a situation and I just want to run. I just want to get angry and mad and I just want to disappear, but there’s another part of me that says face everything and recover.

Sometimes I have to go through an adjustment period whenever uncertainty hits me. It hits me and I get really upset. I get mad. I get angry. Maybe someone has hurt me. Maybe I’m fearing what’s going to happen in the relationship and I’m uncertain. This is what life can be like when we’re dealing with alcoholics or addicts or this can be just life in general. There’s uncertainty that comes along so I get hit with that uncertainty and my first response is fear. I’m afraid. What’s going to happen? I don’t know how to handle this. I want to withdraw back into some of my own methods of dealing with things which may have been reacting in anger.

But what I’ve learned is that if I can pull back and have self-control, begin to journal, begin to talk to friends, begin to read and take time to process what’s going on, take a look at the bigger picture of what is happening, that helps me to face everything and recover. It gives me time to put myself in the other person’s position for a little while and try and see life from their point of view and I can also take a look at myself and what my point of view is.

Now the thing is, is that I have high expectations of myself but I also have high expectations of other people and I have to be careful that I don’t get caught up in a state of perfectionism where I expect that I’m going to handle things in a perfect manner or I expect that someone else is going to handle things in a perfect manner.

People are going to hurt me. That’s just the way life is. People are going to hurt and I’m going to hurt other people. We’re just not perfect. It’s how I deal with that hurt. It’s how I deal with that uncertainty that is going to make the difference in my serenity and the peacefulness and the serenity and relationships that I’m involved in.

So how do I deal with this uncertainty? Well, I journal. I talk on the phone with friends and if at all possible, if I’m dealing with an alcoholic, I want to try and communicate with them. I can try and do that in writing. I can try and do that by talking with them.

Regardless of how I do that, I need to be aware that what I’m doing is that I’m trying to keep my side of the street clean. I’m trying to work through my emotions. I’m trying to share with them how I feel about a particular situation.

Now, sometimes, I’m not going to always share how I feel about something because there’s a question I have to ask myself and that is, “How important is it?” Whatever is going on, whatever maybe someone has done to me to cause hurt and pain, uncertainty in my life, how important is that in the big picture of things? (One of my biggest challenges is to not get too focused on one thing that breads fear in my life. I can get some serious tunnel vision going on if I’m not careful.)

There are things that are not so important that I can overlook and I can work through those things through support group meetings and talking with friends and journaling. But then and again, there are other things that they are very important and I may need to draw a line in the sand. That means a very serious boundary. You know, some boundaries for me are in a relationship with someone. The boundary is infidelity is not acceptable and consistent use of drugs and alcohol is not acceptable, if I step into an intimate relationship with someone.

Those types of things, you have to weigh how important is something. So if we get hit with some kind of uncertainty that breads fear, I’ve talked to you before about having a plan B. In our day to day adventures, we can have a plan B but sometimes, people will do something that will really rock our world and create a level of fear of the future in our life.

How are we going to handle that? That’s the process of, “Where do I draw a boundary? How do I say you hurt me, you’re stepping on my toes, your behavior is not acceptable? How do we communicate that with an alcoholic or anyone and how do we communicate that in love in a kind manner?”

Sometimes we’re going to not be so perfect. We’re going to slip and we’re not going to be able to communicate with unconditional love and in a gentle and kind way. Sometimes, we are going to be so affected by someone else’s behavior that we’re going to be angry and it’s OK to be angry. I have to process it. I have to feel the anger. It’s a very real part of my life but it’s what I do with the anger. That’s the important thing and that’s where the challenge can be sometimes in the reacting and the responding. We’ve talked about having buttons pushed and how we react in a particular way and we want to work towards seeing what those buttons are and responding in a different way.

That’s why it’s really important to take that step-back-shut-up-and-smile approach whether it’s a major issue or a minor issue. We have to take time to process these things. So there are a few thoughts about uncertainty. Let’s see. I need to love myself. I need to really work towards loving other people and try and understand what their position is, and what my position is and all of the uncertainties in life.

There’s one thing that is for certain and that is nothing in life is simple. You know, we can F everything and run or we can face everything and recover. I choose to take the face everything and recover road because I know that that’s the one ultimately in the end that’s going to lead me to the greater place and the longer duration of serenity in my life.

So let’s see. Is there anything else I can share with you about uncertainty? Perhaps this is why it’s important to learn how to let go instead of being dragged. Sometimes uncertainty can hit us and we grab a hold of something so tightly because we don’t want to lose it and it may be an alcoholic or it may be an addict in our life and we grab a hold of them and we end up getting dragged in the insanity of their behavior.

So there is that place of letting go when there’s an uncertainty to protect our serenity, living in the moment one day at a time. That will protect me from the uncertainty of the future. (When I am in the process of overcoming fears related to being involved with an alcoholic, I do things like demonstrated in this video:How I Escape For The Insanity OF Alcoholism.)

The thing is, is that I think we can hold on to people in relationships so tightly sometimes that we go through a real emotional roller coaster ride and it’s OK. Sometimes it’s hard to get off of that roller coaster. And you know what? A lot of times, that roller coaster of up and downs and the uncertainty is the process of change where we are learning how to do things differently and how to handle situations differently.

As uncomfortable as it is, we are facing everything and we’re trying to recover in a more mature manner and do things differently.

In the Al-Anon program, they have a book. It’s called the Courage to Change and that’s what all this is really about. It’s about us having the courage to make changes, to do things differently in our life, to try and be more of a whole person apart from an alcoholic or someone else’s actions, to get to that place where what they do doesn’t affect us in such a damaging way or for such a long period of time before we begin to learn how to handle these things and do things a little bit different.

So living a day at a time, letting go, trying not to F everything and run but face everything and recover, journaling, talking to people, going to meetings, reviewing these videos, blogging on the internet. (These are all a part of me overcoming fear and finding a place of serenity in my life. I suppose that of all the things I do to battle fear, placing my life into the care of God is the one that is the one that yields the best results.)

All of these different things that we can use to try and work through what’s going on with us and trying to have the right responses and keep our side of the street clean, knowing that we don’t really have a lot of control over other people.

They’re on their own destiny and as much as we want to be with someone sometimes, as much as we want to go to that person and try and get our love and affection from them, some people just don’t have it to give.

One of the things that I’ve heard in the support groups and I put this on the internet is that – it’s a good one. I wouldn’t go to the hardware store to look for bread and sometimes that’s the way relationships are in our life especially with alcoholics and addicts. We want to go to them for love but we don’t get it. It’s very much like going to the hardware store to try and find a loaf of bread and that comes back to accepting someone and accepting the situation for what it is.

In the face of uncertainty, I have those two choices. I can either change my attitude or I can change my address. Changing my address is the easy way out. Changing my attitude, it takes learning how to let go. It takes learning how to detach from something long enough to process things. It takes learning how to draw a line in the sand and set boundaries and let someone know, “Hey, your behavior is not acceptable. That hurt and I’m not going to tolerate that. You need to know that what you did hurt me a lot.” Then there are those other times where we just say how important it is and we let it go.

So I hope that helps you out a little bit with dealing with the uncertainty of life and situations. People are going to hurt us and how we deal with that hurt and handle it is going to make a huge difference in us maturing as individuals as we interact with alcoholics and anyone in life. So there you go.

Fearful Of Leaving The Alcoholic
Overcoming Fear Associated With An Alcoholic Relative
How To Not Be Afraid Of Losing An Alcoholic

19 comments to How To Handle Uncertainty And Fear In Alcoholic Relationships

  • Laura

    So timely and helps/adds perspective with what I am currently dealing … thanks JC

  • Pez

    I don’t think changing your address is the easy way out that’s the only thing I disagree with. leaving somebody you love is very difficult! A very difficult decision indeed. both choices are difficult and can be heart wrenching.

  • Julie

    I Agree with you, Pez. Changing your address is not an easy way out. I believe there is no easy way out. You have to work hard no matter what. So you use the knowledge you gain and discover your choices for action and then take the actions that suit your needs and lead you to your goal. My goal changed after 20 years. At first i did everything i could think of to try to make him love me and treat me differently. Now my goal is to stay safe and make a stable and happy life for my children and for me. Then see what the future holds. I am finally starting to believe that I did my best in a bad situation and with the knowledge that i had. Now I am doing the same and things are so much better for me and the kids. I am not sure how things are for him but from what i hear he is doing the same things(out partying and lying about his life) that he did when he lived with us. except now we do not have to deal everyday with his abuse or his drama. And things are actually calm at home most of the time. Even with 3 children 2 cats and 1 dog at home. Imagine that! 🙂

  • Pez

    Not only that, But I believe staying, sometimes, can be
    enabling–they know they have you. making a decision to leave sends a clear message to the A–I will no longer tollerate being treated with disrespect of my feelings and life! if you want to continue your life as an alcoholic, go find someone else who will tolerate it. I have felt many times to my A that I was just a convenience and not truly loved. And him jumping to the low life gettto woman proves it doesn’t matter what they have just so someone is there to meet their needs of cooking, cleaning,sex, and whatever else. I will not be a convenience! it, just may be, a step closer for them to hit bottom if they have to settle for partners below there potential!

  • Julie

    Well said, Pez. Just everyone beware of the promises they make to get you to take them back when you do leave. Only believe actions not words.And be prepared emotionally for them to never hit rock bottom. Mine is still choosing drinking and partying even after losing everything, family, job, possessions, home. He mooches off his parents and he has no problem finding new people to help him find booze.

  • Pez

    Incredable! it amazes me how someone could lose everything and not understand why! I will keep my guard up because his family doesn’t think it’ll last with this woman.

  • Linda

    I can totally relate to your post, Feeling like a convenience. that’s how I feel. I keep looking for my A to tell me the truth. They just can’t.There lies in what they believe. should have never talk to him.

  • Debbi

    To All:
    Thought I would quote a book that always helps me I’m feeling frustrated with my life and puts things back in perspective for me–“Calm My Anxious Heart”

    “Never allow yourself to complain about anything–not even the weather.
    Never picture yourself in any other circumstance or someplace else.
    Never compare your lot with another’s
    Never allow yourself to wish this or that had been otherwise.
    Never dwell on tomorrow–remember that tomorrow is God’s, not ours.”

  • Pez

    Well, another lesson in LOSS. In a little over 3 months I lost the A I thought loved me, my cat Sam a little over a month ago, and this AM I had to put my favorite cat down since he was dying of kidney failor, very skinny, and could no longer walk. I did not want him to suffer if it went any further, he was only 5lbs at the end. I don’t like loss but it is a part of life, the circle of life, and I am learning better how to deal with it although I am weary of it right now, and very tired. I know the animals will be in heaven.

  • Debbi

    It’s awful how the losses just keep coming. It seems like when we’re down we’re getting kicked. 3 weeks after I finally got my ex out my dog died in my arms. He was old but still the losses just kept coming. Don’t let this work on you too much. I think when my dog went I kind of went over the edge with anger. Hey, how far are you from NJ? I have 2 young cats that need a home, they do inside or out. I would love for you to have them. The oldest is a Halloween baby so she will be six on Oct 31st!

  • Tracy


    Mine sounds like you’re X he is loosing everything but doesn’t care keeps lying and drinking. He has had a string of low life women mostly drinkers like him so they don’t care if he drinks as long as he pays. Then there is the one who loves him (LOL) she is going to change him NOT. He is messing them all about my goodness his ego must be massive until he sobers up and looks at the monster lying beside him. Pez these silly women fall for the lies and they think they are special No No the love of the alcoholics life is alcohol. Why would any woman leave a 25 year marriage if he was so special, these silly women are deluded no sympathy though they know he is married. X

  • Pez

    It is. God must think I’m a supernatural person or something. I’m not–it has sucks! I’m in Colorado Debbie but thanx for the offer. Love kitties. I did get a kitten after Sam went cause I knew Oreo was old and had kidney problems. So right now I’m good with the 2 I have. Animals make life soooo much better. Do miss my boy though.

  • Pez

    Tracy, some women don’t care about other women. I would never date a married man for many reasons. I once dated a guy who was in process of divorce but not married and living with a wife. That’s just asking for trouble and heartbreak, and I would not want that done to me, but many women will.

    If they are alcoholic, they are a liar. Period!! Don’t believe a word they say!

  • Tracy


    Trying to lighten the mood ‘what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’ so i’v heard, i should have been dead 20 years ago then, with the crap I have endured from my AH. X

  • Debbi

    Tracy–Geez in that case, I should have been dead about 50 years ago!! Too Funny–not sure I’m stronger yet. . .when will that happen?

  • Debbi

    Glad you have another kitten & I’ll keep Sam & Oreo in my thoughts for you–too bad we can’t post a picture here. If you are in Colorado I hope you are not being affected by the flooding–if so stay safe!

  • Pez

    I thought the same thing to be able to post photo’s or at least a profile photo. No, I was not in the area of the flooding. Actually, the rain made it beautiful where I’m at, but Colorado is a beautiful state to live in anyway. I’m originally from PA though.
    Found a new site and info for a different view of recovery for the non-alcoholic will post It soon.
    Got Paw prints for Oreo that I will pick up on Friday.

  • C


    Sorry to hear about your cat. Glad to hear you weren’t in the flooded areas.

    When you post the new site and info on recovery for the non-alcoholic, I would like to see it. I rarely have a glass of wine but have been with an alcoholic. Amazing how they seem to be very much alike when you read these posts.

  • Pez

    The other site/blog is EMPOWERED RECOVERY based more on medaphysics (sp?). Got their ebook and it has some really good stuff, but as with anything you read you don’t agree with all of it or some may fit and some may not. But, its a good addition to this site. So, as with anything take what “ministers” to you and leave the rest!

    My new kitten is full of himself!!! 😀

Leave a Reply