Recovering with family

Some alcoholics still have families when they get to AA. This is a place to ask questions and share experiences about relating to family members sober, especially when newly sober. (If you are not an alcoholic, please use the "Our Friends and Families" forum.)
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Suzieintexas
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Recovering with family

Post by Suzieintexas »

Hi, I’m Susie. I went to my very first and only treatment place in July. And then I came home to my family. They all have great advice. If only half of us listened it would help. They mean well.. and I know they care bit pressure slowly builds. Fast forward 6 months sober and I relapsed. Only a couple drinks and I called for help. The dynamics of family are exhausting to me. What do I do??
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Brock
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Re: Recovering with family

Post by Brock »

Well done on reaching out for help as soon as you did, this slip could have ended up much worse.

This reminds me of when my brother was in a rehab center and I would visit on the days allowed, he asked me to tell my other family members to stop giving him advise when they came to visit, he was surprised that I was sober and in AA and yet was the only one who didn’t tell him what he should do, I would just ask how things were going and then have the usual friendly chat about anything that came up.

Family show they care but this can be overwhelming, as I told my brother when he asked I felt it was his job to tell them not mine. He simply said to them thanks for caring so much, but I am following a program and getting all the advise I need from people who have already done that program and live by it’s principles, it worked well and they left the advise up to the ‘professionals.’ Perhaps you could just explain to them as you did here, that too much advise is overwhelming and you already have a program for that, also that part of the AA spiritual program is being able to withdraw and be alone when we feel we need to, I expect they will be understanding and respect these wishes.
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MyNameIsBetsy
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Re: Recovering with family

Post by MyNameIsBetsy »

Hi Suzie, Thanks for reaching out.

You didn't mention what you have been doing to maintain your sobriety once you left rehab. I hope you have found AA meetings where you can identify with other sober AAers. We all help each other so much just by honestly sharing how we are working this program into the business of our daily life. We support and encourage each other. And when life gets hard, we can draw on each other for that extra bit of help.

Family can be a challenge. They mean well, and they love us. But they don't live inside our heads the way we do. I truly believe that only an alcoholic can understand how another alcoholic thinks.

Hang in there, and get back to your meetings. You helped yourself greatly by recognizing what happened and by reaching out so quickly.

Betsy, an alcoholic
"Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path."
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Layne
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Re: Recovering with family

Post by Layne »

Hi Susie, your story is my story as well. I also relapsed 6 months after rehab.

My wife was very supportive both before and after. She did her best to say and do all the right things and was a member of Al-Anon and worked her program.

I wasn't aware of it at the time, but I made it very hard on her. Whatever approach she took, I wanted the opposite. If she tried to talk about what was going on, I didn't want to talk about it. If she didn't talk about what was going on, I thought she wasn't being supportive. I wanted space, but if If she tried to give me space, I didn't think she was being supportive.

She was stuck in a real Catch-22. Damned if she did. Damned if she didn't.

Yes, I was in early recovery and it was very important that I concentrate on myself and my recovery and it was all very new to me. What I did a poor job of, was realizing that it was all new to her as well. There was a learning curve going on for both of us.

Patience, persistence, and love on both our parts got us through the rough patches. We both walked a lot of miles in the other's shoes!

For me, it was well worth it. I am pretty sure she feels the same!

Keep moving forward, have faith in the process, and never lose hope. It works, if we work it!
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avaneesh912
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Re: Recovering with family

Post by avaneesh912 »

The dynamics of family are exhausting to me. What do I do??
Not sure if you were exposed to AA when you were at the rehabilitation center. Even if you were not, please reach up to the local meetings. If you are worried about Covid, there are great zoom meetings happening across the world. If you are interested lets us know, we can suggest a few. The stint at the rehabilitation center opens us to what alcoholism and addiction is about. For sustaining a life free of alcohol or other mind altering substance, we need a radical way in which we can look at life differently. Working the 12 steps with proper guidance can help everyone handle life situation with a whole different perspective. We call it spiritual awakening.
Show him the mental twist which leads to the first drink of a spree. We suggest you do this as we have done it in the chapter on alcoholism.(Alcoholics Anonymous, Page 92)
Indianapolis
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Re: Recovering with family

Post by Indianapolis »

Layne wrote: Mon Dec 28, 2020 9:32 am I wasn't aware of it at the time, but I made it very hard on her. Whatever approach she took, I wanted the opposite. If she tried to talk about what was going on, I didn't want to talk about it. If she didn't talk about what was going on, I thought she wasn't being supportive. I wanted space, but if If she tried to give me space, I didn't think she was being supportive.

She was stuck in a real Catch-22. Damned if she did. Damned if she didn't.
Oooo, nice. That made me think. Gonna have to go do some inventory work on that one -- I have a suspicion I've been thinking the same way with regard to my wife to some extent. Nice share. Ouch. Lol.
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Layne
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Re: Recovering with family

Post by Layne »

Indianapolis wrote: Mon Dec 28, 2020 9:38 am Ouch.
Yeah it was painful when I came to that conclusion about myself, but pain leads to growth...sometimes it hurts so good!!! It was all for good. LOL. I love this way of life!
1Peter5:10
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Re: Recovering with family

Post by 1Peter5:10 »

Hi Suzie,

My sponsor says "if you want someone to trust you you have to start by doing what they tell you to do."

Nevermind that what I actually demonstrate thereby us "obedience" not honesty, integrity etc., It actually does work that way.
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That said, sometimes part or all of our families, really are dysfunctional. If someone in your family really is bad news, the only sober way to respond is to treat them like they are bad news.

I hope this helps
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Layne
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Re: Recovering with family

Post by Layne »

My sponsor says "if you want someone to trust you you have to start by doing what they tell you to do."
I have a different take on it...if I want someone to trust me, I have to start by doing, what I tell them, I am going to do.
tomsteve
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Re: Recovering with family

Post by tomsteve »

Suzieintexas wrote: Mon Dec 28, 2020 12:34 am The dynamics of family are exhausting to me. What do I do??
glad ya made it back.
what i suggest is making sobriety #1 priority.
the dynamics of your family- even though they are family
not you circus not your monkeys.
stay in your own hoola hoop and toss out anything that causes it to wobble.
1Peter5:10
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Re: Recovering with family

Post by 1Peter5:10 »

Layne wrote: Mon Dec 28, 2020 10:01 pm
My sponsor says "if you want someone to trust you you have to start by doing what they tell you to do."
I have a different take on it...if I want someone to trust me, I have to start by doing, what I tell them, I am going to do.
I like that!

At the risk of over-analyzing:
When I thought about my sponsor's advice it made sense.
People want me to do something, if I do it they see me being "reliable," which is a word much more palatable than "obedient."
If I have a tendency to be independent, or defiant or whatever, if I do what others ask only when I also think it is right,
others see me as unreliable.

Someone who is trustworthy must be reliable, must be a team player, must not be self-centered.
I sense thinking about word choice would not do me a whole lot of good so I simply followed my sponsor's wisdom.
My life got better.
tomsteve
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Re: Recovering with family

Post by tomsteve »

1Peter5:10 wrote: Mon Dec 28, 2020 9:23 pm Hi Suzie,

My sponsor says "if you want someone to trust you you have to start by doing what they tell you to do."

that reads more like:
wanna control freak to control ya? do what they tell you to do. =biggrin


people started trusting me when i started doing the right thing because i wanted to do the right thing.
1Peter5:10
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Re: Recovering with family

Post by 1Peter5:10 »

Ton, I don't know big this applies to you, but ehen I started recovering, I stopped viewing so many people as control freaks, and I noticed that people in early recovery often view others as control freaks.

When I didn't get my way, when others intruded by telling me useless things I should be doing, I felt controlled and trapped. As I recovered, I noticed old-timers emphasizing "willingness" and "taking suggestions," and new comers who objected to doing anything others said unless they had already thought of it on their own.


The following passage, and those surrounding it, clearly applied to myself and to many of the beginners I have met.
" . . .the alcoholic is an extreme bexample of self-will run riot, though he usually doesn't think so."
BB, How It Works, p52
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