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Post Info TOPIC: Advice to avoid projecting


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Advice to avoid projecting


Hi everyone, hoping to get your advice on this. 

My younger brother has been struggling with alcohol use for a few years, but things have been significantly worse the last couple months. I don't think he would meet the criteria for alcoholism, but there are many concerning signs--drinking alone, drinking when depressed, getting angry and yelling when drunk, lying about his drinking habits, etc. This has been impacting our family dynamics a lot and has been more of strain on my emotional state recently.

I personally made the decision a long time ago not to drink, but am dating someone who does drink. I think he on occasion drinks excessively (>several drinks in one evening, usually with others, 1-2x/month), and he has an uncle with alcoholism, but I haven't noticed significant warning signs otherwise. I don't think drinking (even to the point of getting intoxicated) is inherently wrong, but as things have been worsening with my brother, I am getting increasingly anxious about my relationship. I have been worrying a lot about about the what ifs--what if my boyfriend becomes an alcoholic 10-20 years down the line? I discussed my discomfort and my reasons for reacting so strongly with him (because I do think he's on the spectrum of unhealthy behaviors), and he agreed he should cut back to drink more moderately. He hasn't given me any reason to doubt him (he's always been very truthful and upfront), but I find myself having so much difficulty trusting him. 

I acknowledge that a part of my anxiety is projecting my experiences with my brother onto my boyfriend. I worry that no matter what my boyfriend's behaviors are, I'm always going to have this fear that it will escalate into something else. Any advice for separating out these two situations, and viewing things more objectively? Do you think this fear will get better or will my experiences with my brother likely make our discordant drinking habits a fundamental incompatibility?



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~*Service Worker*~

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Hi Andrea,

Welcome to MIP, thank you for sharing your thoughts and inviting feedback!

ALAnon is for those who know someone whose drinking is a cause for concern, and it sounds like you certainly may benefit from the concepts found within. Everyone's situation, circumstances and processing capabilities are different so we are not able to suggest what may happen in your case, what you should do, etc. We are able to point to some AlAnon concepts and principles we have personally found helpful, and share how these made a difference in our own lives.

One of the first things I heard when I found AlAnon was a reminder that in regards to Alcoholism or troubled drinking, I don't cause it, can't control it, nor can I cure it. I was able then to consider more thoroughly the impact the concern of others' drinking had on me: the change in my behavior, thoughts, and perceptions. I was then in a much better position to understand what action or behavior would be most beneficial for the drinker in my life and also for me.

We usually recommend checking out a local AlAnon meeting, current restrictions generally require Zoom options. I personally benefited greatly from reading 'Paths to Recovery: AlAnon Steps, Traditions, and Concepts' as it described nicely the concepts of recovery for those affected by others' drinking and additional questions to ask ourselves as discover what works and what does not in our lives.

You ask some great questions and have clearly given much thought. I was asking similar questions when I found ALAnon, I can say that it helped me immensely when I had run out of ideas and was frustrated, worried and unsure of what to do.

I'm sure others will have some thoughts, keep coming back to ask any questions or share any thoughts you wish



-- Edited by Enigmatic on Tuesday 29th of September 2020 06:34:41 AM

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Paul

"...when we try to control others, we lose the ability to manage our own lives."  - Paths to Recovery 



~*Service Worker*~

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Andrea253 wrote:

Hi everyone, hoping to get your advice on this. 

My younger brother has been struggling with alcohol use for a few years, but things have been significantly worse the last couple months. I don't think he would meet the criteria for alcoholism, but there are many concerning signs--drinking alone, drinking when depressed, getting angry and yelling when drunk, lying about his drinking habits, etc. This has been impacting our family dynamics a lot and has been more of strain on my emotional state recently.

I personally made the decision a long time ago not to drink, but am dating someone who does drink. I think he on occasion drinks excessively (>several drinks in one evening, usually with others, 1-2x/month), and he has an uncle with alcoholism, but I haven't noticed significant warning signs otherwise. I don't think drinking (even to the point of getting intoxicated) is inherently wrong, but as things have been worsening with my brother, I am getting increasingly anxious about my relationship. I have been worrying a lot about about the what ifs--what if my boyfriend becomes an alcoholic 10-20 years down the line? I discussed my discomfort and my reasons for reacting so strongly with him (because I do think he's on the spectrum of unhealthy behaviors), and he agreed he should cut back to drink more moderately. He hasn't given me any reason to doubt him (he's always been very truthful and upfront), but I find myself having so much difficulty trusting him. 

I acknowledge that a part of my anxiety is projecting my experiences with my brother onto my boyfriend. I worry that no matter what my boyfriend's behaviors are, I'm always going to have this fear that it will escalate into something else. Any advice for separating out these two situations, and viewing things more objectively? Do you think this fear will get better or will my experiences with my brother likely make our discordant drinking habits a fundamental incompatibility?


 Hi Andrea and I also welcome you to the MIP Family.  We have come here with the same reasons that brought you here and we have stayed and listened and learned and supported so many others who have gone thru what you are going thru now.

Alcoholism is a disease not a moral issue though evidence of the presence of it so often shows up in the thoughts, feelings and behaviors of the drinker and those affected by the drinking.

We don't give advise as we are not qualified and those of us who are or have been clinically qualified will share with you what happened with us or to us only.  I was born and raised in this disease both sides of my family and later picked it up both as a drinker and an enabler of the disease in my families of issue.  I am also a former BHT who worked in the counseling areas with individuals and families affected by the disease in others.  All of my relationships have been affected and to the positive side affected by the recovery programs of AA and the Al-Anon Family Groups.

It was suggested by my former sponsor that "I learn everything I could about the disease of addiction" which supported my decision to take it up in college.  There is so much valid supportive information within the medical health industry that I encourage using it along with Al-Anon.

Alcoholism is not curable and can be arrested by total abstinence.  If not arrested it most often progresses to future reuse or "relapse" which is often much worse and then to often to death many forms you are already aware of.   

As enigmatic mentions, Our 3Cs...We haven't caused it, cannot control it and will not cure it is valuable awareness.  The industries will not cease creating it so we live in the reality of it continuing.  Ice Cream today now can be bought with the flavors of alcohol.

There is so much supportive and helpful Experience, Strength, and Hope in the meetings and here that I encourage you to participate as often as you will.

Al-Anon Literature is awesome and you can find it all thru World Services or the meeting rooms when you can find them.  

Coming here is direct contact with those of us who work a program of recovery on a daily basis because we know this works when we work it.

It has saved my life in reality and I have watched it do the same for many more before and after.  

Welcome again...Hope and Pray you find what you need.     ((((Hugs))))  smile  Just a note "Projecting" is an enabling behavior that causes the problem to progress...get worse.

 



-- Edited by JerryF on Tuesday 29th of September 2020 07:57:56 AM

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Jerry F


~*Service Worker*~

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Welcome, Andrea! You have received such wonderful information from Paul and Jerry, so I will try to be brief. I understand the anxiety and projection around alcohol. Seeing one person and family so impacted by alcoholism that the fear overflows onto other people and situations. I used to be triggered just by seeing displays of alcohol in the grocery store. As far as I know, there is no active alcoholic in my life right now... but there are people who enjoy drinking, and I still have the capacity to worry.

Part of me wants to tell you not to be in relationship where alcohol is a problem for you (this is MY reaction to my past relationship), and the other part wants to tell you of the people I have met in Al-Anon that have found serenity while staying in a relationship with a problem drinker, or to tell you that the problem drinker in my life had many wonderful qualities. So I can't give advice or predict the future.

The Al-Anon slogan that helped me most was "One Day at a Time." In the moment, this can bring me back off the cliff of anxiety. Diving into the Al-Anon program (meetings, sponsor, literature, steps) has been the most help in reducing my anxiety over the long term, and gives me the clarity to make good decisions.



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~*Service Worker*~

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  aww My dad was a social drinker- I doubt that he ever had to drink alone. He didn't have to.

      We come from a rural community and he had a group of cobbers always available to drink with.

      To them an alcoholic was a person who sat on a park bench with a bottle of cheap wine still wrapped

      in a paper bag.

      Just opening up and talking is a really good start. Reaching out- if you need to- and finding a face 2 face group

      of Alanon might be an option. But sticking with us here would have about the same advantage, in my view.

      This share- your share is what we would expect, as you begin to create a boundary around that your brother

      is up to- and what may or may not happen in your own life.

      If a person tries to slow down, to even to quit- and finds that they cannot- that is a good test.

      Either way, I think you  have come to the right place.

      DavidG.



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A Universe that Creates Flowers : Has to be Trustworthy.



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You do not mention how old you are Generally some people do drink heavily for a while when they are young. Then at certain times that drops off because their social life is not the focal point of their existence. Having a social life in a pandemic is really challenging The general definition of addiction is of course that people keep on drinking even after there are serious problems because of it. As alcoholics arw good at hiding the chaos they live in sometimes that is difficult to work out. My life for over 8 years with my qualifier was all about how his drinking and using drugs affected him and then pf course me. Needless to say his chaos affected everyone around him. There were massive problems for him before I came on board. Those oriblems became apparent early on He carried on regardless so of course did I. For him there was no bottom, bomelessness, dire health issues, inability to work, lack of income. None of those issues stopped him. Since I left him he had gone through more homelessness, a DUi (i forgit to mention the persistent legal oribkens including incaceration) and the death of his brother (from alcoholism) he is of course still drinking. My leaving him made absolutely no difference. Of course thanks to al anon I began to change long before the leaving Needless to say these days I am spared the sordid daily chaos of his alcoholism. I am certainly aware of what it is to be immersed in another's alcoholism. I am also aware of seeing many many red flags when i met my former qualifier. I know those red flags left me paralyzed. I had no bottom lines. In many ways I was boundaryless and that was a difficult issue to resolve. 00000000000000000000 So I most certainly obsessed about what the qualifier's actions meant. I certainly saw something wrong. I did not know what to do about it. Or rather I did not want to do much about it because that seened worse than enduring his adddictions. My commitnent to the relationship.meant I stayed even when the consequences were dire. Of course there are many checklists of who is and who isnt an alcoholic. Of course it is easy to say what if. The now what is what al anon is all about I am grateful to have found al anon. I.am grateful to know what a boundary is and how to have them. I am also grateful to be around other people who are supportive kind and non judgmental. Whatever your boyfriend is, al anon can helo. That means helo in ways yo strengthen yourself so you can make cler decisions, have a life without crippling fear and most of all he able to focus on yourself. That is to.build your self worth, self care and self confidence My life is a long way from what it was with the qualifier. Nevertheless when I was with the qualifier, al anon helped me to move beyond a place of cripplng fear and apprehension My life today is of course full of challenges. This year has been a hard one for many people. Thus year has been incredibky challenging for me. Nevertheless with al anon. (And theraoy) I am navigating very difficult times. I have my uos and downs but I am no longer lost in a way I once was. Welcone to this group. This is a challengung time to join al anon but there is no perfect time to get into recovery. This group and al anon is a ohenomenal resource. I hope you will try it for a while. Good luck Maresie

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Hi Andrea, you got GREAT feedback here, so I will just welcome you to Al-anon...the fact that you are writing about this, means you see red flags with bro and boyfriend...thats when I STOP....BACK OFF.....work my program....and if new to program, I really, after 2 bad marriages due to drinking/alcoholism, I swore off relationships until I could find me and connect with me and get healthier myself, (parents drank, mom was alcoholic) so yea, i grew up with it, married it, and NOW, that I MAY be able to hold up my end of a relationship, I would still not do any big decisions, wait, watch for the red flags and believe them, follow my gut instincts, drinking to excess and personality/behavioral changes when drinking is NOT a healthy sign....I hope you keep coming back and you work your program and focus on yourself...We cannot change the alcoholics..only they can help themselves thru AA and a higher power, working the steps, etdc., but they have to make that decision and act upon it...We can only take care of ourselves...How old is your BF??? sometimes young folks do the crazy dance before they grow up and sober up...but if hes beyond his 20's, I would be real concerned about entering into any commited relationship with anyone who drinks like that........IN SUPPORT

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Rose, a work in progress!!!

KEEP IT SIMPLE_EASY DOES IT_KEEP THE FOCUS ON ME



~*Service Worker*~

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Welcome Andrea.

Trust your gut feelings. No matter how much you love and support your BF, you will not be able to control if he has a problem with addiction - not now, not in 10 years. But it seems you already know YOU have a problem with living w/ excessive addictions. Tune into that. Perhaps seek out a therapist who has experience with the collateral damage of addiction.



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"The wolf that thrives, is the one you feed." - Cherokee legend

"Hello, sun in my face. Hello you who made the morning and spread it over the fields... Watch, now, how I start the day in happiness, in kindness."  ~ Mary Oliver

 

 



~*Service Worker*~

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Welcome to MIP Andrea - so glad you found us and so glad that you shared. Simply put, AA recovery is for anyone with a desire to stop drinking. There is no minimum consumption required and the only person who can ever determine if another is an alcoholic is that person. Following the simplicity approach, Al-Anon recovery is for family and friends who are affected by the drinking of another. Again, no minimum requirement allowed.

What I have experienced is that I lost myself completely worrying about the actions and health of those I love affected by this disease. I still functioned, yet was existing instead of living. My waking thoughts, and possibly my sleeping mind were obsessed and I ended up putting me last in my days, life, priorities, etc.

What I know now based on my experience in recovery and the ESH of others is I truly am powerless over other people, places and things. No amount of love, begging, pleading, yelling, effort, energy, etc. will directly influence the actions or recovery of another. No matter how distressing it is to watch the disease progress, I am still powerless and the best thing I can do is save myself so I have the sanity and serenity to help another if/when asked.

In recovery, I learned that 'help' does not and never will equal enabling. Most of the 'help' I provided before recovery was unhealthy for me and my A, and probably was closer to enabling than being of service. Recovery gave me boundaries, one of many tools, which help me protect myself from the insanity of this disease.

I do believe you would benefit from Al-Anon and hope you keep coming back. There is always hope and help in recovery and you are not alone...



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Practice the PAUSE...Pause before judging.  Pause before assuming.  Pause before accusing.  Pause whenever you are about to react harshly and you will avoid doing and saying things you will later regret.  ~~~~  Lori Deschene

 

 

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