From Heartache to Hope

Life with the Alcoholic/Addict

Does Your Loved One Display Classic Addictive Behavior?

The alcoholic/addict's actions can be very predictable

The alcoholic/addict in your life seems to present fairly constant mercurial behavior. One day grounded and staid, the next animated and unpredictable. However, the basic core of classic addictive behavior is pretty universal; so step back and look at the alcoholic/addict in your life from a non-emotional, neutral point of view and see if these characteristics hit home.

Here are six postures that you might observe with the alcoholic/addict in your life.

1) The alcoholic/addict can spend an enormous amount of time defending and justifying their actions, reactions, thinking process, decisions and their way of life in general. A combative nature can be part of their communication tactic against anyone who questions or disagrees with their lifestyle. In addition, the alcoholic/addict has difficulty acknowledging their poor choices or negative actions, or if they do acknowledge them it is usually with a caveat attached. Admissions for their own reckless endangerment could make the alcoholic/addict vulnerable and defenseless and topple them from their soap box of self justification.

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2) An egotistical temperament often goes with the territory. An egocentric person is concerned with the individual (themselves) rather than society. They are limited in outlook or concern to the activity or needs of others and possess a self-centered, selfish inherent and sense of entitlement nature. They can have difficulty listening to the reasoning or apprehension of others, especially if it’s not what they want to hear.

3) The word “Humble” is not part of their vocabulary or character. Being humble might purport that they have to realize their own out of control behavior, and take responsibility that they wronged another and hurtful in the process. Since the alcoholic/addict may have trouble believing that their world or the world around them is tumbling down they cannot humble themselves enough to take the steps necessary to take action and make amends along the way. In addition, being humble may suggest in them a sense of weakness; and that weakness may in turn force them to face the fact that they are in trouble and need the help of others.

4) Airing one’s own private issues publically, may not be humiliating to the alcoholic/addict, but it surely can be to employers, family and friends. The blame game is an easy excuse for them to point fingers of their disgruntlement to others as the cause for their actions. Anyone that will listen may become an unwilling audience subjected to personal and intimate details that should be kept behind closed doors.

5) Disrespect for recovery programs. The alcoholic/addict that has not committed to some sort of 12 step recovery program like Alcoholics Anonymous, residential, outpatient or private counseling is the first to find fault with them. “They’re not for me, I don’t want to share personal experiences with a bunch of strangers, I’m not like them, I know more than they do, I’ve learned all that, or I can do it on my own” is just a handful of cop-out excuses they rely on.

6) The rippling affects….no the tsunami affect the irresponsible and out of control behavior of the alcoholic/addicts actions has on others. Whether its celebrities or the guy or gal next door the family and friends can’t help but be affected by the out of control, irresponsible behavior of their loved one. These affects can last a long time; as the emotional, psychological and fiscal scars can be a painful and present a lengthy healing process. Though I believe that the alcoholic/addict doesn’t wake up in the morning plotting whom they are going to hurt or disappoint that day, their actions can be non- the- less selfish and altruistic, which can make them impervious to the pain and suffering of the ones around them.

I bring these concepts to your attention not so you can point them out to your loved one, as they will surely turn a deaf ear, but sometimes we think we are alone or crazy in our thinking of what we see. Trust me, you are not alone, but share this commonality with millions of other folks. Many of us can’t help but question or wonder…”is this the person I fell in love with…what happened?” or “one day my daughter and I were the best of friends…the next I don’t even recognize her behavior.”

I have often said that knowledge is power; and sometimes the more we know, the more we can accept and truly understand what is in our control and what is not; though difficult as that may be. However, the more self empowerment we can realize, the more we will appreciate how vital it is to our own well being and personal success.

If I can be of service, please visit my website www.familyrecoverysolutions.com. In addition, I invite you to explore my new book or audio CD Reclaim Your Life – You and the Alcoholic/Addict there or on Amazon.

Carole Bennett, M.A., is a family substance abuse counselor, lecturer, columnist and author based at her Family Recovery Solutions Counseling Center in Santa Barbara, CA.

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