Around Dry-Drunks

This morning I’m thinking of my own Wellness Recovery Action Plan that I use for anxiety control, which defines “Key Recovery Concepts” as the following:

“Five key recovery concepts provide the foundation of effective recovery work.

Hope – People who experience mental health difficulties get well, stay well and go on to meet their life dreams and goals.

Personal Responsibility – It’s up to you, with the assistance of others, to take action and do what needs to be done to keep yourself well.

Education – Learning all you can about what you are experiencing so you can make good decisions about all aspects of your life.

Self Advocacy – Effectively reaching out to others so that you can get what it is that you need, want and deserve to support your wellness and recovery.

Support – While working toward your wellness is up to you, receiving support from others, and giving support to others will help you feel better and enhance the quality of your life.”

As a suicide loss-survivor, I am statistically at increased risk of emotional and psychological un-wellness, and therefore must make my home and social circle into a sanctuary where I feel supported and safe.

As a family member of generational alcoholism and co-dependence, remaining safe is sometimes dicey no matter how well I prepare. I would like to be so well someday that I am able to detach with love and kindness and still stay in the conversation, instead of “detaching with a hatchet.” Yet, when the emotional assault is extreme - whether intended or not - I sometimes react too strongly.

It’s curious, because reacting strongly to assault is encouraged among anti-bullying experts. However, those of us who have lifetimes of bullying within our families to deal with sometimes default to fight-back-mode which over runs detach-with-kindness-mode. There’s also the very real fact that dry drunks mostly consider any response to their self-created drama to be aggressive and unfair.

Listening in by phone to an AlAnon meeting today, I am reminded that - in the words of my best friend - “I can't make it stop because it's not me doing it.” When I can’t make it stop, my choices are to fight or run. That I live with complex-grief-PTSD is not something I’ve hidden from the dry drunks in my life.

Since I’m nearing 60, I can’t run as fast as I could when I was young, leaving “fight” as my only option. Being removed from people we love is hurtful and causes more grief, for us and them, but sometimes there is simply no other cure for dealing with untreated alcoholics. Sometimes our own personal comfort must take precedence over theirs.