How To Not Be Affected by the Alcoholic
Get Out from Being Under the Influence!
The Dilemma of the Alcoholic-Codependent Relationship
Please enjoy this free excerpt from my upcoming third book!
Under the Influence of Codependency
I wanted the alcoholic to get out from being under the influence of alcohol. What I failed to realize was that I was under the influence of my own dysfunctional codependent thoughts. I was drunk on codependency binges that seemed to happen in almost all of my relationships.
He had his alcoholism and I had my codependency. Binges for me were mental and emotional. My binges stemmed from giving into any thought that I should fix, save, and rescue everything/everyone around me. I had codependent compulsions, and they got progressively worse when he was actively drinking. My reactions became bigger, more unhealthy, and more severe. I was being affected by both his issues and my own. Ask yourself: What are you being affected by?
Recover by Focusing on Yourself
When I hit my “codependent bottom,” I had been in the Twelve Step Recovery Program of Al-Anon for a solid ten years trying to save our relationship. Then, after twenty years, I hit what I call an “Al-Anon wall.” From that crash, my recovery became a two-part process.
My old way of trying to do his recovery along with my recovery had horribly failed. My old way of trying to do my recovery because of his alcoholism only got me so far. In part one, I had turned over his alcoholism (I couldn’t combat it any longer) and my fear that triggered my codependent behaviors (I couldn’t stand being myself any longer). My first step was to get out from under the influence of him
The bottom line that I learned from this: You can’t get better by focusing on someone else. To put it another way: You can’t get a better life for yourself by focusing on how someone is ruining theirs. And again (because repetition is the key to learning): You can’t get healthy by obsessing about an unhealthy person. I could go on and on! Maybe I will.
Recover From Codependency, Not Alcoholism (Make the Switch)
My “Al-Anon wall” was that I went into the program for recovery from the effects of alcoholism, but I found that I had to switch my program to recover from the effects of codependency. I made more personal progress when I focused on myself. Recovering from alcoholism was a useful first phase, but I had more work to be done in my healing process without his influence.
Because I was no longer with the alcoholic, I was no longer seeing the drinking, dealing with the drinking, dealing with the pain, betrayals, problems, drama… yet I still had problems just as real. These were from my own issues. I had successfully turned over his drinking career back to him and a Higher Power. Now, I needed to turn over my codependency — my non-drinking, out-of-control compulsion to escape painful reality through odd forms of denial, control, use of distraction, and diving head-and-heart-first into relationships.
Getting Emotionally Sober After Codependency
To save myself, I learned to turn my complex codependency over to a Higher Power and ask for help on my behalf. This came as a surprise to me because I had spent decades asking for help from a Higher Power (and anyone who would listen) on behalf of the sick and suffering alcoholic. I spent most of my recovery trying to get help for him, never thinking of me. The change (this switch of focus) in me was obvious, even to me! Usually, I couldn’t see how my recovery was helping my life unless others pointed it out to me after meetings. I was blind to my own blind spots. Others who saw my transformation would tell me how far I had come, how much better I looked, and how good I sounded at meetings. Now, I noticed that I immediately would own my issues and take a fearless and searching moral inventory of myself, rather than complain about the alcoholic’s latest problematic behavior.
This shift in focus was the second part of my recovery process. My recovery underwent phase two as I stayed with the Twelve Step Program of Al-Anon and utilized a sponsor for my toxic codependency. I was no longer there for my ex’s alcoholism, I was there for me. Next, I had to get out from being under the influence of my own codependency. The debilitating condition led me to many self-harming and self-defeating poor decisions in relationships. It was time for me to get emotionally sober! I had to get out of my sickness to get better. I did this by going on a retreat to mark this change that I needed to make with myself.
Read my book with all the 25+ powerful lessons I learned to fully recover. (Click here.)
My phases of codependency recovery:
- Phase One = Get out from under the influence of the sick and suffering alcoholic
- Phase Two = Get out from under the influence of toxic codependency
—Grace W. Wroldson, mother, author, survivor, and thriver of 5 self-help books available on Amazon
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To learn 25 more powerful lessons, pick up my first book! So, You Love an Alcoholic?: Lessons for a Codependent
For follow-up lessons to learn, buy my second book! I Loved an Alcoholic But Hated the Drinking: 11 Essential Strategies to Survive Codependency and Live in Recovery with Self-Love
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