Detaching form the chaotic behaviors of an alcoholic is one of the foundational things we must learn how to do. The longer we interact with them without knowing how to handle dysfunctional relationships, the more interconnect with them we get. If we are not careful we will find ourselves reacting to just about everything they are doing and saying. This is certainly not an emotionally healthy way for us to live.
I am going to give you some proven ways that can help you detach from an alcoholic.
I’ve learned the importance of having a plan “B” when primary plans are made with an alcoholic. Before learning ways of detaching, I would be angry and frustrated if the problem drinker did not meet their commitment to do something with me.
When we have a backup plan in place this gives us an alternative if they fail to meet their obligations. We are able to detach from situations easier by filling the void with something other than obsessing over their behaviors.
Let’s suppose you have plans to go to the movies with them at five in the afternoon. Your backup plan might be to ask a friend in advance if they would be interested in going if the alcoholic ditches you. The problem drinker never shows, you go to the movie with your friend and have a great time. Now to take this idea to the next level, I would then say nothing to the alcoholic about them not meeting their commitment to go to the movies with me.
So, you have now done two things: 1) You went to the movies without them which helped to detach from you feeling lonely because of what they did. 2) You detached from arguing with them about it because you chose to not say anything to them.
You can now be a happier and more emotionally stable person. You are happier because you enjoyed a movie with a friend and a little more emotionally stable because you did not argue with the alcoholic.
This method is founded upon you realizing that you cannot control what they decide to do. Also, it’s a good idea to understand that alcoholics are good at breaking engagements.
I have such a tendency to place too much value on what others think about me. One of the problems I encountered with an alcoholic I was in love with was being verbally abused by them. Their negative opinions of me just about drove me to the grave on a couple of occasions.
When I learned how to filter the awful things they were saying about me through a truth test, I discovered that most of their opinions were not true. Through making a conscious decision to not react to their abusive words, I was able to detach from engaging in arguments.
Here is an example: If I was working two jobs, raising three children, keeping the bills paid and the house in order, and my wife called me a lazy good for nothing bum, there is no truth in that statement. I am then able to choose to not react by knowing in my heart what they have said is not true. Rather than trying to defend my character, I would simple say; “that’s not true.”
Detaching from how an alcoholic is living their life or how they are treating us really takes work.
I know of hundreds of ways of detaching from alcoholics, all of which I’ve learned over the past thirteen years of attending alcoholism support group meetings. Once we learn proven methods that work, we can then live happier and healthier lives.