It appears you have not yet Signed Up with our community. To Sign Up for free, please click here....



Addiction & Recovery Message Board


Addiction & Recovery Board Index


Apologies if this isn't the best place to post this concern, but I couldn't find just an alcohol board.

I have a friend... not a really good friend, but someone who I have been seeing a bit more of recently. She's an incredibly bright, talented and productive person and to the outside eye, seems to have everything... a good career, a great husband, social standing, well-behaved children, lots of friends, supportive family close by, etc. I have been very impressed with her talents. Ever since I've known her, she has always drank very large amounts of alcohol in social situations, to the point of slurring her words and losing her balance. I had dinner with her the other night and she got very drunk again, as I expected she would. Only this time she started talking about how she drinks too much and she wanted me to open up and tell her about my problems... I suppose to make her feel better about having a drinking problem. And I don't know how bad this drinking problem is, I've only seen her get very drunk socially, I don't know if she goes home and drinks herself into oblivion or not.

Now, I have had a really rough 10 years, struggling with some family issues, career hiccups, anxiety and some depression and I have been in various types of therapy throughout, trying to stay on top of everything. I have struggled mightily over the years, but fortunately I'm doing a lot better now. I've never hidden my problems from my close friends, but I also haven't broadcast them publicly and I've never opened up to her about these things. Nevertheless, I recognized a potential cry for help and so I told her about some of my issues.

She responded by saying that she doesn't have any of those kinds of emotional problems -- and seemed very surprised that I was admitting to that. Which of course made me feel stupid and weak for admitting it to her, because she didn't seem to understand what I was talking about. She always comes across as a very strong, capable and opinionated person and she doesn't ever seem to have the insecurities that I often have. She said her only problem is that she drinks too much.

I found this fascinating, because I always assumed that people who had drinking problems also had some kind of emotional issues that were causing them to drink too much. But is it possible to be completely emotionally well off, but still have an addiction to drinking? I know that when I've abused alcohol, there's always been some kind of emotional reason. I think she's either stuffing her emotional problems -- has no idea of what's driving her to drink emotionally and doesn't even recognize her emotions -- or perhaps it really is possible to have an addiction without all the emotional baggage.

I have to admit some admiration for her ability to function while having this problem... she seems to be incredibly productive, whereas I have problems completing my relatively insignificant random "to do" lists everyday. And if I drank like she did, I'd be in bed recovering from hangovers constantly.

Any insights are appreciated.

CarrieLynn
[QUOTE=carrielynn]She responded by saying that she doesn't have any of those kinds of emotional problems -- and seemed very surprised that I was admitting to that. Which of course made me feel stupid and weak for admitting it to her, because she didn't seem to understand what I was talking about. She always comes across as a very strong, capable and opinionated person and she doesn't ever seem to have the insecurities that I often have. She said her only problem is that she drinks too much.QUOTE]

Hi Carrielynn. You've come to the right place..."Addiction and Recovery" refers, I believe, to any form of addiction. I worry that much of your friend's 'seeming' "strength, capability, and security" comes not from the heart, but from the 'drink' - or what she refers sadly to as "her ONLY problem." Indeed... it may have been that "only problem' that gave her the "courage" to finally ask 'you' about your own problems. Her later reaction -- when she backed off from your answer...her seeming 'lack of interest' -- could well have transpired in one of her "sober periods"...when she felt real embarrassment...when she was not under the affect of the alcohol that 'emboldens' her and enables her to blithely 'shoot from the hip.' Alcohol and drugs and pain medications are great anesthetizing 'shields' from real life. I, by the way, come from a family where no one ever drank (to excess). I swear, my relatives stored the same bottle of Cherry Herring (sp?) to be brought out at family celebrations...year after year after year. And, in the linen closet, I once unearthed an unopened bottle of Dom Perignon...in a box from the 50s!!! I kept the box as a collector's item! LOL! My twin (on this board) and I are not 'drinkers,' but we have been abusing pain meds and are trying to taper off them (and eventually stop! Our intake seemed "so in-control," but after reading this Board, we know better!). Anyway..., we DO have a first cousin who is very close to us who had a drinking problem for a couple of decades. I shared an apt with her for many years, not registering how bad things were escalating...and, then, not knowing how best to help her. In fact, I probably did every last 'enabling no-no' in the Al Anon handbook (if there is one)! :nono: I yelled, pleaded, cajoled, 'cleaned-up' after her messes (she left a LOT of emotional debris in her wake). Put her to bed when a neighbor rang my bell at midnight, having found her propped up in front of our apt building; took her to the doctor the 'morning after' she blacked out and almost broke her nose; etc etc etc. Because, you see, she always 'cried,' and she was 'mortified,' and she told me 'she would never let it happen again.' And she was a loving family member and I had no experience with alcoholism and I believed that each horrible 'incident' would finally 'turn the tide.' Until...almost 3 years ago when she blacked out while walking our 3 beloved Shih Tzu (As a lifetime dog lover, I had originally gotten these hairy lovebugs, but my cousin learned to love them, too, and she helps care for them - we still live in the same building...she's one floor above me). She rang my bell that afternoon, bleeding from the face, holding the boys' leashes, and not "knowing" that she had blacked out...as if nothing had happened (thankfully she had passed out on her floor at the elevator before the walk and came to quickly...she wasn't even aware that she hadn't walked them - had gotten only to the elevator!!). I brought her upstairs, washed her face, and told her she could never take care of our dogs again. Within a couple of days, she entered a rehab. Those dogs were the ONE thing she seemed to truly love in her life and after 20-plus years of denying a drinking problem, she committed to get some help. She has done very well since...tho I still don't think she sees herself as a "real" alcoholic. But she does go to AA meetings and has a sponsor that scares the hell out of her - LOL! - which is just what she needs. We are back to "sharing" our shih tzu and the boys love her. (At least she has a "unique" story to tell at meetings when she explains WHY she quit drinking! "I quit for my Shih Tzu!") She didn't do it for "me" or for family or for her job or for friends. And it didn't happen for a looooong time. And I often wonder, if I weren't her cousin, if I could have stuck it out. She hurt me, manipulated me, made me angrier than I thought I was capable of, and, overall, did things that she would NEVER have done if she wasn't a drinker. I wish I had some 'magic' potent to help you with your friend. But, it seems that, like the old cliche goes..."the person has to first want it 'him/herself." I sometimes think if I had to do it over again with my cousin, I would have just said, "I love you with all my heart and you are my family....but it hurts too damn much to be abused in this way...and to see you in such pain. I'm here for you 100% if you want me to help you 'fight this fight' for real...I will always love you, but until you take the steps to get better, I have got to, for my own emotional health, step a healthy distance away." Carrielynn, you are to be applauded for trying to be a friend...for trying to understand this relatively new person in your life. Like you, I don't believe that anyone who drinks "too much" has no "emotional baggage." There has got to be plenty of underlying pain, and one can only "function productively" for so long. Alas, it eventually 'catches up' with us. Hope you keep up with this Board. There are a LOT of bright, compassionate people here. :)
TwinAlice
CarrieLynn,
I see it as your friend having prejudice against people who speak about their emotional insecurities and that's why she would dare go there, even drunk.
But since her drinking problem was so obvious, that's not something she can hide as well from you.
I see it more the other way around.
I think it takes a strong person to be able to share from the heart. How can there be a person without a personal issue of some kind? Are they human?
Some people just don't believe in sharing anything to do with making them look in "there minds" weak. There are real pros out there like that. And it really is a sad prison to be in.
A passionately humble person is not going to feel the need to get wasted, believe me, there would be no need.
My family use to look so perfect on the outside to people, they worked really hard on showing that off. We grew up in the upper class neighborhoods.
We never spoke of feelings or emotions cuz that would be considered weak looking. People thought we were great. WE WEREN"T!
They were always getting wasted. Us kids were use to seeing the two different personalities. It was all a completely insane lifestyle for kids to grow up in.
As kids we were trained to be really well behaved to, but inside we lacked a Lot of growth cuz we were taught not to be open. We couldn't share, we didn't know how to handle problems in our lives, we did what we were taught on how to handle emotions, drink.
We were pushed to do everything right and to win. The image, very important you know. Got to keep it looking good, don't want to ruin the image.
So, don't be fooled on what you see.

Pootsi-
exactly right! my meeting friday night was on this is a family disease. no matter how much i tried to convince myself that i wasn't hurting anyone else but myself, i knew deep down that i was destroying everyone i came in contact with, wheher it was through hurtful things i said or just that my behavior mad them worry about me. oh, and i was like your friend. totally normal (whatever that is) sober, but a completely different person drunk. mean, verbally cruel, selfish, etc.
[QUOTE=lane71501]exactly right! my meeting friday night was on this is a family disease. no matter how much i tried to convince myself that i wasn't hurting anyone else but myself, i knew deep down that i was destroying everyone i came in contact with, wheher it was through hurtful things i said or just that my behavior mad them worry about me. oh, and i was like your friend. totally normal (whatever that is) sober, but a completely different person drunk. mean, verbally cruel, selfish, etc.[/QUOTE]

I'm also interested in what family members GAIN by having an alcoholic in the midst. In other words, by focusing on you and your problem, is it possible that they feel better about themselves, which puts them in a "one-up" position and you in the down position? (That being said, I'm not condoning bad behavior at all and you are responsible for your actions.)

Because the more I think about it, the more I think my friend's drinking problem makes me feel better about my own MANY stupid problems. I don't know if that contributes to her drinking more, but if I get really honest about it, that's what's going on. Maybe that translates to me treating her differently and making her feel more uncomfortable, which leads to more drinking? I don't know...

--CarrieLynn
[QUOTE=lane71501 i think my alcoholism let her justify meddling in my life. she was constantly threatening me with you'll lose your child or belittling me. in a way, she tried to make it all about her too. i guess it kinda is. things i did influenced her decisions and actions towards me. my mom is a fixer just like i am. i think today she has a hard time with the fact that my recovery is just that, mine. ;)[/QUOTE]


Do you think you would still be an alcoholic if she wasn't a meddler? Do you think you two worked together on this somehow? I'm wondering if you two "evolved" this pattern somehow... your alcoholism may be a symptom of it.

My mother in the past has yelled at me for being selfish, for not being a good wife to my husband, stuff like that. It's hard to believe someone would do that, but she honestly thought I was not being a good wife. She's an amazing woman and is very involved in her church and is well respected... so she's not a bad person. And even though she did these things, I know she cared and didn't know what effect she had on me. I know she had a very rough childhood and this is just the way she is. I used to walk around with a "tape" of her criticisms constantly running in my head, although at the time I wasn't aware what was going on. I had a huge desire to please and I guess I "stuffed" my anger towards her and just turned inward. My self-esteem pretty much plummetted and this "tape" affected many aspects of my being. I had anxiety and depression for quite a while, perhaps 10+ years. Things seemed to get worse after I got married. It may have something to do with me truly leaving the nest. I had sort of left it when I graduated from college and was living on my own, but I truly left it when I got married.

Talk therapy educated me on what was happening with my mother and father. I've also been doing a therapy called "neurofeedback" (brain wave training) once a week since mid-July (2003) and it has really helped me quite a bit -- more so than the talk therapy. I'm so much more relaxed and able to deal with issues. I can feel my self-esteem returning, and I'm sleeping better than I have in a very long time. It's not an overnight cure (it can take 20-40++ sessions) but it sure has helped me quite a bit. Read the book "A Symphony in the Brain" by Jim Robbins for more information. There's been a lot of success with alcoholism and neurofeedback too -- they use something called the Peniston protocol and some therapists claim huge success with it. My therapist is not using this particular protocol with me, but I can tell you that the neurofeedback has totally helped me... it definitely works. Let me know if you have any questions.

CarrieLynn
[QUOTE=carrielynn]Apologies if this isn't the best place to post this concern, but I couldn't find just an alcohol board...I have a friend... not a really good friend, but someone who I have been seeing a bit more of recently. She's an incredibly bright, talented and productive person and to the outside eye, seems to have everything... a good career, a great husband, social standing, well-behaved children, lots of friends, supportive family close by, etc. I have been very impressed with her talents. Ever since I've known her, she has always drank very large amounts of alcohol in social situations, to the point of slurring her words and losing her balance. I had dinner with her the other night and she got very drunk again, as I expected she would. Only this time she started talking about how she drinks too much and she wanted me to open up and tell her about my problems... I suppose to make her feel better about having a drinking problem. And I don't know how bad this drinking problem is, I've only seen her get very drunk socially, I don't know if she goes home and drinks herself into oblivion or not...Now, I have had a really rough 10 years, struggling with some family issues, career hiccups, anxiety and some depression and I have been in various types of therapy throughout, trying to stay on top of everything. I have struggled mightily over the years, but fortunately I'm doing a lot better now. I've never hidden my problems from my close friends, but I also haven't broadcast them publicly and I've never opened up to her about these things. Nevertheless, I recognized a potential cry for help and so I told her about some of my issues...She responded by saying that she doesn't have any of those kinds of emotional problems -- and seemed very surprised that I was admitting to that. Which of course made me feel stupid and weak for admitting it to her, because she didn't seem to understand what I was talking about. She always comes across as a very strong, capable and opinionated person and she doesn't ever seem to have the insecurities that I often have. She said her only problem is that she drinks too much...I found this fascinating, because I always assumed that people who had drinking problems also had some kind of emotional issues that were causing them to drink too much. But is it possible to be completely emotionally well off, but still have an addiction to drinking? I know that when I've abused alcohol, there's always been some kind of emotional reason. I think she's either stuffing her emotional problems -- has no idea of what's driving her to drink emotionally and doesn't even recognize her emotions -- or perhaps it really is possible to have an addiction without all the emotional baggage...I have to admit some admiration for her ability to function while having this problem... she seems to be incredibly productive, whereas I have problems completing my relatively insignificant random "to do" lists everyday. And if I drank like she did, I'd be in bed recovering from hangovers constantly... Any insights are appreciated. CarrieLynn[/QUOTE]

Hi CarrieLynn,

It sounds like you have been through a lot. Alcohol can cause a lot of problems and not be so obvious. If drinking is her only problem, she does not need another…It’s like saying Mount Everest is a molehill. It's not true (denial). I don't think it's possible to have a meaningful conversation with someone intoxicated. It causes uninhibited behavior & conversation. Without it, there would be natural inhibition, hesitance or reluctance to discuss personal matters.

It was not weak of you to talk about challenges you have faced. It does mean you trusted her, let your guard down, were vulnerable and her reaction caused you to feel self conscious about opening up in the first place. Or perhaps if you shared too much that could be the result of uninhibited conversation from drinking. Not all alcoholics fit the stereotype, just as one would not classify all people who consume alcohol to be alcoholic... A person can drink and not have any problems and consider it socially acceptable. If a person has a history of problem drinking, alcohol is a problem in their life.

I think you would be better off if you did not socially drink with this friend. She is not a good influence and despite how “together” she appears. I know you admire her but based on what you have said, she gets drunk a lot and you are putting yourself in harms way with her and that is not healthy for you to do. In your eyes, she seems to have it all and is unscathed by her actions, but it’s different for you, you have a different life and can’t afford to jeopardize your sobriety.

If someone gets hurt, I suspect you to be the one. Don’t be fooled by appearances. If she drinks like this and people see her this way, she is hurting herself and those around her. It tampers with reputation, integrity and other valuable intrinsic qualities. If you associate with people who get that intoxicated you will be associated with it whether you drink or not, in following the expression, birds of a feather flock together. How would you feel if your employer, parents, teacher, people you respect saw this? Damage can be irreparable. If an employer was going to promote someone, would he be less inclined to consider someone who drinks too much vs. a non drinker? You have been through a lot and have pulled yourself up out of this, not to be pulled down. Seek higher ground.


Back to her reaction, If she did not have the reaction she did, I don't think you would have regretted the conversation & perhaps not be thinking she passed judgement. I’m not clear on this, did you call them “emotional problems” or did she caption what you were saying by the label?

It was not weakness in the sense you may be thinking it was, by her reaction, you struck a defensive nerve, she became uncomfortable and sidestepped the topic altogether-her way to preserve an untarnished existence-image maintained aside from her mental decline from drinking. She does not sound like the type to display, divulge or admit what she considers to be a fault or weakness, obvious by how perfect everything *is*. This is her wall, I would not attempt to climb it. Have you considered joining an ALAnon or AA group or board like Miracles In Progress? I think it could help address specific issues related to alcohol. :angel: Take Care, Gemi





All times are GMT -7. The time now is 08:20 AM.





© 2019 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved.
Do not copy or redistribute in any form!