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How To Stop Being A Superhero

23 July 2017 Written by  Well

I was very close with a couple for 12 years. I considered them family. Sadly, the husband drank to excess daily. He then became verbally abusive to his wife and dismissed his family’s concerns. So the wife asked me to intervene. I wrote him a letter about how his drinking was affecting his relationships. He acknowledged it but continued to drink. I withdrew; I couldn’t tolerate the abuse of his wife. This was a few years ago. I still send them emails. The wife replies; the husband doesn’t. But I miss their friendship greatly. Is there a way to resurrect it?

MARC

Not a pretty picture, but a pretty common one: Family and close friends catering to an alcoholic every way but productively. Here, the wife casts around for heroes to save her. And though I’m sure you meant well, Marc, you were just grandiose enough to take the bait, as if Superman could add a superpower: able to crack addictions with a single first-class stamp. This is how codependence thrives, not recovery.

Check out Al-Anon, a worldwide group for the family and friends of alcoholics. I once heard a member boil it down like so: “I didn’t cause my mother’s drinking problem; I can’t control it; and I can’t cure it.” But by focusing on our own behavior and feelings — instead of the alcoholic’s, for a change — we may find a healthy path forward.

Just walking into an Al-Anon meeting helps break down the secrecy and shame that so often surround addiction. You are not alone. Invite the wife to go with you. Rewriting your tired-out roles in this family drama is the only way I know to resurrect the friendship. You may not change the alcoholic, but you can certainly improve the way you deal with him.

Content Originally Published By: @ The New York Times

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Read 787 times Last modified on Monday, 24 July 2017 14:28
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