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Why do I keep attracting alcoholics into my life?

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Showing 51-75 of 89 posts in this discussion
Posted on Feb 2, 2012 1:18:55 PM PST
Treehugger© says:
Ethanol is a 2-carbon-chain alcohol; the chemical formula is CH2 CH3 OH. It is ubiquitous throughout the world and is a leading cause of morbidity across cultures. Ethanol is the most common psychoactive drug used by children and adolescents in the United States and is one of the most commonly abused drugs in the world.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 2, 2012 1:26:39 PM PST
[Deleted by Amazon on Feb 2, 2012 10:11:51 PM PST]

Posted on Feb 2, 2012 3:36:29 PM PST
M. T. Walker says:
Well, "clearly" I cannot argue with the "causes" of a 60 Minutes Episode.

I have no issue with the notion that people consume certain damaging substances; however, as a person schooled in psychotherapy, I might add: the people use it for an obvious, self-relieving, reason, and it takes time for individuals to reach that conclusion.

One issue:
According to James Austin, M.D. (you all seem to enjoy citing MDs, so here is my entry):

"In the US, some 45% of those who abuse alcohol TURN OUT (emphases mine) to have some other mental disorder during their lifetime...Once substance abuse has begun, it often complicates other psychiatric disorders and aggravates their symptoms."

That said, I have about a 50% chance of saying that those "alcoholics" are, in fact, individuals that suffer from severe mental illnesses (you can name them, as you seem experts in the field, so, be my guest).

So, let's return to this topic: if the person who has "attracted" "alcoholics" knows, via some medical health professional whether those people were utilizing a mind-altering substance out of an "alcoholic" tendency, or out of some other suffering, then, well, the issue is more complicated, because now, if people who are suffering from other mental illnesses engage in substance abuse, then, it might be labeled "alcoholism." I am not saying there are very clear cases of those physically addicted to alcohol, but I am saying, these people might have been covering up their real mental problems via alcohol, which, then, means, this person is not attracting alcoholics at all, but individuals with mental illnesses that tend to seek relief for their symptoms via alcohol, which, (amusingly, to me, at least) is quite a wide range: bipolar, depressed, borderline--most of the Axes of Mental Health have criteria for substance abuse and addiction. Why is this so surprising? And, well, and, why cannot these issues of "attracting" "alcoholics" be addressed in a professional setting. Again, we have people saying all sorts of things, but the actual impetus of this entire thread relates to the initial post. So, saying alcohol is poison does not support your case; nice try though.

Posted on Feb 2, 2012 4:57:04 PM PST
[Deleted by the author on Feb 2, 2012 7:36:14 PM PST]

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 2, 2012 5:54:08 PM PST
[Deleted by Amazon on Mar 10, 2012 6:28:41 PM PST]

Posted on Feb 2, 2012 6:21:58 PM PST
M. T. Walker says:
I'm not saying alcohol is okay, by any means. I am saying people who abuse alcohol do so for a reason, and, according to research, I have a 50% chance of saying it is due to a mental ailment. Often, these people use alcohol (and other "toxic" substances, including certain medications) without medical supervision. I personally don't think alcohol is or is not some devil of society, and no worse, in terms of some forms of impact, than, say, tobacco, or amphetamines (allegedly for ADHD, though, highly addicting and damaging to dopaminergic systems...). What I find important to consider is this: many, many things cause certain (potentially, which I do not think so, personally) epigenetic changes. I do think alcohol is a substance to be used in moderation, like many things humans use. But I also think that alcohol is employed by certain individuals, with mental ailments, to "deal with." And as a therapeutic provider, I do not, by any means, approve of substance use that damages an individual via a HABITUAL nature. If someone drinks, parties occasionally, has a beer after work, this is not going to upset their mental life, in my professional experience. I mean, I have had to help clients draw the line in their substance use, but never, never, have I tried to scare them away from the substance--my approach is more about building confidence and awareness (informed by DBT therapies) about what emotional, and somatic elements, factor into usage of a substance.

That said, Mr. Jumps, I do not entirely care if you are a mass-published author of science or not, and I do not care much about the damaging properties of alcohol, insofar, that I practice in a way not to scare people, but to inspire them for other means of dealing with their mental illnesses. As I said, many substance abusers do suffer some other mental health problem...and, operating this way has allowed me to help many people, empower, rather than make them feel blame-worthy, diseased (in an addict sense), or broken.

Posted on Feb 2, 2012 7:39:17 PM PST
Philip Eddy says:
Lol! I was the first person to reply to this thread Kate. I haven't had a chance to come back, 55 posts!!! Wow. I agree with some of what i've read.
I'm not a doctor, I haven't studied chemicals, nor have I watched the sixty minute episode referred to. I'm just a sober alcoholic.(In March i'll have 9 years of continuous sobriety, meaning no mind altering substances.) Before I got sober(I didn't think I was an alcoholic, I knew I drank a lot, but I just thought I was depressed and a victim of bad parents, bad relationships, or fill in the blank, I was never the cause of my problems, a super victim. lol) I went through years of therapy, all different kinds, modalities and approaches, with some really brilliant and loving people. I also think I single handedly kept Amazon in business with my non-alcohol related self-help purchases. :-) All of this therapy and reading means I now can have really good conversations at dinner parties, or on threads like this. None of it solved my problems, none of it. None of it kept me from bad relationships with drunks like me, from drinking, or from dating enablers that didn't drink that wanted to fix me. None of it. For me, and this is just speaking for myself, the only think that's worked, or that gave me relief is the 12 steps of AA. After I got sober, I became a member of Al-Anon too, this has helped me with my family and romantic relationships. Nine years ago I was miserable, in bad relationships, and in a no where career. Now all of that has changed for the better. I will say that these changes didn't happen quickly, they happened over time and directly in proportion to my willingness to work the 12 steps, apply myself to recovery. It might not work for you, or for everyone, but for me it worked, and i'm proof that it can work. The only requirement for membership in Al-anon is if you've had a friend, family member, or loved one, past or present, that has had a problem with alcohol. If you can answer yes to this you can feel comfortable attending. I think Ramona from earlier in this thread rocks! She mentioned the book: "Co-Dependant No More." A great book that was written by a long time member of Al-Anon. If you don't feel comfortable going to an Al-Anon meeting, pick up that book, it's a good read. Good luck. :-)

Posted on Feb 2, 2012 7:41:28 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 2, 2012 7:43:12 PM PST
Mr. Jumps says:
Ethanol inhibits the NMDA receptors of the brain. It causes mental impairment.

For further reading I refer you to:

Did not mean to Shanghai the thread. Carry on and good night all! Good luck to you too Philip.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 2, 2012 7:59:48 PM PST
Philip Eddy says:
Thanks Mr.Jump. I've liked reading your posts. And I like your sense of humor. Good night. :-)

Posted on Feb 2, 2012 8:22:13 PM PST
M. T. Walker says:
My practice does not advocate 12-step methodology, and, by treating underlying mental illnesses, people I've worked with have assumed life in a manner that is neither self-important, nor damaged. Maybe, in some fashion these people work some "steps," but the focus is on managing whatever illness drove the person to abuse substances. But, I respect what Philip says, and sincerely congratulate the sobriety that he has maintained. To be blunt: any therapeutic change is OVER TIME, so it never will occur without extensive, dedicated effort, from a client. As for pop-psych literature and self-help books, I would not know anything about them. I operate under a carefully assumed education in mental illness, and, well, I'll say I am committed to the task for reasons more complicated than charity.

Posted on Feb 2, 2012 8:43:32 PM PST
Ellie May says:
Only you can determine what is truly causing this problem for you. By reaching out on an anonymous bulletin board, on Amazon of all places, I suspect you are already beginning your journey to wholeness. The fact that you realize that you are attracting alcoholics is a giant step toward remedying your issue. For many, the journey begins in Al-Anon and ACOA. There are chapters near you, easy to find, easy to attend...and always free. Just go listen. You might find the wisdom to get you off the merry-go-round long enough to give your soul some time to grow.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 2, 2012 8:52:20 PM PST
M. T. Walker says:
As a contrast, Kate, I would offer a warning to 12-Step programs, only, as, in my professional experience, I have found that many clients have tried to "work the steps," only to be disappointed, and, in many cases, more depressed, because they believe they have a disease, rather than a behavioral disorder.

So, Kate, what is better:
Promulgating a potentially blame-based form of therapy, or actually facing the problem as it is and seeking the proper professional help for it? And, anecdotal things really don't matter to me...and, Kate, as someone being in relationships with those who abuse alcohol more often than not should not be shuffled into 12-step lore: as a psychological professional, what will aid her best is, to be blunt, seeing a licensed therapist skilled in substance abuse disorders and family counseling. 12-step is free, true, and I would advocate any means of helping someone if I felt it would minimize their problems, but, in this instance, she is "related" to a problem, and she might benefit more from therapy rather than a 12-step program...

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 2, 2012 9:01:05 PM PST
c--kuta says:
what about the other 50%?

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 3, 2012 12:21:29 AM PST
M. T. Walker says:
Is therapeutic treatment ever an 100% guarantee?
As a professional, I read many studies, though, I tailor them for my focuses (bipolar, borderline, substance abuse and addiction).

If you require medical information, I would suggest seeing an M.D. I am only a mental-health practitioner, though, from your suggestion of "other 50%" I gather you have contention with my methods and theories about addiction and mental health. That is your business, and I have no problem supporting my claims with verified, scientific, evidence--can you?

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 3, 2012 9:37:44 AM PST
DonaQuijote says:
Very interesting, Marilyn. It is also interesting that Kate appears to have not responded to you.
How much do we pick and choose wha we wan o hear?

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 3, 2012 12:22:11 PM PST
c--kuta says:
If half the of these issues can be linked to mental problems then what are the other factors they found in the study? What makes up the other 50 percent? That's all I ask.

Posted on Feb 3, 2012 1:58:48 PM PST
F.O.B. says:
As an alcoholic, I can easily answer this question - it's not about you. We need someone to take care of us and someone we can "take hostage", as we say. Just like animals are attracted by pheromones, we can spot someone no sense of self worth, no boundaries, and an infinite desire to caretake from 10 miles away. We call these people co-dependents, and Al-Anon is for them. THAT'S when it becomes all about you. Your program. Your recovery, from whatever it is that keeps you like that sticky flypaper to alcoholics. Trust me - there's something there. Normal every day folks aren't beating drunks off their doorstep every time they turn around.
Why do I talk the way I do? I'm a woman. I've been sober for 28 years, and got sober when I was 25. Not because I was lucky, or nipped it in the bud, or quit before it got out of hand. (That's what people say immediately after you tell them you quit at 25). I quit because I was going to die. I was a drunk driver, and I could have caused someone else's life to change forever. I quit because I was sick every single day. I quit because I'd nearly lost everything I'd ever cared about, except my co-dependent husband who would have continued to take the abuse I dished out every day. I quit because I couldn't hold a job. I quit because alcohol just wasn't working anymore. I quit because I couldn't manage my drinking. We say "I quit because I couldn't stop". I went into treatment, joined AA, and I've been sober ever since. That was 1983.
I talk this way because many of the other posts I read sickened me. There are even non-alcoholic "counselors" giving some pretty crazy observations/advice. Dear God. When it comes to alcoholism and the people affected by it, we cannot mince words. A lot of people claim to know answers, but unless they live inside of this disease they need to keep their mouths shut. People die because of alcoholism, so please, the rest of you, don't be therapists. To speak directly to you: I will write you a guarantee: You will continue this pattern the rest of your life if you avoid the fearless and thorough look at YOU that is the ticket to freedom. I wish you luck, and only you can decide to change your life. If you don't have the courage, you can borrow mine.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 3, 2012 2:42:54 PM PST
[Deleted by Amazon on Mar 10, 2012 6:29:00 PM PST]

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 3, 2012 2:51:58 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 3, 2012 2:52:14 PM PST
F.O.B. says:
Lord help me. Dearest Violet, you are not an alcoholic. Perhaps you should check out the trusted Mayo Clinic's page on the disease of alcoholism.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 3, 2012 2:58:26 PM PST
[Deleted by Amazon on Mar 10, 2012 6:29:02 PM PST]

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 3, 2012 2:59:42 PM PST
[Deleted by Amazon on Mar 10, 2012 6:29:02 PM PST]

Posted on Feb 3, 2012 6:33:34 PM PST
Philip Eddy says:
The American Medical Association has classified Alcoholism as a disease. That's why employees are offered EAP, (Employee assistance program).
But I don't care if you don't think it's a disease or not, that's just a fun debate for people who like to debate or argue.:-) I just shared my experience as a sober alcoholic. I stated in my letter that I was referring to me, sharing my experience. I even said that the 12 steps might not work for you, or for anyone, but they did work for me. As I stated before, i'm not a doctor. I'm just an alcoholic who now doesn't drink, and who now has healthy relationships. I told you what worked for me as a way to share another perspective. In AA and Al-anon we are taught in the literature that there are traditional doctors and professionals in the world and that we should avail ourselves of them. The program of AA is far from anti-traditional therapy, Bill Wilson(the founder) himself was an advocate of it. Al-Anon is based off of AA, so Al-Anon is not anti-therapy either. If what I say resonates with you, explore what I've suggested. Again, good luck.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 3, 2012 9:50:45 PM PST
Dana Seilhan says:
That's a rather hateful thing to say. Even if your original mom and dad were the biggest substance abusers imaginable, clearly they loved you or they would have just kept you and neglected or beaten you to death.

I don't understand people who hate their origins that much that they're thankful to be away from them. I do not have a relationship with my mother and I'm *sad* about it. I *lost* something. I don't have to be grateful for that--and where I did grow up was no improvement, either.

As for the original person in this discussion I can't see her original question anymore, but way to go for everyone here who has bought into AA's and the self-help community's jargon. It's very simple. The alcoholic has a drinking problem and you do not. You want to help them because clearly they have a problem and THAT IS PERFECTLY OKAY. The problem isn't that YOU want to help THEM but that YOU have NO HELP. Everyone around you looks down on you for wanting to be a human being and just backs away. The trouble with someone dealing with addiction is it takes more than one person to take care of them. And they *do* need care. They're sick. If they had cancer they'd be just as high-maintenance as they are with the alcoholism but because the latter is entirely a mental condition, nobody wants to cut them any slack. (And by the way, people with cancer have mental health issues too. Would you also abandon them?)

I get that it's hard. I really do. I have a longtime friend with this sort of problem in fact, and I can't deal with it but not because he's sick. If it were just that he were sick, no problem. But the trouble is I WOULD HAVE TO CARE FOR HIM BY MYSELF. All his friends are in denial that he has any problems (or they ignore that fact) and everyone else turns their backs on him. Thanks to this totally fake concept of codependency I can't do a thing for him. Because if I try to help him I'll burn out, because everyone will think I'm sick too, so they'll back away from me like I have cooties or something and I will get no one to be there for me or to spell me when it gets bad. He's got three kids and I don't think he'll see them all grow up. It's a shame.

We wonder why society's falling apart. There it is right there. Lack of compassion.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 20, 2012 9:29:52 PM PST
Jewel says:
@FOB- thank you for offering your courage. Great post.
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In reply to an earlier post on Feb 20, 2012 9:32:31 PM PST
Jewel says:
@M.Evans-Sage advice, thank you for sharing.
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Initial post:  Jan 29, 2012
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