Alcoholics and Half-baked Relationships Part 6: Manipulating the Ingredients

Becoming right-sized happens when we use the steps of the program

Welcome to life with an alcoholic! Life with a dry (not sober) alcoholic is a challenge. I should know, I’m a recovering alcoholic and I’m still a challenge. Before I gave up the bottle and started recovery in AA, I needed to control. Control and relationship have about as much in common as a slave and his master.
It’s been my experience that it’s usually impossible to have a good relationship with a drunk, wet or dry. The best chance for a quality relationship is with a sober, recovering alcoholic. The reason is obvious. The alcoholic who is sober and in recovery is the one who is humbled. Without humility, everything is still a self-centered power struggle, even when you can’t tell it.
Being a coach and teacher, I’ve known those who were masters at self-control, at teaching discipline and goal setting, at motivating people to achieve their best– but the instructors were completely self-centered. The motivating factor for producing star after star in their field was an attempt to boost their own self-image. As long as the disciple performed well, everyone felt good about themselves. As soon as there were failures, these taskmasters became increasingly demanding and punitive, heaping shame upon the lowered heads and discouraged shoulders of those who already felt defeated.
He may be kind, considerate, patient generous; even modest and self-sacrificing. On the other hand, he may be mean, egotistical, selfish and dishonest. But, as with most humans, he is more likely to have varied traits. ~ AA p 61
It’s all about what works. While you may be focused on relationship, he is not. He is looking at the ingredients in his recipe for control. He is focused on getting things to go his way. He decides to exert himself some more. He becomes, on the next occasion, still more demanding or gracious, as the case may be. Still the play does not suit him. Admitting he may be somewhat at fault, he is sure that other people are more to blame. He becomes angry, indignant, self-pitying. What is his basic trouble? Is he not really a self-seeker even when trying to be kind? ~AA p 61
Blame is the obsessive behavior of the addict. We can almost draw a parallel between the amount of blame he attaches to others and the amount of shame he might feel if forced to acknowledge his manipulative actions. He has become adept at turning life into a blaming game. The alcoholic feels justified in his anger and self-pity because of this self-seeking perspective.
Before recovery, the practicing or dry alcoholic is focused on very little aside from his justified picture of self. He increasingly becomes the true Narcissist. So interested in his own ideas, his own perspective, his own wishes that he is not able to pull his head away from the reflection of himself long enough to focus on anyone else.
Like all things in addiction: this is about the addict, not about you!