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The Functional Alcoholic does not necessarily:
· get drunk every time he or she drinks
· drink a large amount
· have hangovers
· miss a lot of work
· drink during the day, week or month
· drink every day week or month
· look bleary-eyed
· have slurred speech
· get unpleasant or belligerent with other people
· drink in the morning
· become physically abusive
· crave a drink
· show up late for work
· have a hangover
· get a DWI/DUI
· ever look drunk
· have blackouts
...the family usually sees the first symptoms, but don't always know what they mean.
The Functional Alcoholic may have problems with:
He who covers his sins will not prosper: but whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy. Proverbs 28:13
Denial: it's a ridiculous looking thing.
I once saw a photograph of a mouse, looking straight at the camera, cheeks puffed out to a Saltine's square shape. And the tag line attached was "What cracker?"
It made me think of my own erratic disordered eating behaviors, including stealing my roommates' food and dumpster diving.
"...I thought I was hiding my secret well from the outside world. I replenished the food I'd stolen from my roommates. I played ‘beat the clock' before they came home to notice...
...It became a regular hide and steal, hide and eat, hide and deny game... I knew their schedules by heart. I'd wait for them to leave for class. I'd hurry home, skipping my own classes to ensure enough time alone... I had to eat as much as I could before they came home...
... I'd be first to volunteer among my roommates to take out the trash, because I knew what ‘goodies' I'd thrown out...
...Trips to the dumpster at 2:30 a.m. were not unusual... I'd rummage through other people's trash bags...
...I was caught on more than one occasion. I'd try to play it off, pretending everything was normal as people passed by me scrounging in the dumpster. As I became more desperate, however, I began going to the dumpster frequently in broad daylight while other students were coming and going from class... I tried to convince myself I could ‘just act natural' and disguise the truth..."
I was asking, "What Cracker?"
The following are unsolicited, direct quotes from real people who have been ministered to by CIR. Though Jesus Christ, CIR impacts lives, saves lives and changes lives.
The CIR site is a central meeting point for many who may otherwise not have found and entered recovery -- especially Christians who struggle with secular recovery programs. They find other Christians in the CIR program they can identify with and they can freely speak about their Christian faith and beliefs. This program and web site has helped thousands of people globally with their recovery and spiritual growth.
Collection of ebooks and software FREE for CIR Members
Loving an alcoholic is not about taking care of them, but about taking care of you. You have a responsibility to protect yourself from any of the alcoholic’s negative and destructive behavior. Setting boundaries for you is how to become healthy, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. You may have to change a few personal things and schedules around the house a bit to accommodate your boundaries, but this is how you protect yourself from the insidious disease of alcoholism. All the boundaries I suggest are always detaching from the alcoholic in a loving way.
Don’t be around the alcoholic when they are drinking. Does this sound difficult to do. Well it isn’t if you have your own bedroom, or other room, with a television, desk, phone, cell phone, laptop, etc. Be prepared to leave any room the alcoholic is drinking in. When the alcoholic asks you why you are leaving the room, let them know the truth; you are powerless to control their behavior and you do not want to be around them while they are drinking; it’s as simple as that. You are taking care of you!
Don’t argue, plead, or yell at the alcoholic no matter how difficult it gets. This is what the alcoholic wants you to do. If you argue, fuss and fight, it takes the focus off of them and their drinking and on to you. See how that works? This is how the alcoholic drives you into the disease with them. Every time you try and control the alcoholic through words or argument, you actually lose the battle; they won! You stay in control by staying silent. You are in control when the alcoholic wants you to argue with them, but you walk away instead. This is taking care of you!
I went to a party, Mom. I remembered what you said.
You told me not to drink, Mom, so I drank soda instead.
I really felt proud inside, Mom, the way you said I would.
I didn't drink and drive, Mom, even though the others said I should.
I know I did the right thing, Mom, I know you are always right.
Now the party is finally ending, Mom, as everyone is driving out of sight.
As I got into my car, Mom, I knew I'd get home in one piece.
Because of the way you raised me, so responsible and sweet.
I started to drive away, Mom, but as I pulled out into the road,
The other car didn't see me, Mom, and hit me like a load.
As I lay there on the pavement, Mom, I hear the policeman say,
The other guy is drunk, Mom, and now I'm the one who will pay.
I'm lying here dying, Mom. I wish you'd get here soon.
How could this happen to me, Mom? My life just burst like a balloon.
There is blood all around me, Mom, and most of it is mine.
I hear the medic say, Mom, I'll die in a short time.
I just wanted to tell you, Mom, I swear I didn't drink.
It was the others, Mom. The others didn't think.
He was probably at the same party as I.
The only difference is, he drank and I will die...
"Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same — will be called least in the kingdom of Heaven." Matthew 5:19
A great many people are careful about breaking large commandments and committing heinous sins — while they commit "little sins" continually and without scruple.
They would not tell a direct lie for the world — but their speech is full of little falsehoods!
They would not steal money from the purse or drawer of another — and yet they continually commit small thefts! For example, by mistake the grocer gives them a penny too much change — and they do not think of returning it. Through the carelessness of a postal worker, the postage stamp on a letter is left uncancelled — and they take it off and use it a second time.
They would not purposely try to blacken a neighbor's name or destroy his character — and yet they repeat to others the evil whispers about him which they have heard, and thus soil his reputation.
They would not swear or curse in the coarse way of the ungodly — but they are continually using such minced oaths such as, Gosh! Gees! Heck! and other mild, timid substitutes for overt swearing.
They would not do flagrant acts of wickedness to disgrace themselves — but their lives are honeycombed with all kinds of little meannesses, impurities, selfishnesses, and bad tempers.
On the surface, codependency messages sound like Christian teaching:
"Codependents always put others first before taking care of themselves."
(Aren't Christians to put others first?) .
"Codependents give themselves away."
(Shouldn't Christians do the same?).
"Codependents martyr themselves."
(Doesn't Christianity honor its martyrs?)
Those statements have a familiar ring, don't they? Then how can we distinguish between codependency, which is unhealthy to codependents and their dependents, and mature faith, which is healthy.
I have little or no value.
Other persons and situations have all the value.
Ask Angie: Hi Angie, I was reading your article titled "Do You Love an Alcoholic - Setting Boundaries for You". I'd like to follow these suggestions, but I have some questions. How long should I detach myself before I should move out? We have two kids (3 and 5). How do I go about detaching when we all live together? Should I move me and my kids out for a while? How do I explain to them what's going on?
How Long Should I Detach Before Moving Out?
Ask Angie: Dear Angie, I have been married to an alcoholic husband for eight years now and we have two young children together. We have taken marriage courses and I have been reading the Love Dare. I have tried the detach method but it is difficult since he starts drinking every day at around 9 or 10 in the morning (since he was laid off over six months ago) and drinks until he goes to bed which is usually midnight. If I don't talk to him when he's drinking he gets angry. How can I make the detachment work in this situation and how can I protect our children from his anger?