Passive? Passive-Aggressive? You’re not the first.
For those of us whose natural tendency is to be passive, alcohol frequently becomes our vehicle of choice to become either passive-aggressive or aggressive.
Notice that, on the continuum, we tend to skip door #3, assertive.
How does this actually play out?
Suppose we want a divorce, or don’t want to get married, or want out of doing almost anything. By passively encapsulating ourselves in an alcohol bubble we can frequently manipulate others into doing what we can’t quite bring ourselves to do assertively.
In addition to this passive approach, we can also be passive- aggressive, especially with controlling spouses, partners, family members, and others. “Try and control this, you S.O.B.!” is how we demonstrate our independence.
A really good example of this happens when spouses or family coerce you into going off to a 30 day AA rehab program. You go, grudgingly endure the stupidity, and come home angry, and immediately resume drinking because: 1) you’ve learned to say that you are powerless over alcohol; 2) you have a disease; and 3) it’s their fault for picking the wrong program.
Yes, you just won the trifecta or pulled off the hat trick or whatever sports analogy you prefer, and boy did you show them!
Trouble is, you still have your own unhappiness to endure.
That’s where assertiveness comes in. When you become clear about pursuing your own needs and desires, ignoring the over-bearing people in your life – become more assertive – you will find yourself both a little scared and even more exhilarated.
You’ll also find that you no longer need alcohol to medicate yourself or annoy others.
Interestingly, the research is clear – becoming more assertive works better for eliminating your alcohol abuse and improving your mental and emotional health, and personal relationships, than anything else.
Just the opposite of AA, Alanon, and other 12 Step based escapes from achieving a real life.
Ready to “Get a grip and get a life?”
“It only takes one person to change your life – you.” – Ruth Casey
It is important to remember that you don’t have to wait on anyone else to make your life better – and that’s true whether you are the person abusing alcohol or the spouse of the drinker.
We often hear the same complaint from the spouses, family members, friends, employers, and so on that “if only he/she would quit drinking then…”
But waiting for someone else to quit drinking is as futile as waiting for someone else to change their abusiveness, controlling behavior, geography, etc., and “then I’ll quit drinking.”
The problem here is that no one in the situation has any credibility regarding change.
No one believes that the drinker is actually going to stop; and no drinker believes that others aren’t going to continue to tolerate the alcohol abuse.
Consequently, if anything is going to change, then someone has to develop some credibility! And it doesn’t matter who “goes first,” but nothing is going to happen until someone does.
Frankly, as the “designated problem,” it’s usually going to be the drinker who has to start – whether it’s fair or not. Even when the drinking is legitimately attributable to a really abusive spouse, family, employer, or other intolerable situations or life events.
That brings us back to assertiveness again – if you assertively take control of, and responsibility for, your own life and happiness, then things will change.
No, the changes aren’t all predictable, though many are, but at least you will feel much better about yourself.
“Powerless, diseased, alcoholic?”
“Powerful individual with a real life?”
Need help and support in making the transition and managing the process, results, and consequences? That’s what we’re here for!