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Old 07-29-2008, 09:54 AM
 
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Or addiction recovery, or whatever else you want to call it.

Okay. I'm really not trying to strike a nerve here, I promise. No matter what, however, somebody's going to get touchy on this subject.

I have a sister-in-law who had both a drug and alcohol abuse problem. Nine years ago, she went into a program and has managed to stay clean and sober ever since. She has the pins and we're proud of her for her courage and persistence.

That being said, after nine years, how do we get her to STOP talking about her addiction, her program, what she learned in her program, how she always is running out to a meeting in every family gathering, and how everybody should go through a program like this to deal with their own private demons? Blah blah blah blah blah blahbity blah. We don't even need her to even stop talking about it. Just stop talking about it nonstop.

Seriously. This used to be a woman who talked about all kinds of interesting things. Books, music, travel. Now, all she talks about is either her alcoholism or her freakin' Arbonne. It's non-stop, and every conversation seems to wrap back around to her addiction. As in, "Oh, how was sailing the past weekend? I hear it's lovely. When I was in the program, a good friend of mine was a sailor. But he kept falling off the wagon. Alcoholics do that a lot, so I have to really watch it and be good about it...." This was an actual conversation, by the way. Ultimately, when she gets to this point, it becomes narcissism, because every topic seems to provide a bully pulpit to blather on and on about her addiction.



In fact, this seems to be reasonably common with people who have gone through addictions. No, not all of them do this. Not even most of them. But a fair percentage seem to bring up their struggle with addiction at the drop of a hat, volunteering this information to perfect strangers. It's almost as if they just substituted one addiction (Alcohol or drugs) for another addiction (Talking about oneself). But, unlike drugs and alcohol, you can't tell people like my sister-in-law to shut up already because that would be--horrors--non-supportive. The fact that she's become a gigantic bore has never occurred to her.

I understand it's an important part of their lives. At the same time, I have family members and friends who survived cancer, a crippling automobile accident, the unexpected death of a spouse, children with autism, et al. Yet, none of them dwell on these things in their conversations with others.

Last edited by cpg35223; 07-29-2008 at 10:06 AM..
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Old 07-29-2008, 10:06 AM
 
Location: Naptowne, Alaska
15,596 posts, read 35,217,512 times
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Dang. I think I would find that annoying. I don't think I know anyone thats done the so called 12 step thingy. But I do work with a guy that repeats himself all day long. Same stories every hour on the hour. Drives me nuts.
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Old 07-29-2008, 10:08 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rance View Post
Dang. I think I would find that annoying. I don't think I know anyone thats done the so called 12 step thingy. But I do work with a guy that repeats himself all day long. Same stories every hour on the hour. Drives me nuts.
Yep. I know several people like that. My sister-in-law just happens to be the most prominent example.
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Old 07-29-2008, 10:34 AM
 
Location: Florida
19,663 posts, read 19,774,434 times
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My own personal opinion about AA is that for SOME people they are simply replacing one addiction with another...the other being the program itself.
I remember one gentleman who was "celebrating" his 20th year in AA.
Damn!
To me, getting over an addiction or habit of any kind, is having it no longer being important in your life.
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Old 07-29-2008, 11:45 AM
 
Location: Twilight Zone
295 posts, read 1,086,886 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by old_cold View Post
[...] I remember one gentleman who was "celebrating" his 20th year in AA.
Damn!
To me, getting over an addiction or habit of any kind, is having it no longer being important in your life.
20 years!! WooHoo!!!!!!!!!!!! Awesome!

Recovering users & abusers are just that: Recovering. They never "get over their addiction". Rather, their recovery is an ongoing process they must live and maintain every day lest they slide and "go back out".

I have gone to a gazillion meetings and functions with several near & dear friends and family who are in AA and/or NA. I have seen what the programs have done for them and I understand what the programs mean to them. For many in the programs, both newbies and old-timers alike, their recovery WILL & SHOULD ALWAYS BE important in their lives. Some because they learned how to live life on life's terms through their program; others because they literally would have died without their program; still others because they truly believe they will die if they go back out.

IMO, such successful battles deserve celebration, awe, and support.

To the OP: Some people in recovery take longer than others to get comfortable in their recovery and are not 100% sure in their own minds that they can maintain their recovery. For most, if not all, it took many years to get to their bottom; their climb back out will also take many years. Talking about their recovery and what they've learned thus far, especially with people outside their program(s) who accept them, helps them reinforce their determination and strength to continue. I don't think it's narcissistic; it's more like affirmation and confidence building.
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Old 07-29-2008, 12:10 PM
 
28,906 posts, read 46,593,274 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shroom View Post
20 years!! WooHoo!!!!!!!!!!!! Awesome!

Recovering users & abusers are just that: Recovering. They never "get over their addiction". Rather, their recovery is an ongoing process they must live and maintain every day lest they slide and "go back out".

I have gone to a gazillion meetings and functions with several near & dear friends and family who are in AA and/or NA. I have seen what the programs have done for them and I understand what the programs mean to them. For many in the programs, both newbies and old-timers alike, their recovery WILL & SHOULD ALWAYS BE important in their lives. Some because they learned how to live life on life's terms through their program; others because they literally would have died without their program; still others because they truly believe they will die if they go back out.

IMO, such successful battles deserve celebration, awe, and support.

To the OP: Some people in recovery take longer than others to get comfortable in their recovery and are not 100% sure in their own minds that they can maintain their recovery. For most, if not all, it took many years to get to their bottom; their climb back out will also take many years. Talking about their recovery and what they've learned thus far, especially with people outside their program(s) who accept them, helps them reinforce their determination and strength to continue. I don't think it's narcissistic; it's more like affirmation and confidence building.
Be that as it may, it really throws a damper into every dinner party, get together, conversation, and social gathering. I think the people who go through this should, at some point, learn awareness.
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Old 07-29-2008, 12:36 PM
 
Location: syracuse ny
2,412 posts, read 4,504,812 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cpg35223 View Post
Or addiction recovery, or whatever else you want to call it.

Okay. I'm really not trying to strike a nerve here, I promise. No matter what, however, somebody's going to get touchy on this subject.

I have a sister-in-law who had both a drug and alcohol abuse problem. Nine years ago, she went into a program and has managed to stay clean and sober ever since. She has the pins and we're proud of her for her courage and persistence.

That being said, after nine years, how do we get her to STOP talking about her addiction, her program, what she learned in her program, how she always is running out to a meeting in every family gathering, and how everybody should go through a program like this to deal with their own private demons? Blah blah blah blah blah blahbity blah. We don't even need her to even stop talking about it. Just stop talking about it nonstop.

Seriously. This used to be a woman who talked about all kinds of interesting things. Books, music, travel. Now, all she talks about is either her alcoholism or her freakin' Arbonne. It's non-stop, and every conversation seems to wrap back around to her addiction. As in, "Oh, how was sailing the past weekend? I hear it's lovely. When I was in the program, a good friend of mine was a sailor. But he kept falling off the wagon. Alcoholics do that a lot, so I have to really watch it and be good about it...." This was an actual conversation, by the way. Ultimately, when she gets to this point, it becomes narcissism, because every topic seems to provide a bully pulpit to blather on and on about her addiction.



In fact, this seems to be reasonably common with people who have gone through addictions. No, not all of them do this. Not even most of them. But a fair percentage seem to bring up their struggle with addiction at the drop of a hat, volunteering this information to perfect strangers. It's almost as if they just substituted one addiction (Alcohol or drugs) for another addiction (Talking about oneself). But, unlike drugs and alcohol, you can't tell people like my sister-in-law to shut up already because that would be--horrors--non-supportive. The fact that she's become a gigantic bore has never occurred to her.

I understand it's an important part of their lives. At the same time, I have family members and friends who survived cancer, a crippling automobile accident, the unexpected death of a spouse, children with autism, et al. Yet, none of them dwell on these things in their conversations with others.
As for the underlied and colored ....


Why can't you? 9 years of step work, she shouldn''t be some delicate flower you have to endure, she should be fun to be around, NOT ANNOYING and seem pretty happy. if she truly went through a thorough twelve step program than she should welcome helpful insight. If you presented it to her as you're concerned that she obsesses all conversation with this one topic, and you are not an alcoholic, nor an addict and may have to REPLACE HER, as a person, place or thing if she doesn't stop with tthe non-stop promoting of a program of attraction, rather than promotion.(she'll know instantly you got this advice from an AA'r..lol)

Perhaps you might also want to attend a few al-anon meetings and bring this up. People in al-anon know how to help a reasonable person deal with a non reasonable person, who seems to be getting better. LOL

What you said in that was you are enabling her out of sympathy and fear she'll go off the deep end. So you really don't believe she's recovered. Call her, GENTLY in a NICE way on her BS. Best of luck.

Last edited by optiflex; 07-29-2008 at 12:45 PM..
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Old 07-29-2008, 12:43 PM
 
Location: southern california
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i love the topic. she needs to be with program people. we need to give of our time to our families as we are able. but those who have not reaped the benefits of 12 step recovery do not understand our interests or the value we put on such programs. families if they love you will encourage you to go be with 12 step people in recovery. jealous families with try to keep you away from 12 step. the family is often (not always) where the need for 12 step developed. the family is not (always) healthy. the sufferer probably wants to share something of value and benefit with the family. often the family needs counseling or 12 step as much as the compulsive does-- but they don't see it that way.
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Old 07-29-2008, 12:56 PM
 
Location: syracuse ny
2,412 posts, read 4,504,812 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cpg35223 View Post
Be that as it may, it really throws a damper into every dinner party, get together, conversation, and social gathering. I think the people who go through this should, at some point, learn awareness.

Yes, they should! I don't want people enabling me for the rest of my life because they feel sorry for me. I want healthy interaction and friendships and TO NOT BE A BURDEN TO THOSE AROUND ME OR I'LL EVENTUALLY DRINK AGAIN WHEN SOMEBODY IS NOT SO ENABLING!

The program is more difficult for women. If they are even half way attractive, men tend to endure GLARING defects of character IN THEM. Things they wouldn't put up from a guy at all. I call it hot chick syndrome. A girl can sit there and be all loopy and nonsensical and get away with it, while guys will tell another guy off instntly, because the guys use their second, sexually attracted brain whe dealing with a woman, and use their one on top of their head when dealing with fellow guys.
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Old 07-29-2008, 01:24 PM
 
28,906 posts, read 46,593,274 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by optiflex View Post
As for the underlied and colored ....


Why can't you? 9 years of step work, she shouldn''t be some delicate flower you have to endure, she should be fun to be around, NOT ANNOYING and seem pretty happy. if she truly went through a thorough twelve step program than she should welcome helpful insight. If you presented it to her as you're concerned that she obsesses all conversation with this one topic, and you are not an alcoholic, nor an addict and may have to REPLACE HER, as a person, place or thing if she doesn't stop with tthe non-stop promoting of a program of attraction, rather than promotion.(she'll know instantly you got this advice from an AA'r..lol)

Perhaps you might also want to attend a few al-anon meetings and bring this up. People in al-anon know how to help a reasonable person deal with a non reasonable person, who seems to be getting better. LOL

What you said in that was you are enabling her out of sympathy and fear she'll go off the deep end. So you really don't believe she's recovered. Call her, GENTLY in a NICE way on her BS. Best of luck.
Thanks for a reflective response. My wife's sister (A much more diplomatic person than me, BTW) evidently brought it up with her in a gentle way, and got an ENRAGED response, as in "This is who I am and you need to be supportive of me, and you should come to this program and see all the good they're doing. Blah blah blah."

By the way, why is it, when faced with a legitimate question like this, the standard AA response is to invite non-AA people to the meetings "because we couldn't possibly understand"? And why do people who go through this program feel like EVERYBODY should? This woman feels as if the AA experience would benefit everybody.

Last edited by cpg35223; 07-29-2008 at 01:34 PM..
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