Monday, April 9, 2012

What are the magic words?

Every Alanon wants to know what the magic words are to stop someone they love from drinking and doing drugs. This is what my friend ask me today because she is confronting her husband tonight about his addiction.

I said say what ever makes you feel better because it really doesn't matter. The addiction is in charge and will not be listening. Don't attack or make idle threats. The person you love is in there somewhere but not in charge anymore.

I remember before the program when my husband was leaving me. We would meet at restaurants and I would prepare my own magic words. I would actually write them down. I would pray and ask God to let me say the words that would make him see how sick he was and how he was ruining our lives. He was listening.

I always came away from those times feeling worse. Like I missed my opportunity to convince him to change. He wasn't interested in changing he blamed me for all our problems and I knew he was right. Back then I did believe it was all my fault. I made him drink, I made him find someone else because I wasn't the perfect wife. News flash he was not the perfect husband.

After I found the program I realized that I lost the man I married to alcohol. I realized couldn't help him and trying to get him to see just what he was losing just made him want to run away and drink more. I would never be enough to stop him from drinking.

This is what I was trying to tell my friend. You can never be enough. You have to just be enough for yourself and let God do the rest. It is not about you anymore it is about the addiction.

The begging and pleading falls on deaf ears. It has all been said before many times.

I wish I had some magic words for my friend. She is just beginning this journey and she still believes he doesn't care about his family or he would make better choices.

The good news is that she has been to Alanon and knows where to find help when she needs it.


  1. So very true about the magic words. I call it a script that I write in my head and hope that another will follow it. It doesn't happen. Nothing I have said has gotten anyone to really change but by changing myself I have had amazing things happen.

  2. I very much relate to the idea of losing a husband to alcohol. I was never 'enough', though he would say all the right things to convince me that I was #1. His denial was the hardest thing to grasp. Fortunately after about a year in Alanon, I could see his disease separately from the man...but it was too late for the marriage.

    Sometimes I am more flabbergasted at my stubborn will of trying to get him to stop drinking...for 20 years I tried. Now if I could just apply that same persistence to losing 15 pounds, I'd be golden. :-)