People Pleasing and Addiction are BFFs
Here is an issue I've faced my entire life. I never put myself first. I never want to be the center of attention. I never want someone to have stress put on them because of me. I am a middle child. I am a people pleaser.
In addiction, this becomes a huge barrier to getting help. Addiction thrives in the quiet. It thrives when you are good at hiding it. So, for functional "alcoholics" it takes a long time to actually reach the point where you burden someone else to get help. I remember saying years ago that I needed to go to rehab. I didn't because "who would take care of my dogs and the house?" I actually said that out loud to my ex, an airline pilot. He commuted to New York out of Chicago. So, in layman's terms-he was gone. A lot. He was the primary income. If I disappeared for 90 days, who would take care of it all? He can't. He's gone. Drink. I would be stressing him or someone else to take care of my responsibilities where I failed to do so. Drink. It was too much to put on someone else. Drink.
Fast forward to when I couldn't refuse rehab. I'd gotten to the point in alcohol addiction where you start seeing side effects that you cannot ignore. The daytime blackouts. The heart palpitations and panic attacks in withdrawal. The medical problems that take you to the doctor. The control had completely slipped away. I was trying to control my life while alcohol controlled me. It. Wasn't. Working. Drink.
I came to the realization that I could not juggle everything and an addiction anymore. Yet, as I walked through the doors in rehab, I still had the same feeling. I didn't want to worry anyone. I remember talking to my counselor and she asked if I wanted my family to come visit. I did not. She asked, "are you on good terms with your parents?" Yes. I have a very loving family. I have a family that is incredibly supportive. They would've been there in 5 seconds. But, I did not want to worry them. This is the problem with being a people pleaser. I didn't even tell them I was going. I told my partner to say I was in China when people asked. I planned to casually text while in rehab like nothing was different. I was wrong to do this.
Life is supposed to be a give and take. But, for some of us, it is very hard to be on the taking side emotionally. Trust me, I can receive an expensive gift with the best of them. I am talking about the things that matter. I am talking about being on the receiving end of feelings. It is extremely hard for a lot of people to have someone else feel sad or scared for them. It is damn near impossible for me. That is where my addiction and my anxiety thrived. Alcohol thrived there for 20 years. The anxiety existed there for 30+ years. I never wanted to worry someone. So, I would drink. The most empowering words that can leave you powerless are, "I can handle it myself."
I urge anyone who is having a power struggle with alcohol or any other addictive substance to seek help. I assure you that if you worry too much about dropping one ball, you are going to eventually drop them all-and you may never be able to pick them up again. There are many organizations out there designed to help. Please feel free to email me and I will try and help direct you to a place where you can find help with the least amount of stress for those around you. My juggling has improved dramatically in sobriety.
I don't mind juggling a couple of your balls. Yeah, I just said that.