Alcoholics and Half-baked Relationships Part 2: Why the Drama?

Grandma's pan for mixing bread

I never made a lot of bread until I got a machine to knead it for me because I have very weak arms. It is not fun to knead bread without muscle– something Grandma, who milked cows twice a day, never experienced.

I like to remove my bread dough from the bread machine and let it rise it in pans that are sitting in sunlight that streams through the windows of the RV. The yeast works better with extra heat, as long as it’s not too hot.

I am comparing heat in bread making to honest communication in relationships. The yeast is love and commitment. Without the heat the yeast will not work well. The same is true for us. Without the honesty, love and commitment isn’t always enough. I’ve had some bread that wouldn’t rise and it wasn’t worth baking.

Likewise, relationships without honesty are not easy to sustain and are destined to go flat. They are artificial, business-like and without genuine emotional intimacy. This works okay for professionals that share office space or projects, but in times of personal crisis or spurts of emotional growth we want more from our closest friends and family. Superficial coworker-like arrangements in the personal relationship arena are destined to become burdensome, awkward and frustrating. Without honesty in communication, we begin to question our definition of love and re-examine decisions about commitment levels. Under the pain and pressure of change, we begin to recognize that the relationship has issues, lacks depth.

If I’m honest, I have to say that I find that the alcoholic is the one who usually resists working on the issues. We addicts are given to thinking that we know best, that the world would be so much better if everyone would listen to us. Bill W really understood the inherent control issues of the typical alcoholic.

Each person is like an actor who wants to run the whole show; is forever trying to arrange the lights, the ballet, the scenery and the rest of the players in his own way. ~AA p 60

We step into situations that don’t call for our input and we try to take charge. We are seen as the critic, the know-it-all or, even worse, the bully. No one likes the person who will not listen and only wants to teach, criticize and tear down.

What usually happens? The show doesn’t come off very well. He begins to think life doesn’t treat him right. ~ AA p 61

This scene is predictable in personal relationships with the active and the dry alcoholic. The drama is predictable. We interfere; we take over; we don’t want any input that questions our impulse to control. Naturally people react to our control maneuvers. It doesn’t work the way we want it to and we are sensitive to negative reactions. In the end, the alcoholic feels rejected, self-critical and wounded.

Alcoholics can be very clueless about this pattern. Invariably, the same scene repeats itself. We have the audacity to get upset with the person that we have mistreated and we can’t even see the connection between our control issues and the reactions we get. Sigh. More drama…and just like the weekly TV series, no one stays happy for very long because unless the alcoholic is sober (in recovery), that’s the predictable story line of the show!