Can You Really Trust an Alcoholic?
I find it very difficult to wait for someone who I know is going to be late.
I’ve always been taught that on time is late and it’s always better to be early.
Maybe people have been brought into my life to teach me patience (not one of my stronger attributes).
There has been one thing I’ve learned about trust through these people. It’s about trust.
Trust isn’t all or nothing
I’ve discovered trust is often treated as though it were a light switch, either on or off.
You may decide to trust or not based on what you’ve experienced.
When you expect something from your alcoholic and they don’t deliver it you may chalk it up to an inability to trust him.
I would challenge you to consider what kind of things you do trust about your alcoholic.
These things may not be positive but you certainly can trust them to be true.
If your alcoholic runs out of alchol what will he do?
If your alcoholic starts drinking early in the day what’s going to happen?
I told you they weren’t positive but they are in fact behaviors you trust to happen based on what you’ve seen in your alcoholic’s behavior.
The bottom line here is whatever consistent behavior you observe result in behaviors you can expect.
This is trust even though it’s not what you want.
Consistency builds trust
Try a different spin on this. Because your alcoholic is VERY predictable.
What seems clear is what you really want is for your alcoholic to be trustworthy.
I suggest a difference between trust and trustworthy.
The later implies they’re being entrusted with something and they’re being responsible with it.
I believe it’s safe to say you would like to entrust your emotions, hopes and dreams to your alcoholic.
Your alcoholic’s illness makes it almost impossible to be responsible for much more than where’s the next drink.
When you know someone can’t be trustworthy what do you do?
If I know someone isn’t trustworthy with a cash drawer I wouldn’t make them the cashier.
You understand, if your alcoholic isn’t able to be entrusted with what you want to share with him, at some point you may limit what you share to what can be handled.
Trust is built over time
Real trust takes time.
You need to take opportunities when your alcoholic is sober to discuss what areas you trust and what areas you’d like to work on together.
Yes, if you expect it to get better there needs to be communication directly with your alcoholic about what isn’t working.
When your alcoholic hears you tell about the behaviors you trust (ie drinking, drunkenness, irresponsibility) and then you let him know what you’d like to be able to trust there’s an opportunity for improvement.
You might even find it easier to do this in a letter where you choose your words and your alcoholic can read it again and again.
What are some of the things you trust about your alcoholic? Tell us about it in the comment section below.