I was thinking about Al-Anon's 3 C's today. Alcoholics are good at shouldering off the responsibility for their choice of behavior, onto their partners, their employers, their friends, the guy at the tire store. I have a half-joking, half-rueful shorthand way of describing this, I call it the 3-pronged excuse:
"I did not do that!"
"Okay, okay, maybe I did do that, but I didn't mean anything by it."
"And anyway, you drove me to it."
This sloughing off of responsibility has a childish feel to it that can be distressing in an adult family member. We wonder how they can do the fancy footwork required to rationalise this kind of thing, we wonder how they....oh, right, I'm supposed to keep the focus on myself, and what I can and can't do.
I can't change other people.
I didn't cause the alcoholism, (or the consequences of drinking,) I can't control anyone's drinking, and I cannot cure alcoholism. It's not up to me to take up the plow for another person - it's beyond my mental or physical strength, and I'm treating them like an invalid when I rush to shield them from the consequences of their choices.
I've had to make a choice this week, about something which I thought was helping, but that I now have come to realise, was enabling. I need to step back, and allow the alcoholic to sink or swim under their own power. I was taken aback, to realise that what I was doing was enabling, and that realisation was only brought about, by the alcoholic having blamed me for something else entirely. It was in thinking about blame, and responsibility, and consequences, and all of those things, that I realised I have been overstepping my mark. (I haven't quite reached the stage in this, yet, where I feel gratitude for the initial blaming, because it led to my realisation, but I'll get there, I always do.)
I'm not culpable for what another person chooses to do, only for my own choices. I can't be held responsible just because they don't like an outcome, which they, themselves, have set in motion.
I can see that I need to put more effort into detaching - for the rest, my Higher Power will guide me.