A SoberTool User asked:, "My main source of frustration is I have these people in my life, and I cannot change them without risking becoming physically ill, without violating my own morality, and without hurting them. For example, I have been married for 23 years and my sex life is boring and I would cheat but I don't want to get STD's or aids, and I also don't want to lie to my wife or risk hurting her. Another example: I have a brother who who won't stop using drugs and he always asks me for loans which of course he never repays. Another example: I have these elderly parents who need care but I don't have time, or money to give them all of the support they need. I feel guilty when I am not helping them. They also verbally hint at how much they did for me and the frustrations I caused them due to my drinking. " How do I deal with these people?
You cannot change them, you can only change yourself. Regarding your boring sex life, you may have to simply be grateful for the positives that she has given your life and focus on that rather than the negatives. The Big Book encourages UNSELFISHNESS with regard to sexual matters. Regarding your brother, you stop ENABLING. You convince yourself that continuing to loan him money is only helping him kill himself. You learn the power of saying NO. You prioritize the fact that you are helping him deal with his problem by saying "NO." Regarding your parents, you edit your life reasonably knowing that you need BALANCE. You make sure you take care of other responsibilities to yourself like AA meetings, fun, work for money, basic survival. You remember that you must give yourself oxygen before you give it to them. You LOSE your GUILT feelings by surrendering to their power and asking a Higher Power to remove them (like sharing them with another, asking a Higher Force to remove them, thinking the opposite, etc.). IN ALL OF THESE CASES, YOU ARE NOT TRYING TO CHANGE THEM, YOU ARE ONLY TRYING TO CHANGE YOUR ATTITUDES, THOUGHTS AND ACTIONS. YOU ARE: Learning to say no, setting priorities, creating limits and boundaries without trashing the relationship if possible, editing your life by setting priorities which include healthy self management, seeing others' positives, staying sober so you don't choose a wrong solution, having a sense of humor, being grateful for what you have, exercising perspective, realizing they and you are not perfect. Interestingly, you don't look for justice. You don't defend your rights. You don't allow yourself to take the victim mentality. You don't worry about what these people can do to you by letting go of those thoughts and realizing it is more important for you to change yourself than to try to live obsequiously and let them run your life, that anything they could ever do for you is not worth NOT CHANGING YOURSELF. YOU WILL NEVER BE ABLE TO GET WHAT YOU WANT FROM THEM. IT'S TEMPTING TO THINK YOU WILL, BUT IT'S IMPOSSIBLE AND NOT WORTH CONTINUING TO LIVE THE WAY YOU ARE WITHOUT CHANGING. ONE OF THE GREATEST TEMPTATIONS AND GREATEST ILLUSIONS IS THINKING YOU CAN CHANGE THEM. TRYING TO CHANGE THEM USUALLY ONLY RESULTS IN THEIR RESISTANCE AND RESENTMENT OF YOU. Finally, You follow through trying to change them to its bitter end: frustration and misery. Just like a drink or drug will not solve anything, so trying to change them will not change anything either.