Drinking, Alcoholism & Toxic Family Relationships: How to Deal with Difficult Family Members

Hey guys! I’m, Marcus and welcome back to TalkSober.com.

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Today we are going to talk about the dysfunctional family and the toxic family.First of all, let’s determine if you do in fact have a toxic family. When you’re dealing with toxic families, it’s very important to remember that this is the family you usually grow up with. So you are kind of indoctrinated. It’s almost like you’re living in a cult.

What happens here is kind of like the allegory of the cave (by Plato).

 The allegory says that there’s a dude that’s sitting here. There’s all these prisoners and all these prisoners are sitting here. They’re all chained and locked into this. Over here there’s like this  bridge. These prisoners can’t turn around. They can’t do anything.  The sunlight comes in over here  so there’s like a reflection and the reflection goes on to the wall.

You might be thinking, how does this have to do with alcoholism, dysfunctional families, toxic family members, and toxic relationships?

 What it has to do with is the fact that you are kind of like these prisoners and you’re sitting here, looking at what the sun projects on this cave.

These prisoners don’t know anything else about life. They’ve been chained here their old whole life and what they see is people walking by and certain things going by and shadows. And they think the shadow is reality! They think that their perception is reality.

When we grew up in dysfunctional families and toxic families, you’re much like these people, only you’re free to move about the cabin. 

When we look at it and we say,

“Am I looking at something?”,

“Am I looking at a projection of something thinking it’s normal because these guys think it’s normal?”

They think everything exists in shadows.

You might be thinking that your family is normal, every family’s like this and there’s nothing wrong with it.

I’ll never forget the time a friend of mine came to me.

I was about 19 years old and he came to me and

he says “Marcus you know your family’s pretty messed up! Families aren’t like this. Families don’t treat each other like this. There’s something wrong!

And to me I thought, “Jim well you’re crazy! You don’t know what you’re talking about.”

That’s because I was looking at the shadow of the image instead of looking at what’s really going on here.

Let’s talk about the dysfunctional family and the toxic family.

Ask yourself:

How do I feel when I’m around them?

Do I feel bad?

Do I feel disgusted?

Do I feel wrong?

Do I feel downcast or depressed? 

Do I leave them thinking that I’m the one with the problem?

Oftentimes what happens is you have toxic family members that are narcissistic and they like to put everything on everyone else because to the toxic family it’s never their fault!

So we got to look at this and say how is this affecting us because these are the things that keep us stuck.

How do I feel when I’m around them?

How do I feel when I have to go see them? Is it a chore?

Is it something I don’t want to do to feel like I got to do it out of obligation?

Well, you don’t! You just feel that way because you’ve been chained here, been told what to think, what to feel, what to agree with!

My family we’re kind of an extreme case- not as bad as some but a lot bad worse than others. It’s almost like I grew up in my own little isolated cult. It’s like when you go into a cult, and you get indoctrinated with thoughts and you get brainwashed with thoughts, and all these things happen in your mind. You can’t see a way out because you’ve never seen a way in. 

 The problem with the toxic family is they want to unload on you!

For example, you’re struggling with alcoholism. You’re struggling with things, and every little thing, every trigger is going to send you back to drinking because you don’t know a better way.

With the toxic family you have these toxic family members.

 The parents act like the child is the adult.

 In my case they come to me, they come to my brothers. What they do is they come to you, and they spew, throw up bullsh** all over our poor addicted person.

Did you know how much perfectly good money I owe you?

Do you know what’s wrong with you why can’t you get help?

Do you know what your mom did?

Do you know what your sister did?

Do you know what your brother did?

All over your head all over your mind.

 This is toxic because…

They’re unleashing everything on you so that they can feel better.

They go and they throw up all their problems on you!

Then what happens with you is you don’t know what to do with it.

You say, “Here I am I got this toxic stuff all over me what do I do how do I deal with it?”

And you say “Mom’s got this problem with Ted. Dad’s got this problem with money. Bob’s got this problem with this, and Sallie and Sue and Jane have these problems with this stuff. You are now loading it on your head. You don’t know what to do because you feel like you have to fix them.

You feel like you have to fix them because it’s a dysfunctional toxic relationship where they made you feel that way because they never grew up!

Unfortunately, in so many cases as with mine and many people, I know this poor person who is stuck in addiction and it’s not like there’s no fault of this person, we got our own fault and we got to learn to own it but this person never learned to grow up either. They never learned to deal with problems on their own so it leads them to the drink.

But here’s the secret:

The secret is toxic people can’t be fixed.

You’re not going to fix them!

Chances are your entire life you’ve been trying to fix them. You’ve been trying to do something about them and nothing’s getting anywhere. You might make a little step forward or feel like it but chances are it’s just part of the toxicity, part of the narcissism, part of the junk that they just can’t let go and maybe it feels better for a second.

Secondly, they don’t want help.

They don’t want help that can’t be fixed.

Why? Because misery loves company and they have trained you to be in the grips of their junk.

So what is the thing here? How is this helping? What’s going on?

First of all, you need to realize what’s going on because

we got to take these chains off of you!

We got to turn you around and say look up at the bridge and all these freaking people that are messing your life up!

Then, we have to take responsibility for where we are right now.

Maybe you’re older or younger and you’ve been dealing with this

and you’ve been struggling with it.

You got to turn around and you got to look at it and say

“These people are sick! They have problem and we need to get away.”

Why do we have to get away?

When you go through this stuff, when you’re in a family, and when you’re indoctrinated in this, it’s  much like a cult. They cannot get well unless they get away.

It doesn’t mean that you hate people.

It doesn’t mean you hate your family.

It doesn’t mean you’re an evil person, as much as they’re going to spew this all over you saying that is the case!

It’s absolutely not the case!

You are the sane one.

You are the one that is making a change.

You’re the one that’s going to break the mold and hopefully your actions will change them.

But that’s not your job!

Your job is not to fix or change anyone but yourself!

And the first way you’re going to do it is to get away and understand what’s going on. Get away and look at all the ways.

“Hey maybe this stuff isn’t good for me.”

Get away because once you get away and you run out of this cave, and you say well wait a minute there’s this whole world out there with rainbows and butterflies ‘Cause up until then you didn’t see the sunshine, clouds, rain, happiness and people.

You might even find people that are actually genuinely good people like most people that love everyone and love you!

So what we got to do is we’ve got to isolate from the dysfunction.

I’m not saying isolate altogether and go live in a misery of woes.

What I’m saying is get away to somewhere healthy.

Find some new friends and some new people out there that love you because chances are there’s probably other family members in this group that got away the same thing!

You were probably told that they were assholes and they were wrong and my family called him atheist and the terrible guy. They got away. They have good families. They have good things and they’re good people.

The fact of the matter is you’ve been conditioned by this stuff so long and it’s time to be free.

You can look at it two different ways:

  • You could look at it as depressing saying this is so bad.

That’s what toxicity makes you do. It wants you to go to the sad.


  • You can look at it as the most liberating thing in the worldsaying I have escaped this cult and now I can be free to be me and get good help for my addiction because this is keeping me stuck!


You have to look at your life and you have to evaluate who and what is keeping you stuck and how to get away from it.


Because sometimes unfortunately when you’re dealing with toxic people and people that have issues,

sick be get sick,

sick people have sick people,

stuck people have stuck people, and

hurt people hurt people.


We look at this, for whatever reason. “These people are like this I don’t need to judge them. I don’t need to talk shit about them. I don’t need to do anything. All I need to do is understand what’s going on. Get away from it.”


Long enough for me to get help.

Long enough for me because this is about you.

This is about your addiction. This is about you getting help.


We got a look at it and say “I can’t go back because every time you go back you’re going to get spewed.”

We have to say I got to get to a world that is better than this.

 I need to get outside and I need to work on myself.


People might say that you need to be selfish, and work on yourself.

On the other hand, they might say that you’ve been selfish long enough.


Well here’s the fact of the matter:

Who cares if it’s selfish? Who cares what it is?


The fact of the matter is you are going to get well and all the other stuff is going to be by the wayside because YOU getting well is going to HELP YOU understand all this.

Because if you look at it like a cult or like a mind-control thing, people react in extreme situations with extreme responses.

But we look at it and we say:






Oftentimes in recovery we find ourselves again. We understand who we’ve been all along and who’s been clouded by all of this junk.

What we got to do is we’ve got a look at that. We have to get away.

We have to understand who is toxic and who is not.

Chances are it’s probably best to get away and figure that out and say:

Well does this person have my back?

Notice how you feel.

Your feelings will tell you a lot and your feelings are the things that is probably telling you to go drink because you don’t know a better way.


We’re going to give you a better way and we’re going to show you how to do this.

BUT FIRST get away from the toxicity and start to notice how you feel even when you think of people.

You might think of mom and say well what about mom? How do I feel when I go see her?  Do I feel down? Depressed? Disgusted? What about dad? Do I feel like I need to engage in gossip about everyone else? What about Sam? do I need to feel like I owe money and feel all uptight?

Notice how you feel around these people because your feelings are guided by this stuff and it’s making you stuck and you’re going to learn to feel a better way.


As someone told me when I was in recovery in the beginning stages,

You don’t have to feel this way anymore.


You don’t need the weight of your family and the weight of your loved ones or the weight of your spouse.

This could be the last day, the last minute the last second that you have to feel this way.

and you can start feeling better right now!

What you got to do is you have to realize that this is going on.

You have to free yourself and say, “I’m going to be okay,”

The fact of the matter is YOU ARE IN CHARGE OF WHAT YOU DO.

You are in charge of who you hang around and how that makes you feel.

I want you to take a look at your life.

I want you to take a look at the people in your life.

I want you to say who’s throwing up on me,

and who wants me to be the best version of myself possible


And sometimes work is related.

Sometimes business is related.

Sometimes people are taking care of you.

Sometimes you’ve gotten yourself met in a big mess

with the very people who are keeping you stuck


What you got to do is you’ve got to separate.

You got to separate yourself from the person you’ve become through alcohol

and say THAT’S NOT ME. 


I am NOT the sum of my thoughts.

I am not the sum of my actions.

I’m not the sum of the things I think and I’m not the sum of the things I say.




The things that I do, the things I say, and the things I think have been controlled because I have only seen life inside this cave that is my family.


This cave is keeping you stuck because all you see is the images on the wall.

You see these people that are causing you pain and they throw up all their junk all over you and you have nothing left to do. You feel drained. You feel downtrodden. You feel depressed and you feel like there’s no hope.


 but… I want to tell you there’s hope!


And it’s very simple to see.


All we got to do is…

get you outside the bubble and start to see what’s really going on here.

Start to see how this works.

And it’s not about looking at it and saying “oh this guy is bad and terrible.”

You just say, “You know what, that’s how I feel around that person and I don’t want to feel that way anymore.”


It doesn’t mean I don’t love them.

It doesn’t mean I hate them. doesn’t mean I’m an asshole.



What I’m doing is focusing on how I need to feel to get sober.

What I want you to do is I want you to focus on how you need to feel to get sober.

I realize this is a big chunky video that has lots of stuff in it.There’s going to be lots of questions. there’s going to be lots of things. What I want you to do is I want to put your questions in the comments below. We’re going to have a video series about how to deal with family and I’m going to bring in some real world of examples of how I’m dealing with this right now because there’s a lot of issues going on. There’s a lot of things going on.

We got to get you out of this cave because as Plato pointed out, these people are looking at the images in the wall, and the images are not reality. The images are distorted by living in a cave so long and your images and your thoughts and your feelings and everything have been distorted by living in the cave.

What you got to do is you got to get away.

We need to get you away to where you can be in solitude in your mind.

You could say, “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I can’t change. I can’t change these people I got to accept this as it is. It doesn’t mean I need to accept Joe and take his s**t.

…It just means you accept them as they are.

 I can’t change him. Accept him as they are. That’s what I get.

Give me the courage to change the things I can.

What can I change?

Right now I CAN CHANGE ME. 

I can change my perception.

I can get out.

I can stop drinking.

I can get the help I need whether that’s rehab whether that’s detoxing, whether it’s reading things, whether it’s watching every single video I have on my YouTube channel over and over and over again until you learn to get sober.


But again, see a doctor anyway.

I’m not a doctor trained person or anything like that. I just know what worked for me and I hope that it works for you as well.

So we look at that and we say,

I can’t change these people. All I can do is get better for myself.

The best gift you could ever give these people in the entire world is YOU GETTING HEALTHY. Because when you get healthy that’s all that matters. Then you can do other stuff and help other people as well.


I hope you enjoyed this video and I really want to tell you from the bottom my heart I feel for you.

I know how hard it is to deal with this stuff. I know how hard it is to deal with it and addiction.

I know that one phone call back then could have taken me to the bar

but this is what’s going on, you’ve been blinded, GET OUT!


Start to understand what is on the other side of the cave because you’ve been indoctrinated.

Realize that it doesn’t mean you’re bad if you don’t take people’s sh**.

It just means you’re getting well.


I hope you are getting well and I hope you do overcome your alcoholism no matter what it takes.

I look forward to seeing your comments on this video!

Let’s get sober together.

Let’s get well.

Let’s start to understand that you can start a brand new life.

And this is the last day you ever have to feel like this.

Thanks again for watching this! 

Make sure you subscribe for the next videos.





I’ll look forward to reading your comments and I’ll see you in the next video!