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Old 03-20-2011, 06:48 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Does AA brainwash?

My alcoholic husband and I have been separated for a year and a half. It has been an extremely painful time for myself and 3 kids. I had to file for divorce to get support etc. Never wanted one to begin with. Would be married 25 years this year. Well, he has been sober for a year now, no amends, texts his kids occasionally see if they want to go out to dinner and discuss what happened. None of them have accepted. I suggested a public place was not a good place to relive all the pain and abuse they were put through. He doesn't care and offers no other choice. I honestly believe that AA has brainwashed him and that he hides behind it. He says he has made bad choices and if he can't be forgiven then he will just have to forgive???He has NOT ASKED ONE PERSON TO FORGIVE HIM.When I asked him if he would ever make amends with my elderly parents who treated him like a son and he has hurt tremendously his reply"I have done nothing to hurt them, but if you told them something to hurt them to make yourself look better, than that's on you" These are the people that help keep my kids in college and got my home out of foreclosure. Today he asked me how do I like him now via text. I responded that he was mean and cruel, he never was before. He then stated that he looked at me differently now. He would not elaborate. But he keeps hiding behind his recovery. I continue to be devastated by his actions. I fought like hell to get him sober. But he is now a stranger, who has left the weight of the world on my shoulders. Sad thing us I've always had faith in him and believed he would get sober. Advice...please
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Old 03-20-2011, 06:57 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Two words of advice: al. anon.
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Old 03-20-2011, 06:58 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I'm not sure what any of that has to do with AA. In fact, what you describe doesn't sound like someone who is working the steps at all, or if he is, he doesn't appear to be getting anything out of them. I think it's unfair to try to blame his poor behavior on AA.
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Old 03-20-2011, 07:00 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Yep you need AlAnon. Does AA brainwash? roflmao not in my book. Without AA I would not have made it. But ...................... I had a lot of HARD WORK to do on me working those steps.

Sounds to me like all your STBXAH is doing is attending meetings.

You can't get him to change, you know that by now, but you can work on you so that his actions will no longer affect you or your children.

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Old 03-20-2011, 07:09 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I've done Al-Anon, but I work two jobs to keep afloat. I have very little if any contact with my ex, but when I do, it just blows my mind. Ok so excuse the brainwash accusation. But he has been phsically sober for a year. and these are the reponses. God forbid my parents die and he never makes amends, they are everything to my children. They treated this man like a son.What do you make of that response? Or his attempt to make amends with his kids? Never mind me!
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Old 03-20-2011, 07:14 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Well look on the bright side: At least he's not drinking. He's trying to straighten out his life. You should at least give him credit for that.
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Old 03-20-2011, 07:14 PM   #7 (permalink)
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He sounds to me like someone who quit drinking but is not in recovery. He sounds extremely selfish and self-centered but that's nothing you can control. I'm not sure what him making amends to your parents has to do with your children.
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Old 03-20-2011, 07:44 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I' d have to hear his side, see what his take is, before I gave any advice.
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Old 03-20-2011, 07:45 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Frankly, it sounds like he needs his brain washed at AA... That doesn't happen unless one actually does the work, the steps...
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Old 03-20-2011, 09:20 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Frankly, it sounds like he needs his brain washed at AA... That doesn't happen unless one actually does the work, the steps...
HAHA. This. If there is in fact brain-washing going on at AA, who cares? It can't be any worse than the old way of life. I've never seen any evidence of "brain-washing" in AA. People just have misconceptions. And when that's the case, I feel they should actually ATTEND a meeting to see what actually goes on. Otherwise, they're going to believe what they want.
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Old 03-20-2011, 10:20 PM   #11 (permalink)
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I think most of us have NEEDED our brains washed.

But in the traditional sense, no, AA does not brainwash anyone.

You can't control someone else's recovery any more than you could control their drinking. Some people go out and start trying to make amends before they have worked the other Steps, and some do it without the guidance of a sponsor. Those errors make for amends that are clumsy at best, and harmful at worst.

I suggest you try to let go of what he is doing (or not doing) in his program and work on your own recovery.
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Old 03-20-2011, 11:15 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Prayers for peace going out to all involved in this situation.
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Old 03-20-2011, 11:51 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Def sounds like someone not drinking but not working any program of recovery and definitely not AA. Glad you ae=re rid of him and you do not need to give him 'credit' for putting down the drink sounds like he did a ton of destroying before he gave up - like many of us - congratulations are not in order. I hope you find peace and the happiness i am sure you deserve.
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Old 03-21-2011, 03:44 AM   #14 (permalink)
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AA does not brainwash. I am sorry that you and your kids have lived through so much pain, alcoholism is a vicious disease for all of those affected including the family of the drinker.

I think Tom is correct in that they other side of the story is crucial. We are not privy to your husband's conversations with his sponsor nor should we be.
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Old 03-21-2011, 09:33 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Glad you ae=re rid of him and you do not need to give him 'credit' for putting down the drink
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Old 03-21-2011, 10:25 AM   #16 (permalink)
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I had to file for divorce to get support etc. Never wanted one to begin with. Would be married 25 years this year.

Well, he has been sober for a year now, no amends, texts his kids occasionally see if they want to go out to dinner and discuss what happened.

I suggested a public place was not a good place to relive all the pain and abuse they were put through. He doesn't care and offers no other choice.

He has NOT ASKED ONE PERSON TO FORGIVE HIM.

I continue to be devastated by his actions. I fought like hell to get him sober. But he is now a stranger, who has left the weight of the world on my shoulders. Sad thing us I've always had faith in him and believed he would get sober.
Gosh, I could write a paragraph on each section above that I pulled from your post - I'll try my best to be reeeeeally brief. If something's not clear and you'd like some clarification, please let me know.

---and I'll address my response to you as if I was talking to someone IN recovery...which you may or may not be (spouses and ppl close to alkies are almost always sure to suffer - albeit in slightly different ways - from the alcoholic's actions.....and often from their own actions).

p66 There's a part in the 4th step inventory section that reads (more or less - i'm paraphrasing) "we begin to see that the world and it's people dominate us." We come to this conclusion after listing the ppl who've harmed us, what they've done and how it affected us - which is basically what your post did. In a way, you did column 1, 2 and 3.

p62 It also mentions in the Big Book (which is really just a program of recovery) that "our troubles, we think, are of our own making" - not someone else's making, not society's making, OUR OWN making.

p60-62 And finally, there's a about an actor trying to run the show....and how if only the world would conform to his/her vision of how things should be run, everyone would be happy.

I mention those three sections because, from your post, I'm seeing "it's his fault, he made me...., if only he'd do X we'd all be happy, he's not doing what he's supposed to be doing, and.....the capper...... 'I continue to be devistated...'"

Cagreg.... as a real alcoholic, I had a lot of the same thoughts about the other ppl in my life. I took on the victim role......since I had all this evidence of how "they" hurt me...and I continued to stay sick, hurt, and upset. In recovery, we're asked to look at these things and see the lies in those beliefs.

Having worked the steps, I can tell you that I no longer "suffer" from all the horrible things my father did to me, my brother or my mom for the first 20+ yrs of my life. I also no longer am plagued by my ex-wifes 3yr long affair with another man, her filing for divorce, and darn near forcing me into bankruptcy as a result. And I'll tell ya this......if anything, their actions (my fathers' and my ex-wife's) have gotten worse rather than better. I make the point because, having worked the steps, I've found a way to recovery myself without the it being necessary for either of them to do ANYTHING. (the "my troubles are of my own making" part of what I said above).

I don't try to make plans for anyone to "have" to follow in order for me to be content, happy and free from resentment (the story about the actor above). I try to live my life on a different basis......one based upon spirituality rather than what I want to happen / what I think should happen.

And I've been able to grow past those things not because of anything other than what I DID: I completed the 4th column (the most important column - IMO) of my inventory and took those "issues" through the rest of the steps. As tough as it was, it also involved making amends (which is NOT simply saying "I'm sorry") to the two people who hurt me MOST in my life AND going out of my way to be the sort of person to them that God would have me be - not the sort of person I feel justified in being (toward them).

My best advice to you......honestly........would be to start doing some work on yourself (perhaps some counseling, therapy, or quality alanon) and disregard him completely. When it gets down to it, there's a simple path to you being content and happy regardless of what he does / doesn't do...... and, if nothing else, you're not likely to be any more successful in influencing his actions now that you're separated than you were when you were married. We can "try" to control other ppl but it rarely works for long - especially not after they realized someone's trying to control them.

...and just to give you a couple possibilities as to why he hasn't said, "Im sorry" to you or your folks....... maybe he's still not able to see the harm that he did, maybe if he did the potential beating he may take from you or them would jeopardize his sobriety, maybe those amends are best made in the future on God's time-table rather than yous or your parents.... there could be many more but I just wanted to give you some flavor for a couple

Hope that helps.

DT
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Old 03-21-2011, 10:35 AM   #17 (permalink)
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Two words of advice: al. anon.
agree 1000%
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Old 03-21-2011, 10:43 AM   #18 (permalink)
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Cagreg9-

Step 8 sometimes takes people years to accomplish. 25 years of alcoholism sometimes takes time to un-f*ck.

Al-Anon could be a huge support for your own personal sanity during this time.

Best of luck,
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Old 03-21-2011, 06:30 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Thanks for all your thoughtful, kind, comments. Some I do agree with, some I do not. I've been to alanon, I've been to therapy. I have been doing really well. Am I perfect,no way. But having to communicate with him and listen to his responses is just mind boggling.I have grieved for our marriage and our future. I am doing well with that, working on myself. But I cannot get over the grief I feel for my 3 children, to lose the father they loved. Before he began drinking he was a great Dad. Now he puts himself 1st and only him. I have managed to keep my oldest in college, and have two teenagers who have never given me a bit of trouble. For that I am thankful. Every day is a struggle for me financially, I support everything. Out of work for 20 months, and sober for a year, 100.00 a week, doesn't even pay for food.
As for him being fearful of what my parents would say, please they are 86 and 80 and are the kindest, most forgiving people I know.
Do I feel like he is hiding behind AA and their steps, yes! Sorry, he comes from a long line of alcoholics,mother,father,brothers. Before we married he promised he would never drink, and he didn't for 20 years. But the demons of his childhood continually reared its ugly head not much after.
So today I set new boundaries, no contact with any of us. My wonderful kids don't need his bs, or his baggage. His attempts were only half hearted at best.
I am a nurse and I have seen manyalcoholic patients strapped down to their beds, overcome with grief for the way they treated their families. After a while you almost become immune. Sorry, but its true.
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Old 03-21-2011, 06:50 PM   #20 (permalink)
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So sorry for your grief

You are doing what you need for yourself and your children and I commend you on that. I am in AA and have caused alot damage and have seen what this disease can do to other family's as well. May you and your family go in peace.

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Thanks for all your thoughtful, kind, comments. Some I do agree with, some I do not. I've been to alanon, I've been to therapy. I have been doing really well. Am I perfect,no way. But having to communicate with him and listen to his responses is just mind boggling.I have grieved for our marriage and our future. I am doing well with that, working on myself. But I cannot get over the grief I feel for my 3 children, to lose the father they loved. Before he began drinking he was a great Dad. Now he puts himself 1st and only him. I have managed to keep my oldest in college, and have two teenagers who have never given me a bit of trouble. For that I am thankful. Every day is a struggle for me financially, I support everything. Out of work for 20 months, and sober for a year, 100.00 a week, doesn't even pay for food.
As for him being fearful of what my parents would say, please they are 86 and 80 and are the kindest, most forgiving people I know.
Do I feel like he is hiding behind AA and their steps, yes! Sorry, he comes from a long line of alcoholics,mother,father,brothers. Before we married he promised he would never drink, and he didn't for 20 years. But the demons of his childhood continually reared its ugly head not much after.
So today I set new boundaries, no contact with any of us. My wonderful kids don't need his bs, or his baggage. His attempts were only half hearted at best.
I am a nurse and I have seen manyalcoholic patients strapped down to their beds, overcome with grief for the way they treated their families. After a while you almost become immune. Sorry, but its true.
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