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Old 10-30-2009, 07:24 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Do alcoholics feel guilt?

What hurts me the most is the lying to my face.

This has been a big week for me mentally.

I have come to the realization that whether it is a disease or not...he choses to drink. He choses to buy beer and hide it. He makes that choice. That was hard to accept. I think it was easier to think he had a disease and couldn't control it. But he can. That hurts that he willingly and knowingly choses beer over us.

I still can't get past the living in the NOW. How can he do what he does and the next day wake up and no sorries, no acknowledgement...just goes about his business?

It has been helpful learning about alcoholism, but at the same time disappointing.
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Old 10-30-2009, 07:31 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Yes, there is a sticky here that somewhere, I think, about that very subject.

I treat it as a choice, jme, when I was drinking I had no choices. Why some people-myself included- 'get it' and some people don't still baffles me, even when I'm referring to myself.

Remembering myself, not sure exactly how I dealt with guilt when I was drinking beyond continuing to drink and other unhealthy behaviors to distract myself from the knowledge that I was a selfish a$$hole.

Thing is, rather than feel the guilt the A will reflect it back upon us, I've been on both ends on quite a few occasions and when I wasn't real careful, I started to 'buy' into it, on the receiving end that is.

I think an important tool is, as TRD writes, 'remember the facts'.
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Old 10-30-2009, 07:58 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I agree with remember the facts advice. For my own mental health I wrote down a series of events as I understood them. They differed on almost ALL aspects from what my ex said to others and me. I did this just for my own benefit. Never showed them to anyone, but needed to see clearly in black and white just what I thought happened vs what actually happened/he said. It can be really scary to see it all in front of you. I think I stopped when I got to #28...it was obvious that he was lying. The realization of that almost took my breath for months. I kept re-reading my list just to make sure.
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Old 10-30-2009, 08:05 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Oh indeed. Their reality doesn't jive with ours at all. They live in a totally different universe.

Easy for me to say NOW, but when I was in the thick of it I had no clue just wth was going on. I knew I must be crazy, because he kept saying his actions were perfectly normal and my reactions were nuts and I needed help. And only my getting help would save our marriage.

It was all baloney.
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Old 10-30-2009, 08:12 PM   #5 (permalink)
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The short answer is Yes, all addicts do. Its largely repressed and can constructively dealt with if he works a quality recovery program. Great insight by SJ... Addicts feed the beast exclusively, until they decide not to... Then the option of choice becomes real.
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Old 10-30-2009, 10:18 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I've got nothing to add. Just wanted to say that I'm watching this post with great interest!!
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Old 10-30-2009, 10:44 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I'd like to comment on the thread title; Do alcoholics feel guilt?

Absolutely. Sooner or later, they're gonna drink, step on the toes of their fellows, drink against their will, etc. and arise remorseful. Alcoholics have a conscience, and when they go against what moral code they may have, it's harmful to their very soul. But that doesn't keep them from doing what they do.

As far as drinking being a choice for a wet drunk (alcoholic), I disagree with you. I believe that it's not a choice, but agree that it's not a disease. It's a malady that your SO may or may not have control over. If they don't, there's nothing you can do to make them stop. Their desire must come from within. Booze would do more to provide them with the desire to stop for good and all than all the people on the planet. Your SO (significant other) may... and that's up to you to determine... may... be suffering from a malady that has placed him beyond human aid. If you don't believe that, then don't.

Whether you will budge on the "choice" concept or not, the thing for you is to get to where you are ok regardless of what he does. If he drinks, you are fine. If he gets sober for good and all, you are still fine. How do you do that? Well... maybe you are NOT beyond human aid. Maybe you can choose away from him. IDK for sure. Let us know how it goes.
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Old 10-30-2009, 10:52 PM   #8 (permalink)
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When I was drinking, I didn't lie or cheat or hide it, and I don't remember feeling guilty about anything because in my eyes I was never doing anything harmful. When i got sober, and realized the damage I had done, I about choked on the shame.

I don't think my ex has any idea, he's a sick man and I hope/pray he will get better someday.

How did you come to the conclusion that it is choice and not disease?
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Old 10-30-2009, 11:07 PM   #9 (permalink)
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It started as a choice for me but slowly turned into a necessity. I thought I couldn't make it without it! Thank God I stopped when I did. Things were becoming much more complicated.

My wife stood by my side, for some reason. God bless her!
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Old 10-30-2009, 11:08 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Yes, I felt guilt. Maybe more now, but it was certainly there. I am more afraid of alcohol now that I am sober too.
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Old 10-31-2009, 01:49 AM   #11 (permalink)
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I think it's impossible to feel remorse if I am always blaming someone else for my resentments, my choices, my actions and reactions, and the quality of my life.

That way my choices are never my fault therefore never my responsibility, so how could I possibly feel remorse for something that's obviously someone else's fault.

I don't think practicing alcoholics have a monopoly on that, as a matter of fact it seems the norm in this forum, although him hiding his beer is a good example of what it looks like when an alcoholic does so, I'm sure he blames that on you, and not on his drinking. So he blames you and probably has a huge resentment because he has to hide his drinking when in fact this is a direct result of his own choices? That seems so silly doesn't it? to blame someone else for the choices HE makes in his own life and then get angry at them for it.

sounds vaguely familiar somehow though.......blaming someone else for the consequences of the choices he makes in his own life...can't quite put my finger on why that seems so familiar here.....

Try reading the alcoholism forum, you will find remorse by the truckload from newer people, especially the ones that can't stay sober, the rest of them appear to be working on themselves and improving their lives and repairing their relationships with those around them.

You will also learn that one of the reasons alcoholics drink is to keep the remorse at bay, which is caused by drinking.

Here is a post by an woman that was a regular poster here at friends and family of Alcoholics from a few days ago, it appears she actually possesses human emotions such as remorse:

http://www.soberrecovery.com/forums/...36-failed.html (Failed)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cath1029 View Post
Ever feel like the purpose of your life is basically to serve as a warning to others?

Addiction, codependency, abuse, loneliness...all of it will get you in the end. And sometimes you will even welcome it when it does.

Not much else to say. Not the time to feel sorry for myself, play the victim, or ask why. I know why. Because of my own bad choices and decision making and just being a really sick person. I have been given the opportunity to start over more times than I can count, and every time I have let my various addictions get in my way and let down family, friends and myself.

I appreciate everyone who has supported me, and I'm sorry for those who feel burned. I've burned so many people. It's what I've become. I'm selfish. Sure, I talk a good game, but never follow through.

I've given birth to 3 beautiful children who are still young and need to grow, not one of whom is with me now, and there's a good reason for that. Maybe drinking vodka at 10 in the morning has something to do with it. Maybe exposing them to an abusive environment with an AH who is just as sick as I am. Maybe all of the above and more. I guess it's good that I have the sense to know they shouldn't be with me, but it's not what I had planned on when bringing them into this world.

I know a lot of people struggle. Many are strong, smart, reach out for what is offered and survive and even give back. I've seen it lots of times, and it is beautiful to see. I hope that is the case for each and every one of you. There are some wonderful people here who have made it and who are closer to making it every day.

I have always loved being here. It just gets harder to justify my own behavior and complain about the same things over and over, waste people's time and then not even listen to the powerful words shared with me. This place has helped a lot of people, and I know that will continue for a long time. I have a lot of love for you guys.
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I am responsible 100% for the choices I have made. It just feels like getting messed up right now makes them not hurt so much.

Yesterday was my daughter's 3rd birthday. She is with AH's family. They are Jehovah's witnesses and don't celebrate birthdays. I'm sure there wasn't a cake or party or presents for her. I'm not able to wish her a happy birthday because of their fear of my voice upsetting her. I asked to come and see her for her birthday, but sis-in-law told me it was "too soon." My sons begged me to bring them to see her so they could celebrate her birthday with her, and I couldn't let them. How am I supposed to live with myself?

My first husband told me I am disgusting and don't deserve the title of mother. He said I should take my kids off my FB page. He called me a selfish bitch. Can't argue with him. He told me to just stay with AH and leave the kids alone. I was supposed to take them trick-or-treating, but he took that away and is sending them to his sister's instead. Of course, he said I could drive them over there so it would help him out.

So much hate for myself. Can't live with it.
So do alcoholics feel remorse?

very much so

Does your husband?

I couldn't tell you

Do you think she is making the choice to lose her children? That she actually has the power of choice?

She says she does but what mother would choose her addictions over her three children if she hadn't lost the power of choice?

How about you, do YOU feel any remorse for any bad decisions you have made, can you relate to someone who just does the same thing day after day after day and is miserably unhappy but doesn't know what's wrong but just keeps doing the same thing anyway even though people who know the answers are saying "here's the door, here's the key to recovery, grab on"

Maybe to feel remorse you have to feel empathy first?

Recovery from alcoholism and codependency both work the same way, they both started working when I began to take responsibility for myself and the consequences of my own decisions, not blaming others for my difficulties, and trust me, as an alcoholic I could give you ten yards in the fifty yard dash in the self justification department and be across the finish line smoking a cigarette while you are just getting a head of steam up.

Last edited by Ago; 10-31-2009 at 02:08 AM.
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Old 10-31-2009, 07:32 AM   #12 (permalink)
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I do feel remorse. I do take care of myself. I have 2 little ones under 5 years old with no childcare except for my parents and manage to go to Al Anon 2x/week and work my job all without help from AH. I am doing something about ME. I am reading my Al Anon books and have read 2x Codependents No More. I am working the steps (although I'm only a several months into Al Anon so even though I think I get to Step 2, I find myself bouncing back to Step 1). I am not doing the same thing over every day....well, maybe living with him means the same thing over every day. So, I am doing something.

Thank you for posting that response from a female. That was heartbreaking. I think the difference is, in my situation, my AH doesn't put words to that. No words at all. My AH never shows any signs of remorse or even verbalizes anything similiar. So it truly is a genuine question, at least in my situation. I don't have any other alcoholics in my life...except my neighbor, but I have limited contact with her.

That letter to my wife from the alcoholic is taped to my frig. It told me more than what my AH has ever been able to tell me.

Maybe I am the minority in that my AH hasn't said any of those things that female did????

Thanks.
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Old 10-31-2009, 07:55 AM   #13 (permalink)
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I believe alcoholics have all the feelings anyone else has, the difference is their ability to cope with them. When I have feelings I deal with them, get them out there and work through them. If I feel I have hurt someone I talk to them, explain my feelings and hopefully mend the relationship. The alcoholic (at least my husband) takes those feelings that he doesn't know what to do with and turns on himself. He drinks to cope with them. He isn't a talker and was raised to "be a man" which means "feelings" are for sissys. Just because they don't tell us their feelings doesn't mean they don't have them.
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Old 10-31-2009, 07:58 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Alcoholics feel remorse with the same frequency as non-alcoholics. I know people who have never had drink or drug issues who, to all appearances, are never wrong and never feel guilt or remorse.

So alcoholics are humans, some feel deep remorse, some don't.
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Old 10-31-2009, 10:08 AM   #15 (permalink)
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I didn't choose to be an alcoholic. Back when I started drinking it wasn't apparent that alcoholism can and does run in families. It sure does in mine. I had no idea I could become an alcoholic.

But it can and did creep very quickly up on me. It soon was an obsession of my mind and my body did crave alcohol.

Did I feel guilt back then? Sure, felt a lot of things, didn't want to feel and the alcohol NUMBED me so I didn't have to feel. The more I drank the more I wanted.

Some of you know where it took me, I don't feel up to posting the 'whole' story today, I have enough of a reminder from last night's events around the neighborhood, sheesh

Whether you believe it is a disease or not, it is an illness, I don't know of one alcoholic or addict that set out to live their lives practicing this affliction, it certainly was not part of their goals for their lives.

It was when starting recovery that the guilt and remorse came flooding back and it was horrible. However, even though I had taken this affliction to the max, I was grateful I had found a program that would help me deal with all of these 'feelings' and eventually make amends the best I could.

So, does an alcoholic feel guilt? I would say in general that they do, and the guilt is probably part of the reason they continue to 'numb' themselves although until ready to stop they won't admit it.

Please remember also, that some never do stop. There can be many things that cause that also, fear of detox, so inured in their way of living they cannot see another way, so sick in the mind and body that to them there is no other way, etc

(((((WhyamIstaying)))))

I don't believe it is a "choice" for your husband. I believe he has reached the point that he honestly believes he MUST have his alcohol. I remember that 'hell' well and never want to go back there. When his BAC gets below a certain level (different for each of us alkies) his body starts to do strange things, his mind gets worse, and this scares the bejessus out of him so he gets more alcohol to get back to the 'comfortable' level. My 'comfort level must have been at about .40 BAC because at .38 BAC is when I started to seizure badly. Now a non-drinker or a very casual social drinker would be in a coma at .38.

Now I am not trying to justify his or anyone else's alcoholic drinking. I do know that for someone who has not been in that hell it is very hard to understand or conceive what it is like.

I also know that as a co-dependent I had to decide what was best for me and my self worth and my health ........................... to keep a 'toxic' person in my life or not.

So, Why Am I, it is still you who has to make the decision about staying in a relationship that is making you and your children sick or moving on to a healthier life style. Trying to 'figure him out' or 'figure the alcoholic out' doesn't change it.

Even when I am at my angriest, most resentful, or saddest about something I would not wish this affliction on my worst enemy!

Sweetie, instead of continuing to drive yourself crazy with these questions, maybe it is time to do an 'honest' PRO and CON List of your relationship right now. The Pros and Cons of Staying. Then do one on the Pros and Cons of leaving. I believe this will bring you much more insight than all these questions going on in your head.

J M H O

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Old 10-31-2009, 12:23 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Laurie,

Thank you. I'm going to come back to post after I get the kids halloween stuff ready. Just didn't want you let your reply go unthanked for long. That was a loving yet firm response and I appreciate it.

This morning's meeting was on FEAR and being entitled to a good life. I had read the Paths to Recovery book this morning before going and it was on F-E-A-R. Wow...I think that wasn't a coincidence.
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Old 10-31-2009, 05:12 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ago View Post
I think it's impossible to feel remorse if I am always blaming someone else for my resentments, my choices, my actions and reactions, and the quality of my life.

That way my choices are never my fault therefore never my responsibility, so how could I possibly feel remorse for something that's obviously someone else's fault.

I don't think practicing alcoholics have a monopoly on that, as a matter of fact it seems the norm in this forum, although him hiding his beer is a good example of what it looks like when an alcoholic does so, I'm sure he blames that on you, and not on his drinking. So he blames you and probably has a huge resentment because he has to hide his drinking when in fact this is a direct result of his own choices? That seems so silly doesn't it? to blame someone else for the choices HE makes in his own life and then get angry at them for it.

sounds vaguely familiar somehow though.......blaming someone else for the consequences of the choices he makes in his own life...can't quite put my finger on why that seems so familiar here.....
Ago, I read your post this morning and it has bothered me all day. Usually you write very insightful stuff but this just seemed mean and low. I'm not as articulate as you so please bear with me.

I can only speak from my experience. When STBXAH lived with me he passed the blame/responsibility onto me for almost everything wrong in our lives. And, somehow, I took it on board and tried to shoulder it. STBXAH was very controlling and I became very isolated. This impacted on my mental health - I suffered from depression for years. My self confidence and self esteem became eroded over the years. I didn't trust myself and STBXAH eroded any self belief I had. I trusted his opinion more than my own. Yes, I know, a consequence of my choice to stay with him - strongly influenced by him and my daily situation.

Then I was referred to a counsellor for depression - this started my personal growth and all hell broke loose at home.

When I found this site I knew nothing about alcoholism and even less about co dependancy. Knowledge is power and it helped set me free. Questions like 'do alcoholics feel remorse?' were asked by me from a place of pain and disbelief. As a codie I have been 'trained' to be over responsible for everything and to believe the best of my STBXAH. His escalating alcoholism and subsequent behaviour were so out of the blue, so painful, that I couldn't understand how a thinking, feeling human being could do that to another that they professed to love. I still don't get the why of it but I have learned to let it go.

Personally, when I was just starting to learn about all this stuff, I still took the blame and responsibility for everything. Instead of blaming myself, I needed to look at things differently. Part of that process was blaming the alcoholic in my life - something I had never considered doing before.

If I had come to this site and been confronted with even more finger pointing and blame, I would have crumbled under the weight of it all. Reading all the other stories here made me realise that, actually, I'm NOT the reason STBXAH drinks, I'm not alone in what I experienced and I don't deserve it! What may seem obvious to you didn't to me.

What I'm trying to say is that, as a codie, I was blamed for so much, I had the weight of the world on my shoulders. I needed to learn how to be responsible for only the things I am responsible for! Which is why I love the fact that this forum says things like 'that's what alcoholics do' etc. It helped me work out what was my 'stuff' and what I could leave well enough alone. I needed to learn to be kind to myself and put me first.

I'm a codie, not an alcoholic. This forum was my safe place when living with an active alcoholic. I wouldn't want to see that change.
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Old 10-31-2009, 05:36 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Recovery from alcoholism and codependency both work the same way, they both started working when I began to take responsibility for myself and the consequences of my own decisions, not blaming others for my difficulties, and trust me, as an alcoholic I could give you ten yards in the fifty yard dash in the self justification department and be across the finish line smoking a cigarette while you are just getting a head of steam up.


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Old 10-31-2009, 05:44 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Maybe I am the minority in that my AH hasn't said any of those things that female did????
Thanks.
I don't know if you're in the minority or not, but just thinking a lot about my end is helping me to look past her end, including the utter lack of remorse.

What the hell was I thinking?
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Old 10-31-2009, 06:10 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Ago, I read your post this morning and it has bothered me all day. Usually you write very insightful stuff but this just seemed mean and low. I'm not as articulate as you so please bear with me.

I can only speak from my experience. When STBXAH lived with me he passed the blame/responsibility onto me for almost everything wrong in our lives. And, somehow, I took it on board and tried to shoulder it. STBXAH was very controlling and I became very isolated. This impacted on my mental health - I suffered from depression for years. My self confidence and self esteem became eroded over the years. I didn't trust myself and STBXAH eroded any self belief I had. I trusted his opinion more than my own. Yes, I know, a consequence of my choice to stay with him - strongly influenced by him and my daily situation.

Then I was referred to a counsellor for depression - this started my personal growth and all hell broke loose at home.

When I found this site I knew nothing about alcoholism and even less about co dependancy. Knowledge is power and it helped set me free. Questions like 'do alcoholics feel remorse?' were asked by me from a place of pain and disbelief. As a codie I have been 'trained' to be over responsible for everything and to believe the best of my STBXAH. His escalating alcoholism and subsequent behaviour were so out of the blue, so painful, that I couldn't understand how a thinking, feeling human being could do that to another that they professed to love. I still don't get the why of it but I have learned to let it go.

Personally, when I was just starting to learn about all this stuff, I still took the blame and responsibility for everything. Instead of blaming myself, I needed to look at things differently. Part of that process was blaming the alcoholic in my life - something I had never considered doing before.

If I had come to this site and been confronted with even more finger pointing and blame, I would have crumbled under the weight of it all. Reading all the other stories here made me realise that, actually, I'm NOT the reason STBXAH drinks, I'm not alone in what I experienced and I don't deserve it! What may seem obvious to you didn't to me.

What I'm trying to say is that, as a codie, I was blamed for so much, I had the weight of the world on my shoulders. I needed to learn how to be responsible for only the things I am responsible for! Which is why I love the fact that this forum says things like 'that's what alcoholics do' etc. It helped me work out what was my 'stuff' and what I could leave well enough alone. I needed to learn to be kind to myself and put me first.

I'm a codie, not an alcoholic. This forum was my safe place when living with an active alcoholic. I wouldn't want to see that change.
I hear and understand what you are saying, I didn't think of it as "mean and low" I thought of it as "blunt and to the point", as in I told the truth, and I would never be nearly that blunt to somebody that was "new" however for example, if it were an alcoholic I saw struggling for six months I wouldn't have been nearly this gentle

Just because something is the truth and has a "bite" doesn't necessarily make it "mean and low", I asked those same questions as you did when I was new, and when I was new they were relevant, after six months however my support group would repeatedly bring the focus back on me, because that is where the answer ie recovery was to be found.

I hear what you are saying, and by no means did I mean to be hurtful but I guess, I can be painfully blunt and honest on occasion, and that hits some people wrong, I get that, for me it comes down to do I want somebody to co-sign my BS or do I want solution and answers, I guess I am looking for different things from my recovery from codependency then others here.

Laurie and LaTeeDa seem to have the knack of being as blunt as me without causing the resentment, good trick to learn I guess.

I am sorry that my post bothered you.
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