Stories from wise women and men

Old 03-13-2009, 07:12 PM
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Stories from wise women and men

Hello...I apologize in advance if this request is unreasonable, or if there is a better way to find this, but I find myself very interested in other people's stories, particularly those of the wiser? more healthy? leaders? (not sure how to put it) on this board, and I find it difficult to try to track down the stories themselves, and I seem to always find strength in other people's narratives of what they have been through, what they did to get themselves healthy, and how it's working out for them. Hey, I'm an English teacher and I love TV shows and movies...I'm drawn to narratives. I frequently read people's advice and posts and wonder, hmm...what is their story? So I thought I would post this thread and anyone who wanted to could share their story on it.
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Old 03-13-2009, 07:48 PM
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get it, give it, grow in it
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Going to al-anon for myself and AA speaker mtgs. to better understand addiction has provided the opportunity for me to hear many people's stories.
We all have one.
This has freed me to open up and tell my story w/o shame or really is freeing to be who I am. When I am open...others respond in kind.

However, I prefer to tell it rather than type it.
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Old 03-13-2009, 08:03 PM
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Yes, I thought many people would feel that way. That's why I had some trepidation about posting this thread. I certainly don't want to pressure anybody.
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Old 03-13-2009, 08:39 PM
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Oh I can give you the short version (which will still taske up a lot of space). Remember a lot of this will include insights I have gained since I left and divorced now xAH but you'll get the general picture. I am a work in progress and the way I tell my story changes each time I do because of new knowledge of myself I have gained.

I married AH at the age of 48, a second marriage for both. Looking back I married for all the wrong reasons and ignored all the red flags I did indeed see but pretended weren't there. I knew he was alcoholic, that he had anger issues, that he verbally abused his 3 daughters but I pretended it wasn't that bad. THe whys behind my choice, well those I can get into later perhaps.

Things were fine for 2 yrs. He was a functioning adult, he was part of the family, he gave of himself in his own dysfunctional way. I knew things weren't great but they were ok. I wasn't real happy but I was settling.

Then he got fired. I can't be sure but it was likely related to his alcoholism and it resulted in him being blackballed from his profession in the legal field. He started off job hunting, internet only 'cause he had seen it work for me, but never got anywhere (that's where the blackballing fits in). Slowly he changed from a fully functioning partner to a man who did nothing but sleep and drink. He consumed mass quantities of alcohol and I do mean mass quantities. He slept most of the day, stayed up most of the night. He stopped doing things around the house. Hell he stopped taking care of his personal hygiene!

I tried to talk reasonably. I threatened. I screamed. I ranted. He didn't change.

It took me 2 yrs to get to the point where I had had enough. I finally realized I was being used. I finally realized I was enabling. I finally realized the man was not ready to admit to his alcoholism and certainly not ready to seek sobriety. I admitted my love had died somewhere along the way and that the marriage was dead. I realized I had to get out before it ruined my life further and before it influenced my teen son who lived with us any further.

So I left. Without warning (well beyond the numerous warning I had given that I was close to leaving and couldn't take it any more). My credit rating is in the pits. I lost probably a couple hundred thousand on the sale of our house (was within 1 week of the foreclosure sale). But I thank God everyday that I found the strength to leave and take care of me and my son.

I began working on me the day I left. I started dealing with the issues from my childhood resulting from being raised by 2 active alcoholics. I began understanding why I was willing to marry an alcoholic and accept the unacceptable. It has taken a whole lot of hard work and pain but I ahve some understanding of my own issues and I continue to work on them. I figure maybe by the time I am a little old lady I will really understand. I have strengthened and deepened my faith in God. I am happy. I didn't recognize that feeling at first that tells me how bad off I was. I keep moving forward and wouldn't change a thing.

In case you want to know, a year and a half after I left xAH is still drinking, is still unemployed as far as I know, apparently has liver disease, and is now leeching off his elderly mother. He has been through a number of online romances I am aware of thru a poetry site he used to write on. I used to check periodically 'cause he also wrote hate poems about me and I considered using them in the divorce if it had proven necessary (it didn't.)

So that's the condensed version that really isn't short.
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Old 03-14-2009, 07:43 AM
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((Barbara52)) You Rock.

Mambo Queen, you can find a lot of wisdom on the stickies at the top of the forums. I'd suggest you look here and on the Friends and Families of Substance Abusers Forums... even though our loved ones struggle with different substances ~ drugs, alcohol, other stuff ~ we who love them struggle in much the same way.

Hope you find what you're looking for.

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Old 03-14-2009, 08:18 AM
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Originally Posted by Marissa View Post
Can anyone tell me if AlAnon would be beneficial for me and my husband struggling with our son's adddiction to narcotics but he is not an alcoholic. A friend of mine told me it is good for both but im not sure and am not able to find NarAnon in my area. Thanks!:praying
Alanon would absolutely be helpful, different substance, same behaviors, same pain, same support, same answers

As far as "the Wise ones"

I was sitting with my father some years ago, we each had three copies of the Tao Te Ching, We would read six versions of the same chapter, then discuss them

We were discussing this chapter

The wise man hears of the Tao and practices it diligently.
The average man hears of the Tao and gives it thought now and again.
The foolish man hears of the Tao and laughs aloud.

My father looks at me, sees my look of utter concentration and says, "Son, are you studying this?"

I looked at him, confused, and replied, "well...ummm...yeah?"

He says' "Son, this says what the wise man does, it doesn't tell you how to be the wise man, it's just something to read. You aint the Wise man, and chances are, you never will be"

One of the better lessons I have ever heard, and sometimes I almost know this, I am much wiser when I aint the wise man.
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Old 03-14-2009, 07:43 PM
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My story is amazingly quite similar to Barbara's. 2nd marriage, looking back - all the wrong reasons, I knew about his problems even though they were in the "past".

But, my AH got sick immediately, very very ill - and I invested all of me into caring for him. Surgeries led to addiction to the pain meds, led to drinking massive amounts. Unbelievable amounts, I'd never seen anyone drink like that. And with that came all the insanity in the home, crazy behaviour, hateful actions, etc.

The marriage started out so oddly due to his illness, and never got any better. I was never given access to the bank accounts, he drove off in my car one day and I never saw it again. It took over a year for me to get a vehicle of my own after that. I could go on but you get the idea.

He finally agreed to rehab, with pressure from his family. The hatefulness continued from there, in letters. I was stupid, I didn't "get it", and on and on. He refused to forgive me for the one thing I regret in my actions, yet never once apologized for his actions or even said a thanks for me wiping his rear and taking care of him all those long months.

He was now sober, with the same actions as he had drunk. The same thought processes, the same emotional abuse towards me and my daughter as before. And I just got more and more depressed, waiting waiting waiting for him to "get better".

I started therapy, which was the BEST thing I ever did. And I realized I had to get out of there, for my sanity so that I could do what was right for my daughter. The other things, the reasons behind my terrible terrible decision to marry him could be worked on later, I had to GET FREE of that abuse. And like Barbara, I left with no notice. Packed what would fit into a vehicle that isn't in my name, and drove off.

No money, car not mine...and God it felt so good. Still does If I could just find a job, sigh.

There has been no contact since I left in late Oct. except he emailed a friend of mine recently asking for my address, because he's "getting tired of hearing from her creditors". My creditors, nice hunh? He cuts off the credit cards, and closes the joint creditors. Whatever, I can't pay them right now whoever they are.

So, while I look for work, I try to work on the whys. Why why why? I didn't grow up in an abusive family, my parents aren't alcoholics. Why? I've always been too naive, I know this. I believe, or want to believe, what people say and discount what my gut tells me. I didn't think he would be emotionally or mentally abusive, I can say that truthfully. But once it began I let it go on waaaay to long.

I sometimes tell myself that all my decisions in my life have been wrong, but I know that cannot be true. I have to work on letting go of the guilt, I've done the best I could with what I've had to work with, I know this. But, I do have a lot of guilt still.

In the end, I've learned some valuable if hard lessons in all this. You cannot change someone no matter how much you love them. You have to be tough, to save yourself, because these type people don't care whether you survive sanity intact or not. You can't take to heart anything they say, be it good or bad, cause it all ends up being run through the gristmill of addiction - it's really not about you at all, but what they need at the moment or what they have made up in their heads.

You cannot reason with insanity.

Sorry, not much wisdom here, but - that's my story.
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Old 03-15-2009, 04:56 PM
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2nd marriage for me, too - warning signs were definitely there. I was so in love - what an incredible guy - so attentive and caring. Things started to shift after we got married. He became intermittently remote, inscrutable, secretive. The good times made up for it for awhile.

He quit his job over "stress" and didn't work for a few years although he had a few part-time jobs. I can't smell - I know, I know, but I still enjoy food, believe me - so he could drink all day and I would never know by smelling breath, but there would be odd behavior that I thought was seizure related or some health related thing or something. Feel stupid now that I see all this in hindsight.

He finally got a decent job and I thought things were just rolling along - I never really suspected he was a hugely entrenched binge drinking solitary alcoholic until I found his hidden stash of bottles. Shock. Then we got nailed by a huge hurricane and I knew it would not be a good environment for a fully involved alcoholic so we moved to be closer to his family (yes, the original enablers!). You can imagine how well that worked out!

We went back and forth, I took up with Al Anon and he went through rehab a few times but always went back to drinking. When it started to edge toward the frightening in terms of physicality, I finally asked him to leave. Faced with the increasing certainty of our marriage tanking, I believed him when he said he had walked into a new life and was clean and sober, working a program - and then he had a head-on collision with an innocent family less than half an hour after work. His blood alcohol was .18. Everyone survived but there were severe injuries. I had almost been ready to let him back in the house with me!!

That was the final straw for me. I sold the house, divorced him and moved back from whence I came! Lost a ton of money in the process and am struggling with intimacy issues. Seeing a shrink and working through the loneliness, although I am enjoying the absence of drama in my life - kind of weird after all those years but I like it.

He is a convicted felon under house arrest. Guess he has been mandated to go through rehab again and to do AA meetings, which he always hated. I talk to him maybe once a month but there is increasingly less and less that we have to say to each other.

I'm leaving a lot of stuff out - the brain aneurysm and the porn addiction, for example - I guess we could all write our own book about this unbelievable journey. My favorite moment was when he accused me of causing his drinking problem by putting his socks in the wrong drawer. I never did his laundry again.

Thanks for this. I needed this tonight. I left him a year ago and don't talk about this too much anymore except with my shrink. Times are good but I do miss being in a relationship. Sometimes.
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Old 03-16-2009, 09:48 AM
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My 1st experience with alcoholism was my Father. We had the perfect 60s family life growing up then my Fathers drinking became a problem (for me) when I was a teenager. He was a nasty drunk and would come home from his stressful job and get slammed, then make all kinds of nasty room clearing comments. My sister and I begged our codi mother to leave him but she was terrified to go it alone for financial security reasons. He died a tragic death back in 1987 never knowing his grandchildren.

What did I learn from that experience? How did I handle it and move on? Read on...

My 2nd marriage was to a woman that I had known most of my life. We grew up in the same neighborhood and dated off and on from high school through out our early 20s. She was the sister of a very close friend so our paths crossed many times over the years. Back in 98 I was recently divorced and she was separated. We hooked up and all the old (amazing, wonderful, too good to be true) sparks came right back. I was divorced but she was still going through hers, and a nasty divorce at that.

I ignored red flags thinking her heavy drinking was due to her nasty STB ex who was making everything difficult. Also, I thought I could fix all her situational problems and save her from the circumstances she was in. She just needed rescuing and a peaceful existence that I could certainly provide. We were married and did the Brady bunch thing.

It was challenging but rewarding at the same time for about two years. I have very happy memories of those first two years. Then her drinking went off the charts and I felt as though I was living with my Father all over again. She turned into a mean and nasty drunk and I had two sons from my previous marriage that I was not willing to subject to the same thing I went through with my Father.

M realized she had a problem and reached out for help... a couple times. She had all the love and support one could hope for during her first 30 day rehab and shot at sobriety. There was less love and support for her second rehab, and no support at all for the third round. I kicked her out after her second relapse. We were divorced in 2005.

I learned that if I stumble into a damsel in distress I need to turn tail and head for the hills before I pull another knight in shinning armor routine. I also learned that I have much more rewarding relationships with strong independent women.
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Old 03-16-2009, 11:34 AM
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i would hardly call myself wise, but my story is i got married when i was 19 to a guy i met when i was 17, i was young and naive and totally ignored every red flag i seen, hindsight is always 20/20. a little over a year married and he runs off for 31/2 months, drinking binge, i was devastated, i let him come back, couple years later, he runs off with another woman for 5 1/2 months, i again let him come back, couple years later he runs off again, i was two months pregnant, the times he was there we fought all the time, it was a constant battle, he went through alcohol and pain pills, it was up and down , physical abuse etc...

i now have a 4 month old son that i am raising alone with the help of my parents, its been almost a year since my husband left, hes seen our son a total of three times for about 15-20 minutes each time, hes in rehab and wants me to not get a divorce , but that he cant promise he will be with me when he gets out, cause rehab says he cant date, hes an idiot, he hasnt changed one bit by being sober, he calls me like im his buddy and expects me to wait on him, i believe he has mental problems (literally) , in one week i have an appointment with legal aid, im keeping the appointment, its one thing to hurt me but i cant put up with a bad father like he is

i dont regret anything though because i wouldnt give up my son for anything but i hate that im tied to my husband for life now and will always have to put up with him and his problems, as it will effect my son more and more as he gets older

this is my story condensed, no way to explain the hell ive been through in a few paragraphs
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Old 03-18-2009, 08:36 AM
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My story, like Barbara's changes as I learn and grow; I develop deeper understandings as the fog lifts yet more so (even after a year of him being gone) and as I begin to break through some deep seeded denial.

I know why I chose unhealthy relationships, although at the time I thought again and again, this time will be different. I suffered from depression from a teenager and was bullied at home and school. Both my parents are the children of alcoholics, both are true codependents, yet both manifest completely different charactertraits of this. I always knew I had low self esteem, a very poor mental image of myself, my worth and my lovingness. I always felt that I had so much love to give to someone, if I just found that right person to wisk me off my feet. I romanticised every relationship I entered and lived in a drama world.

between ages 17-24 I had become a single mum and never really spent any time alone; I healed my broken heart by getting into another relationship as soon as, I didn't want to be alone. Being a teenage mum, I felt that it was my job to settle down and find a dad for my daughter and get that picture perfect family. I dated a pot addict and my first alcoholic. I had already been to counsellors and doctors over and over about my depression.

At 25 I met my now exabf. It was not love at first site and we got together after meeting 6 months earlier. However once we got together the relationship progressed very quickly, like all my others. He would spend increasing amounts of time at my home, we would stay up till late having a drink together and smoking pot (something I had tried in the past and during my relationship with exabf, I used this as an emotional crutch to numb out my depressed feelings and unresolved pain from my past). He inevitably began staying over more and more and eventually moved in and his house lay empty.

I should have woke up to the red flags all around me at this time - my increasing use of pot, his anger outbursts, his consistant lack of money, his physical outbursts against me (he would shove me over or grab me around the throat), his need to drink every morning after work, his patchy attendance at work, his sour relationship with his ex over his 2 kids. I reasoned away everything, made excuses for him, blamed myself, and formed a negative opinion of her. I even learnt that his mother was an alcoholic, but I did not understand the dynamics of ACoA as well as I do now. I really didn't realise he had anything to work on. I was so happy to have found someone who loved me and who I loved; the dream of having the family life I so desperately wanted overrided everything.

During our time together exabf was unreliable, but I still went ahead and got a mortgage in my name for us both to have our first home together. Within the first 6 months of us living there, exabf lost his job and was unemployed for 3 months. During this time he was proactive about finding further employment and his drinking was not heavy, although he did binge drink every few weekends, when he drank, he drank till passing out and sleep walked and wet himself where ever he was. Still the connection was not made in my mind, he was just sleep walking and couldn't help that. Our debts began to mount but with him now working again I thought glitch over and now we can get back on track.

Than his mum was taken into hospital. she had been lossing weight for a while telling us she was dieting, but we soon learnt she was very ill with liver problems. She still drank, and it wasn't until she was taken in to the ER oblivious to the world and anyone in it from the toxins in her body, that she stopped. By this time (only a few weeks after her first trip) doctors told us her liver was failing, as where her kidneys and basically all her body was being poisoned by toxins her organs could no longer remove. She died of heart failure just a few weeks later.

Exabf's drinking spiralled and he withdrew from me and everyone else. He became increasingly abusive toward me day in day out verbally and emotionally. He began skipping work to drink and made new friends who shared his love of drinking/drugging. Over the next two years, he turned into a person I had never met and I was loosing myself in the madness. You all know the many behaviours I could describe in this part, so I won't bother to reiterate.

I began to pull away from him. I went to doctors and got myself on antidepressants, I saw a therapist, I moved out, then back in. I found SR and the people here. I still have three folders at home full of threads taken from here, I would read over and over to myself every evening to get me through and to remind myself I wasn't mad and I was not alone. I knew my friends were out there pulling themselves through too and it gave me comfort. I still tried to get him to join me on this recovery path I had found, I still tried to get him to wake up to his problem.

After a year on antidepressants, 4 months at SR, and on and off therapy I finally woke up. He was not ready to change, and I was too tired to wait and I could no longer justify my future with him to myself or unlearn what I had gained in knowledge about abuse, addictions, and myself. I was growing and changing, and he was not. He had tried on and off sobriety, but was never committed, and I was committed to my recovery. I had stopped leaning on substances to numb me. He was unemployed again and I had carried him, enabling his addiction for over 3 months, he did not try to find work this time. Just stayed at home and drank.

I still loved him very deeply, my heart had not died toward him and telling him to go was extremely difficult. I gave him a month to find somewhere to live and stayed true to my word. The day he left I sobbed. I never thought the day would come when I would end it. I had never ended a relationship before.

The last year has been a real journey of self discovery and true awakening within me. I have learnt alot, but still have much to learn. I still journal, still work on my issues, I am a work in progress and I know this is my lifes work and it is well worth it.

My ex is still unemployed, still drinking, still in denial about his problem. He is still without a home, as he went to stay with his dad, who kicked him out and now sleeps on the sofas of kind people who have yet to wake up to their own codependency.

I am much happier and healthy since he left, I am now living my life, not just watching it go by me, an active participant who is really enjoying the experience and thankful for the paths I have tread and where they led me.

Lily xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
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Old 03-18-2009, 04:29 PM
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OK. The first part of my story is here:

Now at 1 1/2 year sober I got married (Dec of '82). Yep, he was a sober alkie, with 2 1/2 more years in recovery than me. He had a sponsor, I had Bev and Hugh and life was going to be wonderful, NOT.

At 3 years sober, on my 3rd AA Birthday, Beverly told me in no uncertain terms, that it was TIME I STARTED ATTENDING ALANON, AND I WAS TO START IT THAT DAY, AND I WAS TO GET AN ALANON SPONSOR. Gulp well gee, I didn't need AlAnon, yeah right. Not wanting to 'disappoint' Beveraly I went.

It was in AlAnon, not AA that I learned about 'boundaries.' It was there I learned the 3 C's, which helped me not only with my husband but the alkies I was working with too. I felt for about the first year in AlAnon that I was starting all over. However, as I again worked the steps, I somehow got a 'new" perspective on them.

By the time Kenn and I had been married a bit over 3 years, it was apparent that he had developed a Gambling problem, BIG TIME. And it got worse real quick. I finally had to get accounts in my "Maiden Name" so he had no access to them. The credit union was willing to do that for me.

AlAnon gave me the strength to keep going and not go back to my own addiction and gave me the courage to finally say ENOUGH. We were divorced in July of '87.

There are still alcoholics and addicts in my life. Most sober and clean, some still using. I believe that many alcoholic/addicts are also codies. We get sober and clean and MAN we want to FIX THE WORLD, rofl At least I did.

AlAnon has been more helpful to me in some ways than AA. Gave me great perspective, all the years I had my "Home Care" business of taking care of the Terminally Ill and/or Totally Incapacitated in their own homes. Without AlAnon, I do not believe I could have survived being a caretaker.

I do have to say one thing though, neither AA nor AlAnon would have worked for me if I had not done the very hard work required. AA gave me 'tools'. AlAnon gave me more 'tools'.

Now it's what I do with those 'tools' that has an affect on my life today.

So I keep 'trudgin' and I love every minute of it. Well................. most minutes of it. roflmao

Love and hugs,
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