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What to do when YOU enter the recovery process but the sober AH does not?

Old 05-20-2009, 08:33 AM
  # 21 (permalink)  
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I think sometimes we are all guilty of having to "do something". Perhaps if we placed more time, space and patience into our problems, the answer would come less painfully. My husband just never came home after inpatient, and for a long while my EGO was hurt that it was never discussed, like I didn't have a choice. In the long run, it would have been a conflicted choice, not wanting him back (for my peace of mind) BUT I would have felt obligated to take him back for his recovery (If I don't will I be abandoning him when he most needs me?) All my friends were telling me to file for divorce. But I am OK with nothing right now, no decisions, just time and space. A friend of mine really wants a divorce but is conflicted, her AH really doesn't want one but isn't making any behavioral changes. I suggested she tell him that she wants to separate, really separate with rules for a while to see how they each feel in a couple months or more. This might be an option for you?

I think I'm done, but I don't even know the man he might be when he is further into his recovery program. I see a lot of people on this board that are mighty awesome and have admitted they weren't always that way. So even though history tells me a leopard doesn't change his spots, I am open to the miracles of the Universe.

I don't want to date right now, and don't want another relationship with anyone but myself. This man is still my kids father, and will be the grandfather of my grandchildren if I am blessed enough to have them. I guess I can give it time. I'll know when I am ready or I'll hear it when he is ready to make a decision, one way or the other.
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Old 05-20-2009, 08:45 AM
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Originally Posted by RobinsFly View Post
AH has been sober for almost one year. He chose not to do AA, support groups, or have a sponsor. He did some counseling, but not 'addictions' work.

Earlier this year I was feeling hopeful. Like we might make it.
Then, his old tendency to blame me for his feelings started up again. As did passive-aggressive behaviors. I totally lost it.
The alcohol is only a symptom. Alcohol was my coping mechanism for many years. I think had I not drank as long as I had, I probably would have blown my head off. I was so uncomfortable in my own skin, I couldn't stand it sober.

It's called alcoholism for a reason, not alcohol-wasm. ISM = I, Self, Me. Selfishness and self-centeredness, that was at my very core. I suffered from a threefold disease-physical, mental, and spiritual. If I do not address all three aspects, I am not sober, though I may not be drinking. Sobriety is a state of mind along with not drinking.

Your AH is not drinking, but he has done nothing to address the progression of the disease in the mental and spiritual aspects. Alcoholism is a progressive disease.

How can two people remain together when only one is actively seeking recovery? I haven't see that work long-term yet, and I've been around the rooms of recovery for 22+ years.

Just my two cents.

:ghug :ghug
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Old 05-20-2009, 11:32 AM
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Originally Posted by miss communicat View Post
To your question of how would you know how to listen to your inner growth calling? I would suggest to keep it simple. Do not try to listen with your intellect. Listen with your heart and soul. Listen to your suffering and tension as well as your ideals, hopes and dreams for this life you have. Sometimes we are guided out of situations that no longer serve us by our inner conflict. Other timesw we stay and change within.

I totally trust that you are going to find peace in your life. Stick around. I always enjoy our conversations!
Very powerful words MissComm. Thank you.
I too enjoy these conversations. I continue to gain insight as I learn that others have "made it" and continue to thrive and find joy in their lives.
It is inspiring.

I understand your situation now. Thanks for clarifying.
Sounds like there is a lot of mutual respect.

Originally Posted by Still Waters View Post
Mine told me I either went to marriage counseling, or I "got out". He indicated in that counseling session that while he really wanted it all to work out...it was basically my problem to work on. I was supposed to be happy about being abused emotionally and mentally I guess.

You're only guessing that he'll throw in the towel, but you'll have to consider that in your decision. And yes, I think it is okay that you can't at this time give him any reassurances. You know..all this began as a result of his drinking, what reassurance do YOU have that he'll never drink again?
This. Exactly.
He tells me his is willing to try, but how can he if I'm not? Well...first off, you can attend to your own mental and spiritual self. Your SELF.
He's been out of touch w/ his self for so long, he's still unconsciously looking to me to 'fix' and validate.

I think I know he'll throw in the towel. He said this last night.


Originally Posted by Still Waters View Post
Ago, I have some issues with this:


If, in my experience, I had been dealing with someone sane I would totally agree with this statement. But when you're dealing with a non-recovering alcoholic this sentence just doesn't work.

For instance, the alcoholic who denies and denies they've been drinking while their tea cup reeks of wine (someones experience here lately) does NOT have a valid viewpoint. They have lies and denial.

In couples counseling I was basically told the same thing you're saying. So, I was forced to listen and agree with fiction.

Counseling won't work if lies are involved.
My counselor said something similar. I asked her if she knew about and agreed w/ the whole Imago theory thing. That, we come into relationships w/ the unconscious desire to heal childhood wounds. Couples can grow together. BUT, she said it's almost impossible to apply this model when addiction is involved.

AH does not lie about his drinking in counseling. He no longer gets defensive about it. However, when in our counseling sessions he scowls at me, and his body language speaks "anger", and he doesn't talk much.
He is STILL directing his anger and hurt towards ME. I don't get this.
And I'm fed up.
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Old 05-20-2009, 11:48 AM
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Originally Posted by GiveLove View Post

In addition, I learned a lot about myself, namely that I didn't want to control anyone any more, and just wanted compatibility, trust, and laughter in my primary relationship....to feed me on this trip through life, doing whatever it is I was dropped down here on earth to do.
GL, wow, this sounds completely like my situation.
I lost "like" for him, I lost respect, I lost my ability to fully trust him, I yearn for joy....
Perhaps I am not capable of hanging in there w/ AH anymore.

It's like: I am finally struggling to find ways to mend my spirit within myself.
To learn to hold myself, trust myself, and speak my needs. It appears that AH is still looking outward for this to happen. I cannot mentally or spiritually hold him.
Is this where the concept of the parasite comes in? (I think I read that somewhere here recently)

Originally Posted by FunnyOne View Post
really separate with rules for a while to see how they each feel in a couple months or more. This might be an option for you?


I'll know when I am ready or I'll hear it when he is ready to make a decision, one way or the other.
You sound very grounded. Good for you.
I know what you mean about not knowing and wondering about their potential. I constantly do this.

You nailed it. Every fiber of my being wanted to physically separate last July after AH's last drunk episode. We went to a lawyer, we all looked at our financial situation and decided that there was absolutely no way AH could afford to support two households. I am in graduate school and have one year left. Dropping out is not an option, for I need this degree to support myself and my precious boys.
I'm feeling like we have no chance if a separation doesn't happen.


Originally Posted by Freedom1990 View Post
It's called alcoholism for a reason, not alcohol-wasm. ISM = I, Self, Me. Selfishness and self-centeredness, that was at my very core. I suffered from a threefold disease-physical, mental, and spiritual. If I do not address all three aspects, I am not sober, though I may not be drinking. Sobriety is a state of mind along with not drinking.

Your AH is not drinking, but he has done nothing to address the progression of the disease in the mental and spiritual aspects. Alcoholism is a progressive disease.
Maybe it is just my perception, but it certainly doesn't seem that he is addressing the psych and spiritual aspects. He keeps doing "busy" work -- he has replaced alcohol w/ work, music, and food. Lots of food. Lots of sugar.
It kind of grosses me out.

Again, my perception, but AH appears absolutely scared to DEATH to separate. Facing your fears. A good thing?
It does hurt like hell. Most days I feel like I'm totally losing my mind.
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Old 05-20-2009, 11:55 AM
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Originally Posted by anvilhead View Post

i guess i'm trying to say that contemplating separation is NOT the end of the world. you aren't putting him in front of the firing squad, you arent' stamping FAILURE on your forehead, you're just moving along life's path.......to do any different WOULD be the tragedy......
First off, I am sorry to hear about the cancer.
It sounds like you and your daughter continue to honor his spirit.

I appreciate hearing your story.
My therapist told me the exact same thing. That we will remain a family, we will both continue to be parents to these beautiful kids.

Like with your situation, I feel that it would be a benefit to my boys if we separated. They absorb all our tension and unhappiness.
I've noticed, when I'm alone with them, we have this wonderful energy together. We are not hindered by AH's angry stares or brooding. There is peace and freedom.

Ug. I'm just remembering...
My bio father blamed me for his divorce when I was 13. He said "you and your mother want to split up the family". As if he had nothing to do w/ it.
Wow - now I'm hearing the same thing from AH.
yikes.
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Old 05-20-2009, 12:01 PM
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Originally Posted by RobinsFly View Post
Ug. I'm just remembering...
My bio father blamed me for his divorce when I was 13. He said "you and your mother want to split up the family". As if he had nothing to do w/ it.
Wow - now I'm hearing the same thing from AH.
yikes.
I think you're having a lightbulb moment.

:ghug :ghug
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Old 05-20-2009, 12:04 PM
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WOW, robinsfly.

(sound of door unlocking and swinging open...)

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Old 05-20-2009, 12:07 PM
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Now what do I do???

:holdme:
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Old 05-20-2009, 12:14 PM
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Just hang in there and go through those days. Eventually you will be sick and tired of being angry and confused. Then the clarity will start to seep in ever so slowly like maple syrup through the tap, and it will be just as sweet.

Financially, divorce makes no sense in this economy unless the emotional cost of holding onto the marriage outweighs the fiscal. Filing jointly is a big plus also especially with tuition costs. I put the word out to anyone selling an empty house or condo. I offered them half the cost of an apartment for our area with the agreement that he would keep it clean (he has OCD with a windex bottle), show it when the realtor calls, and vacate within thirty days of an acceptable offer. For folks with a mortgage, losing $400 less a month was a good deal. He used to drink more than that, so it was a good deal for me too. Our contact is usually by email about finances, the kids, etc. No other contact regarding how I am doing, how he is doing, etc. I can think clearly now, the Pain(him) is gone!

Just explain to your husband that it is this or the big D. Then stand back and wait for him to blow the FOG (Fear Obligation and Guilt) at you. Stay strong in your decision and tell him this is the only option you will accept, if in fact it is an option that you think will work for you. It did for me!
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Old 05-20-2009, 12:16 PM
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Originally Posted by anvilhead View Post
breathe......maybe just sit quietly with that revelation for a while - maybe write it all out on paper - try not to resist or run from it - realize that of so often even tho we are IN today, we are still listening to our yesterdays.......

:ghug
Write it down. Good idea.
Settle down and sit with it.

Good thing I have an individ counseling appt tomorrow.

Is it normal to feel like you're going insane?

Thanks for the support Anvil
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Old 05-20-2009, 04:40 PM
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Originally Posted by RobinsFly View Post
Thanks Silkspin. Sounds like you've gone through a similar situation. And continue to live it.

AH did move out of the bedroom 10 months ago after the last rock-bottom crisis. He stays in the basement guest room.
Working my program in the face of his co behaviors seems almost impossible, because we have two preschoolers at home. They are getting in the middle of this, and our spirits are suffering.
I feel so much more at peace when AH isn't around. The kids feel it to. They are absorbing all the household tension.

Do you ever think, that's it: I cannot take the passivity and blame anymore? Regardless how much you try to detach.

Unraveling 8 years of an addictive relationship is grueling and exhausting work. I cannot take care of his feelings anymore. kwim?
I've missed a lot of posts - lots happens when I'm at work my one day a week! Robinsfly, we have an 18 month old so I think I know where you're coming from. The night before I kicked him out of the bedroom we'd been staying overnight at friends, and he came in at 3am to the guest bedroom, drunk, stumbled and steadied himself on the baby's crib. That was really it for me, how terrifying.

Then, after a month of sobriety, he took me to Valentine's dinner, then said he wanted a drink (ruining the night for me) then telling me that he never thought things had been so bad and maybe I'm just overreacting. Right. Not ready for anything. I didn't handle that night so well, but plugged on in the program. He had (albeit slowly) changed his tune a bit. We also had tension between us, and the baby didn't even want to go to him when he came home from work. Could be normal kid reaction, or maybe she felt the weirdness between us.

Somewhere, somehow, things changed. Maybe it was time, combined with program. But he started to be open to couples counselling (it's an AA/Al anon couples group), and has started to be in a better mood. Our daughter now just loves him. Maybe his drink fog is starting to lift; I've heard it can take many months for them to start stepping out from the funk that it causes in their brains/bodies.

It sounds like he's saying all the 'right' things to you, but his actions and his blame don't match. This screams of denial and of resistance to recovery. How long has he been sober? Only you will know if it's time to take another step beyond basement room. Journal about it, talk to your HP and ask him to give you clarity. Try not to force it either way. And work your program as much as you can and give him space. It IS exhausting.
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Old 05-20-2009, 07:30 PM
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Originally Posted by FunnyOne View Post



Just explain to your husband that it is this or the big D.
I think that, if I were ready to make an "either this or Divorce" statement, it would presuppose that i AM ready to divorce.

And, to make deals, consider bargaining over conditions or even forestall it would be unbearable.

Once I have concluded that I am finished. I am finished.

The reason I mention that here, is that it can be crazy making for both parties to hang hopes upon certain conditions and criteria when, or IF, an inner decision has already been made.

And, if that decision has not truly been made (yet), it comes off as a threat or ultimatum, and could set up a negative dynamic.
Far better might be honesty: Explain to him that you are seriously questioning the marriage and may need a separation.

regardless of what he does or does not do about his problems.
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Old 05-20-2009, 07:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Still Waters View Post
Ago, I have some issues with this:



If, in my experience, I had been dealing with someone sane I would totally agree with this statement. But when you're dealing with a non-recovering alcoholic this sentence just doesn't work.

For instance, the alcoholic who denies and denies they've been drinking while their tea cup reeks of wine (someones experience here lately) does NOT have a valid viewpoint. They have lies and denial.

In couples counseling I was basically told the same thing you're saying. So, I was forced to listen and agree with fiction.

Counseling won't work if lies are involved.
I hear and validate your point of view, and agree with the fact that your "reality" doesn't need to match or agree with an insane persons.

If "his" 'reality' is insanity, it's still his reality, does that make sense?

As in it's like arguing politics with your mother to coin a phrase, no one is going to change their mind, and everyone is just going to end up frustrated, It's like if Mom happens to think Walmart is the best thing to happen since sliced bread and I happen to think it's a blight on the landscape and evil and destroying America.

They are deeply different philosophies, but they are both valid viewpoints.

That's when it comes down to who you choose to be involved in a relationship with. An insane person who lives in lala land, or somebody who is prepared to work on themselves, by themselves, for themselves.

They are both "realities" it's just one is attractive and the other makes you insane.

By no means was I condoning any set of behaviors by either party in this discussion, I was trying to bring an objective viewpoint.

Alcoholism causes a certain set of recognizable behaviors, living with an alcoholic mate (or parent) also causes a certain set of recognizable behaviors.

What I was bringing to the table was my experience from both viewpoints.

Your experience was with an insane person that lied. I have had that experience as well, and I agree with you and other posters here, that therapy with someone who is truly not willing to work on themselves and just lies to the therapist and puts their own "spin" on everything is a waste of time.

I have also had the experience of being dragged to therapy and couples counseling and after just a few visits being informed that the therapist we had was the wrong one, mainly because the therapy was supposed to "fix" me, since I was the the "broken" one, and when it turned out we both had work to do, it was time to get another therapist. It had been "predecided" that I was "the problem" and the therapy was just to get me to fall in line, and when it turned out there were two of us that both "had a part" and we both had work to do, the fallout wasn't pretty.

I have personally seen this dynamic over a dozen times with my own eyes with sponsees as well. It's a common enough occurrence in sobriety to have it's own set of humor around it.

So, for me, personally, I at this point in time, will only get involved with someone who has a proven track record of working on themself to begin with. Not "work on themself" to make me happy, or to "save the relationship" but because they are truly interested in being a better person and getting healthy for themselves.

Personally, I am working on myself right now, and it has nothing to do with whether I am in a relationship or not. I will not either work on myself for a relationship, nor will I ever ask someone else to "work on themselves" for a relationship. I do what I do for me, and rather then trying to change the person I am with, I will watch what they do and make a decision on whether to stay or go based on their actions. I won't stay with someone based on their potential or who they could be, I try to make my decisions based on who they are, not on who I want them to be.

It's like "acceptance", I don't have to like or condone what the other person is or is not doing, but I need to accept it for what it is, and not what I think it is, what I think it should be, what I want it to be, but for what it actually is, right here, and right now, then I can make an informed decision on how to deal with it.

Is this what I really want for my life?

Work on yourself and time will tell.

An amazing example of exactly what that looks like is ToughChoice's journey for the last 6-8 months, you want to see what recovery looks like, read her threads and posts, there is a recovery from A-Z, if it were military they would teach her Journey at West Point. It, and her self awareness now is that good.
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Old 05-20-2009, 08:24 PM
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P.S. One of the most helpful things I ever learned in my life was when I was doing the "Ambulance thing" from a Paramedic I used to work with called:

Subjective
Objective
Analysis
Plan

SOAP

I was NEVER allowed to make a diagnosis, what I had to "report" was "what I heard", what I saw with my own eyes, what my analysis was, and what my plan was.

Subjective is what was told to me, or in this case, what my head was telling me

Objective is EXACTLY what I view with my own eyes

Analysis is what I think by assessing both the subjective and objective data

Plan is "what am I going to do to resolve this situation

So what would "SOAP" be in your situation?

rather then "diagnosing" him as suffering from untreated alcoholism, taking all your "feeling statements" and put them together

Then all of your "objective" data, such as his refusal to attend therapy on his own, you and your childrens comfort level when he is there, when he is gone etc.

Analysis of what YOU can do FOR YOURSELF to resolve this, whether it be acceptance or change (yourself and your acceptance level) or leaving him.

Make and execute your plan.

If you can observe and describe what is really going on without placing any emotional value on his behavior, I mean by making him "wrong" or "bad", just this behavior makes me feel ______, I find that I make much better decisions from that place.

Anyway, this is an exercise that has yielded amazing results for me in the past and has allowed to make much more intelligent decisions that were actually based on reality.

He may be an untreated alcoholic, he may have just been a heavy drinker, the questions are about YOU, and what YOU want in your life and what makes YOU happy.

I remember talking to my therapist and crying out, "I don't know what to do, tell me what to do" and she always said "yes you do Andrew, you know exactly what to do, you just aren't ready to do it yet"

I said, "How do you know I know what to do?? I'm so confused!!!"

She said "Because you told me"

You have the information, you have given us the information, go back and reread all your posts, and your answers are written in every post.

Working on yourself lets you learn to be clear about your decisions, and why you are making them.

Take it slow, take it easy, keep on doing what you are doing, and it will work out exactly the way it supposed to.
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Old 05-20-2009, 09:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Ago View Post
That's when it comes down to who you choose to be involved in a relationship with. An insane person who lives in lala land, or somebody who is prepared to work on themselves, by themselves, for themselves.

They are both "realities" it's just one is attractive and the other makes you insane.


So, for me, personally, I at this point in time, will only get involved with someone who has a proven track record of working on themself to begin with. Not "work on themself" to make me happy, or to "save the relationship" but because they are truly interested in being a better person and getting healthy for themselves.

Personally, I am working on myself right now, and it has nothing to do with whether I am in a relationship or not. I will not either work on myself for a relationship, nor will I ever ask someone else to "work on themselves" for a relationship. I do what I do for me, and rather then trying to change the person I am with, I will watch what they do and make a decision on whether to stay or go based on their actions. I won't stay with someone based on their potential or who they could be, I try to make my decisions based on who they are, not on who I want them to be.
Some powerful reminders here. This, my friend, is why I come back to this board.
I need to let go of some things....
Mainly, imagining his potential IF he decided to enter recovery and do lots of inner work.

And, i think you're right about the reality-thing. For him, what he is doing is enough. He believes it. He has no interest in support groups, or psychotherapy, or plowing through books.
Question is, is this the reality I want to live with?

My view is not "right" and his is "wrong". But living w/ his viewpoint might drive me insane.
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Old 05-20-2009, 09:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Ago View Post

You have the information, you have given us the information, go back and reread all your posts, and your answers are written in every post.

Working on yourself lets you learn to be clear about your decisions, and why you are making them.

Take it slow, take it easy, keep on doing what you are doing, and it will work out exactly the way it supposed to.
I'm actually familiar with SOAP.
As a SW, i enter chart notes on patients all the time. I never considered applying this to my own situation. If I have the guts, i will try it.
Thanks for the suggestion.

Good grief. My answers are written in every post?
I have lots of fear. It's hard to imagine that things will work out for the best.
My own shame (of having picked this guy and wanting to control) hinders my ability to tap into my spirit.
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Old 05-21-2009, 06:27 AM
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Originally Posted by RobinsFly View Post
Good grief. My answers are written in every post?
I have lots of fear. It's hard to imagine that things will work out for the best.
My own shame (of having picked this guy and wanting to control) hinders my ability to tap into my spirit.
It's when we try so hard (as we codies do) that things fall apart. You see where it's gotten us thus far, right? I've said many times that I had my hands around the neck of my relationship, trying to strangling it into what I wanted it to be. Truth be told, I was really cutting off the air supply so the whole thing was dying. Through al anon I have slowly been able to peel off my grip, and as counterintuitive as it seemed to me, that's when we were all able to breath and things started to turn around. An al anon friend told me once that until an intensive weekend therapy, she never realized how much of the problem SHE was in her relationship (her mom was the A). I've taken that to heart. As one member on these boards put it, "put down the magnifying glass and pick up the mirror" (one of my faves!)

A few weeks ago in a workshop, we reviewed a question in one of the al anon books on step 2. It asked if I was embarrassed by stuff the A does. This opened a lot for me. They teach us in al anon that the stuff someone else does isn't a reflection on me, but I haven't shaken that yet. I was embarrassed by him, by the fact that I chose someone who acted this way. How could it not reflect my poor choices? But I had to remember that I chose someone that I loved and had great characteristics (and still does buried inside) - although that's tough because these last few years the good stuff was whittled away and I could only focus on the negative. I need to remind myself that he is a human being with a full spectrum of feelings and emotions and choices and opinions (and has a right to all those things too). But with my unhealthy thinking, I made him into this crazy monster (beyond what he made himself) and then thought everyone else thought that way too. Not true. Everyone else saw him as a good and decent guy, who has a problem and is now seeking help. I see how much of it was ME demonizing HIM. But that was what I needed to do to cope with his drinking.

I don't think the fear of a right or wrong choice will ever really go. Even if things start going great with us and we go on our merry way, it can change any time. But I am better equipped to deal with my fears, and put them in their (small) place where they belong. They won't stop me from living and trying to build a life. And I find it funny - like yours, he seems much less occupied by such thoughts. This is the type of behaviour that helps them keep drinking (i.e. living too much in the moment) but he does have a bit of the right idea. They continue to live their lives, without agonizing over every little thing, like we do.

Sorry I know this is long, but I was in your mindset a few short months ago. Even though I tried to detach, every comment that I didn't like would still get to me "I don't really like going to AA, I'm p!ssed off that I need this, you're always trying to control me" the list goes on. And looking back, if I ever tried to change his opinion i.e. "this is meant to help us, your drinking was hurting us" etc etc. it really made things worse, because I was still trying to convince him. It has helped to tell myself over and over that it's not my business, he can think what he wants. Eventually, he did come to some of these conclusions on his own. Others he hasn't, and he may never.

It is exhausting, but it doesn't have to continue to be. If you truly work on releasing him and truly just focussing on yourself, you will change. And that's when the clarity that you're looking for will come. Just like any problem that frustrates us that we can't solve it; the minute we walk away from it, the answer pops into our head. And once you get that feeling, you'll want more and that's when the magic of the program will start to happen.
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Old 05-21-2009, 09:43 PM
  # 38 (permalink)  
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I am grieving the fact that our relationship was based on codependency, and not true authentic love.
Sadly, I have more experience with this then I would like to admit.

That's one of the "dangers" of recovery, if we actually "do" recovery, and not just give it lip service we change, things we once found "attractive" aren't any more. The thing is, it feels like love, it looks like love, it's what we learned in childhood as love, but my definition of love changed the day I started recovering.

What I look for as love, and what I bring to the table.

My decision to get sober was even a codependent decision, it took me eight years, a broken heart, a broken spirit, a loss of faith in everything, including myself, basically a nervous breakdown and a relapse to learn that.

The thing about that statement is when I finally "got" that, it made me responsible for my own happiness and my own part in my relationship.

All of my relationships were based on codependency when I was drinking and quite frankly for quite a few years into my sobriety.

For both of us.

It's never just one unhealthy person in a relationship.

period.

No ifs ands or buts

Healthy people don't pick and stay with sick people in relationships, healthy people don't find sick people attractive.

So by taking responsibility and taking action, I changed, "she" didn't, and eventually we both moved on. It's my experience that relationships where only one partner grows don't last. They can't.

Many years of hindsight later, I now know that nothing we fought about were the real reasons we broke up.

I will venture to guess the whole he said/she said couples counseling/he needs therapy but won't go isn't the real issue. It's a smoke screen where your "real" feelings about the situation are coming to a head.

I could be completely wrong, but it's how my mind (and a gazillion of my sponsees/support groups/guy/gal friends minds) works.

My "stuff" frequently "wears different clothes" and manifests as anger about one thing when the 'real issue" is "over there", related to but not exactly what I am angry about.

put down the magnifying glass and pick up the mirror


This is one of the most important things I think I have ever seen posted on this board.

The problem is never "outside" it's always "inside", no matter what it looks like, from:

What am I willing to tolerate

to:

What is it I really want for my life

to:

What is it in this situation that keeps me here or keeps me repeating it?

from being addicted to drama, anger, keeping the focus elsewhere, picking alcoholics over and over, picking the same partner over and over (been there done that)

For me, the question is not: Why/Why won't he/she do/not do what I want/keep hurting me/keep drinking etc. ad nauseum

but:

Is this what I truly want and deserve in this life? Does this make me happy?

and

Why am I here? What is here for me to learn? Why do I keep repeating this dynamic/behavior (if that's the case) What about this is keeping me "stuck"?

It's not about whether he will or will not go to therapy, it's about does this relationship fulfill you and what part do you play in it's dysfunction?

Are you making it worse because you are just plain unhappy in it?

Forget about him for a while, ask some of those hard questions about you.
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Old 05-21-2009, 10:15 PM
  # 39 (permalink)  
get it, give it, grow in it
 
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practice the Serenity prayer
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Old 05-22-2009, 12:08 PM
  # 40 (permalink)  
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This is an incredible post. I have learned so much about my own unhealthy situation from reading everything.

RobinsFly--I am where you are in so many way. There have been so many things you posted that resonated--one that has been floating in my head for weeks now is life is too short to be this unhappy all the time. My unhappiness has to do with how I am handling my life. I found as I worked on me I started to become happier and it started to make AH very unhappy because he is losing his enabling codependent. He keeps trying to pull me into his recovery. I am not part of his recovery--I am only part of my own.

Couples therapy--we went down that road many years ago and it was uselss because both of us just fell back into our bad behaviors. He kept getting drunk and high and I kept yelling, threatening to leave, being silently pi**ed off, grinding my teeth, wondering why he could not just work on himself and stop making my life so stinkin' miserable. Then, after coming here the light bulb went on and I realized I don't have to.

Like you--I don't even like AH anymore. I don't think I would like the person he is even if he became sober--all I need to do is look at the rest of his family and realize I am not fond of them either. . . Product of their upbringing-yes. However, so am I. Difference--I took a hard long look at myself and had to admit I wanted to go take a shower. Did it feel good going to therapy and facing me--I actually shudder to remember days I went home almost having panic attacks. I was truly a heartless bit**, liar, controlling lunatic. When I got healthy I had to quit the job I had because I could no longer do it--I needed those qualities I was trying to get rid of to do my job.

I still slip into my old self some times but I recongnize shortly after that I did it and then realize I am not done working on me.

I too am constantly getting the blame for all of his bad behavior--lately I say to myself--you need to go talk to your mom and dad because some of this stuff happened as a result of your childhood. BUT--we cannot blame our childhood. As adults we have a decision to change what we can. My mother was an alcoholic who was mean as the day is long. My dad would hit her when she would antagonize him. My "coping mechanisms" for living with their very unhealthy marriage were unhealthy in my contact with other people once I left the nest. Did both of them help shape my warped view of life--sure did. But I was the only one who could take myself out of there. I could not blame her or my father anymore. I still thank God for the friend who was strong enough to walk up to me one day and tell me how sick I really was. I was very angry with them for years. It took that same person sending me a book about children who grow up in alcoholic abusive homes to find myself right there. I started to work on myself then. It took marrying a
2nd alcoholic, going back to therapy and finding SR to make me realize I still have a long way to go to get healthy but I can't blame AH. Does he pi** me off still-sure does. But I won't let him turn me back into what I was--although it is still a constant struggle day to day.
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