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The disease did it and not me....

Old 12-16-2009, 01:26 PM
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The disease did it and not me....

Ok my SR friends I need some help with perspective on this one.

Got a letter today from XAH who is in recovery and currently living in a Recovery House following 30 days inpatient treatment. This was his third trip to rehab but this time nobody allowed him to come home so he currently lives in a recovery house.

Anyway the letter is all about how much he still loves me and how much he regrets all the hurt he caused me, his family, everyone blah, blah, blah. Then he goes on to say that he now understands it was not him that did all those horrible things but his disease.

I realize the disease issues has been debated many times and I have tried to read and study on as much of both sides of the issues as I can. I'm not sure I have an opinion either way yet. Or at least I didn't think I did. But having been the receiver of all those horrible things he did I am not taking to kindly to hear him say "he has learned" that the diseases did those things and not him. That sounds like a cop out to me. That sounds like an excuse or way out of owning up to 12 years of hell. I am just wondering how others feel about that. I guess I am not quite ready to say don't worry about it honey I know it wasn't YOU doing all those things.
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Old 12-16-2009, 01:29 PM
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I'm fairly new here. But I don't blame you for not taking that well. It sounds like a way to avoid responsibility. From what I've learned so far from my axbf, he doesn't like to be accountable for anything. Everything is someone else's or something else's fault.
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Old 12-16-2009, 01:31 PM
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The whole disease/not disease thing is endlessly debatable. What matters is what his intention is and what you feel.

If it sounds like/feels like a cop out to you then I believe you and I believe you know best how to assess this person's intentions.

I believe addiciton is s disease that kicks in after years of bad choices - kind of like type 2 diabetes. Once it's there - embedded in your physiology/metabolism - well, it exists as a progressive disease process in the body. And only the alcoholic or diabetic can control what they choose to put in their body.

But alcoholism is no excuse for bad behavior. I have an A bro who is sweet as pie, very gentle and has never spoken a harsh word to anyone. And another who was a belligerant a**hole when he was half in the wrapper so one can't blame alcohol.

Being drunk explains a lot but it excuses nothing.

I think wherever you go, drunk or sober, there YOU are, just being yourself!!

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Old 12-16-2009, 01:35 PM
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I'm NO expert here, but I agree with Bernadette...

The disease may be an explanation for the behavior, but NOT an excuse.
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Old 12-16-2009, 01:44 PM
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Oh forever I also wanted to mention something that struck me reading your post--
After my divorce it took therapy and a lot of EFFORT for me to let go of my expectations about how my exH viewed the demise of our relationship.

I held on for a long time continuing to be astonished that he didn't see things my way!! What a plate of resentment I was serving myself!

What helped me was therapy & AlAnon. And daily practice at thinking differently and knowing it just didn't matter what he thought, how he felt, what his version was. It just does not matter. I realized I was spending way to much energy defending my part in a relationship that had totally failed.

It didn't work. It was over. Let it go B!!!!

I went to therapy when I decided I wanted to take 100% responsibility for my 50% part in the failure of this marrige. And I wanted to be damn sure I didn't repeat MY mistakes. My mistakes are the only ones I can correct and the only ones I should spend any time mulling over!

peace-
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Old 12-16-2009, 01:45 PM
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Well said B
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Old 12-16-2009, 01:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Bernadette View Post
The whole disease/not disease thing is endlessly debatable. What matters is what his intention is and what you feel.

If it sounds like/feels like a cop out to you then I believe you and I believe you know best how to assess this person's intentions.

I believe addiciton is s disease that kicks in after years of bad choices - kind of like type 2 diabetes. Once it's there - embedded in your physiology/metabolism - well, it exists as a progressive disease process in the body. And only the alcoholic or diabetic can control what they choose to put in their body.

But alcoholism is no excuse for bad behavior. I have an A bro who is sweet as pie, very gentle and has never spoken a harsh word to anyone. And another who was a belligerant a**hole when he was half in the wrapper so one can't blame alcohol.

Being drunk explains a lot but it excuses nothing.

I think wherever you go, drunk or sober, there YOU are, just being yourself!!

peace-
b
I think knowing him as I do he is probably mortified by some of the things he has done because I can't say he was a mean or abusive drunk. Nonetheless he was a drunk that lied, manipulated, mooched, couldn't keep a job, urinated on himself in public, drained our bank account and on and on. Thank God he was not an abusive drunk. If anything the more he drank the more he wanted to love up on me which was always ridiculous because he was going down before he could get up. (if you know what I mean) LOL!

But to suddenly hear "he has learned" as if this is what he has been taught the last six weeks in an active recovery program.....that is not sitting well with me. I don't see accountability in that statement.
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Old 12-16-2009, 01:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Bernadette View Post
Oh forever I also wanted to mention something that struck me reading your post--
After my divorce it took therapy and a lot of EFFORT for me to let go of my expectations about how my exH viewed the demise of our relationship.

I held on for a long time continuing to be astonished that he didn't see things my way!! What a plate of resentment I was serving myself!

What helped me was therapy & AlAnon. And daily practice at thinking differently and knowing it just didn't matter what he thought, how he felt, what his version was. It just does not matter. I realized I was spending way to much energy defending my part in a relationship that had totally failed.

It didn't work. It was over. Let it go B!!!!

I went to therapy when I decided I wanted to take 100% responsibility for my 50% part in the failure of this marrige. And I wanted to be damn sure I didn't repeat MY mistakes. My mistakes are the only ones I can correct and the only ones I should spend any time mulling over!

peace-
b
Very good points to consider!
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Old 12-16-2009, 01:57 PM
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Then he goes on to say that he now understands it was not him that did all those horrible things but his disease.
I was just reading at lunchtime today from the book "How Alanon Works", and I was on the chapter regarding "Detachment". The book was saying the exact same thing and that is how we can "detach with love", by viewing the horrible acts as a function of the disease, not the person. They compared it to someone having the flu ...and if that person had to cancel a theater date because of the flu, you wouldn't be angry or hurt by their cancellation, you would see them as having an illness beyond their control, would have great compassion for them, then go on with your life. The disease and the person are separate things.

I had trouble choking my lunch down believing I'd ever be capable of having that much compassion!

On the flip side of that, if a person has the flu and wants to get better, they seek RECOVERY by visiting a doctor, getting rest, taking meds and drinking fluids.

If our loved one has the flu, but refuses to see the doctor, and all they want to do is whine and cough on everyone around them, then I might not have so much compassion!
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Old 12-16-2009, 02:02 PM
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Disease model works for me to the extent it helps people get better. He has a disease, he is still responsible for his actions (even using). Therefore he is responsible for treating, controlling and curing it. Nothing wrong with helping; just get it right in your head the difference between helping and enabling. Not picking up is ony part of what needs to happen. Speeding car in full view is about to run a red light; as a pedestrian you have right of way as the walk signal is on. The alcoholic mind says walk, it is also a disease of perception that alters the universe in such a way to continue use regardless of the consequences.
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Old 12-16-2009, 02:06 PM
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Originally Posted by tjp613 View Post
I was just reading at lunchtime today from the book "How Alanon Works", and I was on the chapter regarding "Detachment". The book was saying the exact same thing and that is how we can "detach with love", by viewing the horrible acts as a function of the disease, not the person. They compared it to someone having the flu ...and if that person had to cancel a theater date because of the flu, you wouldn't be angry or hurt by their cancellation, you would see them as having an illness beyond their control, would have great compassion for them, then go on with your life. The disease and the person are separate things.

I had trouble choking my lunch down believing I'd ever be capable of having that much compassion!

On the flip side of that, if a person has the flu and wants to get better, they seek RECOVERY by visiting a doctor, getting rest, taking meds and drinking fluids.

If our loved one has the flu, but refuses to see the doctor, and all they want to do is whine and cough on everyone around them, then I might not have so much compassion!
Hmmmm....that is very interesting and I appreciate you sharing that. So it is possible he is being taught that or has preceived being taught that as a way to forgive himself and move on with his recovery. I guess I'm trying to put myself in his shoes. If I had done all the things he has I am not sure I could forgive myself which would hamper my ability to move forward in recovery. Maybe it is his way of moving forward.

On the flip side as the receiver.....I'm still not liking it. Ha Ha!
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Old 12-16-2009, 03:19 PM
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I agree with not liking it.

I find myself reading into the things that my XABF used to say and do and trying to analyze it from a disease perspective. Did he do this because he was ill? Did he say that because of the addiction or was he just an A-hole?

And then I found myself wondering why I devote so much time to wondering why and trying to interpret the reason behind it all. Ugh. What matters is that I hated all of it. Whether the disease drove it or the jerk behind the curtain was running things, it mattered not.

In the case of your letter, I have to agree with the replies in that it matters not what point he's trying to make. If it's an apology, I guess it doesn't feel like one. If it's a love letter...well, do you feel loved? Whatever the lesson he's learned and he's trying to impart, is just missing the mark.

Return to sender.

Alice
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Old 12-16-2009, 03:23 PM
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As an alcoholic in recovery, I was taught that although I am not responsible for what happens after I drink, I am ALWAYS accountable for the damage I caused, and for picking up the first drink. That is why amends are so important. We must own the harm and damage we have caused to others and really look at how they have been hurt. Then, by staying clean and sober, we strengthen that amend every day.
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Old 12-16-2009, 04:44 PM
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I heard this somewhere and liked it: A true apology contains the word "I." It doesn't contain the word "but." Your xah has got the first part down: his actions caused harm, he says so. OK. However, he's still adding: BUT it wasn't really me, it was this goshdarn disease!

It sounds like your xah is sincere, however he has a ways to go in admitting that he did something wrong as a human being, not just as an alcoholic. It might be all he can manage for the moment. It's a rare person who can learn to take full responsibility for their actions in 30 days. Most of us do that sort of thing in little, bite sized pieces, I think.
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Old 12-16-2009, 05:05 PM
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Originally Posted by BuffaloGal View Post
I heard this somewhere and liked it: A true apology contains the word "I." It doesn't contain the word "but." Your xah has got the first part down: his actions caused harm, he says so. OK. However, he's still adding: BUT it wasn't really me, it was this goshdarn disease!

It sounds like your xah is sincere, however he has a ways to go in admitting that he did something wrong as a human being, not just as an alcoholic. It might be all he can manage for the moment. It's a rare person who can learn to take full responsibility for their actions in 30 days. Most of us do that sort of thing in little, bite sized pieces, I think.
Good topic. And I really like this description of an apology. Good food for thought....

I do think there needs to be a little more than just "I" though. My ex used I a lot, but it was just talking about him and NOT owning his behavior. "I know it was wrong" instead of "I know I hurt you doing this, it was wrong and I'm sorry"
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Old 12-16-2009, 05:44 PM
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You guys have really given me some good food for thought. I am struggling because as mad as it makes me at myself I still love him. I divorced him because I was no longer willing to take the responsibilty for him financially and knew I had to take care of myself. That was one of the things that lead him to this third attempt at recovery.

His family and I have all taken the "tough love" stance and he has hit the lowest point he has ever encountered. He is in a recovery house with no money, no food, no job. He had no sheets for his bed. If this does not help him reach recovery I don't think anything will. And I am not willing to watch him die.

I guess there is a part of me that wants to understand this disease. Maybe I never will. And I may never see him again. But I think I will always wonder if he does sincerely accept his part in all of this or if this disease makes him incapable.
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