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We do NOT know how to communicate...(m)

Old 08-23-2010, 10:30 AM
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We do NOT know how to communicate...(m)

That is the worst of it all I think. I posted below about my awful assumptions on my way home, when I thought he was behind me in his car. I "assumed" the worst as all codependents do that he had stopped for a few. I was PROUD of myself that I went home, and went to bed, and did not worry AT ALL about whether he would be home or not...I had a very good night sleep. He called me to say that when he was putting our boat away, there was a distress signal and he and our neighbor went to rescue a family in a sail boat, including an 11 yo child. Ok, my old self would have chastised myself saying WHY do you question him and felt all guilty about making the wrong assumptions. I didn't not get sucked into his manipulation and said wow glad you guys were there to help this family. What he was really trying to say was he good reason for being late. I felt like saying well, I went into a tailspin because I thought you had stopped to drink. But, I didn't. Which leads me to the fact that as I'm learning to not be so codependent, I'm also not saying ANYTHING so there is NO communication. Just pleasantries rather than anything really to do with his alcoholism and my recovery. Is there at least a portion of time that should be set aside to say, look you may have noticed I've been acting differently, and here is why....I haven't asked him if he's back at AA, or if he's talking to his sponsor (who stood up in our wedding, along with others from AA who were in our wedding party). I haven't asked, and haven't told, so is this how it is supposed to be? It just feels sugar coated, and maybe it's simply functional communcation instaed of dysfunctional game playing...I just feel like the whole incident of 11 days ago will get swept under the rug and he will interpret it that I'm"ok" with what happened. Ok, and I do feel like that last sentence that I just wrote is a totally codependent sentence, so am I ok, or should I at least give him an inkling to what I'm working on.....Ifeel like our communication or lack there of will just put us right back to where we were (pretending that all is ok and that he is not an active alcoholic)....Help......
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Old 08-23-2010, 10:46 AM
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I wish I had answers, I do not. But many wiser and more experienced folks than I will be along I am sure.
Your post helped me...the disease of alcoholism can make us question EVERYTHING we know to be true. It helps me to know I am not alone.
Thank you.
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Old 08-23-2010, 10:49 AM
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or honey maybe you are just on your own path of recovery right now too!

Maybe it will take some time for you to be in a healthier place to be able to communicate with him on things.

Just because we don't talk about things at a certain time, doesn't mean that the opportunity won't arise at the right time.

Truly there is no "pretending" - You know the Truth and so does he

the fact that you don't discuss it at every occasion that it could be discuss to me is allowing him the opportunity to be a responsible adult and to make the healthy decisions to do the Next Right Thing for himself.

If he does't, then you of course could work on a Plan B if you felt you were ready to do that -

But sometimes waiting to talk about things ~ seemed to defuse the imediate stress of the moment and gave a better opportunity for calm discussion of feelings, thoughts and solutions.

Just my e, s, & h,
PINK HUGS,
Rita
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Old 08-23-2010, 11:00 AM
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You communicate with your AH as you feel is best.

I shared some of my recovery with my AH. I just needed to check my motivation when sharing. Was I sharing to emphasize: look at how much I am growing, or was I sharing because I wanted him to learn what I was learning, or was I sharing because I wanted to share a part of my life with him.

While my A was active, my sharing mostly fell on deaf ears. The miscommunication between partners while one is still active is like two people speaking different languages.

The sober partner hears the active addict say: quack, quack, quack

The active addict hears the sober partner say: blah, blah, blah, nag, whine.

I was not able to share from a good place (non-selfish reasons) until after my AH got sober. My AH got sober during the divorce process. The longer we are both in recovery, the better our communication has become. (we are divorced and live in different states now)

As far as past incidents, for me I can forgive - but I need to remember past behavior is still a good indicator of future behavior.

I finally received peace and serenity about my exAH while we were still married. Just before I filed for divorce I forgave him. I forgave him for not being the partner I wanted him to be. I forgave him and set him free.

That was an important part of my recovery. Forgiving him and forgiving myself.

Keep on keeping on! Your recovery is showing and it looks beautiful!
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Old 08-23-2010, 11:11 AM
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I've posted on a similar active thread called 'how much or how little to say'.

Seekingcalm says it best for where I am right now, which is not communicating about my position and not asking about his: I was tired of his 'talk' which I felt was trying to 'sell' me on something. I'm done buying what he's selling; because in the past once he was rid of it, he was free to go shopping while I was left holding his crap. So now his hands are full with his own recovery and I ain't leaving any room for him to offload.

This attitude has taken me a lot of time, and work in Al Anon. I don't feel the need to inquire about his recovery efforts, nor do I feel particularly inclined to share mine. I have retreated slightly to try and heal and figure myself out, and I want all of that energy and don't want to give him any - since I've already given him way too much. Some members here helped me to see that sometimes enough (and everything) has already been said, and no more needs to be. I think it was the codie in me that thought I need to be right in there with him and he needs to know my position every step of the way...and I no longer think that's true. My sponsor shared her opinion that it is good to let someone know where they stand with you, but not if you're angry and still working out how you feel. Instead of giving in to the urge to tell him how you feel - take that time to tell yourself how you feel and work through. It may just change your perspective.
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Old 08-23-2010, 02:10 PM
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Hi Jos

It's impossible to communicate anything to someone who is actively drinking. That's a fact.

So we walk around with this stupid smile on our faces pretending everyhting is just fine and talking about the weather.

Because we are waiting for some to happen... is he going to stop drinking or am i going to leave?...

I felt sooo lost and detached in every way. I wanted a marriage that had intimacy and trust, and it is impossible with an active drinker. You have to keep them at an arm's length. So what is there to talk about?

How do you confide in someone about feelings and what kind of recovery we are working on, when deep down we know, either they don't care or will use it against us in some way.

That why I just don't feel detachment in marriage works - your either together or not.

I'm just verbalizing the way I felt before I finally gave up trying.

I really don't have any answers but I was never able to do it - detach like they suggest. It wasn't how I wanted my marriage to be.

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Old 08-23-2010, 05:19 PM
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I agree, ChrisT. How can you feel close to or intimate with someone you cannot trust? I could not do it.
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Old 08-23-2010, 06:32 PM
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I agree that you can't communicate with an active drinker. And I also agree that you can't have intimacy when trust is broken - I am there right now. My relationship is in basic shambles and I am figuring out what my next steps need to be.

But I think trust can be rebuilt. Last year through Al Anon we learned of a couples Al Anon/ AA meeting. We went with some regularity when my parents were living with me and they could stay home with the baby; after they left we still went occasionally when we could get a sitter. I have seen couples there that have been through hell and back and decided to stay together and work through the issues. Many have been coming to that group for years and credit it with saving their relationship. Some report that things are better now than they had ever been before. Each week either a couple from the meeting or an outside couple from the greater Al Anon/ AA community come to speak, and no issue is taboo - they lay out on the table how they rebuilt the relationship, good and bad times. I found it extremely helpful myself, it was like couples therapy and learning healthy behaviours from couples who learned how to use their programs for themselves and for their marriage. So I think it is possible, but both partners need to actively seek recovery and put effort into reconciling and it needs to be ongoing. It's not an accident that the couples still come back 20 years later - it keeps them putting in the effort.

Not every couple works out, but some can and I saw it at those meetings. Not sure which side I'll fall, but I have faith that whatever I will decide will be in my best interest.
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Old 08-24-2010, 04:36 AM
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with my xABF, i realized that he did not understand words at all, but he understood actions. that was the only way to communicate. leaving the scene worked in communication. moving out worked to communicate. getting on with my own day communicated. unplugging the phone communicated.

i had to check my motives. was i doing these things for me or was i doing it to make a point? i often asked myself "what do i want?" and then went ahead and did it.

after so many lies, i became guarded about what i shared for good reason. i realized that he would use any confidence against me, if he was drunk and angry.

what he did understand was when i removed myself from his presence. i didn't need to say anything. i use to puzzle in my head how he thought we could heal all of the lies and tantrums by simply ignoring them. i knew i couldn't ignore them and since he chose not to address them, i got a therapist. i needed someone to talk to, but it wasn't going to be him, so the therapist filled that void for me. (interestingly, we rarely talk about him anymore)
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Old 08-24-2010, 06:54 AM
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I agree that you can't communicate with an active drinker. And I also agree that you can't have intimacy when trust is broken - I am there right now. My relationship is in basic shambles and I am figuring out what my next steps need to be.

But I think trust can be rebuilt. Last year through Al Anon we learned of a couples Al Anon/ AA meeting. We went with some regularity when my parents were living with me and they could stay home with the baby; after they left we still went occasionally when we could get a sitter. I have seen couples there that have been through hell and back and decided to stay together and work through the issues. Many have been coming to that group for years and credit it with saving their relationship. Some report that things are better now than they had ever been before. Each week either a couple from the meeting or an outside couple from the greater Al Anon/ AA community come to speak, and no issue is taboo - they lay out on the table how they rebuilt the relationship, good and bad times. I found it extremely helpful myself, it was like couples therapy and learning healthy behaviours from couples who learned how to use their programs for themselves and for their marriage. So I think it is possible, but both partners need to actively seek recovery and put effort into reconciling and it needs to be ongoing. It's not an accident that the couples still come back 20 years later - it keeps them putting in the effort.
When we separated, I believed it was over and he would be a drunk forever. For 6 months there was no contact. Of course he tried calling, but I wanted nothing to do with him. I even file for divorce. I didn't know about SR at the time, I wish I had.

I ran him into him and things changed from there...

He told me later about his how his life had become, drinking everyday stopping at the liquor store because 10 minutes was too long to wait to get the bar. He was lonely and miserable. I was like "Gooood Annnd"

I told him my life was the best it had ever been. For the first I stood on my feet. I busted my ass to supports kids. I felt empowered and strong. My life was good - it was great. And I didn't need anyone, I didn't want anyone.

Some people can change, they can stop drinking and have a better life. He wanted that- so made his choice and still chooses it everyday.

I lived my life while he fixed his - I listened to him and supported him. But he wanted to be sober. He was sick of being sick.

And I am still that person who I learned to be when I was on my own - cause I like her! She kicks ass!

Now we are both better people, of course we have moments, we're not robots.

We have trust (which always has to be worked), and intimacy and love.

Kinda like a real marriage. OH NO - BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR!!

I like come here to SR - it helps me stay grounded and strong. When old feelings creep in and I start to get scared or doubt myself. It helps me remember where I came from, and that I don't ever want to go back there.

Joselyn - things can change but you have to start with yourself. :ghug3
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Old 08-24-2010, 07:10 AM
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Well I consider that a success story! Although AH didn't like AA, he did attend the couples meetings, and he did say he felt better afterwards - the couples were always very welcoming and very encouraging, especially to younger newcomers. It helped us improve our relationship and our communication but unfortunately because he wasn't working his own program additionally, there was a roadblock for us.

And I think naive has it right - we look to the A's actions rather than their words - we should take the same advice. Our actions do communicate and more so than our words. I'm really starting to understand the concept of language - yes words can hurt but they are just words - anyone can utter anything regardless of whether it matches what they do. That's the beauty and also the downfall of language - it can be manipulated to suit any situation under the sun (otherwise we wouldn't have actors! And that also gives us opportunity to change our self-talk). Action is really the basis of behaviour, because it more accurately reflects a person's insides and usually belies any words they could use.
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Old 08-24-2010, 07:48 AM
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Hi Silk

Yes it's working now. And we both are aware of the possibility of relapse.

Very scary when I read how someone relapses after 20 years, it's hard to understand. but it's there - right in my face.

That's very sad for your husband - I don't know how they can do it without a program.

It's like school for my RAH. He's actually learning how to live in the real world.

It teaches him and gives him the tools to live and cope without alcohol. Something he has never done. And would never know how to do on his own.

Those rooms are his classroom filled with teachers and his sponsor is his tutor.

Every meeting he learns something new and sometimes he'll come home and share and he'll teach me something new.

AA is good for everyone. It's too bad some won't open up and allow themselves to be taught.

Hugs :ghug3
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Old 08-24-2010, 08:03 AM
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It's a good analogy. Al Anon is school for me too! Jos, I hope you have found some help in these threads and it goes to show that nothing is cut and dry. But you do the best you can with what you have. What works for one may not for another, but I do know that obsessing about what he's doing or not doing will drive you to insanity. Focussing on yourself instead of agonizing about how to communicate with him is the best way for you to come to peace with yourself. It takes time and it's hard to leave that headspace, especially after it's been your reality for so long. It's like changing a habit - they say you gotta do it consistently for a good period of time to feel comfortable with any change.

Chris, he is back in AA now, a lot more seriously than he had been the first time. From the things he says (which I don't ask further on I just stop him with a 'that's good' or 'good for you' and drop it) he is starting to learn from the guys. Not sure it's for real because it's still very new, but at least better than it was a few weeks ago.
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Old 08-24-2010, 11:24 AM
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Chris, he is back in AA now, a lot more seriously than he had been the first time. From the things he says (which I don't ask further on I just stop him with a 'that's good' or 'good for you' and drop it) he is starting to learn from the guys. Not sure it's for real because it's still very new, but at least better than it was a few weeks ago.
I hope the best for you two. You never know this could be it...

:ghug3
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