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Am I messed-up or what?

Old 12-07-2010, 11:21 AM
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Am I messed-up or what?

I'm torn between my heart & head. My AW & I have been married for 14 years. She has been in recovery & work a good program for the majority of the time. Things, for the most part, have been pretty good. She has been in relapse for a year. I've tried to be nice, spend as much time as I can with her, and have a good attitude. I haven't done this at the sacrifice of missing Al-Anon meetings or counseling. The arguements have, however, continued. I get frusterated because I can't get through to her (I'm powerless). I end up, provoking her , unintentionally. I'm just tired of the excuses for her not seeking help, having my words used against me, feeling abused & taken advantage of, & implied threats.

The damn thing is that I have hope for her. I know what she can be like when she works a program. My heart is hanging on to "yesterday" and hoping that future will be just as good. My rational mind realizes that this is just a fantasy. My head is telling me it's time to go. My heart on the other hand is telling me things will get better for her

Whaterver happens, I'm going to continue to work my program. I've made strides in my life. I'm far from perfect, but I'm learning.

Any pearls of wisdom?

Thanks,
Sean
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Old 12-07-2010, 01:44 PM
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Sean718
It sounds like you are practicing the LOVE approach for recovery. The acronym LOVE is at the heart of the Bottled Up approach to beating alcohol abuse.

LOVE stands for:
Let the drinker experience the negative consequences of drinking.
Optimise your time together when the drinker is sober.
Value the drinker as the person you love(d).
Encourage change.

The Bottled Up approach to recovery is not some airy-fairy, politically correct approach and the techniques are grounded in science and research. It's worked time and again.

In step one of the LOVE approach to helping a partner, friend or relative beat their alcohol problems, you need to:

Let the drinker experience the negative consequences of drinking. Watching someone struggle or suffer is difficult for most people. However, over-protecting your loved one from any or all negative outcomes means she does not learn the consequences of her actions. If you always make excuses for her drinking and make sure she is not inconvenienced, why should she change?

If, instead, you make it clear that when she chooses to drink, any consequences are her responsibility and that you are no longer covering for her, cleaning up after her or protecting her, then she will start to feel the effects of her drinking and it will become less attractive.

Optimise your time together when the drinker is sober. Although leaving her to experience the negatives of drinking should encourage change, it is also true that a drinker is more likely to be persuaded to change her behaviour if there is a positive incentive.

Her behaviour — getting drunk, lying, being unreliable — may leave you seething and resentful, but you are going to have to grit your teeth and ‘reward’ her before she changes.

By offering alternatives to drinking, you are showing her that life can be good when she’s sober, that you care — and that she does have a definite choice: it’s her responsibility if she chooses to drink.

Value the drinker as the person you love(d). At some stage you are going to have to have a discussion with your drinker about her problem. But be wary of what psychologists call the ‘self-fulfilling prophecy’, which says that people often behave in a way that is consistent with your beliefs about them.

In this part of the strategy, it is suggested that you try to rekindle the love you once felt (and perhaps still do) for each other.

The last part is to encourage and support any move toward change, such as cutting down alcohol consumption or a visit to the doctor or even rehab.

Research shows that beating any addiction usually takes a few attempts. But each attempt is one step closer to change.

Of course, alcohol abuse is a huge and complex problem. However, when you finally stop shouting, crying and pleading, and start applying the behaviours described in the LOVE program — and keep applying them — change can slowly start to happen.

Recovery from alcohol and drug addiction is a process. As addiction develops into a chronic problem, the process of recovery becomes aspects of personal management. Addiction treatment is usually the first step in the recovery process. The most effective approach to any form of treatment is a personalized program. Treatment, therapy, and activities should be designed with the individual in mind. When the addict or alcoholic is receiving a personalized treatment, there is more of an attention to their particular needs, when it comes to rehabbing them.

A common approach to teaching coping strategies is found in behavioral therapy. Behavioral therapy takes a close look at the thought processes and behaviors of addiction. The purpose is to address these thoughts and behaviors and to modify them in ways that make addictive situations less of a challenge. An addictive situation can be a number of things. It can be a person, or a place, or even feelings or moods. Coping strategies are developed to address the addictive situations. It creates an alternative for these situations that does not result in relapse. These strategies are also personalized to assist the addict or alcoholic in ways that are best for them.

In treating individuals with a personalized approach, it is imperative to understand what type of learning skills the addict or alcoholic possesses. People have different ways of learning things. Some can learn simply through listening. Others can have a better retention of things when it is applied.

It should go without saying that alcohol and drug addiction is habitual. Sometimes it is a habit developed out of comfort, or feeling comfortable. The downfall is this feeling of comfort is damaging; to the psyche and to the body. Through the Bottled Up approach to recovery is based upon modifing the comfort zone. Making the comfort an environment where addictive substances are not welcome can be beneficial. One way that is done through is by challenging the comfort zone. This is done with activities that provide a challenge, and a lesson on the importance of overcoming obstacles like fear and comfort.

When an alcoholic is having difficulty with something, the easy cop out is to blame someone else. Through the Bottled Up approach to recovery the responsibility is solely on them. It is impossible to blame someone else when they are the one at fault. With communication, instead of getting angry or frustrated, they can ask for help. This is integral, the asking for help. It is steps towards admittance that can mean leaps and strides toward recovery.

This is my own personal opinion. Take what you like and leave the rest!
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Old 12-07-2010, 02:26 PM
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I L.O.V.E. your response Phoenix!

I do my best to let her expierence the negative effects of her actions. She drinks all the time. Right now she is very isolated, but has a few friends that she talks with on the phone. She is frusterated & angry at life in general, includiing me.

I'll write more later. Time to go back to work!
Thanks so much!
Sean
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Old 12-07-2010, 02:48 PM
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OMG... that's one of the best posts I've ever read! Thank you!!!!!! Printing it and putting it on the fridge
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Old 12-07-2010, 02:49 PM
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I have found that the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior. My mother has stayed with my alcoholic father for over 50 years. I do not believe she is happy in her marriage. She basically has no spouse, no one to do things with, a housemate who is just as inconsiderate now as he has ever been. A burden.

I personally will not tolerate that in a partner. I have no room left in my life for the negativity, chaos, toxicity, abuse, selfishness or other things alcoholism and addiction bring. None of it.

My advice? Leap and the net will appear.
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Old 12-07-2010, 04:45 PM
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Above article is a reprint from the UK's daily mail.

Is your man an alcoholic? | Mail Online

Please go read the article over there so we don't get into copyright trouble.

Mike
Moderator, SR
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Old 12-07-2010, 06:33 PM
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Sean,
No words of wisdom other than you're not alone.

The damn thing is that I have hope for her. I know what she can be like when she works a program. My heart is hanging on to "yesterday" and hoping that future will be just as good. My rational mind realizes that this is just a fantasy. My head is telling me it's time to go. My heart on the other hand is telling me things will get better for her
I have this debate weekly with my therapist. LOL She insists I follow my logical mind if I ever want to recover. The problem for me is my heart runs the show in my life and always has. I used to believe it was God's path....now I don't know what I believe.

I've never heard of this "Love Approach", but something very similar is discussed in that former HBO series "Addiction".
My heart on the other hand is telling me things will get better for her
Is your focus on getting her better, or your marriage being better? Although they are one in the same, I always find myself trying to justify that my intent isn't to "fix" him, his doing well is purely for selfish purposes....LOL When he's sober and the normal person I love and adore, I am happy and alive. I feel ambitious, motivated, grateful and suck it up because I know it's not going to last forever. Most would think I'm a fool (as I often do myself), but all I can do is take it one day at a time because at this point, if he continues down this path, his days are numbered. I know it's not good for me, but when I'm in his arms and feel the deepest sensations of love I think, "if one of us were to die tomorrow, this is exactly how I would want our last day together to be".

I've got a lot of work to do! hahaha

One last thing to add - we DO currently have separate living arrangements. I had no choice. MY insanity became an unhealthy environment for all of us and I couldn't put my kids through it anymore. I couldn't detach from the addiction under the same roof. The powerful emotions of anger wouldn't allow me to let him experience the negative consequences of his drinking and using cocaine in an effective way. It is most definitely true that the more you get on a person about their abuse, the more it pushes them towards it. It's the only way they know how to cope!
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Old 01-15-2011, 12:47 PM
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I'm right there with you, brother. My wife has been alcohol dependent for around 10 yrs. and while not knowing it, I think I practiced the l.o.v.e. method for the last 6-8 when her drinking really got out of control. Thing finally came to a head over Christmas and ended up with her entering detox as the first step of her 30-day inpatient recovery program on 12/29/10.
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Old 01-15-2011, 01:01 PM
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Hi Sean -

No wisdom, but I'm glad you're at SR
to post and receive support
while you're coping.
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Old 01-15-2011, 01:31 PM
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Sean ... I hope your wife sobers up long enough to realize how lucky she is to have such a terrific husband.
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