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When is NC helpful?

Old 12-11-2010, 07:52 AM
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When is NC helpful?

I've been reading a whole lot of posts over the past few months. I've noticed a lot of people are deciding to go "no contact" (NC) and/or divorce completely from their As.

When I go to Al-anon, I'm finding that many of the other members are living with their As every single day and coping.

In my situation, we have decided that ABF should not live in our house because of the lying around with hangovers and the walking on eggshells thing. He comes over in sober moments about twice/week. We try to chat on FB every day, early in the evening (before his all-night binges begin).

This seems to be working for me right now. ABF wants to come home because his mother is making him 'do stuff around the house'. That's not a reason to come home, and he knows that. He's in agreement that he has to be working a program and healthy, which can take a lot of time.

We have not made deadlines on that time. I have not made any demands or ultimatums. It has not been a 'fight' at all. But, I can't help but think eventually I'll run out of interest in this arrangement.

How has NC been helpful to you, and did anyone go through this process prior to NC?

Thanks.
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Old 12-11-2010, 08:17 AM
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I found NC to be useful because me ex was manipulative. I needed that headspace to work out what was really going on. I was far too wrapped up in what he was saying and he had a knack of twisting things so much that I didn't know whether I was coming or going.

I would always suggest NC in situations of manipulation and/or abuse because having a rest from the BS (or more serious abuse) helps get on an even keel. It is also invaluable in seeing what the ex does, rather than being swayed by what they say.

If having contact is working for you, then that is a good thing, no? You can always revisit it later if it no longer works.
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Old 12-11-2010, 08:44 AM
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I am doing "NC" right now.
I feel like calling him every day, but am resisting the urge, because I know it will just start the merry go round going again.

It's only been since Thursday for me, though.
I know he will contact me again at some point, last time it was only 4 weeks between "euphoria" and "sadness" (mine-not his..)
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Old 12-11-2010, 09:41 AM
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Originally Posted by skippernlilg View Post
other members are living with their As every single day and coping.
(emphasis added)

I guess, really, it depends if you want to settle for a life of "coping."

Personally, I do not settle for "coping."

And, truthfully, when I welcome a newcomer to my homegroup, I always edit that part about the C's. What I say -- and what I know based on my own experience -- is that: "We didn't Cause this disease, we can't Control it, and we can't Cure it, but in Al-Anon we can learn to Cope, and we can learn that we have Choices and that we can make Changes that allow us to live happy, joyous and free lives, whether the alcoholic is still drinking or not and whether the alcoholic is still in our lives or not."

No contact has been helpful for me when I truly realize and accept the fact that I deserve and can have a-whole-lot more than a life of "coping."

I know with absolute certainty that my Higher Power does not want me to settle for "coping"; He wants me to live happy, joyous and free.

My HP does not channel me power and energy so that I can "spend" those precious gifts on keeping myself sane and un-miserable (which is very, very different from and much, much less than happy, joyous and free) whilst choosing to remain in close contact with active addiction -- or with deep-seated dysfunction of any kind.

My HP does not want me to put my life (or my recovery) on hold whilst I live in the fantasy of recovery for someone who shows no true interest in, let alone any action toward, his/her own recovery.

There is a very, very true saying in Program: You're either growing or you're going.

I am growing, and I fully intend to continue growing.....There is only so far that I can grow and remain in relationship with someone who is "going," because the simple fact is that, the more I grow and the more that person "goes," the further apart we become (emotionally and spiritually) and eventually we become so far apart that we cannot possibly be "together" in any true or honest sense. (....and, yeah, there's also that very inconvenient fact that the quality of my recovery very much depends on my commitment to rigorous honesty!)

....and that's the point at which "no contact" often becomes necessary for me.

I can still love the person; and I can still pray for him/her; and I can hope for all of the best in health, healing and happiness for him/her.....but none of that means that I have to provide an audience for his/her self-destruction....and, in fact, it is far easier and far less painful for me when I don't.

freya
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Old 12-11-2010, 09:46 AM
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Freya, Thank you very much.

I also see those folks in Al-anon who are coping, and I think, "How can you watch that?" Watching the destruction is not ok for me.

He lives away from us now, and that detachment is working, for now, but I see what you're saying that while I grow, he may go, and that gulf may become too wide for us to maintain any sort of relationship. Relationship is about relating, right? It is more difficult for me to relate to his thought process and his way of life, so that's something I haven't even tried. I'm all about simple and easy and free as of late.

I have to be open to the possibility that this will happen. I wasn't before. I am today.

Thank you very much.
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Old 12-11-2010, 11:05 AM
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No Contact was helpful for me whenI neede space due to my anger over my daughters behavior during her addiction.It gave me time to untangle myself, respond rather than react,etc.
I really loved Freya's post..I too see people in alanon who live and cope with active alcoholism..for me it was clear..I am not able to live a serene life with an active addict in my home.
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Old 12-11-2010, 12:10 PM
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I found NC to be useful because me ex was manipulative. I needed that headspace to work out what was really going on. I was far too wrapped up in what he was saying and he had a knack of twisting things so much that I didn't know whether I was coming or going.

I would always suggest NC in situations of manipulation and/or abuse because having a rest from the BS (or more serious abuse) helps get on an even keel. It is also invaluable in seeing what the ex does, rather than being swayed by what they say.
Exactly my situation. The professionals I worked with who met with my X during our separation and NC period all came back saying "in this situation, if you don't keep the NC, you will be back with him. That is how convincing he is, even to us, who are on your side and who are not emotionally involved with him."

NC gave me the gift of space, which made it possible for me to realize and feel that I was relieved, un-anxious, and happy when he was removed from my life. I still felt (for a long time) that I was wrong in leaving and going NC and that I had failed him and was responsible for him and his feelings... which is exactly what he wanted me to feel, and exactly what he expressed every time he broke NC. But the longer I spent not talking to him, the more I realized what a bunch of horsefeathers that all was, and that really, it's not that he loves me and can't live without me, it's just that he's really, really pi... upset that his furniture got a mind of its own and did something he couldn't control.
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Old 12-11-2010, 12:11 PM
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I used AlAnon when I was not really in a situation where I could leave - I was merely coping.

When I left. (Or rather, he left), I used NC to try to sort out what I wanted. It was my version of "needing space." And I used it to discover "me" and what I really wanted.

I thought it was very helpful for where I was, just as I found AlAnon very helpful at a different time.
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Old 12-11-2010, 12:33 PM
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Originally Posted by lillamy View Post
it's just that he's really, really pi... upset that his furniture got a mind of its own and did something he couldn't control.
Oh, lillamy, that cracked me up. I don't think you're far wide of the mark in lots of cases, my own included. I know now that I was one in a series of "other halves" - I think it was coyote who said "same woman, different hair", well, that's who I was to him. Or a toaster, or something.

Lovely post, freya.
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Old 12-11-2010, 01:45 PM
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Great post Freya, thanks.

There are a couple of women in my home group that have stayed, IMO they are coping. I couldn't do it, there are not enough tools in Alanon for that, for me. Active alcoholism under my roof made me bat sh!t crazy. My serenity is too valuable.

We have a child, so I use a form of NC, kind of a limited to kid stuff only NC. She's still active and possesses many of the skills lillamy's x has. Even though we've been divorced for 5 years, I'm still vulnerable. She's good.

Lately I've been allowing a little chit chat, letting my guard down. She mentioned her volunteering at a womans shelter a few weeks ago, I thought "wow, maybe her last brush with death has had a positive influence on her". Now she hasn't failed to mention it every time we speak.........hum. I feel a manipulation coming on.

Back to minimal contact for me. Real recovery is obvious, this isn't it.

I trust my gut feelings these days, it's always dead on. I just have to remember to listen.

Thanks and God bless us all,
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Old 12-11-2010, 02:59 PM
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Yes, real recovery sure is obvious. A little piece of my heart breaks when I read about people taking their partners back based on a couple of weeks of not drinking and a few nice words. Not my place to do anything about it, though, of course. I think that's one reason why the partners of alcoholics should follow their own path of recovery amid like-minded souls so that they can recognize it when they see it.
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Old 12-11-2010, 03:13 PM
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Heh. The million dollar question. Why don't you start a new thread?
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Old 12-11-2010, 03:33 PM
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keepinon:
No Contact was helpful for me whenI neede space due to my anger over my daughters behavior during her addiction.It gave me time to untangle myself, respond rather than react,etc.
I really loved Freya's post..I too see people in alanon who live and cope with active alcoholism..for me it was clear..I am not able to live a serene life with an active addict in my home.


I didn't know I was doing "NC" but I guess that's what I did. Like the alcoholic/addict, if I had come to this forum or gone to an Alanon meeting anytime before *I* was open and ready for it and someone told me I should go "NC" with my active alcoholic husband (at that time), I could not have done it. In fact, I did go to an Alanon meeting when I was first dating my husband and I left. (When I reflect back, I think it was because I felt at a gut-level that this relationship with my A was unhealthy and I needed to leave him then.) However, there came a time (14 years later) when I just couldn't go on living with an active alcoholic. (It wasn't what I felt at a gut-level or even knew in my head that would help me make better choices. I felt in my gut and eventually came to know in my head this was an unhealthy relationship. I had to be at a point in my life where I could finally say, "this is it" and actually *do* something about it. I had to hit my own bottom) I was becoming so angry, resentful. . . unhinged. I finally left and I guess did "NC." I didn't like the kind of person I was becoming. I didn't want my daughter to grow up with an angry & volatile mother. I realized that I did have a choice to remove myself and my daughter from the toxic, insane environment that was our home and go NC until I was "clear" and removed enough to see and deal with him with compassion & love. (I often say I felt I no longer had a choice but to leave. It's more accurate, I think, to say that I finally realized I did have a choice to leave!)

I haven't gone to many Alanon meetings (maybe a total of 6 or so), but this week I decided to hit up a bunch of meetings (since my daughter is away with my family for a week and I didn't have any excuses about childcare). At the Alanon meetings, I've heard some success stories (the A's went into recovery and the couples have their own separate "programs" they work). There is hope for some of our relationships, but *both* partners have to be in recovery. I've heard many stories of people "coping with" their active A's. I think this is good too. For those who don't want to or feel they can't leave their A's, they still have to live their lives (i.e. they still have to "cope"). Hearing the stories of various people opens each one of us to more possibilities. Each person will choose for him/herself what works for him/her.

I have noticed that on this forum, many are happily divorced or separated from their A's. That's important to know too because it means, there is life after the A, for many many people who may have once felt hopeless in their marriages.

I suppose there is a continuum. Each of us will find what works best for our lives. If someone can live with an active alcoholic and find his/her serenity and live a satisfying life, then that should be okay for him/her. (If one is a parent of a minor child who is addicted to alcohol or other substances, the parent may *have to* find ways to cope and live with the A since a minor child *is* the parents' responsibility).

For me, I can not live in a home with an active alcoholic and achieve serenity too as keepinon has said. Yet, I am in an "in-between" situation. My husband has been in recovery for nine months. I am working on my own recovery. Although I left initially to divorce (and we are still separated), we are both (separately) working on ourselves most likely to reunite and come back together in our home. We are each taking it one day at a time.

I don't know if there is a fast and quick rule about NC (or anything else). For me, it was necessary to remove myself & my child from an unhealthy environment, separate from my active A and go NC. The need for the NC came to me. The distance (including physical separation and NC) enabled me to see things more clearly and compassionately AND it eventually led to my husband seeking help and entering recovery.
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Old 12-11-2010, 04:49 PM
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I don't get to al anon often, in fact it's very rarely that I do get there. My nearest group is a five hour round trip on the bus, with work and kids it's difficult.

I didn't need al anon to tell me though that my life would be better without the daily dramas and upset that my brother brought.
At one point I had my mum phoning me a few times a day to ask me to check on my dad because he'd gone to my brothers to check on him, my dad isn't in the best of health himself and I ony live a few minutes walk away from wher my brother lived. It was a nightmare! I had to tell my mum that my priority was the kids, my brothers son included, and if my dad chose to go there, knowing his health issues, it was up to him to look after himself.

I found the absolute no contact thing very difficult, but he was my brother and |I was looking after his son, and also my parents had expectations of me as I lived so close, they were irrelevant to me. The only thing that mattered was that his son was safe and looked after, if I had to have minimal contact for that then fine, that's how it was. But it was never easy.
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