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They told me “You’re not listening”, what do you think?

Old 02-02-2011, 01:39 AM
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They told me “You’re not listening”, what do you think?

My wife comes home from her 30 day residential Friday. We are feeling positive as there has been quite a transformation. This 12 step based program has challenged her hard and she has confronted and accepted her addiction.

The program has a ‘family conference’ for an hour each week where I have sat with AW and the counsellor and I have put out the truths and AW has accepted them. It seems like a valuable part of the process. (16 yr old daughter did same)

A bit of background to my AW, the addiction goes beyond alcohol. She is also a binge eater and has been for 20 years. The program has approached this in the same way and AW has accepted and is determined to not slip into old ways with food addiction as that is a precursor to the drinking (both addictions interact)

To cut to the chase, yesterday at the final conference the AW, the counsellor and I were talking about relapse. Counsellor mentioned one way which in which I could help is that if “I happen to notice” AW going to bathroom or making inappropriate food purchases to “quietly mention” it to her (the AW).

Massive alarm bells went off for me at this point and I rather vehemently stated that I felt this was possibly asking a lot. I stated that I thought I knew where my responsibilities ended through my Al-Anon and Co-Dependent learning (I’m a Beattie fan).

The counsellor got a bit defensive and restated that it was not watching or controlling she was asking for, just “if I happened to notice”. For example if I happen to hear AW vomiting in the bathroom. I countered that the only way I would notice if AW was vomiting in the bathroom would be if I had my ear to the door. I told her I was done with my CD behaviour and not to ask me to play any kind of roll like that in the AW’s recovery.

I was getting anxious at this point. I told her I could not “happen to notice” if the AW was drinking unless I went looking for bottles or sniffing breath. I reiterated rather animatedly that I was so done with that.

She told me (Counsellor) I wasn’t listening, they were not asking me to control or spy, just to mention it if I happen to notice. I told them that that was a quite a request to make of a recovering co-dependent. How was I going to be sure to not start smelling breath if, I was being asked to “mention it if I happened to notice”.

Was I out-of-line? Did I over-react?

I have learned from SR and others that I should sit back and watch, I don’t think it is my roll to be an integral part of the staying sober.

Reefbreak.
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Old 02-02-2011, 01:59 AM
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I agree with you entirely. Also, there seems to be an undertone of inevitability regarding relapse. Was there any talk about what your wife should do prior to actually relapsing? And how you can support her in those early stages? Here's a post that might help her identify those stages and where you might be able to assist if she asks for help http://www.soberrecovery.com/forums/...s-relapse.html

Your recovery is shining.
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Old 02-02-2011, 02:36 AM
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Hi, Yes. One of the AW's mechanisms if she feels the urge to is to mention it to one of her AA group or me if I'm around, just so she can get through the moment.

I was advised not to panic at this. It was explained that when the AW needs to tell me "she is thinking about a drink" it is actuially positive since it means she doesn't want to do and just needs to talk though the feeling for a few minutes.

(If she is going to drink she will not tell me of course)

I got the counsellor to reassure my that my response, whilst it would be kind and caring, would not be contigent on whether this moment led to a drink based on how I answer respond (again, not my responsibility!)
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Old 02-02-2011, 04:46 AM
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Sounds like you are doing great!

I admire your setting the counselor straight. You've got good boundaries in place.

Wishing you and your wife the best! Early sobriety isn't an easy path for anyone, but with time and effort and consideration on everyone's part, it is SO worth it!
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Old 02-02-2011, 05:06 AM
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I don't believe you over reacted at all. I think your response shows just how well your recovery is going.

Please remember that 'counselors' in rehab facilities are focused on the recovering A and many do not understand or have no 'inkling' of what co-dependency is and soem of them actually have it also.

So, in my eyes your response was very appropriate. Her recovery is not your responsibility.

J M H O

Good job!!!!!

Love and hugs,
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Old 02-02-2011, 05:58 AM
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They told me “You’re not listening”, what do you think?

I think I'm blown away by the number of counselors that we put our trust into, to help us recover from this crap, that haven't a clue what the hell they're talking about.

I guess I'm really just blown away by my own niavety in believing all counselors would have some inkling about alcoholism. I guess they're like everyone else, if they haven't actually LIVED it , they have no real understanding.

I agree with the others, your own recovery is over riding this nonsense. Good job.

Thanks and God bless us all,
Coyote
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Old 02-02-2011, 06:06 AM
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Thanks reef for bringing your experience to SR. My AH is recently working on not drinking with counseling help and anxiety meds.

We are also trying to repair our relationship but I'm starting to feel it is premature as I work on my own recovery and uncover some of my own issues. One of them being learning to set my own boundaries.

Anyway, I was quite intrigued by what you said about your AW letting you or an AA buddy know about any feelings she might have that might lead her to drink. This seems like a great tool for my AH and something that would help me feel more trusting of his desire to want to stop drinking. It has not come up through our counseling or in his counseling so maybe he is not quite at the point of true recovery.

I was curious why the counselor also suggested for you to be the one responsible for putting her back on track if you saw some of the other behavior - it seems to me it totally negates your AW responsibility to be aware of her relapse potential.

Was it this same counselor who suggested the mechanism for your AW to get through the moment?

The more I (over)analyze my situation with input I get from other's situations, the more I realize how complex it is. AH issues/my issues/alcohol/relationship issues. It might be a good thing that we each have separate counselors and a counselor for our relationship along with alanon and SR for me.
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Old 02-02-2011, 06:24 AM
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I think you sound strong and sure of yourself ~ which is awesome.

I heard something similar several years ago and didn't defend myself at all. As a full-fledged codependent, I promptly took his relapse(s) on as something I should have been able to prevent. I did see them coming, but I'll be damned if I could do anything or say anything to stop it from happening.

One of the times that I dropped him off at detox (how many "normies" can say that, huh?), his blood pressure was through the roof. The nurse scolded me and said that I "have to make sure that he takes his medication!" That p*ssed me off and I told her that it was not my responsibility to make sure that he did anything. My 250# alcoholic has never done anything that I think he should do! I also asked her who was going to make sure that I take my medication?!
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Old 02-02-2011, 07:52 AM
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I was reading along and nodding so hard my neck hurt at everything you said.
"If you happen to notice"???

Good for you for standing your ground.
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Old 02-02-2011, 12:11 PM
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I think you did the right thing. I would have said the same. Good for you for establishing and keeping that boundary.
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Old 02-02-2011, 12:20 PM
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Nice work! Reckon I'd feel pretty damn powerful if I were in your shoes.
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Old 02-02-2011, 12:46 PM
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Originally Posted by coyote21 View Post

I think I'm blown away by the number of counselors that we put our trust into, to help us recover from this crap, that haven't a clue what the hell they're talking about.

I guess I'm really just blown away by my own niavety in believing all counselors would have some inkling about alcoholism. I guess they're like everyone else, if they haven't actually LIVED it , they have no real understanding.

i took a real look at this statement...I am shocked also..."if they havent actually lived it, they have no real understanding....I agree with this...(maybe we all should look at ourselves in becoming counselors...LOL, *just saying*)
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Old 02-02-2011, 07:33 PM
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I agree with you 100% ReefBreaka. I think that counselor is out of her mind and good for you for standing your ground. If she shared with me "I want a drink," I'd tell her "Don't tell me, go to a meeting." Maybe I'm harsh but it's none of my business and I'm done with those manipulations to take responsibility for someone else's recovery. I've been on the receiving end of that crap far too many times.
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