I can relate

Old 02-12-2011, 08:55 PM
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I can relate

The last thread that was shut down (Ph.D. student wondering about a guy she wanted to date) really raised some painful thoughts for me! That was me 15 years ago. I felt sad for myself, reading the thread. I wouldn't have listened to anyone giving me advice I didn't want to hear. And in fact, I didn't listen to anyone telling me to run from unhealthy relationships. I really thought I was different and special. Everyone else was troubled. I wasn't. I would seek those who would tell me what I wanted to hear. I was smart. I was (over-)educated. I knew the answers. I was mostly attracted to A's ("the vulnerable," "the troubled," "the ones that needed me to help them"). The non-A's that I dated, I would push out of my life. By the time I met my husband and first began dating him, I had more awareness about my dating patterns. With him, I wanted things to be different. (I wanted things to be different yet I stayed with him knowing he was an A.) So, I went to an Alanon meeting, reluctantly (my attempt at doing things differently). But, I walked out. It was too painful to hear what I heard. (I think I had realized that the best thing for me to do was to leave my troubled relationship yet I wasn't listening to my own inner voice. I had even made a pros & cons list. I only paid attention to the pros list on why I should stay with him). I also arrogantly thought I could "solve" this. I could change my boyfriend. I could love away his addictions. We married. We eventually had a daughter. Having her was truly my turning point. This is when I *knew* at the visceral level, I no longer wanted addiction in our lives.

I am in my late-40s now and realize how much I need my own recovery. I went back to Alanon reluctantly after my RAH went into his recovery. I am grateful that my husband is now working his own recovery. I feel as though I have a partner and our daughter has a daddy. However, it's not about him anymore. It really is about my desperate need to be whole. And I am now realizing that I am not whole. (And perhaps, I needed my RAH to get sober in order for me to realize finally how much *I* need help.)

While I understand why that thread (that the moderators locked) was evoking anger, frustration, sarcasm, etc., the whole thread made me very very sad. It just reminded me of how headstrong I was in such a destructive way and how I didn't understand the need for my own recovery. I am an ACOA. I am well-educated (with several Masters' and a Ph.D.). I understand addiction very well personally, academically and clinically. . . or so I thought. And yet, I continued to pursue unhealthy relationships and to live (in fact *thrive*) in the chaos & drama even after I had become aware. 15 years later I am quite humbled by this beast (addiction). I do wish I had made different choices. I do wish I knew how to set boundaries and stick with them. I do wish I had loved myself enough to make better, healthier choices in my life. I do wish I had the courage to break the generational grip codependency/addiction had on me when I had first gained the awareness years ago. (I thought I was courageous to take on addiction but I really didn't have the courage to leave it behind, run from it). I do wish I had known how to be more humble earlier in my life, to surrender. I fought the beast for so long, thinking I could defeat it through love, through compassion, through understanding, through knowledge, through education, through optimism, and sheer willpower & force. . . I hit my bottom (I've shared this before on other posts) about a year and a half ago. That's when I accepted that the beast was more powerful than I. I lost. (I wish I could say I fought a good fight and lost, but I can't. That fight was never meant to be fought by me. It wasn't/isn't mine to fight!)

I am now having to rethink who I am, what my life has been about, and where I want to go from here. I had always thought I was the responsible, centered, decent & sober one. Now, all of the things I had thought I was, I don't think I ever was. I had always thought I had a solid "foundation." However, now I am beginning to realize that perhaps my "foundation" has always been shakey, off-balance and uncentered (and that's why I was focused on helping and fixing others). . . Now that I am finally working on myself, I have a chance at creating a truly solid foundation for my "self." (The truth is, it feels awfully scary and unnerving a lot of the time!)

My RAH and I have a daughter. I so desperately want her life to be different from mine. While I work on myself for myself, our daughter motivates and inspires me to work on myself. I love my RAH very much. I love him sober so much! However, even as grateful as I am for his sobriety and recovery (never know if this will last because the beast is what the beast is), grateful for the realization that *I* must also pursue my own recovery with vigor and commitment, and grateful that we now have a chance at a "normal" and "healthy" family life, I still wish I didn't have to go through what I went through and I still want my daughter's life to be free from all of this! If I could've saved myself the pain, heartache, drama, chaos, insanity of the last 14 years, I wish I had been humble enough to accept a path that didn't include the beast.

I have met some of the smartest, most intelligent people here on SR Forum and in Alanon. And most of the smartest, most intelligent people from whom I'm learning about real life matters don't have advanced degrees in the behavioral sciences. I have learned much much more from those in recovery (both addicts and codependents) than I have from anyone with an advanced degree alone!

I am still learning from you all. . . THANK YOU! Hugs!
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Old 02-12-2011, 10:10 PM
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Wow - thanks for this very deeply insightful post. I also have several letters behind my name. Strange how that seems to give us license to be know-it-all's? I think in some ways I am so used to being the expert that I forget that its only in one small facet of my life, and really I am just an academically educated person and not really all that "expert" after all. What I have recently learned is that true wisdom comes from living, not from reading, writing papers, and getting that piece of paper in the end. The wisest people I have met have been those who have been around the block, again and again. They are young and old. But they all share the common experience that is life. And living through adversity makes us wise (well, most of us...!)

I also got my butt back in Al-Anon today - fully committed this time. I had been trying to convince myself that I am smarter than that - I've had therapy before, I've worked through my issues. Damn am I ever arrogant! Learning is life-long. What was I thinking? I sound like I am pulling the same mental gymnastics that I accuse my RAH of doing. Shoot - I may be just as guilty myself.

That thread bothered me too; it was a trigger. I saw myself and my A arguing round and round, defend, attack, defend, attack. Neither side really hearing the other. We are both too smart to learn anything from each other, right?! Too belligerent in our own supposed intelligence to think the other had anything of value to say. I am ashamed of my own behavior as much as I abhor his.

Again, thanks for sharing your thoughts. It touched me tonight - I've been mulling this same thing over today and giving up mu arrogance to admit that I am powerless and I need some help. And you know, it feels good to admit that! Weird, huh??!!!
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Old 02-12-2011, 10:20 PM
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I am 29 now and I am so grateful to F&F members for sharing their heartbreak, their pain, their stories which have helped me take better decisions before the stakes are higher, understand how difficult it is to be a parent... thanks to you I broke up with XABF... I got over XABF (work in progress but I am in a much better place now!)... I realized my mistakes going out with someone too soon.... broke up with XBF... learned about codependecy and how I am not alone nor crazy... I understood my parents and am forgiving them ... I am forgiving myself... I got myself into therapy... and now I am into my own life, something I have never done. It is unfamiliar and scary!! but the important thing is to do it anyway. And to have the arms open and our hearts open to receive the many gifts that follow. And to realize we deserve them.
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Old 02-13-2011, 03:48 AM
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I hear ya.. I saw a little of the old me in that thread. I'm (supposedly lol) intelligent with oodles of common sense and yet that completely deserted me when it came to being with my A. I formulate argument for a living, so imagine how difficult it would have been for anyone to get through to me :O

Instead of feeling frustrated or sad, I kinda felt a sense of how far I have come... and it was a little reminder that I should always be open to listening, even if I don't want to.

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Old 02-13-2011, 05:24 AM
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I read your post and it was a mirror image of my own ACOA childhood and relationships with men with addictive personalities (none in active addiction at the start...husband # 1 hadn't yet discovered cocaine) and husband # 2 was in recovery.)

In hindsight that is becoming 20/20 I am truly baffled how educated women that have so much knowledge (I am walking encyclopedia on addiction, codependency, addiction treatments and philosophies and every abbreviation out there!) still end up falling in love with toxic men!

After my first divorce I rarely dated and was quite content to be single. I owned a very large restaurant and entertainment complex for 10 of those years and would have 1000 to 1500 patrons a night. Being highly successful single woman owner of this establishment that was a meeting place for the single crowd gave me the unique opportunity to observe the dating world as a spectator.

I had a LOT of men pursue me as I was considered an almost impossible challenge ... some very, very nice successful men that I inevitably turned down. I just wasn't attracted to Mr. Boring....not me. I didn't act on my attractions but I always had the eyes for Mr. Personality ... you know the guy... center of attention, always good looking, charming, sparkling eyes, witty and a little dangerous. The unpredictable one ... the one that was always going to be a challenge and never boring. My years on the couch and self awareness kept me out of those tempting bad boy relationships most of the time.

I was like an alcoholic in recovery. I tried to go sober. I dated the nice guys and I couldn't wait for dates to end! I stopped dating entirely for 10 years!

I didn't date my current husband ... he would have been on the "NOT" list! In recovery but definately an A that was highly dangerous for my codie self. We were on a team of people that were campaigning for the presidential election and traveled together for over 3 months. It was like trying to climb a waterfall... sigh.

He relapsed and I went through a year and half of pure hell... just like going home to daddy! Today we are good... great in fact. We are both now in recovery and I am looking even deeper into myself. I didn't date for all those years because if I wasn't in a relationship I didn't have to deal with my own brokenness that really wasn't healed... I just thought it was.

So...gals like us...bright, educated, incredibly knowlegable about "our subject" do we ever get completely well? I "normal"? Are those deep traumatic scars so deeply embedded in our subconscious that we will never totally be able to eradicate them?

Are there any woman out there who have already walked this path to the point we are now and how are they now? I am committed to my RAH and am in alanon and am in counseling and reading voraciously as usual ... will self knowledge help change the "feelings" from the subconscious level?

Could I have done something to make boring work? Boring is actually "normal" but how do we get our subconscious to accept that????

Love the thread... glad to find someone who understands how I have been feeling of late myself.
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Old 02-13-2011, 09:54 AM
  # 6 (permalink)  
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Tuffgirl, thank you. It does feel good here on the SR Forum & in places like Alanon to say, "I am troubled & I need heeeeeeeeeelp!" It feels safe. I don't feel judged (although "feeling judged" is really *my* issue.) And I know you all understand. (I have to fight my "Know-it-All" urge!)

Takingcharge, I have appreciated your posts. As you say, I am going to work on keeping my heart & mind open to receive all the wonderful gifts from you & everyone here! Thank you!

Hopeworks, I am working on enjoying & liking "boring!" I am wondering if I can use the same stubborn pigheaded determination that has guided my poor relationship choices to work on eradicating those deep scars & fixing my broken self! (Or should I try different strategies?) Maybe, I should try a more "boring" approach, instead of always trying to climb waterfalls (even in my own recovery)!

Tallulah, I hope I can get to where you are at & to say, "Wow, I have come a long way!" :-)

It's nice to know that I am not alone!
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