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Dear RAH ...

Old 04-04-2011, 01:07 PM
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Dear RAH ...

Dear RAH,

I was so happy when you decided to go to rehab. Happy but scared. I thought you would come out and things would be making at least a slight bit of sense.

Not so fast ... it turns out things maybe make less sense now.

I blame this, perhaps unfairly, on your inability to embrace your recovery. On one hand, I don't know if it's fair for me to have expected that I would essentially force you to go in ("you go or I leave") and then you would come out happy, gleeful, and ready to recover. On the other hand, I was hoping you would be a little bit more excited about it than the emotions you are currently displaying.

There are several things I think. There are several things I am frustrated by. First ... you went into that place unable to take naps and now all you do is nap? And as a result, you've missed two meetings in the last three days? That, to me, implies depression or ignoring the issue. In order to heal, you must address your issues. In order to address your issues, you must think about them. In order to think about them, you must a) attend meetings, b) read the literature, and c) not sleep for hours and hours on end. Just a thought.

Second ... this you putting the drinking recovery thing somewhat on me is, as you've said, unfair. I am upping it to totally unfair though. Instead of your "open and honest" communication being helpful, it makes me want to run away from you further. It's not fair that you're top three triggers are me leaving/divorcing/separating from you, me being out of town, and me telling you to drink. The big one for me was not only the trigger fact, but also what I asked you last night. "If I told you that you could drink, would you do it immediately?" Pause ... "no" ... pause "but it would be nearly impossible for me to not drink."

THAT IS AWESOME. I love having it on my shoulders. Part of me wants to just tell you to drink SO FREAKING BADLY. Or not tell you to drink, but to make your own damn decision. I don't know if that's because I don't want the control (I don't ... at all ... and I feel like it's unfair that you're putting it on me) or if I am just prepping myself for when you fail.

I forgive you for the past. That doesn't mean I don't know you're an alcoholic though. And that doesn't mean I expect you to not stick to a program, pin your recovery on someone else, and then still succeed at this.

So frustrating.

Your Wife
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Old 04-04-2011, 01:38 PM
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Question: how long was the rehab? I find excessive sleeping to be a red flag after rehab. If on the other hand this was merely detox, the sleeping is very normal.
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Old 04-04-2011, 02:05 PM
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Unfortunately, this is often how things turn out when we issue an ultimatum. The other person complies, in order to appease us. But, we are still not satisfied because things didn't go as we had hoped.

Imagine you are him reading this letter from you. Sounds like "Even though you did what I demanded you do, I still want you to do more. You're still not good enough for me and I want you to change."

Looking back, I am glad I didn't demand AA or rehab from my AH. He probably would have done it, to appease me. And it would have prolonged the suffering for both of us.

L
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Old 04-04-2011, 02:12 PM
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Acck, LTD... spot on.

"Even though you did what I demanded you do, I still want you to do more. You're still not good enough for me and I want you to change."
That is exactly what my AH said to me the other day. "I've changed everything you've demanded, and you're still not happy." I wish he could be all that I want/need.

"Wish in one hand, $hit in the other. See which one gets filled first."
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Old 04-04-2011, 02:25 PM
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He was in detox for 5 days, then he was in the halfway house for three weeks and outpatient for a week. He has been sober since February 22nd.
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Old 04-04-2011, 02:27 PM
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La -- I hear you, but hindsight for me is 20/20. There are a lot of things I wish I would have done differently. This is one of them. So wish I would have done it differently. :-( I know him reading this letter would be a hard one. I can't change him though, so I am figuring out how I can change the thought processes of the one person I can change --myself. Wish I would have been more deeply in Al-Anon when the ultimatum went down. I will say, however, that I did say "sober and following your program." Not sure he is really doing that though so not sure where I stand. Thank you for your feedback though. Truthfully thank you.
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Old 04-04-2011, 02:33 PM
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Not sure he is really doing that though so not sure where I stand.
I have no great words of wisdom...just wanted to say this statement jumped out at me. I've often struggle with "manageable" boundaries - no matter how many times my sponsor explains them! I draw the line, so to speak, but don't really consider how I will know the boundary has been crossed or how I react or follow through if it's been violated.

Again, no great advice, just a whole lot of understanding and compassion for how you feel.

P.S. The "wish" quote in my previous post was based on how I feel about me... not your situation.
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Old 04-04-2011, 02:35 PM
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Ha, Getting you say that, but I have been saying that nonstop for the past five weeks! So it was very appropriate. :-)
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Old 04-04-2011, 02:39 PM
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Originally Posted by putmeontheair View Post
La -- I hear you, but hindsight for me is 20/20. There are a lot of things I wish I would have done differently. This is one of them.
Well, my point wasn't really that you shouldn't have given him an ultimatum. What's done is done and none of us can change the past.

More relevant though, is that you don't seem to want to be with him--as he is. So, sober or not, working a program or not, is really not the point. The point is you don't want the man you're with. So, you are trying your darndest to make him into somebody you want to be with. And it appears that it's making both of you miserable.

L
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Old 04-04-2011, 02:41 PM
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L,

Thank you. I just feel guilty for feeling like I am "giving up" on him so early in recovery.
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Old 04-04-2011, 02:45 PM
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But, are you really giving up on "him," or the idea you have of who he "should be?"
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Old 04-04-2011, 02:52 PM
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La, you are very good. :-)
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Old 04-04-2011, 02:57 PM
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LaTeeDa is one of my favorites :-)
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Old 04-04-2011, 03:00 PM
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I contemplated this type of ultimatum to my exABF, the "working a program" part. But then I realized that in order to stick to that ultimatum, I would have to monitor his recovery. In order to see if he was crossing my boundary or not, I would be mentally keeping track of whether he was going to meetings, doing the steps, etc (that is my version of recovery, btw, everyone's different). I realized that I have no desire to be managing or monitoring someone else's recovery. It goes back to the idea of me judging how someone else is living their life, and whether it reaches my standards or not. I don't want to live like that. I can't imagine being with someone who was questioning my meetings, my inventory, my stepwork, etc., and telling me that I wasn't doing it right, or to their satisfaction.

It seems like you are at the crossroads here. I also agree with what LTD was saying, that it sounds like no matter what he does, it's not going to be enough. That pretty much says it all.

Just my opinion...
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Old 04-04-2011, 03:09 PM
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Originally Posted by LaTeeDa View Post
But, are you really giving up on "him," or the idea you have of who he "should be?"
This is an incredibly important distinction -- and yes, LTD is the master at getting to the core issues. We love her.

Did you see the thread I started yesterday (?) called The Skill of Radical Acceptance?

Maybe if you work it from LaTeeDa's perspective, and work on what you are willing to accept in your life and what you are not, then you can get some traction for the next step.

Here's another gem that's helped me: Expectations are just Resentments waiting to happen. How true is THAT?

Acceptance, living in the moment, release of judgements and expectations, forgiveness, detachment.... oh, what hard work it is!!!! But the payoff is huge.
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Old 04-04-2011, 03:09 PM
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Originally Posted by LaTeeDa View Post
Looking back, I am glad I didn't demand AA or rehab from my AH. He probably would have done it, to appease me. And it would have prolonged the suffering for both of us.

L

You are so right! My AH is going through the motions while still driving me crazy and I almost wish he'd just refused to do anything. I told my friend the other day I wished he were physically abusive so leaving would be easier! Now that's screwy.
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Old 04-04-2011, 03:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Ladybug0130 View Post
You are so right! My AH is going through the motions while still driving me crazy and I almost wish he'd just refused to do anything. I told my friend the other day I wished he were physically abusive so leaving would be easier! Now that's screwy.
I know you'd said that tongue in cheek.... but...

Be careful what you wish for. I recall saying that once - I never imagine we'd sink to that. But we did. And it's not any easier.
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Old 04-04-2011, 03:45 PM
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how about just for today you take a couple giant steps back....let him manage his own life for 8 hours or longer and begin to evaluate how it came to be that HIS actions and behaviors, those taken and those not, became the central theme to your own life. if you were not spending so much time focused on HIM............then what?


Thank you. I needed to read that today.
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Old 04-04-2011, 04:09 PM
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Keep on pushing on and make your priorities clear. After a long period of struggling to stay sober and keeping my house free of alcohol, my husband told me he liked me "that way". He liked the drunk me, but he hated the drunk me. I could see he was conflicted and I hated myself for that.

This was after a long period of him sabotaging my efforts, such as placing alcohol every where in the house and finding my sober personality uninteresting. And he hated AA and said they were a cult. He did nothing to encourage me.

But I didn't quit. I just have to believe that me and my husband will find a new way with my sobriety and I wish it for all of you ladies too.
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Old 04-04-2011, 04:15 PM
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This thread has reminded me of one of my favorite quotes:

It is so much easier to accept life as it is and make the best of it - there is a catch however. When we accept reality, and let go of trying to force our will on life and other people, there are feelings to deal with. One of the reasons we keep trying to control someone else (to get an alcoholic to stop drinking for instance) is because with all that frustration and anger, mental obsession and rumination, we don't have time to stop and feel how much it hurts, or how scared we are, or feel the grief of letting that other person go. The reason we try to control other people is to protect ourselves from our feelings - and it is important to admit that. Of course we want what is "right" for them, what is good for them - but we don't know what their "right" path is. Some people are supposed to die of Alcoholism - that is their path.
--Robert Burney
L
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