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do they ever realize??

Old 08-11-2011, 10:34 PM
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do they ever realize??

I am doing well with my recovery and I am in line with everything I am supposed to be doing. I am about 3 months in and I am not consumed with my separated RAH and what he is or isnt doing...but the one thought that does plague me is I wonder if he will ever fully realize the damage his behavior has cost him, me and our children. I wonder if he will ever know the pain he has caused and feel remorseful. I am not waiting for an apology I guess I just want to know somewhere down the line, even if he never tells me directly, that he will realize just what a wonderful and supportive wife he did have and terrific family that he threw away due to his selfishness. In some twisted away I guess I want to know that he is going to kick himself one day for damaging me the way he did. My recovery is my own and I am owning that now but I just want to have reassurance that he will not go through life with unscathed.
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Old 08-11-2011, 11:10 PM
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I can only tell you my experience. When I got into recovery, I was consumed with guilt/remorse/shame of what I had done and what I had put my family through.

Thinking back, I think I actually took quite a while to say the words "I am so sorry". What I did do, though, was work recovery..within days I was looking for another job, helping my dad on his job, GOT a job and paid him back for everything he'd ever spent money on me (he didn't enable me, exactly, but he did help me out).

He and my stepmom noticed the changes. Dad doesn't understand anything about addiction or recovery. Stepmom is an addict. I became a responsible person, and it showed. It was some time before we actually talked about it, and I did say I'm sorry, but I've learned that actions speak way louder than words and he really didn't need to hear that...he already knew. It's become something similar to a chapter in the book of our lives that is closed.

I don't have kids, but my actions did affect my niece (who dad/stepmom raised) and though she is heading down a similar path, she often comments on how far I've come. I can't change her path, but I can be the best role model she has. Her bio-dad is also an A and we've often talked about how I "got it" and he doesn't.

You working your recovery, despite what the ex does, is going to help you and your children tremendously.

Hugs and prayers,

Amy
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Old 08-11-2011, 11:38 PM
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Thank you..I am working hard on my individual recovery. Guess it just feels like he is walking away with no consequences for his behavior and that kills me....
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Old 08-11-2011, 11:51 PM
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My AH was a RAH when we first married 12 years ago, 3 years ago he relapsed and it has been one struggle after another and to tell you the truth i feel exactly like you do and lucky for you, your H is a RAH mine has been down this road so many times and we have 2 kids and he is still fighting this battle to just keep sober.

So i also wonder one day if he will ever realize what he threw away and how he damaged all of us. it is just very hard and i pray everyday he will recover.

i pray also that your RAH will continue to keep his sobriety and work hard at regaining his family's love and trust

Star
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Old 08-12-2011, 05:08 AM
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That is a hard question for me to answer, as my exabf, when sober and somewhat working his recovery was always very remorseful, however, those were his words. After another half hearted attempt at recovery, he would go back to drugs & alcohol and thus, to me his actions told me he was not remorseful at all.

I believe that my exabf has no conscience, no ability to consider others feelings. For him, its all me, me, I, I.
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Old 08-12-2011, 05:11 AM
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Personally, in my recovery I have been very remorseful. As a result, I not only have said the words, but I try to live life much differently today. I wasn't able to even start to understand the full impact of my behaviors until I had maybe 6 months sobriety. Then it hit like a ton of bricks.
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Old 08-12-2011, 06:04 AM
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Like most things, it probably depends on the individual, and where they are in their addiction. My AW has never shown the least indication that she's aware of her problem, or how it affects the family.

Just last night, she was obviously drunk, talking like Foster Brooks. She said something which made no sense at all to our Daughter, and Daughter asked her what she was talking about. I said "Never mind, she's drunk".

AW went off on a rant, saying "I'm so tired of ya'll saying I'm drunk. I'm not drunk!"

It's no better when she's sober; she won't admit that she ever gets drunk.

Late last year, she got drunk and broke her ankle. After all the hospital bills, doctor bills, two months using a potty seat (which I had to empty)... she never once expressed any regret.

Months later, we were visiting my family, and AW pipes up and complains about the Dr. Bill for her broken ankle being $30,000. My family knows how it happened, so the comment was followed by an awkward silence, and we quickly changed the subject. AW must have forgotten that they know, since she has yet to admit the truth to her own family, and probably never will.

If she ever quits, maybe she'll look back and realize what she's done. But, for now, she's in total denial.
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Old 08-12-2011, 06:14 AM
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The guilt and shame I felt after getting into recovery was almost unbearable. The best amends I have been able to make to family have been a living amends.

I did not fully understand what I put my parents through until my oldest daughter started spiraling into her addictions. I gained a whole new, painful understanding of just what I had done.
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Old 08-12-2011, 06:33 AM
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i guess when they REALLY work their own program of HONESTY...and work those hard STEPS .....especially #8

8.Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and become willing to make amends to them ALL...
its a biggie^^^

for me, I DONT EXPECT anything....i do my own recovery, his is not my issue....
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Old 08-12-2011, 08:05 AM
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This is a very good thread for me right now. Recently (4 weeks today), My RAH and I separated. He had the opportunity to take 75% of "our""my" belongings while i worked before he left and my daughter's laptop containing her pics which can't be replaced. He recently offered to return the laptop and we just wanted a jumpdrive with the files on it mailed to our home and he can keep the laptop. He has made such a "Issue" of mailing the jumpdrive this past week saying that it cost too much to mail it!!! This sends me in an angry spiral because mailing a jumpdrive is less costly then the years of alcoholism and a couple years of erratic recovery that my children and i have went thru......
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Old 08-12-2011, 08:08 AM
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When I learned that my RA friend apologized to our bosses, I realized that I was also waiting for him to apologize to me. I am still trying not to expect anything from him, even though I do continue to hope that I will hear from him again some day. Maybe if he is working the steps, when he gets to the amends, I will be on his list.

But Sweetee, I am glad to hear that your recovery is going well!! Keep taking care of yourself and your daughter!
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Old 08-12-2011, 08:21 AM
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Originally Posted by sweetteewalls View Post
Thank you..I am working hard on my individual recovery. Guess it just feels like he is walking away with no consequences for his behavior and that kills me....
That is not true. He already has consequences he's facing. He's struggling daily with a terrible terrible disease that consumes his entire life. I would not want that. Even if it seems like he's gliding through life unscathed, he really isn't. He has a disease. And he might be healthy today, but this disease is slow but thorough. It will eat him alive if he doesn't stop. He won't always be so lucky and healthy. Everyone pays the piper one day from their past actions. And for him realizing that he lost his family because of his drinking, he will only realize it when he is deep in recovery. And for so many addicts, they just never reach that point where they see the light because they are so consumed with their next drink. Hang in there!
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Old 08-12-2011, 10:15 AM
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Originally Posted by FLsunshine View Post
This is a very good thread for me right now. Recently (4 weeks today), My RAH and I separated. He had the opportunity to take 75% of "our""my" belongings while i worked before he left and my daughter's laptop containing her pics which can't be replaced. He recently offered to return the laptop and we just wanted a jumpdrive with the files on it mailed to our home and he can keep the laptop. He has made such a "Issue" of mailing the jumpdrive this past week saying that it cost too much to mail it!!! This sends me in an angry spiral because mailing a jumpdrive is less costly then the years of alcoholism and a couple years of erratic recovery that my children and i have went thru......
Pardon my language but the man is an a$$hat, and not truly in recovery. This just burns my hind end!
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Old 08-12-2011, 10:23 AM
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sweetteewalls,

I can only speak for myself, but not a day goes by where I don't wish I could undo what I did while drinking. Some days, when I am reminded of the past, it can really do a number on me. All I could do was give my word to my family that I will never go back to that, and to work on what AA would call living amends. I still get questioned sometimes when I go out for extended periods as to whether I was drinking in secret, but I no longer get upset about it, really. I used to get upset, but I can understand their suspicion.

I suspect only time will heal some things, and I hope in time the same will be true for your family.

Take care.
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Old 08-12-2011, 11:19 AM
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Even tho you put a blanket over the Elephant in the Room, you can still see it's toes.
Thanks for sharing that quote. It reminds me of the Elephant Jokes that were popular when I was a kid.
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Old 08-12-2011, 11:29 AM
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For a long time I also dwelt on the issue that my XABF had no consequence and was just going happily along to the next victim while I suffered. Then he had to come by my house to get his old vehicle running. Could not make it work and was stranded at 9 pm. He called everyone he knew (and his family also lives in town) and NOT ONE person would help him. He left on foot. It was an epiphany for me. There are dozens of people I could have called in that situation. He had not one soul. There I saw that his choice to continue drinking had a price for him, not just his victims. He had nothing in the world, not even friends. Sad. I did not relish in a sense of victory with this realization, I just thanked my HP that I was off the tilt-a-whirl and felt deep sadness for him.

ps. then I had to take a bat and beat my codie responses to submission and not give him a ride
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Old 08-12-2011, 11:51 AM
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You do know that they can't even remember a huge amount of what they did. If you are in blackout mode their's nothing to remember so nothing to be upset about.

Just let it go, it doesn't do any good to be concerned with what they do or don't realize or remember. I've forgiven her and myself and moved on.

Your friend,
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Old 08-12-2011, 11:56 AM
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It doesn't matter.
Either you choose to continue the separation to divorce, or you choose to get back together with him. Either way, don't expect an apology. It's not about whether he's apologetic or not, it's about whether you are able to leave it behind you or not.

If he's truly in recovery, he will be guilt-ridden and it will show in his actions. If he's not (like with my AXH), his words of apology will mean nothing.
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Old 08-12-2011, 12:32 PM
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I used to get angrier and angrier for each time my husband (or parents or people in general) would not apologize for what they had done to hurt me, to make amends for each "wrongdoing" and for them to not forget that they hurt me. . . (I was such a martyr!) The more I sought an apology the more my husband would withdraw. (He probably felt badly deep down inside but rather than "feeling" regret or remorse, especially during his active alcoholism days, it was probably better to just blow me off and continue to "not feel.") I would push and push for the acknowledgement and apology. When I didn't get it or got it without changes of behavior to accompany the apology, I would just feel worse. Because one thing I could count on was that he would do something (for certain) to hurt me.

Yes, for the sake of the addict/alcoholic and any human being who has hurt another, it's a spiritually cleansing thing to realize what we've done wrong, do our best to make amends and to work at never repeating (if possible) those wrongs. However, for me as a family member of A's and a codie, it's important to practice "letting go." I am human. I do need sincere, honest acknowledgement from others (especially those who've hurt me). On the other hand, I am learning to accept the actions of renewal and amends from those who hurt me. They may not always acknowledge or apologize the way I would like them to, but I am trying to learn to accept that what someone else can offer (even if it's not enough for me) is enough. If it still hurts too much for me or is unacceptable for me, I must walk away. I must do the work at forgiving those who hurt me. I am the only one who can really do that for myself, not anyone else. People can only acknowledge, give, and realize what they can acknowledge, give, and realize. Nothing more.

Lillamy wrote in another post about "forgiveness." (I loved it!) It's important for me to focus on "forgiveness" whether or not the A's in my life realize all that they've put me through. (I have to take responsibility for myself and recognize I also allowed it. I am responsible for what situations I put myself in and how I respond).

I still l remember I had bought a brand new truck years and years ago. I let my husband (who was my boyfriend and an active addict then, using and abusing many substances not just alcohol) use my brand new truck. I didn't/don't smoke anything. Right away, I found a burn-hole on one of the seats (from a cigarette or joint or something drug-related). I was so angry. I kept picking fights with him, demanding an acknowledgement (for years). He kept brushing me off and saying he had no idea how that happened. I continued to let him use the truck. Years later, the truck was in embarrassingly awful condition (from his use and abuse) inside and out. We had to pay someone to take it from us (couldn't even sell it). It used to be a brand-spanking new , shiney, beautiful truck. I blamed him and his addictions for ruining everything, including my truck.

The other day, I saw a black spot on one of the blankets (it wasn't a burn-hole) but it triggered my memory to flash back to that time when I found the burn-hole in seat of my new truck--a time I was deep, deep in my own illness. I started feeling anxiety, panic and anger. . . I had to calm myself down (calling on Alanon tools!). . . I had to remind myself that was a different time in which addictive alcoholism and active co-dependence were operating in our lives. To this day, my husband has never acknowledged or apologized (maybe he doesn't remember or maybe his mind wasn't even fully there when the burn holes "appeared" or maybe it's embarrassing to remember. . . I don't really know). I had to tell myself that it just doesn't matter anymore. I had a huge part to play in all of this. *What was I thinking,* allowing an active alcoholic/drug addict to take my brand new truck that I had just bought? I continued to allow him to drive and use the truck, even after he thrashed his own vehicles before. I did this with everything. I continued to *trust* him with our belongings, with our lives, etc. even though deep down inside beneath the fog of my co-dependence and "alcoholic-thinking" I really did know that he wasn't to be trusted (He probably couldn't trust himself either). I dated and married him as an active alcoholic/addict. I had to really examine myself.

Today, my husband is sober, in recovery. He still doesn't acknowledge and apologize right away, but he does. This is new. In addition, he tries to change his behaviors. I see those changes. They are small, but they are *huge.* I have to see and recognize this. These changes in *behavior* mean a lot. (So, it's my turn to realize and acknowledge his changes). He doesn't always have to acknowledge, apologize or realize *on my terms.* I also have to check myself and to see what part did I play? What part do I play? It was easy for me to "blame" and point my fingers at the person who was so sick and so out of it for all the wrongs he committed and all the hurt, pain and embarrassment he caused me and our family.

What about me? I wasn't the one who had pumped mind-altering substances into my body (my mind was supposed to be clear) but I sure acted just as insanely and irrationally.

When there is honest, rigorous recovery, I do think they "realize." The challenge for me is for *me* to realize as well. . .

Thank you for this post. I was just thinking about this!
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Old 08-12-2011, 12:49 PM
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This post has got me thinking all day, and even as I type I am not sure of my conclusion.

Part of me thinks that he realizes every single day what he has lost and is losing and it is palpable, like a cape tight around his shoulders. When I am successfully detaching, it is just there and doesn't affect me. On bad days I feel angry he's having this pity party and doing nothing about it, or sad that he his so unhappy and unwilling to take the steps to change. On the worse days, I figure it's an act to elicit sympathy.

Other thoughts are that if I leave him, I will suffer a real loss of standard of living (not that plush now) and he will benefit. I am unemployed (2 years) and if I get work, I can probably consider myself lucky to make a third of what he does. Any money or the value of the house that we split is a result of my inheritances and/or scrounging and saving I did while he spent every cent he had at his disposable (I set up separate accounts for this years ago). So that really tempers the "will he know what he lost" question, and truthfully burns me.

I do know that no matter what happens, I am so glad that I am not an active addict of alcohol or any other substance. It's bad enough on the sidelines, I wouldn't want to be facing this battle myself. I guess with that thought, on my good days, I'm ok if I don't know for sure if he realizes what he's lost / is losing.

I'm pretty sure I'm gonna be thinking about this for a while yet though. Good thread!
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