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How do you cope with "anniversaries"?

Old 10-21-2011, 08:06 AM
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I haven't read the other replies but I think it is kind of a normal part of the greiving process when you lose something you thought you were going to have or wanted or remember how hard things were. I have found that the first anniversary of whatever date/event brings up all the emotions and after that it is much easier. Our first camping trip, the first time I took the boys to the circus alone, the first Easter, birthday party, holiday, etc. We were all getting used to doing it a different way, with one less person. I realize that this was often *good* because we didn't have the alcoholism there was also just a missing person, one we cared about. We were re-defining how our family looked on a daily basis.

I have even noticed that now I sometimes have fond memories that don't cause such sadness or regret or any of the other things. Time and space have brought things into balance for me. You'll get there too.
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Old 10-21-2011, 04:40 PM
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A women said in my most recent meeting said that by keeping a foot in the past and another foot in the future she was pissing on the present. I like to think of it as ****ing on the present, but it works both ways.

Regardless, I know it's tough but by allowing the anniversary of any given thing to affect your present you are forfeiting the present to the past. The problem with that, of course, is that we don't live in the past and we don't live in the future-- we live in the present. Make the present a present to yourself.

Alanon helped me with this. I did it a lot, but I don't do it anymore.

Take care,

Cyranoak
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Old 10-22-2011, 11:04 AM
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Talked about this with my T yesterday and he said it is perfectly normal and healthy to experience these feelings. Said that if I wasn't, it would be an indicator that I was still in denial or was simply trying to avoid facing feelings.

I understand the futility of having one foot in the past and one in the present, but I think that reflecting on the past, how far one has come and recognizing that I will do whatever it takes to not ever be that person again is actually quite healthy and not at all living in two worlds.

My experience with al anon is that learning from the past and reflecting on it is a good thing. That works for me. I'm an emotional person, I feel things, I think things through and talk about them to "let go" of stuff... That's what works for me...
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Old 10-22-2011, 05:25 PM
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wtbh...my teen daughter has been seing a therapist and as part of their goals she is to reprocess painful memories. Although I don't know how the therapist handles this, I think you're doing a wonderful job of reprocessing!

Last edited by 24Years; 10-22-2011 at 05:26 PM. Reason: typo's
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Old 10-22-2011, 07:30 PM
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My EXABF's birthday was Thursday. The temptation to send an acknowledgement was pretty strong but I kept reminding myself that to do so, would be engaging him all over again. I left the birthday thoughts to the on-line girlfriend - she can sit and listen to him complain that his kids never bothered to send a card or call.

Me-I enjoyed dinner with my mom (visiting here, home tomorrow) and a close girlfriend. I got through the day, after all, it was only 24 hours. Sad in a way, but in another, liberating, because I didn't give in, send wishes and start the cycle all over again.
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Old 10-23-2011, 07:44 PM
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the holidays can be hard too.....but we will get through them.....Jesus is the reason for the season......all the alcohol commercials get me angry.....but this too shall pass.....
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Old 10-23-2011, 09:01 PM
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WTBH,

It was also just at a year ago that I realized what a bad situation we were in, and I had some thoughts and feelings about it just last week. Feeling the feelings about it was weird since I used to be entrenched in denial. But, I pulled those recovery tools out of the toolbox, worked them, and worked through the feelings with them.

It looks like you have done much of the same. It's all about progress, not perfection!!
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Old 10-24-2011, 04:39 PM
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I think it's fine and normal and healthy to revisit past experiences with the perspective of now: when we are in it the acceptance and coping mechanisms that we employ just to get through it plus the experience itself an be difficult to process at the time - and in fact it can be a protective mechanism to allow you to continue to function.

that you are triggered to feel things by an aniversary or a similar situation could be a sign you have things to work through, and that your brain now feels safe and strong and removed enough to start to let those things through: I say allow those feelings to come, see what new perspectives you have about the situation. You are talking here and with your therapist: great, healthy, healing, proactive steps.

I'm sure that if I could decide to just move straight from a painful experience to a "that was painful, but it's over now : next!" stance, I would. It would avoid that difficult, uncomfortable, self-examination, and would be easy. But it would also rob me of the chance to grow, and learn and see what I would do now, how I would avoid falling into that hole again. Moving on is a process not a decision. One that can seem like it is 1 step forward and 2 steps back sometimes, but it is all part of the process of growing and learning.

Allowing unresolved feelings and thoughts the space to be processed from a safe distance to the experience is not wallowing in the past or pissing on the present, it is a healthy part of healing, and in my experience leaves me stronger and more insightful about myself, empowers my present and allows my joy to resurface unfettered.

I think you're doing great managing your own healing journey, rather than burying difficult feelings and painful thoughts, and you are using new tools to ensure that the self-examination doesn't tip into self-flagellation.

(()) thank you for sharing.
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Old 10-24-2011, 05:31 PM
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JenT1968...

What you said about being able to process from a distance and being in a place where my brain can process the emotions that last year I couldn't and all of it being totally healthy is precisely what my T said last week! You ought to be a T!
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Old 10-25-2011, 08:32 AM
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WTB,

Thank you for this post. I am currently one year (tomorrow) out from my final divorce.

I couldn't figure out why I had such a reclusive, bittersweet weekend. I haven't even been thinking about it consciously. But there is no question that the anniversary affected me.

I handled it pretty well. My children were on a weekend visitation with my ex, and I stayed in bed, only getting up to go running and to a party on Saturday night. And I was so tired that I stayed a couple of hours and came right back home and went to bed again.

I slept about 12 hours Saturday night. I felt like a slug. But there wasn't anything else I wanted to do more than what I was doing.

I was happy to have the opportunity to rest, but sad that my life hasn't moved along at some record-breaking pace.

Now I realize that it was the sadness and grieving needing to be addressed. I didn't even recognize that until your post, so thank you.
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Old 10-25-2011, 01:50 PM
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None of us can stop thoughts, feelings, memories coming into mind, the good and the bad kind, they are just there. We can change how we deal with them though-sounds like you have done just that! Interesting that this thread has attracted so much comment-like a bit of friction got everyone talking. Does anyone think also that the dark nights coming can make us a bit more introspective?
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Old 10-25-2011, 06:24 PM
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It's good you can do this...

...learning from the past is critical I think, just as long as I don't live there.

It'a a lot of effort for me to stay in the now-- if I stop paying attention and I'm not engaged in something specific I almost always trip to the future or the past.

Cyranoak

Originally Posted by wanttobehealthy View Post
Talked about this with my T yesterday and he said it is perfectly normal and healthy to experience these feelings. Said that if I wasn't, it would be an indicator that I was still in denial or was simply trying to avoid facing feelings.

I understand the futility of having one foot in the past and one in the present, but I think that reflecting on the past, how far one has come and recognizing that I will do whatever it takes to not ever be that person again is actually quite healthy and not at all living in two worlds.

My experience with al anon is that learning from the past and reflecting on it is a good thing. That works for me. I'm an emotional person, I feel things, I think things through and talk about them to "let go" of stuff... That's what works for me...
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Old 10-29-2011, 02:23 PM
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I can understand the "anniversary" issues, because I hung onto that for a long time, too, and everything brought back memories of terrible days. Almost all the holidays were ruined at one time or another because of my EXAH's drinking. Other events--the birth of my daughter (he was almost too hung over to take me to the hospital and then left for the bar shortly after she was born), the death of my father (called me from the bar yelling at me because HE was mourning, TOO, and I didn't seem to appreciate that), the 1993 bombing of the WTC (I was in the building, and my husband saw it on TV and was SO upset by it that he went right to the bar, where he stayed all night scoring free drinks because HIS WIFE was in a terrorist attack, lol), all are attached to memories of his stupid drunk behavior.

Finally one day it dawned on me that I didn't have to carry all that every time an anniversary came around. I sort of "minimized" his part in the day and relegated it to a side note in my mind. And now when holidays or reminders come around, I sometimes have these little leaps of joy inside because I am free of him and the danger of those types of incidents happening anew.
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Old 10-29-2011, 02:28 PM
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Originally Posted by painterman View Post
None of us can stop thoughts, feelings, memories coming into mind, the good and the bad kind, they are just there. We can change how we deal with them though-sounds like you have done just that! Interesting that this thread has attracted so much comment-like a bit of friction got everyone talking. Does anyone think also that the dark nights coming can make us a bit more introspective?
Yes, I do! I belong to a writer's group, and at the last meeting, everyone seemed to have gotten past their procrastinations and writers' blocks and were charging full steam ahead with projects. Someone said that it's been shown that writers produce more in the dark months. I think that's probably related to the introspection and tendency to ponder deeper things in the darkness than on the sunny days when the beach is calling and the world seems a little more hopeful.
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