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Could this be it?

Old 12-16-2011, 01:13 PM
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He had a beer last night. Just one, that was sitting in the fridge for a week. He asked me first to avoid an argument, but I didn't say yes because I will not enable him. I said it was never one beer at the end of a long day that was the problem. Tomorrow is his birthday, I guarantee he will buy beer tonight. And not just one.
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Old 12-16-2011, 01:13 PM
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So maybe next week I will be able to face al anon.
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Old 12-16-2011, 01:57 PM
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Meggy, Al-Anon is for you. It is for you to get better and to have your own recovery no matter if he is drinking or not. You could try telling him you are going because you have a lot of anger and resentment about his drinking and that is not good for either of you and that drinking is his choice not yours and that is something you are struggling with because you don't want to be angry with him.

It points no fingers, let's him decide whether he wants to drink or not and is easy to remember because it is true.

In addition, that is exactly the kind of stuff you will learn at al-anon.

Your friend,
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Old 12-16-2011, 02:50 PM
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Meggy, you are not going to be facing a firing squad by going to Alanon, you will find people who are facing the same issues that you are, people who understand.

What are your bounderies regarding him? What will you accept and what won't you accept?

Avoiding the pink elephant in the living room isn't going to make it go away, only recovery will resolve the issue, your recovery and his.
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Old 12-16-2011, 03:09 PM
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I will accept him drinking, but my line is drinking to excess every night, and demonstrating to the kids that as soon as you finish work, or anytime you are upset, beer is the answer. I hate days when he finished work early (he is self employed) and he has already had 4 beers by the time the kids get home from school (and the day is still young). I hate that if something happened to me he could never drive me to the hospital because he is always over the limit. I hate that I can't trust him to be the designated driver anywhere we go because he'll have one beer, but he can't stop so he'll have 4 and then drive me and the kids home I hate that those weeks when we are broke and I am struggling to feed the kids he limits himself to a cheaper slab of beer. We can't afford beer at all on weeks like that! I hate that he will spend $150 a week on beer when I worry over every cent. I hate that I tell him alcohol is an issue for out marriage and his answer is "but it's not against the law". That's not the freaking point!

If he could drink like a normal person I wouldn't care. I don't even care if he gets drunk occasionally and spend the entire weekend suffering with a hangover. I don't care if he wants a few beers. But I hate that beer is more important than everything else. I know I need to go to al anon. I might be able to go next week.
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Old 12-16-2011, 03:25 PM
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Well, if you will accept him drinking and expecting him to control it, you are in for more disappointment. What you are outlining are not bounderies. I hope that you will find the time to attend some Alanon meetings.

My best to you, hope this all works out as you want it to.
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Old 12-17-2011, 02:16 AM
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Hun, what you're willing to accept is not offered to you.
If he drank like that you wouldn't be here.
The real question is wether what you have is acceptable for you.

I strongly suggest you read more about alcoholism, there is a great section of stickies (permanent threads) at the top of this forum. I promise the more you learn the easier it gets, as by learning you can see your options more clearly. And trust me there are always some options there, it just takes work on ourselves to come to the place where we can see them and act on them.

It is only you who can make your own life better, not your husband. I personally resisted that idea forever, but once I allowed that possiblity my life started moving in a more positive direction.

It is unbelievable how much we can change, even almost become the very opposite of ourselves if necessary, once we give ourselves the permission to do so.

take care
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Old 12-17-2011, 09:51 AM
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Alanon isn't about him at all...

...at all. It's about you. It has nothing to do with him failing or succeeding (they both fail and succeed regardless of spouses going to Alanon). It's about you. You Maggy. Not doing what you need to do for your own health and well being, and that of your children whether it's Alanon or anything else is the epitome of codependancy.

Alanon is about you. You. You.

Not him.

Cyranoak

P.s. If you don't go you are telling yourself you aren't willing to do things that may help YOU succeed. Please consider that.
Originally Posted by Meggy View Post
but it just feels like if I do go then I am telling AH that I know he will fail.
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Old 12-17-2011, 10:26 AM
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Meggy -
To answer your original question "Could this be it?"
Unfortunately, there's no way to accurately predict that.
But I can tell you that while it took several attempts, I have almost 20 years of sobriety and it started with one day.

My very best wishes to you and your family!
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Old 12-17-2011, 01:39 PM
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Originally Posted by dollydo View Post
Well, if you will accept him drinking and expecting him to control it, you are in for more disappointment. What you are outlining are not bounderies. I hope that you will find the time to attend some Alanon meetings.

My best to you, hope this all works out as you want it to.
This is one of the things I am struggling with. How can I outline boundaries without me controlling him? He needs to control this himself doesn't he? And my boundaries are not boundaries, just wishful thinking. If I tell him what I wish then he needs to come to the conclusion that he can't meet that compromise himself doesn't he?
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Old 12-17-2011, 01:41 PM
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Originally Posted by sesh View Post
Hun, what you're willing to accept is not offered to you.
If he drank like that you wouldn't be here.
The real question is wether what you have is acceptable for you.

I strongly suggest you read more about alcoholism, there is a great section of stickies (permanent threads) at the top of this forum. I promise the more you learn the easier it gets, as by learning you can see your options more clearly. And trust me there are always some options there, it just takes work on ourselves to come to the place where we can see them and act on them.

It is only you who can make your own life better, not your husband. I personally resisted that idea forever, but once I allowed that possiblity my life started moving in a more positive direction.

It is unbelievable how much we can change, even almost become the very opposite of ourselves if necessary, once we give ourselves the permission to do so.

take care
Thank you for your post, I am trying to work my way through the stickies and I really appreciate everyones support whilst I blunder my way through.
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Old 12-17-2011, 02:48 PM
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Here is something Cynical One posted on the F & F of Substance Abusers, might be worth a read:












-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Building Healthy Boundaries
~by James J. Messina

What is a boundary?

A boundary is the:

* Emotional and physical space between you and another person.

* Demarcation of where you end and another begins and where you begin and another ends.

* Limit or line over which you will not allow anyone to cross because of the negative impact of its being crossed in the past.

* Established set of limits over your physical and emotional well-being which you expect others to respect in their relationship with you.

* Emotional and physical space you need in order to be the real you without the pressure from others to be something that you are not.

* Emotional and/or physical perimeter of your life which is or has been violated when you were emotionally, verbally, physically and/or sexually abused.

* Healthy emotional and physical distance you can maintain between you and another so that you do not become overly enmeshed and/or dependent.

* Appropriate amount of emotional and physical closeness you need to maintain so that you and another do not become too detached and/or overly independent.

* Balanced emotional and physical limits set on interacting with another so that you can achieve an interdependent relationship of independent beings who do not lose their personal identity, uniqueness and autonomy in the process.

* Clearly defined limits within which you are free to be yourself with no restrictions placed on you by others as to how to think, feel or act.

* Set of parameters which make you a unique, autonomous and free individual who has the freedom to be a creative, original, idiosyncratic problem solver.


Signs of ignored boundaries

You can tell boundaries are being ignored if there are one or more of the following characteristic symptoms:

Over Enmeshment: This symptom requires everyone to follow the rule that everyone must do everything together and that everyone is to think, feel and act in the same way. No one is allowed to deviate from the family or group norms. Everyone looks homogeneous. Uniqueness, autonomy and idiosyncratic behaviors are viewed as deviations from the norm.

Disassociation: This symptom involves blanking out during a stressful emotional event. You feel your physical and/or emotional space being violated and you tell yourself something like: "It doesn't matter." "Ignore it and it will go away soon enough.'' "No sense in fighting it, just hang on and it will be over soon.'' "Don't put up a struggle or else it will be worse for you.'' This blanking out results in your being out of touch with your feelings about what happened. It also may result in your inability to remember what happened.

Excessive Detachment: This symptom occurs when neither you nor anyone else in the group or family is able to establish any fusion of emotions or affiliation of feelings. Everyone is totally independent from everyone else and there doesn't seem to be anything to hold you and them together in healthy union. You and they seem to lack a common purpose, goal, identity or rationale for existing together. There is a seeming lack of desire from you and the other members to draw together to form a union because you fear loss of personal identity.

Victimhood or Martyrdom: In this symptom, you identify yourself as a violated victim and become overly defensive to ward off further violation. Or it can be that once you accept your victimization you continue to be knowingly victimized and then let others know of your martyrdom.

Chip on the Shoulder: This symptom is reflected in your interactions with others. Because of your anger over past violation of your emotional and/or physical space and the real or perceived ignoring of your rights by others, you have a "chip on your shoulder'' that declares "I dare you to come too close!''

Invisibility: This symptom involves your pulling in or over-controlling so that others even yourself never know how you are really feeling or what you are really thinking. Your goal is not to be seen or heard so that your boundaries are not violated.

Aloofness or Shyness: This symptom is a result of your insecurity from real or perceived experiences of being ignored, roved or rejected in the past. This feels like a violation of your efforts to expand or stretch your boundaries to include others in your space. Once rejected you take the defensive posture to reject others before they reject you. This keeps you inward and unwilling or fearful of opening up your space to others.

Cold and Distant: This symptom builds walls or barriers to insure that others do not permeate or invade your emotional or physical space. This too can be a defense, due to previous hurt and pain, from being violated, hurt, ignored or rejected. This stance is your declaration that "I've drawn the line over which I dare you to cross.'' It is a way to keep others out and put them off.

Smothering: This symptom results when another is overly solicitous of your needs and interests. This cloying interest is overly intrusive into your emotional and physical space. It can be so overwhelming that you feel like you are being strangled, held too tightly and lack freedom to breathe on your own. You feel violated, used and overwhelmed.

Lack of Privacy: This symptom is present when you feel that nothing you think, feel or do is your own business. You are expected to report to others in your family or group all the detail and content of your feelings, reactions, opinions, relationships and dealings with the outside world. You begin to feel that nothing you experience can be kept in the privacy of your own domain. You begin to believe you don't have a private domain or your own space into which you can escape to be your own person.


Rational boundary building thinking

These are just a few examples of unhealthy thoughts or beliefs which allow boundaries to be ignored or violated. Following each unhealthy belief is a more healthy, rational, realistic, reality-based affirmation for healthy boundary building.

Unhealthy: I can never say "no'' to others.

Healthy Boundary Builder: I have a right to say "no'' to others if it is an invasion of my space or a violation of my rights.


Unhealthy: It is my duty to hold them together.

Healthy Boundary Builder: I have a right to take care of myself. If they want to stay together as a family or group, it is up to each individual to make such a decision. They all have equal responsibility to create the interdependency needed to keep us a united group.


Unhealthy: I can never trust anyone again.

Healthy Boundary Builder: I have a right to take the risk to grow in my relationships with others. If I find my space or rights are being violated or ignored, I can assertively protect myself to ensure I am not hurt.


Unhealthy: I would feel guilty if I did something on my own and left my family or group out of it.

Healthy Boundary Builder: I have the right and need to do things which are uniquely mine so that I do not become so overly enmeshed with others that I lose my identity.


Unhealthy: I should do everything I can to spend as much time together with you or else we won't be a healthy family or group.

Healthy Boundary Builder: I have a right and a need to explore my own interests, hobbies and outlets so that I can bring back to this family or group my unique personality to enrich our lives rather than be lost in a closed and over enmeshed system.


Unhealthy: It doesn't matter what they are doing to me. As long as I keep quiet and don't complain, they will eventually leave me alone.

Healthy Boundary Builder: I will never again allow my space and rights to be violated. I will stand up for myself and assert my rights to be respected and not hurt or violated. If they choose to ignore me, then I have the right to leave them or ask them to get out of my life.


Unhealthy: As long as I am not seen or heard, I won't be violated or hurt.

Healthy Boundary Builder: I have a right to be visible and to be seen and heard. I will stand up for myself so that others can learn to respect my rights, my needs and not violate my space.


Unhealthy: I'd rather not pay attention to what is happening to me in this relationship which is overly intrusive, smothering and violating my privacy. In this way I don't have to feel the pain and hurt that comes from such a violation.

Healthy Boundary Builder: I choose no longer to disassociate from my feelings when I am being treated in a negatively painful way so that I can be aware of what is happening to me and assertively protect myself from further violation or hurt.


Unhealthy: I've been hurt badly in the past and I will never let anyone in close enough to hurt me again.

Healthy Boundary Builder: I do not need to be cold and distant or aloof and shy as protective tools to avoid being hurt. I choose to open myself up to others trusting that I will be assertive to protect my rights and privacy from being violated.


Unhealthy: I can never tell where to draw the line with others.

Healthy Boundary Builder: There is a line I have drawn over which I do not allow others to cross. This line ensures me my uniqueness, autonomy and privacy. I am able to be me the way I really am rather than the way people want me to be by drawing this line. By this line I let others know: this is who I am and where I begin and you end; this is who you are and where you begin and I end; we will never cross over this line so that we can maintain a healthy relationship with one another.


How to establish healthy boundaries

In order to establish healthy boundaries between yourself and others, you need to:

First: Identify the symptoms of your boundaries currently being or having been violated or ignored
.
Second: Identify the irrational or unhealthy thinking and beliefs by which you allow your boundaries to be ignored or violated.

Third: Identify new, more rational, healthy thinking and beliefs which will encourage you to change your behaviors so that you build healthy boundaries between you and others.

Fourth: Identify new behaviors you need to add to your healthy boundary building behaviors repertoire in order to sustain healthy boundaries between you and others.

Fifth: Implement the healthy boundary building beliefs and behaviors in your life so that your space, privacy and rights are no longer ignored or violated.


Steps to establishing healthy boundaries

Step 1: In order to motivate yourself to establish healthy boundaries in your life, you first need to do a self-assessment if any symptoms of ignored or violated boundaries exist in your life. In your journal, record which of the following symptoms exist for you. For each symptom identified, detail what was the stimulus in your past for this behavior. Also detail how this symptom affects your current life. Lastly, describe how you feel about this symptom's affect on your life.


The Violated or Ignored Boundaries Symptoms

* Over-enmeshment

* Disassociation

* Excessive detachment

* Victimhood or martyrdom

* Chip on the shoulder

* Invisibility

* Aloofness or shyness

* Cold and distant

* Smothering

* Lack of privacy


Step 2: Once you have identified the symptoms of your boundaries being ignored or violated and what the stimulus was for these symptoms, then you need to identify in your journal what unhealthy thoughts or irrational beliefs you have which led you to have your boundaries violated or ignored.

Step 3: After you have the irrational beliefs and unhealthy thoughts identified, then in your journal write down affirmations which are healthy boundary builders. You will need these boundary builders as you begin to take steps to protect your rights, privacy and personal space.

Step 4: In order to ensure your healthy boundaries are maintained, you next need to add the following behaviors to your healthy boundary builders repertoire.


Healthy Boundary-Builder Behaviors

* Building Trust

* Handling Insecurity

* Handling Fear of Rejection

* Handling the Need for Approval

* On Becoming a Risk taker

* Becoming Vulnerable

* Handling Intimacy

*Goal Setting in Relationships

* Overcoming Fears

* Improving Assertive Behavior

* Accepting Personal Responsibility

* Handling Conflict

* Handling Guilt

* Overcoming the Role of Victim or Martyr

* Handling the Use of Power and Control

* Handling Confrontation

* Handling Forgiving and Forgetting

* Creating a Healing Environment

* Developing Detachment

* Eliminating Over-dependency

* Eliminating Passive Aggressiveness

* Eliminating Manipulation

* Tempering Survival Behaviors

* Developing Self-Control


Step 5: Once you have completed acquiring the healthy boundary-building behaviors, then begin to implement them as you proceed in your relationships at home, work and in your community. If you find you are still experiencing your emotional and/or physical boundaries being ignored or violated, then return to Step 1 and begin again.

About this Author
James J Messina, PhD, is a licensed psychologist with more than 35 years of experience counseling individuals and families. Messina, who specializes in adult and children psychotherapy, serves as Director of Psychological Services at St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital in Tampa, Fla. He has a private practice in Tampa and is also a member of the American Psychological Association.
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Old 12-18-2011, 01:48 AM
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Amazing article Dollydo!!!
Maggi I hope it makes sense to you. To be honest if I read this few years ago it wouldn't make any sense to me, as at the time I wasn't willing to do anything that starts from the perspective: what can I do for myself, and also I was unable to see that if I did something good for myself I'm consenquently doing something good for the ones close to me.

I was too stuck into thinking that I need to figure something out that will change him, as that was, in my mind, the one and only thing that can make my own life better.
It took me an awful amount of pain to realize I can't have what I want and I have to work with what I have to make me life better.

I believe that setting healthy boundaries comes from taking off that rose colored glasses and accepting reality for what it is. Only when we do that we are able to adopt other perspectives. That change in how we think and how we see ourselves is crucial, as I strongly believe we always do only what we believe is right (read: what will give us what we want). Or in other words we will not set any boundaries until we truly see that is something that can help us.

For me the turning point was when I realized I am the one who is responsible for my own life, not my husband. It was me how was allowing my life to be a mess by putting up with all kinds of his crazy behaviors. It was my fault not his.
When I saw things in that light, boundaries became not only possible, but it was impossible not to have them.

I believe to set healthy boundaries one must work on oneself, examine and question all those things that make him/her the person he/she is: hopes, fears, expectations, ... especially the things he/she is most defensive about.

I've spent the years looking for the solutions to my problmes literary everywhere, only to find out at the end, all the answers were inside of myself.
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