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Old 09-17-2012, 07:27 AM
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Acceptance

Hi everyone! I was away for the weekend at a travel tennis tournament for my son enjoying the mountains and beauty of cool fall weather! Came home a day early since my son got knocked out of the tourney by an older player. I was trying to save some money on the hotel so I did a 7 hour drive late in the day, it wasn't so bad either, LOL!

Came home to find AH hiding a 6 pack he was finishing off. Now, I knew he'd most likely be drinking. So, why did I get angry? I was slamming doors, avoiding him, and just stomping around the house all pissed off. Honestly, what the heck was I trying to prove? It didn't last long, I was done after 5 minutes or so and then started unpacking, watched some TV, etc. Yet, I kept thinking about acceptance. What is acceptance? Why do I have trouble accepting unacceptable behavior? Wouldn't life be easier if I just was able to overlook the alcohol problem and just let the chips fall where they may? DUI again, no problem. Drunk and passed out on the floor again, no problem. Blaming me for the drinking, no problem. I guess I just wish I could say: NO PROBLEM to everything yet, I realize it's all about acceptance. Awareness was easy. Accepting him for being an A, I get that part too. But, accepting my life where it is right now and where it might be headed. WHEW, that's where it blows my mind and my serenity.

What tools have you used to work on acceptance? Is this more of a spiritual thing than a practical based tool?
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Old 09-17-2012, 07:46 AM
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Think of the serenity prayer as it is called in AA. Accepting what you cannot control, and using your power where you actually have some.
For me, it was about the title of the prayer. SERENITY.
So for you, the answer you need is--can you find serenity within yourself and still stay in your marriage?
For me, I couldn't find that serenity living with an active alcoholic. Damn I tried, but I was horribly unsuccessful. I knew his potential, (from watching him when he was sober and ON the mark and beautiful as a person) and I fell in love with that potential. Watching him be less than he could be, was unacceptable. I can't watch him destroy himself. That was too painful. I left, knowing it puts the pressure on him, to either find a new wife, or do something about the elephant in the room.
Either way, I have to find my own path, the path to pursuing joy in life. I've come to the conclusion there is no other path. It's hard to separate that with a marriage pact, I know...but we are still individuals even when married, and have that responsibility to ourselves to seek and find balance and serenity.
I think it's spiritual yes. I also think it is a practical skill. Thinking rationally, and feeling emotions...there's really no separating them in life, they mature together.
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Old 09-17-2012, 08:10 AM
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Why do I have trouble accepting unacceptable behavior? Wouldn't life be easier if I just was able to overlook the alcohol problem and just let the chips fall where they may? DUI again, no problem. Drunk and passed out on the floor again, no problem. Blaming me for the drinking, no problem. I guess I just wish I could say: NO PROBLEM to everything yet, I realize it's all about acceptance. Awareness was easy. Accepting him for being an A, I get that part too. But, accepting my life where it is right now and where it might be headed. WHEW, that's where it blows my mind and my serenity.
There is no such thing as accepting unacceptable behavior. If you accept it, it is not unacceptable to you. Acceptance is acknowledging that what he is, is what he is. You really have no choice other than to accept that because there is nothing you can do to change that.

No one expects you to accept where you are right now or where your life is going if you stay in the marriage. Whatever you decide you cannot live with is unacceptable behavior to you. If you stay, knowing everything you know, then the behavior might be unacceptable to someone else, but it obviously is not unacceptable to you.

I'm not sure what else to say. You have stated that you would leave if he drank again. So, you have evidence that he is drinking. You either hold to your boundary or you don't. If you don't, your boundaries are meaningless. It's time to make that decision.
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Old 09-17-2012, 08:27 AM
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You seem to be confusing acceptance with approval. Acceptance simply means you acknowledge reality for what it is--reality. You don't have to like it, you don't have to put up with it, but it still is.

From my experience, the reason acceptance is so difficult is because if you truly accept reality for what it is, then you often realize you can't go on the way you are. If you were to accept your situation for what it is, and accept that you are powerless to change him, you would likely have to make some changes yourself. And that appears to be what you want to avoid. (It was the same for me, I refused to do anything until the pain of it all brought me to my knees.)

L
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Old 09-17-2012, 08:37 AM
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Originally Posted by LaTeeDa View Post
You seem to be confusing acceptance with approval. Acceptance simply means you acknowledge reality for what it is--reality. You don't have to like it, you don't have to put up with it, but it still is.

From my experience, the reason acceptance is so difficult is because if you truly accept reality for what it is, then you often realize you can't go on the way you are. If you were to accept your situation for what it is, and accept that you are powerless to change him, you would likely have to make some changes yourself. And that appears to be what you want to avoid. (It was the same for me, I refused to do anything until the pain of it all brought me to my knees.)

L
This makes a lot of sense. I keep thinking that the positive changes I am making in my behaviors will be enough(going to meetings, reading Al Anon literature, journaling daily, going back to church, going to my therapist, etc) but I think there's a lot more change that needs to happen.

Suki's right; my boundaries are crap. That's OK, though, because I'm ok with it and I know it's something I need to re-set and realize they were said in haste and in an attempt to control. As is heard around here often: when the pain of staying is worse than the pain of leaving, then there will be change.
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Old 09-17-2012, 08:38 AM
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To put it another way, you are living in a life/marriage/situation that is not okay with you. If you were to accept it, then you would have to change your life/marriage/situation, and you have stated many times that you don't want to do that.

L
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Old 09-17-2012, 08:48 AM
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"Suki's right; my boundaries are crap. That's OK, though, because I'm ok with it and I know it's something I need to re-set and realize they were said in haste and in an attempt to control."

As long as you are ok with his behavior and are not interested in setting bounderies then there really is nothing to complain about.
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Old 09-17-2012, 09:24 AM
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Originally Posted by lizatola View Post
I keep thinking that the positive changes I am making in my behaviors will be enough(going to meetings, reading Al Anon literature, journaling daily, going back to church, going to my therapist, etc) but I think there's a lot more change that needs to happen.

To me this reads as follows:

"I keep thinking that by changing MY BEHAVIOR it will be enough to get my AH to change."



I say that because that's how I felt when I first started on my path of recovery. I heard the Al-anon opening and clung to... "the family situation is bound to improve." To me that meant, "I'm gonna work this program and everything will get all better. By fixing ME, my AH will figure out that he needs to fix himself... and we can be one big happy family!!"

I get it. I soooo get it. I wanted to outcome to be all of us getting healthy. AH getting sober. I had sooo many levels of acceptance I had to work through.
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Old 09-17-2012, 10:29 AM
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Hi Liz, like others have said acceptance is just seeing reality as it is, simple as that. To be honest I think you are making big strides there.



To me the next big hurdle was, now that I accept that my wife's behavior is harmful to me, I accept that I can't change her, what am I going to do next? I then had to figure out what to do next and when to do it.


Take your time, you will know what the next right thing to do is and when to do it when the time is right.


Your friend,
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Old 09-17-2012, 10:40 AM
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Originally Posted by m1k3 View Post
Hi Liz, like others have said acceptance is just seeing reality as it is, simple as that. To be honest I think you are making big strides there.



To me the next big hurdle was, now that I accept that my wife's behavior is harmful to me, I accept that I can't change her, what am I going to do next? I then had to figure out what to do next and when to do it.


Take your time, you will know what the next right thing to do is and when to do it when the time is right.


Your friend,
(((Mike)), thanks so much for your support. I truly appreciate it today.
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Old 09-17-2012, 11:56 AM
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Liz, I think you will know you have accepted the fact that he is an actively drinking alcoholic that you can't control---when you are willing to turn your attention from him and place it FULL FORCE on your own recovery. FULL TIME, H***-bent ahead, and not just dabbling.

When the acoholic committs to recovery, they place it as top priority and dive into the process. Like the old "90 meetings in 90 days", etc. It is not uncommon to see some in 2-3 meetings a day, in the beginning. Recovery from co-dependency is not unlike the alcoholic recovering from their drug of choice.

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Old 09-17-2012, 02:29 PM
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I just read this today and thought it fit in this thread. I'll paste it below - love Shel Silverstein.

I can really relate to LTD's posts because they are really reflective of my experiences too and I see some of that in this thread (like with being mad when you came home).

I wonder though if some of the acceptance is maybe just acceptance of yourself, your decisions, the place you are at right now. It is OK. You can make any decision that is best for you in this moment - don't be so hard on yourself.

The Voice ... By Shel Silverstein
There is a voice inside of you
That whispers all day long,
“I feel that this is right for me,
I know that this is wrong.”
No teacher, preacher, parent, friend
Or wise man can decide
What’s right for you– – just listen to
The voice that speaks inside.
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