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He decided to go to AA

Old 09-24-2012, 10:08 PM
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He decided to go to AA

So, after AH's drunk mess in Las Vegas last night and his black out, he has finally decided he needs help. He sounded confused on the phone(as to why he can't stop on his own this time around), he apologized profusely, he admitted to a serious problem with drinking, and says he wants to commit to recovery.

He said he knows his marriage is basically over, but he wants to repair things as best as he can. He professed his love for me and for our family. He is discouraged by whom he has become and says he has a lot of introspection and thinking to do. He is going to call his old high school buddy whom he still keeps in touch with who was active in AA over 20 years ago(and sponsored many people over the years) and is a recovering drug addict. He asked me about meetings, etc and I was supportive on the phone and tried really hard to guard my words. I guess I don't want to open myself up very much because I don't necessarily trust him. He's said many of these things before, all except for committing to AA. He also said he'll go to meetings when he travels since he said he was drinking out of loneliness more than anything else.

He knows I won't trust his words and specifically stated that the 'proof will be in the pudding' and that he's grateful for me NOT enabling him and for letting him hit his bottom(or what he considers his bottom) on his own.

So, more will be revealed as we like to say here at SR. Any suggestions or advice for walking this path? If he starts really working recovery, what can I expect?
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Old 09-24-2012, 10:59 PM
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That's great and a step forward.

Keep yourself in either Alanon, or with a great therapist. That is so important. Let go, see what he does. Just make sure, and it isn't easy, that you keep your focus on your growth and your son. Leave him to his Higher Power, be encouraging but keep moving yourself forward!

This is a journey and he is starting the very first step. Let's see if he does indeed go to AA when he returns.

Big hugs and I hope this is a good beginning for your family!
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Old 09-25-2012, 02:02 AM
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I am glad that he seems to be starting a path to recovery for himself. In my situation, my AH got to the same place as that when I told him we were separating. And after all the years of saying why AA was not for him etc, he started to go to 2 or 3 meetings a day after work. He is still going. He got his 30 day coin about a week a go. I moved out anyway because the wreckage was just too great and I have "been there and done that" with his talking about quitting drinking. I needed to leave to have the space to heal for myself and son, because even though he stopped drinking, it was still all about him and his path in AA and not drinking. Still no room to heal. I am not saying it was bad, but I could not trust it anyway at that point. Still don't really. But I do hope and pray for the best for him.

What I can say is that this time seems to be different with his stopping drinking. In regard to what you can expect? One thing I can tell you--listen to your gut. Believe your gut. I have gone through this cycle so many times in all the years with my AH. My gut told me in all the other times that he really did not totally quit. If I had only listened to my gut, things would be way different now. But, that's the past.

And, now that he appears to really be working the program (?), he is quite different. He is calm, reasonable, more quiet and reflective. He is actively trying to help his fellow AA members with service work, gives some rides to the meetings etc. I really don't recognize him much. He is like a quieter version of the Dr. Jeckyl I knew. But for myself, I keep waiting for Mr. Hyde to come out. I don't trust it, even though I really feel in my gut that he is really trying, for real, this time, and for the first time. But I have healing to do, and he has his healing to do. So, just focus on you, on your son, and just let him do his thing. Time will tell where it will all lead. Hugs and prayers for you all.
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Old 09-25-2012, 05:45 AM
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what can I expect
Not much for the first year. If and that is a big IF he does start AA and gets
serious about it, he will be spending a lot of time on HIM and a lot of the time
it will seem like nothing has changed.

So, stand back, watch his actions, and work the program you would like to
see him work. AA is NOT a quick fix. It takes a lot of intense work on one's
self.

J M H O

Love and hugs,
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Old 09-25-2012, 06:15 AM
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Calling his buddy is not a bad thing but a wiser course of action is to find a sponsor whom you don't have a personal relationship with and that is a recovered alcoholic. If his friend is a recovered drug addict then he is not technically an AA member which is an exclusive organization for alcoholics only.

While addiction is similar a drunk does best with a ex drunk who is in authentic recovery and will help your A be completely accountable.

Meetings will help with lonliness but the most important part of AA and its heart is doing the hard work of the steps and livng them daily with a no nonsense sponsor.

Remorse is not a bad thing but unless he gets plugged in his talk will not keep him sober and it is highly unlikely that open meetings will do the trick without the work and a real sponsor.

It is not your job to figure this out or even relay it to him... just pointing it out because it is a very slim few that make it out of addiction and those that do follow the program to the letter...

Chit chatting on the phone with a buddy and catching a meeting here and there doesn't get it for a real alcoholic...

Just have plan a, b and c in place and take care of your own recovery and keep him in your prayers that he connects with his HP and gets a strong sponsor.
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Old 09-25-2012, 07:19 AM
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Hopeworks, his friend was an alcoholic, too, but the drugs were creating more of a problem for him back then. This was 20 years ago and he was a sponsor in AA and my AH lived with this guy back then so he knows where his friend's heart is. I am not against him calling the guy, but I hope he realizes his friend can't be his sponsor. His friend has been out of AA for many years and is now very active in his church and has 4 kids that he's devoted to.

I think the phone call will be more for support than anything. They've known each other since kindergarten and this guy's father was also active in AA and is 25 years sober. He was like a surrogate father to my AH back in his college days.

Thank you for the input. I was very clear on the phone with him that I am not responsible in any way for his recovery. I kept telling him, "Well, this will be your path and God will set your feet in the right direction. I can't tell you what to do, you'll figure it out on your own." I kept putting it back on him and reminding him that he will need to do the work for himself and that I will not take control or responsibility for his recovery.

And, you're right. Catching a meeting here and there won't cut it. He sounded so befuddled by his inability to quit and just couldn't understand why he let it get so out of hand. I kept my mouth shut because I know that if he goes to AA, he will find the answers there.

I am going to continue with my own recovery and continue with my plans. Still calling a lawyer to find out about legal separation in our state, still socking some money away for that rainy day, etc. And, still working on my resume! I already know this will be a hard road for him to follow and if he's not 100% committed than it will be short lived.

I do have a very negative thought that keeps sneaking into my conscious thinking and it says, "Well, knowing him he'll give AA a try for a few months and then decide he doesn't need it anymore and that he'll now be able to stay sober on his own, quit AA, and we'll be right back to square one again." Is that bad of me to think this way or more realistic? I don't know, but it kept me up all night. Obviously, actions will speak louder than words.
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Old 09-25-2012, 07:58 AM
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It is not bad of you to think. It is you being smart. It is you taking care of yourself. If that does happen you won't be at square one. You'll hopefully have a job or your resume will be complete and out there, you'll have more therapy/self awareness under your belt, you will have a larger emergency fund, you can explore schooling options for your son etc. Can you give yourself a short break from trying to decide if you should stay or go or if he 'gets it' or if he doesn't? You've been fighting with yourself for a long time and the decision is no closer and now you have this new development. It is OK to just table the decision for right now. You are stuck there. What if you just put all your energy into crossing all those other things off your action list. Independence has great personal benefits no matter what direction your life takes.
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Old 09-25-2012, 11:01 AM
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Remember, stay in the moment. One day at a time!

That goes for you and us, too!
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Old 09-25-2012, 11:50 AM
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I do have a very negative thought that keeps sneaking into my conscious thinking and it says, "Well, knowing him he'll give AA a try for a few months and then decide he doesn't need it anymore and that he'll now be able to stay sober on his own, quit AA, and we'll be right back to square one again." Is that bad of me to think this way or more realistic? I don't know, but it kept me up all night. Obviously, actions will speak louder than words.
Working on your own recovery may bring you to a day where you will stay in the moment and not have any predeterminations about what will or will not happen and if you do have a thought, it will quickly pass and it won't affect the path you are on for yourself at the moment.

AND WHAT THUMPER SAID ALL THE WAY.

I just spoke with a friend of mine who is very Christian about where may RAH and I are at and she said similar. That maybe I need to take time, maybe "a season" just continue to focus on myself and let go in to God's hands my RAH.

It sounds like you are doing so great stepping away from your AH responsibilities for his recovery. It is difficult and can get more difficult as A themselves face more difficulty.

From my experience I would say be prepared for even more self-centered, selfishness, especially as a result of being perceived as not being supportive or helpful to your AH the more you stand your ground and not interfere with his responsibilities. It's funny I have teenage children and sometimes I see my RAH behaving similar to them and when I set boundaries, my teenage children respond appropriately and my RAH just continues being selfish or resentful of my boundaries.

This kind of attitude from him sometimes makes it difficult for me to have a positive, loving attitude but one of my goals is to show and be more loving kindness so I am practicing putting RAH in to God's hands and showing kindness and love regardless of his moods.

I do think, even though you have made it clear that you are not responsible for his recovery, you do consider regular participation in AA being at a minimum a commitment to manage his disease and maybe the only way there is a possibility for your marriage to be repaired, although I wouldn't push repairing the marriage until he has had more than 6 months of sobriety. (If you want to leave that door open.)

Apologies if I have given too much of my opinion. Sometimes my postings turn out to be me clarifying my own thoughts for my situation. TWYWLTR

(((LIZ)))
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Old 09-25-2012, 12:01 PM
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Someone on this forum posted something the other day and a light bulb popped off in my head. It was exactly what I needed to read and that's why I come on here! So thank you everyone!

She (Laurie) said something very simple, not exactly this but basically - Give him to his Higher Power. Trust that.

I so believe and am in contact with my own Spirit that I forget to trust his. To give him over to something higher than myself and trust. He's on his own journey - it's individual to him. He is here to learn things differently from what I am here to learn and he will learn them when HE can in whatever way HE can. Not my way.

That message came through like a shot of peace. Give him over to a force greater than we are - and stay connected to our own.

I know that I balked at the idea given to me by those with much more experience in addiction that - relapsing is a part of recovery - for many.

As I said on another post, I hated hearing that. It was true for my husband. And in this journey I've had to learn and relearn and get hit over the head - to let the outcome go. Focus on my own needs and inner work. Learning to let go of other people has been such a gift for me on so many levels. If I can learn it with him, I can learn it with everyone. Not easy and I, too - relapse - at times.

Let go and let God = Peace.
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Old 09-25-2012, 01:46 PM
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Originally Posted by lizatola View Post

I do have a very negative thought that keeps sneaking into my conscious thinking and it says, "Well, knowing him he'll give AA a try for a few months and then decide he doesn't need it anymore and that he'll now be able to stay sober on his own, quit AA, and we'll be right back to square one again." Is that bad of me to think this way or more realistic? I don't know, but it kept me up all night. Obviously, actions will speak louder than words.
The Las Vegas odds would be a sure thing that this is exactly what will happen... in my XA's case this ALWAYS happened! Periods of dedicated, serious, authentic recovery... backsliding, building up to use(BUD), drink, crisis after crisis, detox, rehab, serious dedicated AA, backsliding, BUD, drink, crisis, detox, rehab, serious AA, and on and on and on... this went on for years.

It would still be going on... but I got into recovery and learn to set boundaries and he chose alcohol... again.

Soooooo... the best thing is to have plan a, plan b and plan c. Whatever happens you are in healthy detached recovery and will be able to move on....

I hope yours is the exception to the rule but it is way early in the game to feel bad about not hopping back in the frying pan.
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Old 09-25-2012, 11:43 PM
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"Well, knowing him he'll give AA a try for a few months and then decide
he doesn't need it anymore and that he'll now be able to stay sober on his own,
quit AA, and we'll be right back to square one again." Is that bad of me to think
this way or more realistic?
No it is not 'bad'. You are thinking this based on your history with him to date.
Many A's, myself included, find out when they first hit recovery, that most of
their lives they were GREAT STARTERS and really CHITTY FINISHERS. lol That
with work on HIS PART and only his part can change.

Now, yes NOW is the time to FULLY and COMPLETELY give your AH to his Higher
Power, and allow said Higher Power to take over watching over and guiding your
AH.

Stay in the NOW. Keep working on YOUR plans B, C, and D, 'JUST IN CASE.'

What will be for your AH, is entirely up to your AH. What will be for you and your
son, is entirely up to YOU.

J M H O

Love and hugs,
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Old 09-26-2012, 07:14 AM
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Originally Posted by laurie6781 View Post
No it is not 'bad'. You are thinking this based on your history with him to date.
Many A's, myself included, find out when they first hit recovery, that most of
their lives they were GREAT STARTERS and really CHITTY FINISHERS. lol That
with work on HIS PART and only his part can change.

Now, yes NOW is the time to FULLY and COMPLETELY give your AH to his Higher
Power, and allow said Higher Power to take over watching over and guiding your
AH.

Stay in the NOW. Keep working on YOUR plans B, C, and D, 'JUST IN CASE.'

What will be for your AH, is entirely up to your AH. What will be for you and your
son, is entirely up to YOU.

J M H O

Love and hugs,
No worries there, I am totally planning on having back up plans ready! Thank goodness I've been working the Al Anon program and have made it through the first few steps because turning him over to his HP is critical at this point.

You know, he actually thanked me for detaching and stepping back from him? He told me that my detachment pushed him closer and closer to his bottom and that if I had been nagging, begging, crying, etc about the drinking (like I did 15 month ago) that he would have kept it up. My pulling away and doing what was right for ME showed him that I was moving on and that made him realize he was losing me, possibly forever.

Now, are things going to work out in the end? Will he find sobriety forever? Can he let go of his narcissistic ways? Will he mend his spiritual fences, so to speak, and truly become healthy? WHO KNOWS? Only his Higher Power does, and I have to just keep taking things one day at a time. I honestly haven't even been asking these questions until I just typed them up now. I can't predict what he will or won't do, I just know that I have to be ready to set new boundaries, keep working on my program, and let things take their natural course that was set before us by God.
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Old 09-26-2012, 10:05 AM
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Praying your HP's very best for you & him Liz!!

nothing wrong with having realistic hope and a plan A, B & C!!

PINK HUGS,
Rita
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Old 09-26-2012, 10:46 AM
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Originally Posted by lizatola View Post
You know, he actually thanked me for detaching and stepping back from him? He told me that my detachment pushed him closer and closer to his bottom and that if I had been nagging, begging, crying, etc about the drinking (like I did 15 month ago) that he would have kept it up. My pulling away and doing what was right for ME showed him that I was moving on and that made him realize he was losing me, possibly forever.
My STBXAH also thanked me for staying strong when he first started to reach out for recovery. His therapist even told me that I shouldn't go back to him right away because that my absence was his reason to be sober and to get help. He was grateful for about a week and a half. He stopped drinking and started going to a bunch of AA meetings. Then, he started questioning my behavior, telling me that I was not detaching correctly. He was no longer appreciating my boundaries, and tried to guilt-trip, shame, and manipulate me again so that I would come back to him. His gratefulness would return for maybe a week at a time. I guess he would have moments of clarity, but those were always short. He continued to be a mess of emotions and rationalizations throughout his early recovery and he couldn't understand why I could not go through that with him. Then, he decided that he didn't need AA anymore, that he wasn't getting the emotional support he needed there. He even told me his new therapist had run out of things to talk about with him, so she was willing to just let him get on with his recovery on his own. That was after almost two months of not drinking.

Even though I didn't always approve of the directions he took with his recovery, I never confronted him about it. I learned in AlAnon and on SR to leave his recovery decisions to him. I also learned that I did not have to ride that roller coaster with him. I chose to stay on solid ground and wave at him when he passed nearby.

Hugs, Lizatola.

Fathom
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Old 09-26-2012, 01:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Hopeworks View Post
If his friend is a recovered drug addict then he is not technically an AA member which is an exclusive organization for alcoholics only.
i liked what ya wrote, but this part is a misinformation. AA is not exclusive to alcoholics only. the only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking. there is great information in the 12&12 on the 3rd tradition on the subject.

all inclusive, never exclusive.
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Old 09-26-2012, 04:43 PM
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Originally Posted by tomsteve View Post
i liked what ya wrote, but this part is a misinformation. AA is not exclusive to alcoholics only. the only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking. there is great information in the 12&12 on the 3rd tradition on the subject.

all inclusive, never exclusive.
Hi Tomsteve,

As you know AA is an organization that has evolved through the generations and this subject is one subject to debate and even resentments. I don't have a dog in the hunt as I am not alcoholic nor drug addicted... I have lots of other issues and have greatly benefitted from the 12 steps that AA developed.

Back in the day alcohol was king and while narcotics were out there they were not widely used and society was mostly dealing with alcoholics and AA developed to directly service that group.

In its earliest days it was only alchoholics and you had to be given a "card" to even come to meetings which were not formatted in the way they are today!

As drugs became more prevalent the attendence of drug addicts became more common and other organizations developed and were given permission to use the 12 steps but not the name of AA ... eventually NA became the organization.

As it is today there are many people who are cross addicted to more than one substance and while alcohol may not be their main substance of choice they cannot drink or take any mind altering substance and technically do want to stop drinking.

Having spent 4 years in the rooms with my XA and studying the roots and history of AA as well as listenig to hundreds of speaker talks on the subject I do think ... personally... that a stone cold hard core "real" alcoholc... the kind that drink until they hit a jail cell, straight jacket, padded cell, hospital bed or the morgue do best when they are matched up with someone with the same kind of alcoholic hard wiring that has gotten a hold of recovery and can take them through the steps.

My XA was one of those "real alcoholics" and when he finally found spiritual recovery it was because he got hooked up with some tough old timers ... and when he lost his recovery it was because he neglected his program.

So...it isn't black or white... but I agree with Chris R. alcoholics can die if they don't find the thread of recovery through authentic, 12 step based AA and hook up with a sponsor who really gets it and can share it.

On the other hand, the world is full of enablers, codies, the rooms are full of social seekers, problem alcoholics etc, etc... and each of us has a HP who knows all and can overcome the obstacles if we truly are seeking our own way out of addiction...

AA isn't perfect and neither is life... hopefully those who are willing to do anything to find sobriety will keep seeking until they find...
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Old 09-26-2012, 06:14 PM
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my point is that AA is not exclusive to alcoholics. you may want to read the 12 & 12 on the 3rd tradition.

when it comes to listening to people who talk about who gets sober and who doesnt, i will personally believe what the BB and dr silkworth, a man that worked with over 40,00 drunks in his lifetime says, and thats that many die even if they find the thread of recovery through AA. it has nothing to do with their sponsor, if they worked the steps, if they went to 21 meetings/week, if what they were doing was authentic AA or not. it is the disease of alcoholism. its what it does.

i have listened to chris r, too. from what i know, he became more open minded and changed his thoughts on some of what he used to believe and made it possible to practice love and tolerance better.
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Old 09-27-2012, 03:48 AM
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Hello Lizatola, Well I think it's great that he has decided to do something about his drinking! I hope that he grabs onto recovery with everything he has in him--but time will tell.

I notice that he uses all the right language. Only when his actions match his language will you know he is actually serious about getting help!

I hope you have been able to have a peaceful couple of nights!!
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Old 09-27-2012, 01:26 PM
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Originally Posted by lizatola View Post
He also said he'll go to meetings when he travels since he said he was drinking out of loneliness more than anything else.
Loneliness?

Doesn't he also drink at home too though?
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