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What Do I Do With My Heart?

Old 06-19-2014, 03:06 AM
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What Do I Do With My Heart?

RAH and I coming up quickly on 20 Y anniversary. I pulled out pics of our wedding and was deeply shaken to see unmistakable love and adoration on my face in these photos. I had doubted for a long time that I loved my H as much as he loved me. But this is untrue. We are equally lovesick in the photos. I let myself believe that I loved him less so I would not be so vulnerable to the pain of his addiction and him turning away from me over the years.

So in therapy last night I talked a bit about the shambles of my marriage last night. Of course one going alone cannot quite fix a marriage completely. So we work on me and resentments as I am in step 4.

When I leave, I text H to see if he and DS have eaten. No immediate response so I decide to drive to a restaurant H and DS like and I can get takeout if need be. I planned to just sit there and mull over therapy session.

As I pull in there is my H's vehicle. It is late so it sits alone in the parking lot. I recognize his outline in the restaurant. I am happy to see him. I can tell he recognizes my car. He appears pleased to see me. We talk about the day, but I am mulling over this connection we still have.

I internalized that love and I've sacrificed myself to my marrow trying to save him, and us over the years. Now I am working just on me. I talk divorce in therapy but then my heart is happy to run into him. My heart is not following my logical mind. My heart is not letting go despite everything.
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Old 06-19-2014, 03:42 AM
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Code,
How long has your husband been abstinent? Is he following any kind of program? Do you really want to end the marriage?
I am the alcoholic in my relationship. It has been 3 years for me now. I am still married but marriage recovery is slow. Sometimes it is 2 steps forward 1 back. But, we try. You need to figure out what you really want. Do you want to take one more chance with your husband or do you want a fresh start?
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Old 06-19-2014, 03:56 AM
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Hi Codejob,

Your "heart" is really chemicals dumping into your system. This is how our bodies get "feelings". It is a chemical process and we are hardwired to not breakup with those we have been intimate with for years.

Is it love? What is love? This gets complicated. Loving alcoholics usually involves intense "feelings" that are chemical in nature. Further complications are that the A often was once our knight in shining armor and we feel if we love them and put all our resources into turning them back into Prince Charming we are powerful enough to do this somehow. Because of our love...our intense feelings and willingness to sacrifice.

It is a fantasy. It is a falsehood. We are not that powerful. We don't even know if Prince Charming was ever really there. Did we imagine it? Were their feelings equally intense and can we somehow make them "feel" those feelings again? Get those chemical dumps of pleasure and intense longing for us as the love of their life? If they did fall back in crazy love (chemicals dumping in waterfall doses) would they stop drinking at last?

Even if they fell MADLY in love with us like that first insane moment we were awash with the most intense feelings of "love" and desire washing over us... it would not stop their drinking.

Not even close. Even if that incredible high of "love" is 20 times better than a drunken night they will reach for the bottle. Its what A's do...they drink. It is a disease.

It has been 3 years now since I have been with my A. He was the love of my life but as the years go by and I watch him careen around the country drunk...quacking all the while... what did I used to love about him? His good looks? His charm? His ability to make me laugh? All of those things are fading quickly as his disease progresses. Watching him kill himself slowly is so sad but I am grateful he is another state and not in my house torturing me with his crazy train.

My feelings have completely faded to pity and prayer. That crazy love is gone at last. Sadly. He could have made me very happy had he been a normie. But if her were normal would I have had that crazy insane waves of emotion? Was my codie dysfunction part of the chemical volcano of crashing emotions?

Who knows? Who cares now? The wreckage and insanity of our relationship is in the past. I talk about it here when there is wonder and questions about relationships and feelings of "love".

Now I have peace and serenity...and working on wisdom! I can tell you this ... my broken picker has been tamed and those guys that send off electric shockwaves...I see through them real quick now. And...my life is so complete I don't want or need a man to live with me. Relationships are always work and I am on a looooong vacation! lol
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Old 06-19-2014, 03:57 AM
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Why do you want to divorce?
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Old 06-19-2014, 06:23 AM
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I'm glad that you had a nice time with your husband, CodeJob.

Soooo...here's what I think. When things are bad between my husband and I (see prior threads of mine, lol) I want divorce. When I'm not getting what I want I want divorce. It's not a constant feeling for me, it is actually kind of reactionary for me. What I try to keep in check now is whether the good times with my husband out weigh the bad, and I mean that in terms of frequency. As long as he isn't drinking we get along more times than not, 51% of the time or greater. There are still bad times but that's also normal for relationships. I also find that as I keep working on myself that the bad times are more easily halted before things go really South. I know you want an intimate and close relationship with your husband and if that isn't possible (like squeezing an orange and anticipating apple juice to come from it) then divorce may be the answer here.

Wanting to divorce someone doesn't mean you don't love them anymore or that you can't ever enjoy their company. Someone posted a link to a story about codependency here a while ago about how love isn't conditional but commitments are. Have you read that before? Kind of reminds me of what you're going through.

http://www.growingaware.com.au/FABLECODEPND.HTM
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Old 06-19-2014, 06:46 AM
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The heart is always far behind the brain when making big life decisions.

XXX
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Old 06-19-2014, 06:54 AM
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It was the first day you were married, but it sure wasn't the only day you've been married.
Don't all days count? So the sum of the days, to sum them up--what do they say as a whole?
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Old 06-19-2014, 08:56 AM
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Ignored red flags. Competition from beer and cigarettes. Losing him to his addiction. A child. Work. House. Routine. Moments of joy and peace. Moments of evil. Distance. Detachment. Silence. Lonely. ACOA ignorant twins.

RAH is 14 mo sober. His program is his own post rehab last spring with some step work and AA. No regular meetings and no sponsor or therapist. Not dry drunk but definitely caught in some patterns and unwilling to dig deep. To be honest I think he is still just trying to live each day sober and that is just where he is. I suspect one reason he is adamantly opposed to therapy is the risk of what it will uncover. I suspect there are secrets. Abuse, affairs, who knows, but I suspect there is a reason(s) emotions got buried that he refuses outright to acknowledge. He insisted he just liked to drink. But at the end, even he knew he was in he-- drinking. This cascade of events was already in motion when we got together.
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Old 06-19-2014, 09:06 AM
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Not dry drunk but definitely caught in some patterns and unwilling to dig deep. To be honest I think he is still just trying to live each day sober and that is just where he is. I suspect one reason he is adamantly opposed to therapy is the risk of what it will uncover.
Maybe this is what he needs right now. Maybe staying sober one day at a time is all he can handle right now. And so, maybe that is all you get right now.

happybeingme said marriage recovery takes a long time. I've heard that before. That before you can move on to that, you have to have worked on your own recovery. My beloved former coworker who's an RA was newly sober when we started working together. He was a miserable SOB for the first, oh, I don't know, maybe five years? It was like he was grieving his relationship with alcohol. He couldn't look forward because he was busy looking at what he had lost.

About 20 years after we worked together, I got a postcard from him and his wife, on vacation together in some tropical location. Said they were happy again, finally, and that they were both grateful that they had been able to stick it out through it all.

I remember thinking "25 years? She actually put up with him for 25 years before feeling like the marriage was a good marriage again? That's one persistent person."

I'm on my second marriage, and I sometimes think about what would happen if this husband descended into addiction. Not because it's likely but because it's my biggest fear (and I need to look that sucker straight in the face). Part of me thinks I would be that patient. And part of me thinks "I'm not ever doing that again."
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Old 06-19-2014, 10:02 AM
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Get to a Codependents Anonymous meeting if you can. I have only been going a short time but I feel I have found my people. I honestly feel that CODA is going to be the way to happiness for me, whether I find the right guy or not.

It will help with the inability to let go, the lingering feelings and moving on with love for yourself.

Can't hurt to just go to one meeting
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Old 06-19-2014, 10:35 AM
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Hi Purple,

I agree that CODA would potentially be a better fit for me. Especially since I am systematically digging through FOO as I work on me. In the past, there was not a meeting within 20 miles of me - but now there is! Maybe I can alternate T and this CODA meeting...

Thanks for this suggestion!
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Old 06-19-2014, 11:03 AM
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Originally Posted by lillamy View Post
Maybe this is what he needs right now. Maybe staying sober one day at a time is all he can handle right now. And so, maybe that is all you get right now.

happybeingme said marriage recovery takes a long time. I've heard that before. That before you can move on to that, you have to have worked on your own recovery. My beloved former coworker who's an RA was newly sober when we started working together. He was a miserable SOB for the first, oh, I don't know, maybe five years? It was like he was grieving his relationship with alcohol. He couldn't look forward because he was busy looking at what he had lost.

About 20 years after we worked together, I got a postcard from him and his wife, on vacation together in some tropical location. Said they were happy again, finally, and that they were both grateful that they had been able to stick it out through it all.

I remember thinking "25 years? She actually put up with him for 25 years before feeling like the marriage was a good marriage again? That's one persistent person."

I'm on my second marriage, and I sometimes think about what would happen if this husband descended into addiction. Not because it's likely but because it's my biggest fear (and I need to look that sucker straight in the face). Part of me thinks I would be that patient. And part of me thinks "I'm not ever doing that again."
This is my fear too. What if it happens again? I do tend to watch for things that could be red flags and hold his feet to the fire on things that normally I would let go and not even considered in the past. OUr communication is pretty good, but truthfully, what would I do if current squeeze went into A land? I would cut and run asap. No sticking around for rehab, therapy, etc, I would bail at the first major sign of real trouble. No hesitations. I have already seen that show....
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Old 06-19-2014, 11:56 AM
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That's a tough one CJ.

Ignored red flags. Competition from beer and cigarettes. Losing him to his addiction. A child. Work. House. Routine. Moments of joy and peace. Moments of evil. Distance. Detachment. Silence. Lonely. ACOA ignorant twins.
Reading this I have to ask, what about Love? You speak of moments of joy but that's not the same thing. I know we talk a lot around here about how feelings aren't real & we can't base our decisions on our emotions, but to me Love as an emotion has to exist in my marriage otherwise there is no point in being married. I can be happily single, I don't need a domestic partnership to feel complete.

Do you Love him? Are you In Love with him? If so, what are the things that you love about him? (no need to answer here....)

I ask because for me, this is what it comes down to. I can deal with RAH baby-stepping through recovery at his own pace because ultimately I truly, deeply love the silly SOB. I find him funny & fun to be around when we aren't mired in recovery-speak. I am still physically attracted to him on a huge level & we've managed to keep a strong sex life despite everything. I love his gentleness with children & animals & his incredible talent as a musician. I love when he gets out his acoustic guitar & sings to me on our back deck like we're at a private concert for 1. I love that makes me feel sexy & special & loved. I love a lot of things about him that were clouded or buried under his addiction & that the further he gets into recovery are starting to show through more brightly again. I love that he wants to be better & is striving for that even if he isn't a smashing success at it every step of the way.

At first I didn't know if or how much of his original self (or the better 2.0 version) would emerge, so it definitely started with me taking a big step back & looking at who he was through new eyes. It's an exercise in patience because I have to wait for him to reach his own awarenesses & observe how he goes forward with them in life.

That being said, when he hits a wall & stops making progress I find myself getting itchy & starting to reassess. (Like Stung, sometimes my automatic overreaction is to self-protect.... I'm outta here! This will never work!) I have learned to observe my own behavior & be patient until I am not reacting & then I try to open up the conversation about where I see room for improvement between us. I have to take that time so that I don't go after the situation like "You, you, you... need to make changes." I try to judge my own behavior first & I always ask him to let me know where I can improve on my side of things. It's hard - rebuilding trust hurts on both sides. I don't want to be a harda$$, but I'm not settling for less than I deserve either. Never again.

We just took a short vacation & when one of my good friends was going through the pics she paused at one of RAH where I caught him in the middle of a big belly laugh, playing with DD in the pool. She remarked that wow, it was so good to see parts of the "old" him shining through again, even if the stress of recovery sometimes gets him down. (and by stress of recovery I mean stuff like fixing the disaster of our financial situation, uncovering new "damage" from his past that needs addressed, etc....)

Not sure if this helps or hurts, I know I rambled on so sorry for that. Like I said, I know it's not a popular opinion to examine the emotion & in most cases I completely agree..... but it's also different when you stay in a relationship vs. leaving it. It's not perfect, but idk that any marriage is without complications of some sort.
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Old 06-19-2014, 12:09 PM
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Thank you, FireSprite, for that lovely, lovely post. If you come to your relationship with even half the fearlessness, honesty and generosity you show us here, good things are bound to happen!
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Old 06-19-2014, 12:18 PM
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Thanks Andrea, I think I could have summed it up more easily by saying, "for me love is what makes it worth staying & fighting for".

It's not enough on it's own so if it were the only "Pro" on my pro/con list, I'd be gone. It also doesn't "make up" for a lack of anything else, like respect or honesty. But when everything filters down & my pros/cons are running about even.... then I factor in the emotion.
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Old 06-19-2014, 12:22 PM
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Great post Firesprite! Good perspective and food for thought.
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Old 06-19-2014, 04:50 PM
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CJ, I'm sorry. I had a few such anniversaries myself. Don't discount the chemicals at work in your body. They really are sneaky.

This probably isn't helpful, but it feels like forever that you've been such a supportive wife. I can't imagine how difficult it is to be so patient with a husband who is trying in recovery...who isn't yet able to meet your needs and might never be. It seems like a really really tough spot.

Perhaps I'm fortunate that mine didn't really try.

However, even to the very end I still had those longings and all those same feelings when I was with him (through his ridiculous abusiveness). I've come to realize that the "love" there was more my love-- my chemicals, sentimentality, loyalty, compassion and trust working overtime-- not mutual love where my needs were remotely met. And when I was honest, they weren't truly met before his addictions became his focus. I accepted too little. My X isn't interested in healing his emotional issues, which left no room for me...but grieving the loss of my 20 year vision was really hard.

And if I'd had an ounce of what FireSprite has, I'd still probably be there!

Hugs to you. You are an amazing woman.
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Old 06-19-2014, 05:28 PM
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Originally Posted by POAndrea View Post
Thank you, FireSprite, for that lovely, lovely post. If you come to your relationship with even half the fearlessness, honesty and generosity you show us here, good things are bound to happen!
Agreeing here, too!

CJ, I understand the frustration. I was just looking at old pictures of us, too, and wondering why I was so happy in the pics. I was so used to accepting being treated poorly that I happily went along with it and that was just my life. I knew no different.

I wish I could say the same things that FireSprite said. I have a friend in recovery who loves her husband like that but when I told her about my story and we shared Al Anon notes on a road trip last year, she made it clear that her husband and mine were very different people. Despite her husband's addiction, he never disrespected her, he was kind and full of love for people, and he communicated with her while he was on his own road to recovery.

Every relationship is different and only you know what you want for you in this life. What is it that YOU want for you? I, personally, am still trying to answer that question myself. Sending you lots of support and love today! HUGS!
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