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Old 05-17-2019, 01:34 PM   #1 (permalink)
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moving soon, DS struggling


I cannot really believe it's all happening but I will be moving out and into my apartment this coming Monday. Everything feels so hazy, but underneath it all, I feel really glad to be getting out of this relationship even as I still struggle in the fog of thoughts - that maybe he really isn't an alcoholic, maybe he's right that I am just not happy which I say is true because of his drinking but maybe I'm just not in any case, maybe he really is the stable one, maybe he really does have his s&^( together and I'm just making too big a deal about some wine and beer - but I will not base my actions on these thoughts. I have deliberately worked through my reasons for leaving and I know it is right. I am trusting my true inner self.

Aside from all that, I am really struggling on how to support my older son who is 11, through this move. He is just a ball or anger/frustration/confusion over moving out of this house and neighborhood into an apartment. I just find myself not knowing what to say to him. He has always been emotionally kind of locked up, if that makes any sense. I think at least some of it is because of how STBXAH has always reacted to him since he was a toddler - he has always tried to shut down DS's moments of frustration and anger with equal or greater anger and frustration. Not sure how great of job I've done but I've always tried to approach my kids' big emotions with empathy and reassurance - I haven't been perfect. But STBXAH has *I think literally* never responded to older son's anger or frustration with any empathy or understanding - he's always responded with a harsh shut down. I see now that DS is not too well equipped emotionally to handle this big life event. I do know he is resilient - maybe once we get moved in he will feel more at peace.

I am hoping to make our new place really peaceful and cozy, with interesting spaces created for comfort and relaxing - like we're getting a porch swing, super-soft blankets for cuddling up on the sofa, beautiful art, I'm getting them each their own bunk beds so they can have space for their friends to spend the night, getting a rocking chair for the living room. You know, cozy stuff like that.

I hope these little things, combined with a less tense environment, will help them both be well and peaceful. I know I can't make my kids happy, but I hope that what I am doing will help them be well and whole.
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Old 05-17-2019, 02:13 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Alakid/Alateen.

An amazing program.

Therapy with someone who understands him. Who gets this. This family disease of alcoholism is counterintuitive.

You sound like you're hanging in there!! Way to go, Mom. Big kudos.
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Old 05-17-2019, 02:16 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Reminder: as there are peaceful, quiet safe spaces, there can be many emotions that have been waiting to be expressed. Sometimes they can come out sideways, quietly, or volcanic.

It's going to be okay. ((((hugs))))

A sandbox for raking designs, stacking pebbles and small rocks, pouring water into, etc. can be great therapy for kids and adults.
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Old 05-17-2019, 02:58 PM   #4 (permalink)
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one of the best things you can do is just LET your son have a full spectrum of emotions. now, there needs to be limits - he can't tackle the refrigerator, or beat the stuffing out of a sibling - but he does need to know it's OK to have feelings and to express them. family counseling or a child therapist could be invaluable at this time.

it's going to be a turbulent time - changing houses. even in the BEST of circumstances there is unrest. and where IS the toilet paper????

you are doing well with the transition, focused on creating a new safe place of sanity and respite. it will take time for everyone to adjust.
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Old 05-17-2019, 05:42 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I spent 3 days this week in a family program where my adult
son is in rehab. The main focus, besides intro and into alanon
and education about the family disease of alcoholism was
communication. Healthy communication in a home with active
alcoholism is pretty much irradicated. Learning healthy ways
for your son to communicate his feelings would be like putting
an oxygen mask on him on a turbulent plane that is losing
cabin pressure. . You would all benefit immensely from family therapy with someone trained in addiction. The sooner the better.
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Old 05-18-2019, 04:24 AM   #6 (permalink)
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communication will help him tremendously.empathy and reassurance are good but its even better for him to learn what the effect on him is that is leading to the anger,frustration,and confusion. people dont get angry,frustrated, or cunfused without something internal happening. could be fears, self pity,insecurity,low self esteem...many other things it could be that all have solutions.
perse, you say hes not well equipped emotionally so ya have to help him learn the why of everything going on inside. safe spaces,sand boxes,stacking stones and all that dont address the problems - they reaffirm that its ok to have them and keep having them.
like giving a dog a treat when theyre behaving bad- its telling the dog its ok to behave bad.
that porch swing- ive had some awesome conversations on them. learned a lot about myself through those conversations.
there has to be communication with him. he is 11 and along with whats going on in both of your lives, hes ready to hit puberty.
pull the seatbelt on tight for that alone!
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Old 05-18-2019, 06:46 AM   #7 (permalink)
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safe spaces,sand boxes,stacking stones and all that

Combined with Ala-kid/Alateen/Al-Anon Family Groups is simply my experience, strength and hope. These are things that helped kid and I in many ways. I could have worded that much better. I didn't. I'm human. I'm learning.
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Old 05-18-2019, 06:55 AM   #8 (permalink)
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[QUOTE=PerSe;7186776]I cannot really believe it's all happening but I will be moving out and into my apartment this coming Monday. Everything feels so hazy, but underneath it all, I feel really glad to be getting out of this relationship even as I still struggle in the fog of thoughts - that maybe he really isn't an alcoholic, maybe he's right that I am just not happy which I say is true because of his drinking but maybe I'm just not in any case, maybe he really is the stable one, maybe he really does have his s&^( together and I'm just making too big a deal about some wine and beer - but I will not base my actions on these thoughts. I have deliberately worked through my reasons for leaving and I know it is right. I am trusting my true inner self.

PerSe, I could have written that entire first paragraph. Sending you big hugs and strength. Don't forget that you deserve to be happy too, not just exist in your relationship with AH. Your son's well being is affected by your own sense of calm and well being.
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Old 05-18-2019, 08:45 AM   #9 (permalink)
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congratulations

Having your own space will be wonderful. I'm proud of you!😁
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Old 05-20-2019, 06:10 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Thank you all for the supportive and thoughtful replies. Yes, Alateen/Alakid - Iíll start looking for nearby meetings. Iím also starting to look into the topic of communication within alcoholic families. In a quick glance at a list of common traits of alcoholic family communication I recognized them all to one degree or another. I always knew we had lots of unspoken communication and repressed thoughts/feelings, but I think the topic - the patterns, the habits, the trends - is a lot deeper than I ever realized. Or maybe on some level I did and that is a big part of why Iím leaving.

Today is is the day. Movers are coming soon. It will be my first night in the new place.

I spent all all of yesterday meandering about in F.O.G.(fear, obligation, guilt) while packing up things and thinking of how today, the actual moving out, will be such a significant milestone in the ending of this relationship. Enough to ensure I was completely distraught all day. At some point I had the realization that I have grieved, thought through, reasoned, pondered, wrestled with, and anguished enough. Itís over. I donít need to answer that desperately persistent question of whether he is an alcoholic. I am not responsible for his pain management. Iím moving. Literally. And it really is time to move on in my head too. Heís not going to make some Hail Mary plea here at the end and commit to recovery. And Iím not going to keep living with a heavy alcohol user.
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Old 05-20-2019, 07:23 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Good luck today! One moment at a time.
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Old 05-20-2019, 07:33 AM   #12 (permalink)
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I've shared this stuff before, so I'm going to copy/paste instead of recreating my words; please forgive my laziness today.


Quote:
Originally Posted by FireSprite View Post
As an ACOA, I put a lot of faith in the Brene Brown Parenting Manifesto. It isn't written from a perspective of recovery, but I find that all the things it discusses do recovery-like things..... like holding ME accountable for my words & actions first & foremost. (and I tell everyone, this is crucial - you HAVE to be willing to hold yourself accountable in order to lead them in creating that for themselves) The habits & traits that it helps encourage defy codependency, IMO:



The Wholehearted Parenting Manifesto (Brene Brown)

Above all else, I want you to know that you are loved and lovable. You will learn this from my words and actions--the lessons on love are in how I treat you and how I treat myself.

I want you to engage with the world from a place of worthiness. You will learn that you are worthy of love, belonging, and joy every time you see me practice self-compassion and embrace my own imperfections.

We will practice courage in our family by showing up, letting ourselves be seen, and honoring vulnerability. We will share our stories of struggle and strength. There will always be room in our home for both.

We will teach you compassion by practicing compassion with ourselves first; then with each other. We will set and respect boundaries; we will honor hard work, hope, and perseverance. Rest and play will be family values, as well as family practices.

You will learn accountability and respect by watching me make mistakes and make amends, and by watching how I ask for what I need and talk about how I feel.

I want you to know joy, so together we will practice gratitude.

I want you to feel joy, so together we will learn how to be vulnerable.

When uncertainty and scarcity visit, you will be able to draw from the spirit that is a part of our everyday life.

Together we will cry and face fear and grief. I will want to take away your pain, but instead I will sit with you and teach you how to feel it.

We will laugh and sing and dance and create. We will always have permission to be ourselves with each other. No matter what, you will always belong here.

As you begin your Wholehearted journey, the greatest gift that I can give to you is to live and love with my whole heart and to dare greatly.

I will not teach or love or show you anything perfectly, but I will let you see me, and I will always hold sacred the gift of seeing you. Truly, deeply, seeing you.

Quote:
Originally Posted by FireSprite View Post
I have it posted in our kitchen so that I keep it top-of-mind. Her website has great .pdfs of it that you can print off if you would like (it's listed under "Posters"). DD has a copy hanging in her bedroom.

Downloads - Brenť Brown

She has a great saying that I always come back to, "Are you, right now, the adult you want your child to be when they grow up?" (I've heard it put this way too - "be the adult you needed when you were a kid".)

I do want to say, for the record, for all reading, that I know this is challenging at best & impossible at worst when your family is still in the throes of active addiction. (That lack of control thing again.)

Being an ACOA myself I can tell you that the most appreciated thing is honesty & transparency in an age-appropriate way. Don't tell your children things are great when they can hear/see/feel you struggling. That's a lie & they know it no matter how "white" of a lie you think it is. Our kids are hard-wired to respond to our emotional grid in the absence of being able to use a lot of verbal expression- they know you better than you know yourself, lol. If there's an elephant in the room, call it an elephant - don't play semantics with labels & definitions.

The thing we parents sometimes lose sight of is that the Fear of a thing is almost always worse than the Thing Itself.... so take away the fear anytime you can. Talk to your kids, talk them through their fears & then actively listen to what they share with you. Teach them that feelings are OK, even bad ones! You aren't a bad person for having bad feelings & you can't erase them by stuffing them down inside either.

Give them tools to use in life, essentially, & keep adding to that toolbox as they grow when you find things that resonate for them. Teach them to fish, emotionally, so that they never starve!

Quote:
Originally Posted by FireSprite
My best suggestion is just giving them honesty (in age-appropriate talk) & being prepared for it to be many, MANY conversations.... not just one. I've always found that DD needed time to think & marinate on the things we talked about, and that it always left her with more questions later. It was important that she understood I truly meant it when I said that I had an open door policy for her to ask anything. Sometimes the only answer I had was, "I need some time to think about that really great question you just asked..." and then I made sure I DID get back to her, and not just brush it off. It helped me to understand her struggle by asking her the same question back before answering, "Well, what do you think? What do you observe about x, y, z?" That gives her room to call the truths out in a safe space without fear.

I also had to remind her that me being honest meant that sometimes that answer really WAS "I don't know". Not because I'm trying to avoid, but because I was navigating new waters too & didn't always know the way myself. I could promise to come back to her when I had it more figured out, lol. I also showed her that I didn't always have my crap together in all of this either -that it took me off guard at times & it was normal for her to feel that way too.

We talk about addiction as a whole, not just related to alcohol. We talk about drugs, gambling, sex, food - any kind of numbing behavior that can be used to hide or filter emotions. We also talk as openly about recovery & how so many people are affected more than we can see on the surface of what we know - I can't tell you how many times DD has been able to be there for other kids at school or in a club, when crisis occurs in their worlds, just by listening & letting them know that they aren't alone.
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Old 05-20-2019, 07:39 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PerSe View Post

Today is is the day. Movers are coming soon. It will be my first night in the new place.

I spent all all of yesterday meandering about in F.O.G.(fear, obligation, guilt) while packing up things and thinking of how today, the actual moving out, will be such a significant milestone in the ending of this relationship. Enough to ensure I was completely distraught all day. At some point I had the realization that I have grieved, thought through, reasoned, pondered, wrestled with, and anguished enough. It’s over. I don’t need to answer that desperately persistent question of whether he is an alcoholic. I am not responsible for his pain management. I’m moving. Literally. And it really is time to move on in my head too. He’s not going to make some Hail Mary plea here at the end and commit to recovery. And I’m not going to keep living with a heavy alcohol user.
Don't forget to give yourself time & space too - our kids definitely need us but in very stressful times like these it's a Win just getting through some days without things degenerating further.... just getting the To-Do list tackled & everybody fed can be A LOT. Sometimes Our Very Best is just holding steady & that's ok. It took a long time to get to this place that you are all at but you won't stay there forever.

Best of luck with everything today!!
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Old 05-20-2019, 07:57 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Two thoughts as I remember where I've been with this (leaving, stress, kids, little sleep, etc.):

1) God tends to work with my small amounts of sleep in amazing ways. Maybe I'm more willing on a deep level to lean into my Higher Power's help.

2) Music, tears, joyfulness are all okay. Points of joy are healing, wherever they are found. Seeing even tiny ones and saying or thinking "Thank you, God!" creates new awareness inside me.

New Soul song.
"I'm a new soul
I came to this strange world
hoping I could learn a bit
about how to give and take.


https://youtu.be/6OmbjjWVhko

Prayers and blessings are with you and your family today.
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Old 05-20-2019, 08:13 AM   #15 (permalink)
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I know it's hard, but time does heal many things. I am betting your DS will come to enjoy the peace of your space, he just has to realize it.

Big hugs!
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Old 05-20-2019, 09:45 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Your first night in your new place, look how far you have come Perse, that's really amazing.

I think one of the toughest things is not knowing how you will feel and just "be" in your new surroundings/situation. That's ok, it is actually going to be fine it just takes (as is said here often) time!

Having a child or children to address as well makes it even harder, of course, but as Firesprite so wisely said, just getting the moving done and getting everyone fed is sometimes enough.

It's hard, this whole thing for you has been hard and I hope you realize the courage you have in carrying through. I hope the move goes really well today and you can sit down tonight in your new, peaceful place and have a sigh of relief.

Again, it will take time to adjust but I hope you do feel that peacefulness today.

Please let us know how it goes.
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Old 05-20-2019, 02:44 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Maybe.....make it a pizza and ice cream night!
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