Old 04-03-2007, 06:59 AM
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Question Aa/na

I read this statement from a recovering person, to a new comer on the other board, and it really bugged me! It is exactly why I feel AA/NA programs are as bad for marriages/relationships, as using. This is the exact quote:

”Oh, and re: your wife, if she is not an alcoholic/addict, nothing against her, but she will never understand. Ever. She is not "one of us".

This is the feeling of exclusion, that drives us all so crazy when our a’s are active. We search for the truth like crazed detectives trying to find out, where they go, what they do, and why… because we desperately want to “understand”, …so that we can feel emotionally close to our partner.

If they are being told in recovery that, “You wife doesn’t understand you” (That tired old “cheaters” line!), and she NEVER will…well no wonder there are so many affairs that begin inside those rooms!

Why be with someone you can never truly *know* even when their sober?

Would you really be comfortable with your partner going to meetings and being told that you don't understand them and you never will?

If the recovery program is just going to drive another wedge between you, replacing the old one, why bother staying together?

Maybe the program "Works"...But it also works against families imo!

I think changes in the 12 step platform, in this area, is long over due.

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Old 04-03-2007, 07:09 AM
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Recovering pill addict here. I understand how that statement would bother u but how can u truly understand something that u havent experienced? I mean I have never went through labor so I dont understand the pain people talk about. I have never raised children so I dont truly understand the pain of having one of your children turn to drugs and become an addict. There are things that people who arent an addict cant understand. For some its as simple as just stop and get on with your life already. If it were only that easy.

When I got clean my fiance thought he could leave his pills laying around the house and I wouldnt want them. Ah not the case. The seduction of the pill bottle is too much for me to walk away from. The cravings the constant need to "feel" different to "escape" and just get that of so great buzz. That is something that he couldnt understand cause hes not an addict. He thought since I was clean I didnt want to use. NOt true. I would use this day if I could well maybe. Its a constant struggle not to give into the cravings that take over ALL your thoughts and almost controls u. Its a struggle to get the chemicals right in the brain again so u can function without the drugs.

Yes maybe u can never understand what goes through an addicts mind and how it controls us until we control it. U can learn all u can and try to understand what its like. If u havent been through something how can u really truly understand it? I am sorry if this sounds mean but I dont intend it to be that way. Just like I will never understand the pain I caused the people that I loved I as an addict thought I was just affecting me and couldnt see what was going on around me. I dated a crack addict for a long time I wasnt an addict then so I couldnt understand why I couldnt love him clean or how a drug could control a person that way. It was only after I became an addict did I understand those things. JMHO.
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Old 04-03-2007, 07:10 AM
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JSM, what someone who is in the AA/NA program says often does not represent what the program teaches.

The founders of Alanon were Lois and Anne, the wives of Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob (the founders of AA). Originally the families met at the same meeting as the alcoholics and it became apparent after some time that the spouses could use a program of their own. In those days, the alcoholics were mainly men although there were women in the original 100 I believe. There is a chapter in the AA Big Book that is called "To the Wives" which addresses exactly this.

I don't totally agree with what that person you mention said, but I do agree that I will never be able to completly understand what it is like to be an addict. I understand as much as I can from reading and researching and speaking to other recovering addicts, but until I have walked in those shoes, I just cannot know 100%. I also cannot know what it would be like to be blind, and I thank God that I can't.

Also, I believe that we are excluded when our addicts are active because we don't approve and would try to stop them. The alternative, joining them, has been tried by more than one codie and that is a very dangerous approach.

I don't know if you have been to any Alanon or Naranon or CoDA meetings, but perhaps you might find them helpful in dealing with all that you are. I know that meetings literally saved my life and promise you that they will help you too.

I hope this doesn't come across as argumentative, it's not my intention. I just hear too often words from a member off AA as being representative of the program, and that isn't always so.

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Old 04-03-2007, 07:16 AM
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sorry that you have this perception of what might be meant here, and your perception may be valid, but, being a recovering addict working on my codieism, i think that this statement is so true and i feel that it may not have been meant to harm anyone or any relationship, if anything, to help.

i feel that a fellow recoverying addict can better understand what an addict feels personally and better understand how drugs effect the addict that a non user. you just can't know what its like being an addict unless you been there.

its like how can you understand what cancer feels like unless you've had it.

a recovering addict can also help a newly recovering addict better understand the effects their addiction has had on their families.

it is common for a newly recoverying addict to think that as soon as they go into rehab, the world automatically turns back to where it was before addiction and that the love ones should be able to too. never mind all the chaos and destruction that they've cause to love ones and friends, they think that "hey, i'm not using now, shouldn't you be happy and forget how bad i treated you last wk". the addict have to learn to accept the damage, and learn that it is now/then after rehab to learn that its not all about how they feel at the moment, that they have to consider the damaged caused and know that your love ones are now needing the understanding that they so freely offered the addict.

what better way to help the addict to understand the destruction that they have created for themself and others, than a fellow recovering addict.

just like here a recoverying codie, can better tell me better understand what its like living with an addict than the addict himself. now i don't know how to make this make sense, so lets see how the others respond to this. sorry that you feel this way, i care.
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Old 04-03-2007, 07:33 AM
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There's plenty of OPEN meetings at AA/NA.
Anyone can attend OPEN meetings...anyone.
There are no rules in AA or NA...imagain that.

I wish more family members would attend these meetings,
so they would understand. Some family members do attend them in my area.
AA/NA is not out to drive a wedge between family.

Content prior to investigations

It is common that family members thinks if the addict/alki
attend AA/NA , rehab that they will get FIXED or cured
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Old 04-03-2007, 07:54 AM
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Your not the first one to post this. Many people early in recovery do cheat with people in the program because they are not working the steps to begin with and are looking for something to replace the drugs and or alcohol. I wouldnt blame it on AA/NA though. It happens just as much in rehab too. If someone is going to have an affair, they will do it with or without 12 step meetings. If they are faithful and can be trusted to begin with, it shouldnt matter. I wouldnt waste my time with someone I couldnt trust.
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Old 04-03-2007, 07:59 AM
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Sobriety does not immediatly bring sanity.

I've seen LOTS of using behaviors LONG into the sober years.

I agree with Satit - go to the open meetings. And if your spouse won't share his program with you, then find some Alanon meetings on the same nights, and every time he goes, you go.

You can have the commonality of 12-step without attending each other's meetings. Many conferences are AA/Alanon. You can travel to them together, listen to the speaker meetings together. There is much in program that can be shared.

But by the time someone gets to 12-step, there has been a TON of damage. And (this is my opinion here!) I believe it takes 100% from each person to help fix that damage and I think it can take quite a long time.

Time takes time.

But there is an investment in the relationship... for me, it is worth it to TRY to fix the broken one than go out and get another....

I wish you the best ((hugs))
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Old 04-03-2007, 08:11 AM
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I can definitely relate to your frustration, JSM. Addicts often act as if they are entitled to use because they are soooo special, and that attitude drives their families and friends up a wall. When they are actively using, they do idiotic things no sane person would ever do and rationalize ("I know what I'm doing!" ...ergh!) "You just don't understand" sounds like the kinds of things my addict would say as she maxed out another credit card, and that drove me bats*** crazy.

But the truth is there are lots of things I'll never truly understand about my addict--and about all of the people in my life, from my parents to my neighbors and friends. That doesn't mean a loving/trusting relationship is impossible. What's important to me is not understanding--at least in the sense of knowing all about why she did this or that stupid thing--so much as compassion. Both AA and Naranon help me to enlarge my spiritual life, and that, to me, means enlarging my ability to forgive, and to *let go* when necessary--of my desire to control my addict, of my need to hear her apologize repeatedly, and even of my need to believe that I understand.

I'll never understand why drugs took over her entire life, and she'll never understand why I can't touch alcohol. But we can, and do, forgive.
And I'm not saying this so I can sound like some enlightened being--it's hard work, and I often don't do it well. day at a time, as they say!
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Old 04-03-2007, 09:04 AM
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I know when my exah is about to relapse....I know when he is going through a craving....I know who he goes to for his drugs....I know when he is not going to show even when he says he is....I know when he is clean....I know when he is using....I know what state he is in just by talking to him on the phone....I know which days he chooses to disappear....I know....I know all of this....

I have educated myself on drugs, the lure of drugs, cravings and what causes them, triggers, how his mind reacts to them. I've watched the HBO series on addiction (very informative-by the way) and understand all of that knowledge that I have gained from reading and watching and I can say with the utmost confidence that despite all of that I will never ever understand why he can't stop using cocaine and crack.

I understand how addictive they are but I can not for the life of me understand why after all that he has lost why he can not stop. I will never understand how strong the cravings are and why he follows the demand of his cravings instead of the logic of what doing the drug will do to him and his loved ones.

Yes we become the greatest of detectives in the life of our addict. We want to know everything so that we may understand that we may know why they continue to choose their drug over us, over their children, over their parents.....

Unfortunately, IMHO...I believe if we haven't lived it and breathed it like our addicts have, we could never truly know it and understand it in it's truest sense we could only understand and know the concept of the knowledge that we obtain. Just like they will never understand and know the hurt, frustration, pain, sadness, heartbreak that we are put through, in its truest sense.
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Old 04-03-2007, 09:54 AM
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mmm...If you're like me and you're GF relapsed
You understand the pain very, very will.
Payback is a bitch, However I do have a deeper
understanding of step# 8 and #9.

I'm currently work on the 12 steps from a
codi piont of view. And i do understand better
on how I can hurt an addict...imagain that.

Working on my co-dependency also help me relized
that I need to get well and work my program , clean up
my mess without emmeshing. It wouldn't matter
if I stay with my current GF or find a new mate.
I simply would find a person that's about as sick as I am
and i wouldn't be attracted to a person that's more well than
me. If i didn't change , my life wouldn't change.

The more I know the less i know. Live and learn I guess
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Old 04-03-2007, 09:59 AM
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You just have to trust. You can sit around moping that one day they will have an affair with someone in the room. It doesn't do any good. However, if your spose does end up cheating, kick them to curb and go get an attorney and take em for all they are worth. Don't buy into their blame games, addiction etc made me do it. Once they cross that line, they are not worth having around. Even with children, the kids are better off not being around such scum in the long run.
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Old 04-03-2007, 10:03 AM
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Thanks to everyone, for your comments, I like hearing about all of your experiences!

I wasn’t asking whether, or not, partners *know* addiction, like addicts do,

(Although I personally believe, being addicted to an addict is the same exact thing, we chase them, they chase drugs…addiction is addiction, imho)…

It’s just been my experience, (and I have had, a boat load of alcoholics/addicts in my family of origin, and in my personal life…), that AA/NA programs are, in fact, alienating to partners, and encourages group loyalty at the expense of family. Drug Buddies had them, heart and soul, before, and now Recovery Buddies do. Whats the difference? (Besides the obvious.).

Who wants that kind of a relationship?

I realize everyone will say that recovering addicts must put recovery before everything/one, and that’s true enough, but statements like, ”she will never, ever, understand you, she is not one of us.”, goes a little too far, I think, and does nothing to foster closeness and understanding between couples.

I've seen too many partners stick around long enough, to see their a's fall in love with a Recovery Buddy, not to question the wisdom of staying in a relationship with someone you will "never understand".

I've been to anough AA meeting to see that, while some groups are a little more "Family Freindly", many are not, and some are down right...shall we say...Un-welcoming!
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Old 04-03-2007, 10:09 AM
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mmm..they don't call them 90 days wonders
without reasons..ya know

You might also try looking in the ACOC section.
It help me a lot. I'm one of those
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Old 04-03-2007, 01:53 PM
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"The founders of Alanon were Lois and Anne, the wives of Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob (the founders of AA)."

Yes, and its a well know fact, that Bill, cheated on his wife throughout his entire life. He's considered by many to have been a "sex Addict".
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Old 04-03-2007, 02:06 PM
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Your experience is that AA/NA actually drives partners apart. I certainly can't argue with your experience, but mine is different.

In my Alanon group, we have many "double winners", we also have a good number of spouses who are actively attending open AA meetings... not necessarily those of their spouse. In fact, much of the spouses time is spent working... on the spouse.

Because we are raised in chaos, often in alcholic or otherwise dysfunctional homes, many of us in Alanon NEED the program as much as the alcoholic. We need the introspection to become aware that some of us do not have all the answers. For me, this is especially true.

It is possible for two people to be so SELF involved, they cannot include their partners, but in my groups that is frowned on.

Perhaps you can try some other groups, at other times or locations. Each group has a "personality", and some locations actually have a "flavor" to them.

In my town, the local 12-step club has the most meetings of anywhere around... and the least amount of long-term recovery and good amount of "sick meetings".

However, many of the local "church meetings" are just the opposite.

Just another idea... ((hugs))
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Old 04-03-2007, 02:22 PM
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Thanks, I agree with you about some meetings being…well…healthier, than others. I attended quite a few at the MDA in Needham. It was a phenomenal group. I was a friend of the director, who hosted the meetings there, and would often help her set-up/clean-up, so I sat in on many a meeting. It definetly had a certain *flavor* (like you mentioned).

You could just feel it in the walls, floorboards, and the very AIR, inside that building.

Wish they all could be like that.
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Old 04-03-2007, 02:22 PM
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pretty new to al anon - my experience is completely different - it's bringing my family so much closer because we learn to focus on ourselves and the things we can change - regarding ourselves - it takes away the futility - i, myself would NEVER want to understand what it's like to be an addict - it makes my head spin to even try and imagine what goes through an addicts head - but al anon has taught me that it makes no difference what's going on with the addict - i have no control over anyone other than my self - when i worry about myself the rest of my life falls into place - it is a blessing for my family - and my family is my life - but now my life is more in balance because i'm putting effort into myself - still spend almost 24/7 with my family but with a whole new way of thinking - a wonderful way of thinking - as someone above mentioned - it's like having cancer - unless you've been through that experience you can't imagine what it's like - and that's ok - but you can never judge others for feeling the way they feel - it will come back to bite you in the a$$...

take what you like and leave the rest...

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Old 04-03-2007, 03:00 PM
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Well i think early in recovery some many addicts ook for other addict for support. when someone is not strong in their recovery they are subject to follow the urges (it is not an excuse) but some people are better off with addict and some people are better off with non- addicts. it all depends on the person.

in my experiences with the programs na-anon it has brought me and my rabf closer because we are able to share in our recovery. But i will be honest went i started to really enjoy going to groups and my rabf did get jealous and you know what. because of us working our programs we were able to talk about it and reassure each other how/where we are at as a couple. i don't think the programs are building a wedge between spouse/ significant others.

maybe if one percieves it as a wedge there might be other issue in the relationship that may need to be worked on, talked about, or changed. who knows??

My god i never ever want to understand my rabf's addiction issues those are his. and i hope and pray that he never has to go throught what i went throught loving an addict.

i learned that we are all at war against addiction addicts and nonaddict alike. just because i have on a green uniform and you have on a blue one doesn't mean we can't help out and be supportive of each other.

peace :^)
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Old 04-03-2007, 07:20 PM
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It is a good question. The fact is that if you are not an addict, then you don't understand. This doesn't mean you can't be there for him, support his successes and be a wife and friend.
What difference is it that you don't understand, feel, know, what it's like to be an addict? Would it be a good thing if you did?
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Old 04-03-2007, 07:40 PM
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Tonight in NarAnon we were talking about how we will never understand what an addict goes through. We have spouses of addicts in our group. They work the program together, but just a little different. In both groups you go through the 12 steps. I will never know how an addict feels when they get high, or when they try to get sober, since I have never done drugs. I did detox once from prescripition meds that the doctors took me off of to quickly. It is a feeling that I would never want to go through again, so I can understand the sweats, and shakes, but not the rest.
The addict will never know how we feel unless they become involved with an addict when they are clean.
The program is not trying to drive a wedge between families, only other addicts are.
This is just my thoughts.
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