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About memories, anger and forgiveness

Old 04-14-2007, 07:07 PM
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About memories, anger and forgiveness

I still have memories that pop into my head and cause emotions that range from total rage to absolute disgust. I had several significant memories that would hurt me as much as they did the day they happened, so I would try to push them out of my mind because I hated that sick feeling in the pit of my stomach that those memories brought back. But, shoving them down didn't work so well.

Now, when I have one of those memories, I don't try to shove it back down where it came from. I try to let myself feel it and then I try to let the pain go. It doesn't usually completely work the first time, so when it comes to mind again, I repeat the process. Some of the worst ones I don't know if I will ever completely be able to let go of, the hurt was just too deep. But I am much more at peace than I used to be.

It really is basically grieving for the relationship that I wanted so desperately to believe that I had, and accepting the fact that it really never was. And forgiving myself for staying way too long trying to turn it into what I wanted.

For me, another thing that has helped me to start to get past the anger-and believe me I had (have) plenty of it-was choosing to forgive EXAH. I had to learn to see him as a very sick man who is totally out of control, and one I certainly would not want to trade places with. I have my sanity; he doesn't.

Thiis choice to forgive him was not for his benefit. I did it for me, to stop allowing all of it to eat away at me. It really seemed to be the last stronghold of control that he had over me, the rage that that those horrible memories brings to the surface. It certainly wasn't hurting him; it was only hurting me.

In forgiving, I am not forgetting that he abused me for years. But at the same time I am not letting the anger that I felt toward him define who I am any longer.

Whoever came up with the idea 'forgive and forget' obviously never loved anyone like my EXAH. I used to think that if I forgave him, that meant I had to forget whatever it was and continue in the relationship.

I no longer believe that God desires for me to forget. His word tells me to forgive, but in multiple places He also tells me to 'remember'. I believe He desires for me to remember so I will no longer put myself in danger. If I don't remember, I can't learn a better way.

In forgiving EXAH, in no way am I saying it was ok for him to treat me and my kids the way he did (still does...). And I most certainly will never trust him again. I decided several months ago to 'guard my heart' against his abuse. It wasn't easy but it is definitely worth it!

None of us will ever be the same person we were before addiction came into our lives. In many ways, though, we can actually be better for the experience. Like forgiveness, what we take from the experience is our choice.

It would be easy to become bitter and lose all hope that life could ever be any better. Or.....

We can have compassion on others that are stuck on the roller coaster; we can reach out and try to share what we have been through and perhaps save someone else from not only self-destruction but from doing all the wrong things in an effort to 'help' their addicts. We can let others know that they are not alone and that we understand their pain. I believe that in doing these things, we receive healing for our own hearts as a bonus.

I first saw this compassion when I came here; it gave me a hope I didn't think exisited. And that's what I love about the SR family!

((((HUGS))))
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Old 04-14-2007, 07:29 PM
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I so needed to read this today. I will save this. Thank you!
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Old 04-14-2007, 07:34 PM
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this is Awesome.
Thank you, and I will send my love becaouse this post, and this sharing have earned it.

I am at this place you have described.. not as far into it as you are, but at the gate.

thank you again, so very much.
((((Duet))))
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Old 04-14-2007, 07:38 PM
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Wow....that's good recovery!
I especially like what you shared about forgiveness. Staying in that place of bitterness is so destructive for me that I know I don't have the option of not forgiving. Resentment is like constantly reliving the pain- and when I stay there, that pain becomes amplified. It's bad enough to feel it once, I choose to try my best to move on and let it go-even if I have to 'fake it til I make it.'
Recovery like yours is not easy but so worth the effort!
Thank you for sharing.
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Old 04-14-2007, 07:42 PM
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I will never understand why someone would live with a practicing alcoholic--I've lived with 2 and I joined them---then I became the bad person..Today I'm not wiling to live with another drunk...If I'm sober I refuse to live with a drunk-------why would non-drinkers live with a drunk...I dont understand--If a person is an alcoholic then You are not that important to them------GET A LIFE---------I am an alcoholic---If no one will tolerate me--I live alone or quit......If the alcoholic makes the choice to drink---WHY ARE U THERE
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Old 04-14-2007, 08:17 PM
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Originally Posted by wezzy55 View Post
------GET A LIFE---------I am an alcoholic---If no one will tolerate me--I live alone or quit......If the alcoholic makes the choice to drink---WHY ARE U THERE
I'm not quite sure what it is you are trying to say here. The only reason any of us were 'there' is because we loved someone, and many of us had or have long-standing relationships and many have children. It may not have been a healthy realtionship, but it was what it was and we love(d) the other person.

What we are all doing here is just that-we are trying to 'get a life'. We are trying to become healthy inside ourselves.

Some of us choose to leave our addict; some of us don't. Some of us are parents of addicts and are doing the best we can to love our kids without losing ourselves in the process.
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Old 04-14-2007, 08:24 PM
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Sorry didnt mean to offend---as I said I'm an alcoholic--my husband is in prison for driinking-------he wants to come home--I love him --but if I'm to get better I cant do it with him------Its not about love---Its about living-------didnt mean no bad feelings-----
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Old 04-14-2007, 08:33 PM
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I ws really angry at him for a long time---then had to remember what my part in the relationship was---why did I hang on????? I used to tell him "LOVE DOESNT HURT" now i'm out of the forest and can see the trees-----------the first time I told him LOVE DOESNT HURT--should have kicked him out ------but I didnt---today I see my part in the picture-------If this doeslnt apply-----let it fly-----------
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Old 04-14-2007, 09:08 PM
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Originally Posted by wezzy55 View Post
but if I'm to get better I cant do it with him------
Realizing this is the first step to taking back your life.

No offense taken, dear! We are all in this together; that's what makes this such a special place.

Hang in there! ((((HUGS)))))
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Old 04-15-2007, 05:54 AM
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Hi Wezzy55! I don't believe we have met?

I married an alcoholic. He had been sober for years. I had no idea he ever had a drinking problem. Two years into the relationship he started to drink.. and I was in the situation for another 16 years. My XH was also mentally ill.

I had a dariy farm and I truly loved the farm and my animals... and there were a bunch. I was afraid if I left he would not care for them and I did not have the legal power to sell them. Finally the cows went and then two years later the heifers went and I sold my horses and left.

After several suicide attempts, hospitalizations, rehabs etc. after I left, he ended up in a mental hospital. We had been divorced just under 2 years when he died there of a massive heart attack.

I also had a relatoinship with a drug addict. He said he was sober and he seemed to be. We were in a reltaionship for 5 years.. and then got a house together. Sober he was not.. as I discovered when he was moving out.

I too will never have another relationship with an addict or an alcoholic. My choice is to not travel this path again.

However, I had/have no children. I do not come from a family where addiction or alcoholism was evident. I had one Uncle who was an alcoholic but he lived miles away and I rarely saw him.

Sometimes folks fall in love with someone and that person is sober.. and later they start using.. and that using leads to raging addiction. Walking away is not always the choice they want to make, and, after all, that is their choice.

I am not living humbly I judge their choices. I may not agree with their choices, but I must leave them their own dignity to make them. If they ask for help or if I can help with my experiences, I offer that. the choice is still their choice. I respect that.

Congratulations on your sobriety!
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Old 04-15-2007, 06:23 AM
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Duet that was great. So much of it echoed what all of us are going through. Thank you for sharing! I will probably read it more than once!
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Old 04-15-2007, 09:09 AM
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What you wrote made me think...long & hard. I thought I was still angry at me ex, but after reading what you wrote, I think I have forgiven him. I take the side that he is not a BAD person, but a SICK person. The clean, sober man I fell in love with is NOT the person he is today. I have more of a problem with handling the "good" memories that pop up. And there were GREAT memories (since we knew each other over 30 years). And there was HORRIBLE pain I allowed him to cause me. And he still seems to have the need to hurt me every 6 or so months by letting me know it is MY fault that he's with a bimbo in crackland.

Thanks for posting that. I thought I was stuck in angry. But looks like I'm not.

Lynne
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Old 04-15-2007, 11:30 AM
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Duet...

What an awesome post.
This is just what I needed to hear today.

Thank you so much for sharing this...and shining your light for me to see today. I needed it!!!
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Old 04-15-2007, 11:53 AM
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Now, when I have one of those memories, I don't try to shove it back down where it came from. I try to let myself feel it and then I try to let the pain go.
This speaks to me, Duet. I have accepted an invititation to tell my story this week at my home group Speaker Meeting. I thought fine - I will not prepare, I will just see what HP allows me to say that night...

... but no one told my MIND that plan!

The memories have been flippin' jumping out of NO WHERE!! Many, I have so long repressed, they seem so fresh and new. But I believe this is part of the processing *I* need to do in order to say whatever needs to be said on Thursday.

I am excited, scared and comforted... all at the same time. As well, of course, as feeling honored to be asked.

But having these memories - so many - all at once has been .... uncomfortable. Funny - HP gave me a business trip on Friday and Saturday with a program gal who is in crisis... so I didn't need to talk to her, and mostly didn't need to listen too closely... she just needed to talk, and I just needed to let my mind wander. We made for a good pair this weekend.

No coincidences.

I hope by allowing the replay of the memories, you can find a way to work through the hurtful emotions that go with them. Sometimes, I can pull out more energy when I do more than just remember... but actually either talk it out with my sponsor, or write the memories - and the hurt - down on paper.

I wish you well, Duet, and thank you for your post. ((hugs))
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Old 04-15-2007, 12:12 PM
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I still get images somtimes, of violents episode in my life.
Usually when i'm in a very stressful situations, or i'm emotionally unstable.

it's wierd to just be driving to work, and I get flashes of images
of trauma in my life. They trigger a lot of emotions. i don't
shovle them aside anymore, I just process them and experince
them, as duet4-8 stated. i also belive it is how i'm able to
grow emotionally. My emotions had been dwarf do to abused
or violents or drugs and alcohol abused.
i belive this how I became less too sentitive to everything.
Sometimes events occure in my life to trigger old pain that i didn't
process, i numb myself to survive, but they are still inside of me
and they arrise. it's also an opportunity in a crisis.
I'm ready to let go of old pain

I belive this is the 6th and 7th step
Becuase these events also happens usually right after the 5th.
And most old timmers just say...you'll know when you get well.lol

I know in my heart that I've forgiven, so i'm not taking it personally
anymore. it's just me getting emotionally mature.
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Old 04-15-2007, 12:21 PM
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What a beautiful Post Duet...

I do believe in time that the hurt and pain does get better , I know for me the feeling of a lighting bold hit me is not as strong. Maybe it lessens each time we accept the feelings and deal with it. I feel that by opening up and accepting these feeling is a step ahead in our recovery. But it is hard to allow yourself to let them surface...terrify to tell you the truth, as never again do I want to feel that pain again, just seemed easier to bury the feelings. Maybe though at that point bury the feelings was the minds only way of getting through it, sort of a protection. As we gain strenght the mind allows us to deal with it. One soul can only handle so much at one time.

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Old 04-15-2007, 02:28 PM
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Originally Posted by rose View Post
Maybe though at that point bury the feelings was the minds only way of getting through it, sort of a protection. As we gain strenght the mind allows us to deal with it. One soul can only handle so much at one time.
I completely agree with this. My older boys and I have talked a lot in the past several weeks as we have all been going through this, and they both have shared memories of things that I had completely forgotten (blocked??).

These were not little things, either, but some pretty intense stuff that I just lost somewhere along the way. Like you said, rose, I guess the soul can only take so much. After so many years, everything starts running together.

((((HUGS))))
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Old 04-15-2007, 08:31 PM
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I do apologize for being so blunt...But I've held on to Jeff(x) for 12 years..I was so mad all last summer...and finally I really dont care...It took a long time to get here...But I tolerated him because I was drinking...Damn if he would have been the stable one---things could have been different....Yeah right.........anyway what can I say...........Just trying to get a life myself...lol
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