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Alanon and my therapist's advice clash...

Old 06-27-2007, 04:24 PM
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Alanon and my therapist's advice clash...

I have been seeing a therapist for nearing a decade off and on. I began seeing her in the beginning to deal with my troubled childhood but then soon thereafter, it became apparant that I had my own trauma happening in the present with my AH. I have been going to alanon seriously only a few months but I have a peaceful feeling when I am there and find myself feeling like staying where I am is ok for now. But when I see my therapist, I feel like I am crazy if I don't run home and pack my bags. She has never said I should but I know she thinks I should. She knows me so well and much more so than the folks in alanon so far. I feel that alanon principles view the addict lovingly and compassionately and that is key in the recovery process for alanoners but speaking in normal day psychology terms, staying in this marriage after everything that has happened seems CRAZY! I feel torn often between the 2 differing views of how I get better. Sometimes I fear that alanon plays into my sick desire to stay with my AH which is codependent self abuse but that I call it detaching and being supportive and working the program. But sometimes the alanon program feels right. Any thoughts on this?
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Old 06-27-2007, 04:33 PM
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I have had the same dilemna.
I do think I stayed longer because of how I was understanding the al-anon.
I thought I could live with it and adjust and things would work.
In my case, not true, not true,...and very dangerous to me.
But then I also confused his abuse with his alcoholism and didn't understand they are two entirely different issues.
I mean that to include verbal abuse as well as physical.
I don't care if it is the alcohol talking...it is still abusive and has all the same effects.
And many of my boundaries turned out to be playing right into his hands.
So maybe I didn't "get it".
I have alot of regard of much of what I have learned from the 12 steps.
But, yes, I did have the same quandary.
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Old 06-27-2007, 04:37 PM
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Its funny I think many therapist give opinions rather than help someone work through.
Mine however, instead told me she wouldnt see me anymore unless I went to alanon and tried working their program.

Best advice therapists ever gave me is leave when your ready and cant look back, if your gonna look back, you'll possibly go back and cause yourself and really everyone more pain. Funny that message wasnt even originally about Ah but other things.

Keep working it out, maybe discuss those thoughts and feelings with the therapist
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Old 06-27-2007, 04:39 PM
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Oh, I love that Cinder....leave when you won't look back or you'll go back...paraphrased. I love it!
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Old 06-27-2007, 08:15 PM
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Interesting...I never thought of the "anon" programs as encouraging a spouse to stay in a marriage. I think that choice is very personal and individual. The program does help us learn compassion for the addict and to focus on ourselves, but to me compassion doesn't equate with staying in a relationship if one feels she has had enough.

Detachment also can be many things. Some can stay in the front row of addiction and detach from the chaos...others can not and detachment requires physically moving away from that or asking the addict to move. I think Naranon and Alanon help us to understand the disease and our codependency and come closer to detaching with love rather than in anger. But to me none of that means stay if your head and heart say go. The very essence of the program is that it is merely suggested and also that it is focused on our recovery. As such, i don't think doing something that would feel healthy for you...whether that is staying or going...would be in conflict with Alanon.

Perhaps the group you are in just happens to be comprised of spouses who are still in the marriage. My home group has both as well as parents who live with their addicted child and those who have asked them to leave. Hugs
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Old 06-27-2007, 08:43 PM
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I too had members in some of my naranon and alanon groups who had chosen to stay in relationship with THEIR addicts, and so they pushed that angle very hard (it seemed, I thought, in order to justify their own decision **no offense...just my group**)

All groups are different......you have to do what your head, heart and spirit say to do. He has done far worse things than be an addict, and still you choose to stay for reasons only you know. If this is the life you want for yourself, then it shouldn't matter what your therapist might think or say, or what your group has to say.

Hugs,
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Old 06-27-2007, 08:46 PM
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I don't know much about the 12 steps yet (in the process of learning), so you may have to take me with a grain of salt, BUT I have never heard of a program geared at helping someone that encouraged them to stay in a position that is harmful to themselves. I think there is a huge difference between having compassion and allowing oneself to be victimized. From what little I know, I took the whole compassion thing to refer moreso to forgiving, but not necessarily forgetting and subjecting yourself to more pain. You never know... you leaving and showing him you have higher standards may be the wakeup call he needs. If not, at least you're in a better place to continuously heal...

On the other hand, I don't know the whole situation. No one can tell you what is right for your marriage, only you know that.

I hope and pray that you are able to make a sound decision about this... but just remember, it has to be what you need to do. What your therapist thinks is not the issue, nor is what anyone in alanon thinks the main deciding point.

*hugs*
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Old 06-27-2007, 09:13 PM
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Thank you all. Some of your points really made me think. And yes, Alanon doesn't advocate at all one way or the other but I think when I am reading the material, it makes me consider staying in the marriage, though I should add he doesn't live in my house currently. And yes, I also had the experience in Alanon where I see a lot of womyn, often older, who have stayed and it scared me. I don't want to be 60 and still dealing with crazy addict behavior or active addiction considering I got started in the marriage at 20. I guess it has been my own experience and perception with the alanon meetings I have attended. I think a lot of the womyn that I have gotten to know are all still in their marriages and often I find their sharing and comments are pro-sticking with it.

I find that I sometimes leave Alanon feeling amazingly great and a few times, full of guilt that I am in the process of officially divorcing my husband...like I'm one of those that gave up, didn't support, etc. And that right when he finally turned his life around, I walked away. You know, like in the movies, the wife that sticks around is glorified like June Carter Cash. So those are my random thoughts about it all. Thanks everyone.
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Old 06-27-2007, 09:17 PM
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You have a choice to stay or leave and it rests with you alone. The therapist and program do not decide for you. I have compassion for addicts but no way would I be with one. Compassion does not equate with staying.
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Old 06-27-2007, 10:17 PM
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You are torn and so you have justification for ea. point of view thinking alanon is for staying and therapist is for going. With the two sides being equal you don't have to make a decision. No alanon literature advises us to stay in a relationship with an addict. It does advise us to be in recovery ourselves and become the very best we can without being sucked into the undertow of the addiction. Only you can decide what to do about your relationship. Me personally I would not tolerate infidelity or addiction.
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Old 06-27-2007, 10:28 PM
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If you sit down, get quiet, and think about it, can you honestly see a time in your future together when you won't have to worry about him being attracted to his groupies, or about him doing any drug, or him doing his usual sort of hurtful self-serving behaviors? Can you see him being 100% honest, no exceptions, and only interested in you & the kids, willing to turn his back on exciting things (like adoring 15 year olds) forever?

If you can't see any of this happening, booklover, then there's an answer there for you. You have to decide if that's what you signed up for.

If you can't see this happening and you still want to stay, then there's another, and you have to ask yourself why you think this is the best you are allowed to expect out of life.

And if you CAN see this happening -- after all, you of all people have seen what turns his crank in life -- and it doesn't feel like a pollyanna fantasy, then there's another answer. Is the possible pain going to be outweighed by the joy and support he gives you in years to come? It might. Only you know if it's a fair gamble for you.

It's all about you. You have the answers in your own hands. You just have to have the courage to follow through, whichever way that leads you.

But you knew all that

Hugs and strength,
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Old 06-27-2007, 11:19 PM
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What I have found is that what is "right" is not always "doable"... at least right away.

Great, big imposing boundaries like...

I will leave the abusive barstad and regain my "true" self and live a happy and fullfilled life!!!


Sound good. But are very, very, VERY difficult to put into practice.

So, I found that I made big threats, and then went back... again and again. After a while, my big threats meant... absolutely nothing.

So I changed and started doing the littler stuff. Things I could really stick with.

That is what worked for me. And at a meeting, I would likely share it that way. And depending on where you are in YOUR recovery process, you might hear that I am advocating to stay with an abusive alcoholic. But I don't think I am. I am just explaining that either leaving or staying will be a "process", not an "event".

((hugs))
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Old 06-28-2007, 05:53 AM
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Yeah, I agree with most everyone. Each person has to examine their own situation very carefully.
Personally, I dont' understand how someone can "detach" and stay living in the same house with the addict/abuser. To me, leaving would be the only detachment....(actually, leaving the country (for me) for a while would be good and letting the lawyer handle everything.) There are so many legal, physical, and mental issues there. To me the legal and mental issues outweigh everything, but my situation is a little more unique: no children, lots of assets, desire to maintain sanity. Also I absolutely have never tolerated drama of any kind, period.
SOme people can tolerate a great deal though, and some people do not have the financial where-withall to just jump up and run, so I can understand that. There are lots of resources out there though for those who wish to pursue them. Each person has to decide what is best for them and everyone is different.
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Old 06-28-2007, 11:11 PM
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Hi Booklover,

we haven't met, I've been off the boards for a while, but I missed it here terribly

I totally hear what you're saying - I felt the same way! I think BigSis explains it pretty well. I went to Nar-Anon & Al-Anon and I got the same impression from the older women who had stayed. I recognize now though, that if they had told me to leave, I wouldn't have listened. I left when I realized I had to.

I think the important thing is to continue to educate oneself on addiction in as many ways as possible (watching INTERVENTION on A&E taught me a lot, as did reading the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous)

When my AH checked into his first rehab (many yrs unto his addiction) I promised myself that if things were the same or worse in 2 yrs, I would leave. AND I DID! It was the best decision I ever made...but I had to reach it myself.
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