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Newbie - low point

Old 01-17-2008, 02:51 PM
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Newbie - low point

This really is just another day in my wasted life, but I'm feeling the need to vent a bit, and have realized that this forum is full of people like me -- so what better place?

In the midst of yet another screaming argument with my ex-SA husband, he called me a control freak. We've called each other lots of names, over the years, but I think this one insulted me more than most of the others.

I realized, after a little thought, that I was insulted because of this thought: "Doesn't he realize that HE is the reason that I feel the need to control everything? That if -I- don't control, there WILL BE NO CONTROL in our lives?"

And I realized, too, that I blame him for all my bad behaviors -- behaviors which, I will say, I didn't have before living with his addictions and post-addiction lies/arrogance/dishonesty. But I KEEP blaming him, and keep the behaviors. I can't give them up any more than he can give his up. But I think I'm better than that. I'm just really lousy at changing bad habits, or at adopting new ones.

Anyway, I'm pissed for being called something that I am, because I blame him for making me what I am. Our marriage sucks, and I just don't see it getting any better -- but I often wonder if just changes in MY OWN behavior might make that happen. Yet -- why is it all on me?

Thanks
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Old 01-17-2008, 03:28 PM
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Changes in your behavior will make all the difference in you and your recovery......
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Old 01-17-2008, 03:33 PM
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Changes in my behavior didn't make my marriage any better, but they sure made *me* better--happier, more productive, all that good stuff. My marriage wasn't going to last anyway unless my addict got better as well, but I was able to accept that--losing my marriage--because at least I felt better about my own life.
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Old 01-17-2008, 03:38 PM
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Hi Kay - I'm new and testing the waters of recovery and it has brought me great hope. I lived my life playing the blame game and felt like I have to take care of everything and everyone because no one else would do it otherwise. I realized I was really unhappy and started to make changes myself, for myself. I could do it for no one else just like no one or nothing else could do it for me.

Yardbird, you describe it perfectly.
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Old 01-17-2008, 04:25 PM
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my addict is my son. i tried to change him & realized that i am not that powerful. the only person you can change is you. welcome to S.R. keep coming back. there is alot of support here. prayers for you & your husband.
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Old 01-17-2008, 05:41 PM
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hi kay,
not sure what ex-SA is. is that ex-sober addict? meaning he is using?

if so, then most people who know practicing addicts will say that you always set yourself up when you are argue with them, and that inevitably the addict will call you controlling. he is essentially controlling your life and your relationship, but he will always project that need to dominate onto you.

i am always uncomfortable when people want to label all partners of addicts "controlling". it comes up in a lot of recovery literature. because to me, the word "control" implies arrogance and the need to dominate: pure addict qualities. and i KNOW that what spouses of addicts really long for and dream of is COMPROMISE....as all healthy couples do.

so, i prefer the word "reacting". and reacting to an addict's insane behaviors and language will surely make one look and feel crazy.

if he is using, the best thing to do is not let him bait you. keep reading others' stories so you can strengthen and be clear. you need large doses of sanity in your life, if he is actively using. you will get that from people in recovery.

take care.
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Old 01-17-2008, 07:19 PM
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Hi Kay. It doesn't sound like a wasted day in your life. It sounds like you came to an important realization about yourself. You can't control anything but your own actions and your reactions to others. I think that is a positive step forward when someone realizes that.

I have had to let go of my need to control everything. It took practice but I am getting much better at it.

I simply pray the serenity prayer every time I start feeling the need to control others. I put them in my Higher Power's hand and I focus on my own actions.

Hang in there. Life is a journey. You don't have to stay where you are. You can get movin'.
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Old 01-17-2008, 10:14 PM
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Hey KayM,

So glad you've found SR. It's a great place for support, so I hope you'll stick around and read all the good stuff here and post some more.

Funny thing you mentioned this because we discussed this very thing at my Al Anon meeting tonight. Why is it WE have to change if THEY have the problem? Well, after reading here and attending at least 6 Al Anon meetings, I started realizing that it can't always be the other person's fault. So obviously I was playing a part in the mess in some way.

Now that does not mean that I am the cause his my AD's addiction. Remember this: you did not CAUSE his addiction; you can't CURE his addiction; and your can't CONTROL his addiction.

As I kept attending meetings and reading here, I found more than a few character defects in myself. NO, I DID NOT WANT TO LEARN THAT. It was easier to blame her (my AD). But as time went on, I did need to face the problems I had and make a change if I wanted to improve my life.

You see, recovery is about making your life better. Your ex-SA has to do the work in his own life. There is NOTHING you can do to cure his disease. But you can change yourself and your attitude about all of this.

Maybe you could find a meeting and attend. We suggest you attend at least six before you decide they're not for you.

Hugs,
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Old 01-17-2008, 11:26 PM
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You have the answers if you flip your words around: """" I realized, too, that I blame him for all my bad behaviors -- I often wonder if just changes in MY OWN behavior might make that happen. Yet -- why is it all on me?"""""
It is all on you because you are all you can control.
If you work the 12 steps through the Al-anon program, you will learn to stop taking your husband's or any one else's inventory and start taking your own. You will learn through that inventory to change the behavior traits you don't like or the ones that don't serve you. If you change of course your life will change in ways you can't even imagine.
It's a lot of work to be the boss in control of everything...fire yourself and stop being bossy and controlling.When you change by working the steps all your relationships will get better or you will grow and disgard them.
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Old 01-18-2008, 05:15 AM
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Hi Kay...Welcome to SR !! This place has been a true God-send for me and I hope it is for you too.

The addict in my life is my exhusband. (exah) And I remember feeling ssooo much like you describe. I rejected the idea that I was 'codependent'...I just saw myself as a victim of horrible circumstance. My exah, the love of my life and father of my son, had developed a horrible addiction to heroin and I felt trapped. I tried EVERYTHING I could think of to make him well.

I tried to fix things. I tried to control things. I tried to make things 'normal' again. I focused so much of my energy on HIS problem that I failed to see what his addiction was doing to ME. I felt like a victim and I blamed him for all of my problems and sadness.

And then one day I realized that I had been putting my focus on the wrong person. Instead of focusing on him, I needed to focus on myself. Its hard to look at yourself and see your flaws, shortcomings and failures. I had to admit that I had ALLOWED my exah's addiction to take over my life. I had allowed myself to fall into a deep financial hole, I had isolated myself from friends, I had stopped putting time and energy into my health, my dreams, my career goals... Its hard to admit that we are to blame for the situation we find ourself in when its so easy to point to THEIR addiction as the root of it all. But the hard cold truth is that we are responsible for our financial, physical, and spiritual well-being. Its all on us.

For a long time, I thought my life couldn't and wouldn't improve until HE got clean. Talk about putting your fate and your life in the wrong hands ! Its INSANE to put our well-being in the hands of an addict. And yet, thats exactly what I did for a long time...

So you have some issues of your own to address. Thats okay. You did the best you knew how but you can learn better ways of coping and living. And it all starts with YOU.

I hope you keep coming back. THere are so many people here who understand what you are facing...its nice to have a place where people really 'get it' even if they do point out some painful truths along the way.
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Old 01-18-2008, 05:55 AM
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Welcome to SR, Kay. This is your first post and you are miles ahead of where I was when I arrived here, even with some recovery under my belt.

I resisted going to my own meetings, I resisted reading Codependent No More (a wonderful book that we recommend) and didn't buy a copy until I knocked over a whole display of it in a book store. Why should I have to do anything when he (my addicted son) was the one with the problem?

One day someone challenged me on that and said "If HE is the one with the problem, why is it YOU are so sick and emotionally unsettled?" That's when I realized that I had a part in all this, not in his addiction but in my own way of handling life.

I went to meetings, got a sponsor, began working a wonderful program that has made all the difference in my life today, and came here and stuck around for going on 6 years.

Today my life is beautiful and I feel blessed in so many ways. My son is still lost in his addiction somewhere, but I store my sadness in a special place in my heart right next to hope and faith. Each day I ask God to take care of my son, then live my life well trusting that He will.

Learning to take care of ourselves, no matter what, is what this program is all about. It doesn't happen overnight, but the important thing is that it does happen, sometimes by baby steps and sometimes by grand epiphanies, but it happens and we begin to get better.

Glad you joined us and I'm happy to walk with you on this journey of recovery.

Hugs
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Old 01-18-2008, 06:45 AM
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Welcome! It is hard to self reflect, more the more you change everything else around you chages, it is a proven fact! It is not easy by any means, but little steps make a difference too!

Keep coming back, you are among friends,
susan:ghug
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Old 01-20-2008, 12:20 PM
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Originally Posted by bluejay6 View Post
not sure what ex-SA is. is that ex-sober addict? meaning he is using?
No, I guess I have a lot to learn about the acronyms! I meant ex-substance-abuser. He's my current husband and, if I'm being completely honest, he still abuses but SO insignificantly, compared to his past, that I don't consider it our problem. It's the lying, hiding, anger and just general inability to be honest with anyone, or develop any moral code at all that are our main problems. I come to this board because there are still foundations, in this, in his previous abuse.

Originally Posted by bluejay6 View Post
i am always uncomfortable when people want to label all partners of addicts "controlling". it comes up in a lot of recovery literature. because to me, the word "control" implies arrogance and the need to dominate: pure addict qualities. and i KNOW that what spouses of addicts really long for and dream of is COMPROMISE....as all healthy couples do.

so, i prefer the word "reacting". and reacting to an addict's insane behaviors and language will surely make one look and feel crazy.
I am actually an ex-addict, too: alcohol. Twelve-step programs did not work, for me, though they helped me realize I wasn't the only one in the world with my situations. 12 Step programs didn't help me because I always felt different which, I now know, a 12 step program could've helped me overcome. So, to a certain extent, I don't think my husband's wrong when he thinks I'm controlling -- I have an inherent deep-seated need to control -- ESPECIALLY when confronted with someone who seems rebel against ANY control -- who gives no apparent thought to the implication of his behaviors. But, you're right -- what I'd really love is compromise. Our compromises have always been, I'll rag on you to stop doing something, you tell me you will though we both know it's a lie, and I'll continue to delude myself that you did stop until confronted with evidence that you haven't, at which time we start the dance all over again.

I think just reading others stories and strategies here might go a long way toward helping me -- though, I think, I probably really have to get into therapy, too. I first have to figure out why I resist therapy.
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Old 01-20-2008, 12:32 PM
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in all honesty...

While reading here, I realized I need to list one important ingredient in the recipe that is ME: another reason 12 step programs where HIGHLY difficult for me is that I'm an atheist. I was constantly told that it didn't have to be God who was my "higher power," but I'm not much good at the "letting go" part of the philosopy -- I feel responsible for my own self, and don't think there's any power OTHER than myself that is responsible for me.

So, as I read lots of the "here's how I did it" emails, I feel a bit like I'm banging my head against a wall when I read, "Asking God to [insert need here] helps." I can't. I have nothing to ask. If something's going to "take something away" from me, as a worry, I have to find a way to do that myself.

Please, no attempts to help me find Jesus. I found him once -- I think he was probably a great guy. But religion and higher powers just really don't fit with me.

I would, however, love to hear from other atheists about what THEY "use" as their "higher power." Maybe if I could get a good handle on that, that worked for me, I could partake successfully of Nar-anon.

Last edited by KayM; 01-20-2008 at 12:58 PM.
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Old 01-20-2008, 01:17 PM
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Kay,
I have to agree, when I go to meetings, there's alot of God stuff in every line.


My addict son also told me he didn't believe, and wanted to know the solution, or how to fill in the God line, and I explained it like this.

Whether you believe you arrived from the big Bang method, or by Creation, or Evolution, there's something there to use as a underlying force, right?

Or am I completely off course on this?

I'm not too bright on this religion stuff as you can see...
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Old 01-20-2008, 04:37 PM
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Thanks to those who have replied or PM'd, so far, with suggestions.

When I was "12-stepping" for my drinking, I thought I could let LOVE be my higher power because, at that point in my life, I still believed that LOVE was what it was "all about."

Don't think I could convince myself to let LOVE be "in charge," anymore, as LOVE as really led me to some crappy places in my life!

I would love to let "it" be nature because I guess, when you get down to it, that is my "higher power." But I still have issues with "letting go." Guess I just have to work on that. I know I do find my most serene moments when I'm out in the middle of the woods...
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Old 01-20-2008, 05:05 PM
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Hi Kay. You don't have to accept Jesus or believe in God to let go. I like what you said about nature. You have no control over nature (or the weather.) All you can do is control yourself.

Someone said something brilliant to me once and it really stuck. All you have to do is accept that you are NOT the most powerful being in the universe and then let nature take it's course. Nature strives for balance. And we are so insignificant in comparison.

Instead of "Let go and let God", how about "let go and let nature take it's course."

Good luck and keep posting!
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