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The codie in this addict

Old 08-28-2010, 12:57 PM
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The codie in this addict

It's sometimes a big challenge to be both codie and recovering addict. For one thing, it's suggested by most successful recovering folks that I need to be around other recovering addicts quite a bit to work my program in the fellowship aspect of NA. But being around them often triggers the codie in me. Hard to balance it. I get so angry at the other addicts sometimes.

I can be very judgmental, just because I was fortunate enough to have personal knowledge and resources enough (I'm also a control-freak codie with a plan for everything, remember?) to get myself to recovery without going through a lot of ruin or inconveniencing my large family.

In fact, my family still have no idea about the addict stuff, because I never went to them for money or help during the two years I was active. And I'm glad about that, because they get to keep some peace of mind and not constantly worry about a possible relapse, like I do with other addicts in my life.

So here's what happened this past week: Sponsor's been on my case to expand my network of other addicts, so I tried to reach out and make friends with a newcomer, let's call her "Diane." She seemed about my age, similar upbringing and education, so thought there would be some common ground. But so far she's let me know THE FOLLOWING:

She's bouncing between living with an older man who she has no feelings for but leads on to get money/use of a truck/place to stay, and her ex's parents, whom she lies to that she still cares about their son and will get back with him once he's out of jail! That's because her own family is just done with her.

She's done 15 separate rehabs, but has never logged more than a couple of months clean while out in the real world.

She's "looking" for a job but isn't willing to settle for "some menial [email protected] job" because after all, she is in her 40's! (Yeah, but she's spent the last 25 years in and out of jail and rehab, so mentally, she's maybe 15, at best. And she doesn't seem to understand that nobody is going to hire an ex-con without any college to be the CEO of the company. She's going to have to start at the bottom.)

Despite all this remaining drama and wreckage to work through, she's just BORED being sober. Bored and lonely. Lonely and bored. I mentioned getting going on some step work when she whined about boredom. Of course that didn't sound like a whole lot of fun.

These types of characteristics are quite typical of a lot of newcomers, so I guess I should not be surprised. There are very few women in my area with over a year of clean time. I don't know why, but women in this area seem to relapse at a greater rate.

I often read your hopes and dreams for your ADs and AS's and AH's and AW's and ABF's and so on, and my heart breaks for you all. For every one of us who gets it and is willing to do whatever it takes, so many do not, will not.

I know I'm being a total downer here, but it's frustrating being in a network of women and watching the way they sabotage their recovery and the rest of their lives with awful choices and a complete lack of self-discipline.

All I can do is pray. Maybe I need a vacation away from others who are in recovery. My life seems so different then almost all of theirs. I do have this disease. The only difference I can see between me and them is that I know deep in my soul, that if I don't choose the next right thing consistently, my life will quickly go to sh!t. I just don't seem to know any way to teach that to anyone else.

Don't pay any attention to me. I'm a whiny moaner today. I'll be better tomorrow I am sure. Something uplifting will surely happen. I'm clean, for 2 and a half years, and that's fantastic news JFT.

Love,
KJ
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Old 08-28-2010, 03:18 PM
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Thank you so much for posting this. I came to this realization that the addict in my life has boredom issues. I think that is why he relapses (among other things). Going to work, being responsible isn't the most exciting thing in the world. I wish I could just check out and not call anyone for days, not pay my bills, etc. But I can't. Yet I know that when he is in recovery, the guilt and shame he endures for having not fought his addiction are almost unbearable for him to face. I hope he can be one of the lucky ones. He is much like some of the people you are describing tho sabotaging sobriety and all the good things that come with it. And he has a diploma, had a great career and lost it all. Good things take time. Maybe some (like you) have more patience and know that you cant rebuild overnight. Congratulations on your hard work btw!

Oh and had I known that you don't need experience or an education to be a CEO (criminal background optional) then I would have saved myself lots of money and stress on that boring "education" and "good citizen" stuff
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Old 08-28-2010, 05:39 PM
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Have you expressed these things with your sponsor? I see the value of having a network of addicts to turn to, hang out with, or just call when you need to (my husband has been working on the same thing) but it doesn't sound like the people you have in your circle right now are healthy for you, and that's important too. There needs to be a balance between giving back to the program, being of service, making friends and taking care of your own recovery. From what I've read of your posts, seems like you've got a good handle on what is & isn't good for your recovery. So "Diane" didn't work out, you know it now and can move on, but maybe the next person will end up being a good friend.

Are there any women's only meetings in your area that could expand your choices? The other thought I had is if you attend Al-Anon or Nar-Anon meetings (don't remember if you do), but anyway, in our area there is one meeting that has a lot of members who also go to AA or NA. In other words, people that could understand both perspectives, like you. You might find you have more in common with them.
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Old 08-28-2010, 07:25 PM
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Patience and understanding of the behaviors of addict women is confusing, though I cannot relate to your situation I do have a few words that you can take or leave.

My aunt an addict from about 16/17 to 35 years old was given every chance, sign from God, warning, and most importantly was given a child.

Lessons and morals....still not learned.

One day out of the blue, randomly and miraculously she went to rehab on her own. (Key phrase being, on her own)

There is no understanding what it may have been, but it happened and none of our family asks questions. We are so grateful that she is back in our lives and in her sons life.

I think that the female mind can be very independant and stubborn and when you add addiction into the equation its a mess.

Know and be happy that you were strong and pray and encourage those who arent and if they cant be then just know in time something good or bad will come from their choices but they are completely out of any ones control.

You made it. You did it. You should be proud.

Help and Support but you cant always expect change.
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Old 08-29-2010, 02:50 AM
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Sometimes I find that being around all that drama is good and not so good. It's good because it reminds me that I don't want to live that way and I wasn't brought up that way and I just love my serenity and peace. It's bad because I too get frustrated that people keep doing the same thing and expecting different results. If 15 rehabs aren't a clue that something needs to change then I don't know. One rehab was enough.

It is too easy for me to judge and the meetings keep me in gratitude and humility, I can always find some soul who is worse off than I am but many are in a better place than I am so it give me hope that I can reach the zenith. I haven't made a batch of friends in meetings but I don't go for that reason. I go to hear the message

Each of us has our bottom and for me it took wiping out my career and my reputation and integrity. I did not get jail but I did lose my job so that was plenty low for me. I disappointed my family and I am still paying the consequences, I wish I had not had to go so far down.

I am fairly beat trying to be codie with folks outside meetings because there is so much drama and so much neediness that I could never even begin to make much difference. I feel extremely weary because as I stated before if nothing changes and they keep repeating the same insanity then until they are ready the only thing one can do is give the message of hope. I just don't have the emotional or financial resources to run around after meetings and getting sucked into the drama.
I do care but it gets overwhelming.
KJ I don't know what to say I would leave this one alone and let her find her way when she is ready. I think finding someone that has some good honest recovery might be better.
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Old 08-29-2010, 03:02 AM
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And I sort of agree with Cynical too that just because I am a recovering addict doesn't mean that I should be friends with everybody I meet that has an addiction or is at a meeting. I was choosy before I became an addict and I am still choosy. I don't want to expose my family to just anybody. And you can't tell how people are going to be just by looking at them, some of the sicker people don't look like they are on their last leg.
I am a bit more balanced now about how I view people. Before my addiction I never wanted to be around a drug addict or around people that were having "issues." I now have some compassion for people that I previously never had before so that's a good thing, the snob that I was now has some insight and understanding but still I don't latch onto just anyone either even if they seem to be similar to me.
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Old 08-29-2010, 08:37 AM
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Originally Posted by kj3880 View Post


...so mentally, she's maybe 15, at best.
Sounds circular to me. Her expectations are not realistic and will likely result in disappointment. Inability to cope with life as is/where is tends to put one on a direct path to relapse.

Professionals are challenged to teach patients to bridge the conitive gap between chonological years and emotional maturity.
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Old 08-29-2010, 10:28 AM
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Originally Posted by kj3880 View Post
I can be very judgmental, just because I was fortunate enough to have personal knowledge and resources enough (I'm also a control-freak codie with a plan for everything, remember?) to get myself to recovery without going through a lot of ruin or inconveniencing my large family.
EGO = Edging God Out

Where are you at in your own step work?
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Old 08-29-2010, 10:56 AM
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Originally Posted by kj3880 View Post
I just don't seem to know any way to teach that to anyone else.
Are you able to share instead of teach?
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Old 08-29-2010, 11:09 AM
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Well......2-1/2 years sober.....that IS GREAT news!!!!

I don't think we need to become friends with everyone we meet at our meetings. I get so much from the people at my meetings when they share their experiences. I gain strength from their words. I learn from them. I think you must have a lot of great experiences to share and the example of your sobriety can provide a gentle light for the path of others.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that you don't have to become actual friends with someone to teach them. You don't have to tell them what to do to teach them. Sometimes it's just your light that shows them the way.

gentle hugs
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Old 08-29-2010, 11:36 AM
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Well......2-1/2 years sober.....that IS GREAT news!!!!

I don't think we need to become friends with everyone we meet at our meetings. I get so much from the people at my meetings when they share their experiences. I gain strength from their words. I learn from them. I think you must have a lot of great experiences to share and the example of your sobriety can provide a gentle light for the path of others.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that you don't have to become actual friends with someone to teach them. You don't have to tell them what to do to teach them. Sometimes it's just your light that shows them the way.

gentle hugs
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Old 08-29-2010, 06:26 PM
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Thanks Meditation and Kindeyes, you are as kind as your name.

Sometimes I read some of the replies on here and try to remember that some folks don't understand that their are real people with real feelings sitting here and reading them.

Actually Freedom, I'm in my 8th step, listing my amends, just in case you are actually asking because you care, rather than trying to insult me.

In my initial post here, I said that at times I can be very judgmental. I'm far enough in my step work to know that I have some character defects and that at times, I judge. I think there is a point of being judgmental, where we (me included, on my bad days) unnecessarily take others inventory and talk to or about others in a hurtful way (such as calling them EGO in a post), and then there's the judging we do so that we can decide who it's safe and healthy to hang out with. I hope that's what I am doing when I talk anonymously about a person that I tried to reach out to, and am deciding if I should continue to associate with based on her toxic behavior.

I've worked on my defect of people pleasing lately. I don't walk around with as many resentments when I speak my mind in an honest way and let someone know they hurt my feelings.

Love,
KJ
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Old 08-30-2010, 07:24 AM
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Originally Posted by kj3880 View Post
Actually Freedom, I'm in my 8th step, listing my amends, just in case you are actually asking because you care, rather than trying to insult me.

To clarify, I post here at SR because I do indeed care, not to insult.

I have a sponsor I have not agreed with many times. I've hung up on him more times than I can count. (I haven't done that for a few years now)

The thing is, he cares more about saving my butt than me saving face because for him, as for me, this is a life or death situation. He has never steered me wrong in recovery in over 20 years now.

I got a call last night from a lady asking me to be her sponsor. Guess what the kicker is on that? She's the same neighbor (along with her druggie boyfriend) a few houses down that I got my puppy Ku'a from, the same people who got caught dumping the last two pups of that litter out in the country, and now have charges filed against them.

My first internal reaction was disgust, and wanting to say no. Now where was God in that reaction?

The lady came to me for help. I am no better than she is. I may not agree, may in fact abhor her behavior in regards to those last two pups, but I have to remember what kind of person I was when active in my addictions.

Had people looked down their noses at me, like I have been known to do in my past, I never would have been shown a better way of life.

My sponsor is my sponsor for a reason. If I disagree with him, I let him know in no uncertain terms. Often I have not seen the reasoning in what he has requested of me, but in the end, it has become clear.

I trust him with my recovery.
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Old 08-30-2010, 09:52 AM
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kj, I had to sit on this and think a while. I lied to myself and said I wanted to see how Freedom responded, but the truth is I was working up the courage (and patience) to say what I need and am just following her lead

Originally Posted by kj3880 View Post
Sometimes I read some of the replies on here and try to remember that some folks don't understand that their are real people with real feelings sitting here and reading them.
Am I one of those people? For all I know you have me on ignore. Either way I'm OK with that and I'm a real person with real feelings, too

From my perspective, I basically said the same thing Kindeyes did, but rhetorically and in one sentence. I'm a bottom line kind of person and it drives my RAD nuts sometimes. Sometimes she wants what is impossible for me to give, and other times I don't have the slightest idea what she wants. It forces us to have a dialogue full of questions and answers, and we both gain from the experience. It can be frustrating but we both find clarity of thought in the process.

From my experience, the more I personalize others perspectives and realities, the more I lose my own. I can no more be responsible for others thoughts and feelings, than I can with my RAD, my original qualifier. No one is responsible for my thoughts and feelings either. We are all responsible for ourselves in every way.

I met my RA step mom's sponsor a few weeks ago. She's tough as nails with a heart of gold. She told daughter and I she relapsed after 15 years (I think) because of codependency. She didn't become an AA sponsor again until she worked all the steps from our side of things.

That's the bottom line again, from where I sit. When the student's ready they find the teacher (sponsor). 'Diane' is not ready and it didn't sound like your sponsor asked that of you.

Today I have learned I still need to do more work on my patience and clarity of thought. I can't tell you how many times I've edited this and it's taken far longer than I wanted. You are not responsible for my limitations and frustration. I am. I own this
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Old 08-30-2010, 04:22 PM
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I don't need to argue or go back and forth with people anymore. I let you all know how the replies made me feel, and I'll leave it like that.
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