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Lost my way

Old 12-03-2010, 02:37 AM
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Lost my way

I haven't been on here in while. This forum is where I first learned I wasn't alone in having a loved one with an addiction. It gave me courage, and insight, to finally choose to end my relationship with my addict husband. My personal choice, that worked for me.

I thought that after I had removed myself from the front row seat, everything else would fall into place. My life was a clean slate, that I could carefully choose what to fill it with. Little did I know, that I had lost myself along the way. I had spent years trying to control, bargain, make excuses, trying to cope with my ex husbands addiction. I no longer knew what I wanted, what my dreams were, what made me happy, what satisfied me, where my boundries were, what was ok, what wasn't. I tried filling this new gap with a little bit of this, and a little bit of that. What I found tonight is that if you don't resolve your past, you're bound to repeat it. And I did.

I didn't know it, it took almost a year to figure out. But when I realized it, I was rocking in a fetal position chanting "I'm not crazy, I'm not crazy", and praying someone would tell me so. I let myself be taken in again, not by another addict, but by someone who recognized the weakness in me, and turned it against me. Someone who thought to trick me, deceive me, and when confronted told me I had an over active imagination, even though I had proof in black and white. The same thing my ex addict husband did to me when confronted with proof of his usage. He tried to turn it around on me, make it my fault somehow, and I cracked. Even knowing I was right, it spiraled me back to those aweful days where I began to doubt myself, even though I knew in my gut I was right.

I thought my recovery was almost complete when I finally got the courage to say "I will not live with this anymore." Now I find that was just the first step. Now I have to find out who I am, set new boundries, and be aware that I am vulnerable because of my open heart. And I have to figure out a way to grow, but still protect myself. To learn how to act on my gut feeling that something isn't right. To clearly state what my boundries are (when I figure them out) to know that pain does not equal love. That I deserve to be treated lovingly, and with respect. And I don't have to continue to give unlimited chances to those that continually abuse my open heart.

I thought I was doing so well. It took coming to my knees again to realize that recovery isn't something that happens, it's something you work, constantly, every day, for the rest of your life. You can remove yourself from the front row seat, but it doesn't remove the damage that's been done.

I've been seperated from my ex for 4 years. I have been officially divorced for almost 1 year. I have established firm boundries for every part of the process, and continue to adjust them as needed. But I know when to stand my ground, and when to walk away. It's made things infinitely better between us. Now, I just need to learn how to do it with the rest of the world.
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Old 12-03-2010, 03:13 AM
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wildbucky - i am sorry to hear that your first venture out after getting out of a bad situation did not turn out well - you are so right that dealing with an addict(or anyone) in those ways causes you to forget who you are and leaves you vulnerable - i spent many years before my son became an addict in a situation that created the same weaknesses in me - it is a profound situation - thank you for sharing your experience - i pray you will find balance in your life before you move into other situations - blessings
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Old 12-03-2010, 04:11 AM
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I really am sorry for your experiences but I'm betting it will spur you on to continue on your recovery process. You sound like you have a good head on your shoulders and you will use this recent experience to be a motivator on taking good care of yourself.

I divorced one addict and knew that the problem was him. At that time I had never heard of Alanon. I knew that I was caught up in a bad experience that had nothing to do with me. Then I remarried....a man with a hidden addiction. That is when the light went on for me and I realized that although "they" might have a problem that I have an equal problem. That marriage ended and I spent some time in Alanon. I figured that I had graduated from that and moved on with my life. That was my BIG mistake. Like a substance or alcohol addiction, my issues are lifelong and I need vigilence and an active program to avoid missteps. I learned the hard way by marrying another addict...geeez. I get it. I tend to look on the bright side, believe in people, and trust them. All good qualities but not in combination with a desire to be connected and in a relationship. Somehow things get blurry for me and I definitely need the help of a program to stay sane.

This husband has been sober now for 5 years but I have to use my program daily to keep in touch with "me". As difficult as my life with him as been it has also given me the gift of meeting myself.

You are not alone at all with what has occurred. My experiences have served to explain to me that it is issues within me that attract and respond to people with addictions and issues. My prayer is to stay awake to that glitch that blinds me in those areas in others. The best way for that to happen (for me) is to stay active in recovery.

Thanks for sharing your story!
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Old 12-03-2010, 04:57 AM
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Thank you for posting, this is a real eye opener, for me. It has been almost 4 years since I ended my relationship with exabf. I too, have floundered, however, I am yet to let my guard down, and, as of today have no intention of doing so. I have dated here and there, but, that is it.

Sending hugs your way,
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Old 12-03-2010, 06:28 AM
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Awe WildBucky, I'm sorry that life has disappointed you.

But the good news is that your recovery is SHINING in your post. So you misplaced the tool box for a spell, but i sounds like you have it back, and have opened it and begun to use the tools you gained a while back.

Most of us here have had life slap us right across the face at times. The difference between many of us, and the "normies" or "earthlings" is that we see ourselves as a player in the problem. Trust me, that in itself is a gift, not a curse, because we can take the steps possible to lead a happy fulfilled life.

We aren't damaged, we're just aware

(((Hugs)))
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Old 12-03-2010, 06:31 AM
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I repeated the cycle as well. More than once. I had to learn the hard way that he/they weren't the only problem - I was part of that same problem.

I had to buckle down and do the hard stuff. I diligently worked the 12 steps of Al Anon. That doesn't work for everyone, but it really worked for me. I also had to do some serious introspection to uncover some family history that led to some of my insecurities and I had to learn new ways of doing things. I interact differently today. I have new definitions of what "healthy" looks like.

I had to learn that what was comfortable and familiar might not be healthy for me at all. This was one of my most profound lessons. It made sense in my head long before it made its way to my heart. I can honestly say today that I'm not remotely attracted to people who in earlier times would have been a love interest, a husband, or a good friend.

I am healthier today, and I have healthier people in my life. For me, I had to do the work before I could get to a better place. It wasn't as easy as just walking away from my A. I wish I had understood that concept - it might have saved me some heartache.
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Old 12-03-2010, 06:50 AM
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Amen sister! You're not alone in this either! I also have been repeating the same patterns of not listening to my instincts, allowing unhealthy people into my life and then allowing them to manipulate me!! It is true that we have to resolve our past and make our selves whole and healthy again. We have to figure out who we are, what we want, what we deserve and most importantly to trust and respect ourselves!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I personally am sick of drama and want a peaceful loving relationship with someone who I can trust, who I respect, and who is my best friend!! I wont settle ever again for less than this! Keeping my eyes open and trusting my mind and feelings next time around!!!!!!
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Old 12-03-2010, 07:50 AM
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Originally Posted by cece1960 View Post
We aren't damaged, we're just aware
I love that......

Just having awareness is huge. Recognizing something today that we might not have been able to recognize a few years ago is huge.

gentle hugs
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Old 12-04-2010, 12:30 AM
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Thank you all. The real "slap in the face" came after I realized I needed help, again. I got out my Al-anon books, and read, wrote notes, posted them on the bathroom mirror to read over and over. But I realized what I needed was contact, with others who are, or were in similiar situations. I needed to go "home". However, when I tried to log in, I couldn't remember my password. I couldn't figure out the weird squiggly letters and numbers. I couldn't go home! I didn't lose my tool box, I let it get rusty. I let it sit, I didn't take care of it, and only when I had accepted (again) that my life had truly become unmanagable, did I turn to it. And I couldn't get into it.

I walked away when my desperation became tangible. I tried again the next day. I was ready to give up. Then, I asked for help from the administrator. And gave myself a pat on the back. Trying to do it all on my own was something I had learned from past experience. I had reverted to my old ways, but acknowledged and recognized it, and tried a new way by asking for help. Oh so small, but so big!

I'm ready to work towards the next step. I have discovered the foundation everyone here helped me to build, is solid. And it is so nice to still see familiar names, and so many new ones. I can't be stagnant anymore. It's time to move! I hope you all don't mind sharing the journey with me.
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Old 12-04-2010, 11:23 AM
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Someone here mentioned a book called Women Who Love Too Much. I am currently reading it and it has been a huge eye-opener for me. Funny thing is when I first started reading it, I kept thinking, "this is not me". But I kept reading, and now have found so much insight in this book that I have to actually think that it might very well be me. If you really want to figure out how your past might be influencing your choices now and in the past, I'd recommend this one!

Good luck in finding yourself again! I am trying the same...although still with my addict, but working on getting away. First court date is on Monday. AHHHH.
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Old 12-04-2010, 01:27 PM
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thank you everyone for your posts. Im on a year of seperation (divorce is in the process) and appreciate you all sharing your experiences on here.
Gave me things to think about and more reason to take time for me.
People are constantly asking me "go out have fun go dating" NOT..I seriously
need alot more recovery. A few guys even offered to take me out or go out to talk, people who I have known for 30 years. Im just not ready.
Only somone who has been down this road can understand. thank you all for sharing your experiences.
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Old 12-04-2010, 02:08 PM
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Just letting you know I was here.... Love ya girl!
I'm starting to realize how much I missed my SR family as I see all of the familiar names.
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Old 12-07-2010, 07:12 PM
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Thanks for meeting me here my friend. I love you too!
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Old 12-07-2010, 07:37 PM
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I'm glad you found your way back here I've had nothing BUT dysfunctional relationships...3 to be exact, one lasting over 20 years. I had a "normal" childhood, so I'm guessing I was born a codie.

That being said, I've been working on me for a while. I got into my codie recovery the same time I got into my addiction recovery. I NEVER want to be the woman I was...someone who takes whatever is thrown at them, and practically begs for more.

I'm on SR every day, and it's been my lifeline. I still don't quite trust myself to get out into the dating scene, yet, but I am much more aware of "red flags" and that's a good thing. I've had to accept that I can't undo 40+ years of being a codie in a day....I WANT to, but it just doesn't work that way.

I'm sorry you went through what you did, but I think you're doing GREAT at realizing it, and reaching out.

Hugs and prayers,

Amy
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Old 12-09-2010, 11:20 AM
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I also know how difficult it can be still after several years away from your addict. I am still trying to figure out who I am and what I want. But I do know this....I do not want to go back to him. I may still have a lot of unanswered questions about myself and am still working my own program, but without him in my life....I am happy. Thank you for the reminder that this is something that we will have to work on everyday, for the rest of our lives....sometimes I forget that. You take care girl...
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Old 12-09-2010, 07:27 PM
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I have watched my life slowly improve every year I am away from him. I have been slowly learning to live again. I've made friends. I've gone out, and not cut the time short because I could not keep from wondering what was going on at home. I've watched my bank account grow. And I have been enjoying little things that many people take for granted, like the ability to leave my purse on the kitchen table.

I've learned to celebrate me, and treat myself to a new pair of shoes (or two) every year I've been away. I buy makeup, and wear it, because looking good makes me feel better. I have my hair cut every six weeks, because I actually went almost 10 years without one because I couldn't justify spending the money on myself.

I've grown in the 5 years since I first came here. I know I still have a lot of growing to do. I cut myself off from life for almost 13 years. I'm anxious to jump back in. But I want to learn how to do it without back sliding into the behavior that led me to my lost years in the first place. I'm not afraid to hurt, because not everything in life is sunshine and roses. And I understand I will hurt again. My goal is to not let the hurt control or destroy me, but to use it to learn from my mistakes, and go better armed into my next experience.

I have dreams, and I don't want to settle for half of them because of old habits or ingrained behaviors. The one thing that hasn't been beaten out of me yet is hope. I believe I will achieve everything I hope for.
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Old 12-09-2010, 09:02 PM
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WildBucky
I agree with all the words of all who posted. We are all a "work in progress". Many of us fall from time to time, stop oiling our tools or maybe even forget about them out in some covered corner in the shed until one day something causes us to do something we haven't in a long time...and then we rediscover what maybe we forgot about, or even what we thought we lost....until we realize the tools weren't truly lost, just haven't been used in while.
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