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If everything is a lesson or happens for a reason, what did you learn?

Old 07-03-2012, 08:26 AM
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If everything is a lesson or happens for a reason, what did you learn?

I have been thinking about this the past week or two when I was hoping that my ex made the right decision to accept inpatient counseling. Today is the first day that I feel much more free from being attached to that hope. But then it led me to thinking (not productively I'm aware) that if he doesn't make that choice, what good came out of this? I mean, I nor anyone else deserves to go through the hell of addiction but if I saw that he got help, at least something good came out of it.

So I ask, is there really a lesson (positive) to be learned here for the ex-partners of addicts aside from learning about co-dependency? I'm really interested in hearing what others have to say as there are so many insightful posts here
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Old 07-03-2012, 09:12 AM
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Hi, Hopeful,

Hard not to get all spiritual, given your question, but I'll give you my take on this, which applies to life generally. First, I don't think anyone's life lessons are the same as anyone else's, so what you take away from this experience is not likely to be exactly the same as anyone else's take-away. Everyone has their own personally specific lessons to learn. But more than anything else, I think that dealing with an addict teaches about the nature of love - unconditional vs. conditional, healthy vs. co-dependent, self-love balanced against love of others. Also, the experience hugely strengthened my relationship with my HP, as I have had to reach out daily for support, guidance, courage, and strength.

Second, I don't think our experiences in life are only about lessons for US. I think that often we experience things so that we are better equipped to impact others in a positive way. What you are experiencing with your ABF and what you are learning puts you in a unique position to empathize with and understand the pain and experiences of other co-dependents, addicts and addictive behavior, and probably a whole host of other difficult situations endured by people you may come into contact with in the future. We have no idea right now how our experiences and growth may give us resources to help others and impact the world in the future.

Finally, as Scott Peck in "The Road Less Traveled" said, "life is difficult." Our greatest opportunities for growth - emotionally, spiritually, and intellectually - come from being faced with tremendous challenges and learning how to deal with them. We grow so much more, and as a result have so much more to offer others, through dealing with tough situations than we do through happy times. Our happy times are our respites - our little vacations - from the school that is life.
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Old 07-03-2012, 09:33 AM
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I can often be found saying that we have never been given a guarantee we'd end each day in the plus column and I've even said many times that I sincerely believe everything happens for a reason, even if we may never realize that reason. Yet, all my beliefs, structure, and foundation have crumbled and all that has carried me through other difficult situations were so easily forgotten...all while in the grips of addiction.

Jeez, what a mess.

All I can say at the moment is, SR has gotten me through it with so much help and support. Even if it didn't seem like I was listening the first time I came here, I really did. It just took a while to process and apply and I'm so glad I did!
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Old 07-03-2012, 09:39 AM
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I agree with SeekingGrowth, I have already seen changes in my daughter just from her watching my changes for me that in itself is worth it. As, for the addicts we love if they do not come clean it is possible something thye do while trying helps another in their journey.
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Old 07-03-2012, 10:10 AM
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I agree, my experience with my AS has definitely brought me closer to my HP.

For me personally, I also needed to be humbled. I foolishly thought that since I always wanted to be a parent I'd be so good at it that my children would be free from experiencing anything like the sickness of addiction. So, I guess maybe I also learned that as someone in a meeting last night said, "there is a God and I'm not it." I didn't realize how dilusional I've been all of my life about what I control and what I don't. So I guess I'm also saying I learned what co-depencency is and that I definitely have it and need to work on my own recovery.

All of the Al Anon principals, slogans, etc. have helped me tremendously at work. I think its been easier to begin applying them in the less personal relationships in my life. I had a tough situation with a co-worker and since I've changed my attitude, that situation has become much easier.

Thanks for posting this thread and giving me the opportunity to share that
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Old 07-03-2012, 10:10 AM
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Originally Posted by SeekingGrowth View Post
Our happy times are our respites - our little vacations - from the school that is life.
I had to learn--and what a mess until I did--that life works the way that sentence reads. Not the other way around.

And I had to learn to remind myself of this whenever another wave hits. I can forget the most obvious things.
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Old 07-03-2012, 10:27 AM
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Originally Posted by crazybabie View Post
I have already seen changes in my daughter just from her watching my changes for me that in itself is worth it.
That must be such a gift to see your positive growth reflective in someone else. And just as you are rubbing off on your daughter in a good way, my ex's destructive behavior has rubbed off on his teenage daughter in a very negative way. That could be an entirely different thread but it's energy attracting energy - good or bad.

Originally Posted by Scrapbooker View Post
For me personally, I also needed to be humbled. I foolishly thought that since I always wanted to be a parent I'd be so good at it that my children would be free from experiencing anything like the sickness of addiction. So, I guess maybe I also learned that as someone in a meeting last night said, "there is a God and I'm not it." I didn't realize how dilusional I've been all of my life about what I control and what I don't.

All of the Al Anon principals, slogans, etc. have helped me tremendously at work. I think its been easier to begin applying them in the less personal relationships in my life. I had a tough situation with a co-worker and since I've changed my attitude, that situation has become much easier.

Thanks for posting this thread and giving me the opportunity to share that
You are quite welcome and the humbling part I totally get. Here I was (and it still creeps into my head now and then) thinking I could control the outcome if I worked just a little harder at it or that I'm such a good girlfriend, he'll see the light and want to change. What an eye opener for sure but I tell you one thing, I will have both eyes wide open for red flags if and when I meet someone else. No more thinking that as long as they're honest about it upfront, it's got to be ok.

Originally Posted by PrayingMama View Post
I had to learn--and what a mess until I did--that life works the way that sentence reads. Not the other way around.

And I had to learn to remind myself of this whenever another wave hits. I can forget the most obvious things.
There is this book that came out at least 20 years ago, still have it. It's called "You Can't Afford the Luxury of a Negative Thought" and I still remember something from it, it's stuck with me all these years. It is so easy, automatic even, to allow yourself to think negatively but it takes WORK to think positively, especially when times are tough.
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Old 07-03-2012, 10:46 AM
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We can never understand or judge the reasons for someone elses suffering, we can only try to look at what our own lessons are.

If you truly believe that everything happens for a reason, and I do, since I was a very young child, long story, then all there is to do is live your own life authentically, when you are in pain, look at it, pain is a sure sign that something is amiss, it is also the only way to enlightenment. We can only have an understanding of our own enlightenment, not someone elses. If they share it with us, then we are closer to understanding. We do not live spiritually in duality with someone else, we may learn and grow together, but our journeys are very singular.

Self Love is always the end goal. You have to trust that somewhere deep down inside, the suffering of your addict is the pathway to his enlightenment, and appreciate the fact that his suffering has helped you to become more in touch with yours.

My take anyway, maybe I haven't expressed it well, but there it is.
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Old 07-03-2012, 10:49 AM
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I learned that it was way past time for me to grow up, and sometimes sh!t happens for no particular reason.
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Old 07-03-2012, 11:03 AM
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I have learned you don't need someone to make you happy. Not to judge. I have more empathy and compassion for those going thru a struggle. I have learned patience. I have learned to relax and not sweat the small stuff. Through all the pain, depression and anxiety I haven't given up on life and get striving for happiness. I. always say life is to beautiful. I have grown up a lot. And I like who I am.
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Old 07-03-2012, 12:25 PM
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I learned that Letting Go is important for moving on and growth...

and that I dodged a bullet.
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Old 07-03-2012, 01:08 PM
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Originally Posted by HopefulGF65 View Post
I have been thinking about this the past week or two when I was hoping that my ex made the right decision to accept inpatient counseling. Today is the first day that I feel much more free from being attached to that hope. But then it led me to thinking (not productively I'm aware) that if he doesn't make that choice, what good came out of this? I mean, I nor anyone else deserves to go through the hell of addiction but if I saw that he got help, at least something good came out of it.

So I ask, is there really a lesson (positive) to be learned here for the ex-partners of addicts aside from learning about co-dependency? I'm really interested in hearing what others have to say as there are so many insightful posts here
"Everything happens for a reason..."

The biggest thing I had to accept, kicking and screaming, was there were just some things that were out of my control. And then, through a series of events I won't describe here, I had a bit of an epithany. Suddenly the Serenity Prayer made a whole lot of sense. And once I got past the need to control everything, my life got a lot more pleasant.

I also learned that if my Spidey Sense is tingling about something, I should really listen to it. Too many times with my AXGF, it was going off and I ignored it. For I was in denial, and I was not using my wise mind. Instead, I was using my heart and going into fantasy land, when there was in reality no basis to believe that my AXGF was going to be anything other than an emotional black hole. This lesson was painful.

But, that's OK. It really is. It doesn't hurt anymore because I'm six months clear of it. The wisdom I've gained from this has been invaluable. It's made me more thankful for what I do have, especially in terms of the people that are in my life. It's made me a more positive person. And, it's made me more empathetic, which is why I'm still posting on the board. If someone is reading about my experiences and getting something positive out of it...well, that's a gift that keeps giving, for those lessons are passed on to someone else...

ZoSo
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Old 07-03-2012, 01:26 PM
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I have learned that I am MUCH stronger than I ever imagined before I sought my own Recovery.
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Old 07-03-2012, 02:13 PM
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I have learned that maybe I'm not as weak as he always said I am. Maybe I'm not all the bad things he drummed into my head.. Because if I was, people wouldn't want to be around me. People wouldn't trust me or choose to stay in touch with me.
I've learned that there are good people out there. FA and the DV project have taught me that there are kind, genuine, beautiful people out there and it's just learning how to spot the bad ones to weed them out.
I've learned not to judge the pain of others as greater than or less than my own. Everyone's suffering is equal, emotional pain is emotional pain. I've gained a huge respect for the mothers of addicted adult children. I've learned that maybe healing IS possible and maybe I won't be stuck forever. I've learned to appreciate my own progress and stop pushing for perfection. I've learned so so much through the aftermath of this entire experience, in many ways I'm very grateful for this opportunity to grow as a person and even start to heal wounds from my childhood. I can't say I wish I never met him, I have a beautiful 2 year old daughter and lots of very important life lessons. Although I'm the oldest 21 year old I've ever met
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Old 07-03-2012, 03:47 PM
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well, I learned alot ,not sure what my son is or will learn, but my god I learned that NOPE i cant make everything better, and no I cant save everyone , I thought id spare my children pain that I suffered in my childhood but yeah Im not that powerful
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Old 07-03-2012, 04:16 PM
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The biggest thing I have learned in sobriety is that God does answer all our prayers, but sometimes, for reasons we may never understand, the answer is no.
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Old 07-03-2012, 06:23 PM
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Originally Posted by zoso77 View Post
"Everything happens for a reason..."

The biggest thing I had to accept, kicking and screaming, was there were just some things that were out of my control. And then, through a series of events I won't describe here, I had a bit of an epithany. Suddenly the Serenity Prayer made a whole lot of sense. And once I got past the need to control everything, my life got a lot more pleasant.

I also learned that if my Spidey Sense is tingling about something, I should really listen to it. Too many times with my AXGF, it was going off and I ignored it. For I was in denial, and I was not using my wise mind. Instead, I was using my heart and going into fantasy land, when there was in reality no basis to believe that my AXGF was going to be anything other than an emotional black hole. This lesson was painful.

But, that's OK. It really is. It doesn't hurt anymore because I'm six months clear of it. The wisdom I've gained from this has been invaluable. It's made me more thankful for what I do have, especially in terms of the people that are in my life. It's made me a more positive person. And, it's made me more empathetic, which is why I'm still posting on the board. If someone is reading about my experiences and getting something positive out of it...well, that's a gift that keeps giving, for those lessons are passed on to someone else...

ZoSo
Beautifully written Zoso. I have read many of your past posts and I know how much heartache you endured so I can see that you are living the words you write. I was so unsure of giving advice before and I think I just figured out why - because I wasn't completely 'there' yet in feeling that sense of freedom and the confidence to push what I was selling - support.

Tonight is the night before the 4th when so many people are out partying. I purposefully chose not to make plans not because I'm still isolating myself (got plans with one friend for the beach thursday and more plans with another friend Sat.) but this is the first full night of my new life and I wanted to really feel it. It's crazy times here, tv, computer, laundry, cleaning lol but I'm enjoying every minute of it.

thanks for stopping by, good to see you on the boards again
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Old 07-03-2012, 06:56 PM
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I've gained a huge respect for the mothers of addicted adult children.
I agree wholeheartedly. When I went to meetings and heard the stories of women and their sick children, it put my own problems in context. I don't believe there's anything stronger than the love a mother has for her children.

Hope everyone is healthy and safe this Fourth of July.

ZoSo
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Old 07-03-2012, 07:05 PM
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Originally Posted by HopefulGF65 View Post
Beautifully written Zoso. I have read many of your past posts and I know how much heartache you endured so I can see that you are living the words you write. I was so unsure of giving advice before and I think I just figured out why - because I wasn't completely 'there' yet in feeling that sense of freedom and the confidence to push what I was selling - support.

Tonight is the night before the 4th when so many people are out partying. I purposefully chose not to make plans not because I'm still isolating myself (got plans with one friend for the beach thursday and more plans with another friend Sat.) but this is the first full night of my new life and I wanted to really feel it. It's crazy times here, tv, computer, laundry, cleaning lol but I'm enjoying every minute of it.

thanks for stopping by, good to see you on the boards again
Thank you very much for your kind words. I appreciate it more than you know.

All the Best,
ZoSo
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Old 07-03-2012, 07:15 PM
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I wish I could put my lessons so eloquently as many of you have. My lessons are still coming. I have learned that you are only as strong as your willing to be. I have learned that God has this all planned out, and I just need to follow him. I have learned to grip tight to the littlest happiest moments of my day, because tomorrow I might need them to get by. I have learned to let go of my addict, he isn't the person I married and he never will be again. I have learned that there is so much to be grateful for, and happiness to be had outside of the craziness of addiction.

I never dreamed I'd be in this position that I am today- but it is crucial to find all the little blessing God is showing me throughout this journey.

Thanks for the thread- I love reflecting on how much I still love life, even without my addict
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