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Al Anon and ME

Old 10-24-2012, 06:47 AM
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Arrow Al Anon and ME

Okay so I have posted on here a few times but I don't think I've ever really gone into my story. I am a recovered A and so is my fiance. We are fairly new to the world of recovery but not to the world of him trying to recover (my problem cropped up fast and I nipped it as soon as I got out of the denial phase). However, I was/as extremely, EXTREMELY codependent. I initially thought that working steps in AA would take care of this issue. Oh how wrong I was. Growing up in a family with no alcoholism but all this "isms" present (especially conditional love) and then moving in with my fiance in active addiction really fueled my issues. Needless to say my codepenency spiraled out of control. I have attended Al Anon on and off for over 2 years. Now I know is the time that I HAVE to work on my codependency because it is causing serious problems in my relationship with my fiance. Push has come to shove and something has got to change. Here's my problem:

I have never actually seen anyone work a good al anon program or actually be in recovery from codepedency. At least with AA it's fairly easy to tell. They are using or not. Dry drunk or happy. Al Anons are a different beast all together. One of the main reasons that I have been in and out of the rooms and have put off working the steps (which I now have a sponsor and am starting step 1 out of Paths to Recovery) is because I have such a hard time finding people who actually follow through with what they preach in the meetings. They sound great between the Serenity Prayer and the Lord's Prayer but get them between the Lord's Prayer and the Serenity Prayer and they are a totally different beast. And I realize that this is progress not perfection, and that recovery from this HAS got to happen. But I am in a major metro area, have attended many, many meetings, used the call lists, tried to make a network, etc. And while the women have made very useful suggestions over time to my behavior at times (the ones who have were all in AA first and Al Anon second), to me it seems that their behavior and interactions with their A loved ones may have improved or may not have, but their interactions with others seems to be strikingly codependent. And these are people who have been in the program for years and have worked the steps.

I guess I am bringing this up because I am scared. My relationship with my fiance is falling apart because I cannot get a grip on my fear. I am so obsessed with a possible relapse that is realistically not in the cards right now because he has worked the steps, has great contact with his higher power, his sponsor, works with others, goes to meetings, etc. In other words always doing the next right thing. I am not saying that he is immune the falling off the wagon, because none of us are, but there is literally no reason for me to doubt him at this point. It has literally gotten to the point of me searching the house for non existant drugs and do you know what I find in his old drug and booze hiding spots? Candy. Literally like sour skittles. He stashes them around the house I guess out of habit. I am looking for something that I am just not going to find and it is driving us both nuts in the process. I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop, looking for it in case it's already dropped, and guess what? It hasn't dropped. I just don't trust that I can be okay without him being okay. That's what it boils down too. And I am not okay even when he is okay. And even if he did relapse, I would need to be okay with that too.

I just want to work through this and get the beast in the cage like I did with my alcoholism, even though the lock isn't on the door (to use a metaphor from someone else). Does it even work like that with codependency though? I guess I just need some encouragement that this is possible because right now all I am able to see when I go to al anon are women in the 60's who have been coming to these meetings for years, whose husbands still drink/drug, and who are miserable, but put on a happy face and say some recovered things because they are trying to please others at these meetings. And I know that it could be my mindframe, my perception, or just the people I am focusing in on. But I am trying so hard to be open to it but I am just so, so scared that this won't work. I know my higher power can do this for me if do the actions for myself. I know it. I just haven't actually seen it done.

And what does codependency recovery look like? People in the meeting last night were talking about not accepting unacceptable behavior. I can cut that off no problem now after AA. I can make boundaries for me. I am getting healthier. Now what I cannot accept is acceptable behavior. My fiance showing me unconditional love, with no manipulation, no conditions, etc. Totally don't get it. Can't deal with it. Must self sabatoge it. Something must be wrong, there must be some motive if he is acting like a normal rational human being and being caring and loving. Never in my life have I ever experienced something without conditions or manipulations. It's like I love (or like?) myself just enough to cut out the truly crazy chaos. But when it comes to allowing rational normal, even loving behavior in that I know I deserve, I can't let myself have it and enjoy it. I literally can't understand. I guess it boils down to believing that I don't deserve that type of treatment? I don't know. I just want to be healthy, happy and whole. I am willing to work for it. But is it even possible?
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crazybabie (10-25-2012)
Old 10-24-2012, 07:18 AM
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Originally Posted by gahope88 View Post

Now what I cannot accept is acceptable behavior.

Something about this rings true for many of us.

Never in my life have I ever experienced something without conditions or manipulations. It's like I love (or like?) myself just enough to cut out the truly crazy chaos. But when it comes to allowing rational normal, even loving behavior in that I know I deserve, I can't let myself have it and enjoy it. I literally can't understand. I guess it boils down to believing that I don't deserve that type of treatment? I don't know. I just want to be healthy, happy and whole. I am willing to work for it. But is it even possible?
Have you considered getting some professonal help to work on your own self esteem issues? You are worth the investment of time and money.
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Old 10-24-2012, 02:47 PM
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OuttoLunch said it first and with fewer words, but I am going to second it: you may get much more out of a therapist at this juncture. This very topic came up at my NarAnon meeting this week. Sometimes we really need the one-on-one with a trained professional to help us stay the course in our recovery.

I just returned to a therapist again, and because of NarAnon, I can now keep what's relevant to that process there because I know my other important growth needs will get attention with the therapist. My hunch is that your deeper issues are much older than your current relationship. The grip on fear, waiting for chaos, not able to deal with normal & healthy--these point to other issues, at least in my (very familiar) experience. I learned to be codependent because of my childhood home scene & the trauma of the bigger world.

If you want to PM me, I can offer suggestions for how to find a therapist that will be a good fit--it can be so overwhelming finding one you connect with who is also well-qualified. In any case, all the best to you for your efforts to heal!

Two of us last week were stumped about Step 4 and the wise women there pointed out that we were actually DOING it already by the questions we were posing, so there you are, too! Hang in there.
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