Learning, Growing, Changing

Old 05-15-2013, 10:24 AM
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Learning, Growing, Changing

Thought I would post a bit of an update as lately I see some major light at the end of the tunnel. I originally started down this path of discovery because of my AB, little did I know.

(this will probably get long, if you read through I commend you!)

Backing up about 9 or 10 months.....
I found SR first, after knowing for almost a year my brother was a falling fast heroin addict. After TRYING to help him on my own (not financially, but in plenty of other ways). SR lead me to Nar anon. Those meetings didn't click for me, so I found a therapist that specializes in addiction.

I really liked her from the start. No nonsense, straight forward, and expects me to put in A LOT of effort. I went originally to get help on how best to approach my brother. Found out I needed all the work, hrmph! I am also pretty stubborn and hard headed, she pushes me more then anyone ever has, no matter how much I push back. I am guessing years of dealing with addicts will do that!

I have learned about co dependency and how much this has controlled MY life. I am the mother hen of the family, the one everyone goes to to 'solve' their problems. The one that friends usually call when they have issues. I was slightly conscious of this, but I always figured it was because I gave good advice. Little did I know I was WAY out of line with my boundaries, taking on their problems, spending hours researching and owning their issues when they were usually doing nothing (and were likely to do nothing with any of my great advice, which just left me frustrated and feeling used).

I have a lot of physical problems (fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, etc etc), and while I have known for a decade my physical issues are more a manifestation of my emotional state, I struggled to correct that. I avoided stress, put distance between me and friends I deemed unhealthy, quit my high stress job, overhauled my diet and exercise habits...and while all that helped tremendously, I still have to jump through a lot of hoops to stay semi healthy.

Sitting in my first few therapy sessions was eye opening. Giant light bulbs going off right and left. But I felt REALLY overwhelmed. It seemed like a lot of the things I had thought were GOOD traits for me were actually seriously unhealthy. All my default behaviors were misguided. That I had been playing these patterns out since I was a young child and I was now in my late 30', how does one change how they have been most of their life?!? I didn't know where to start.

I started to read some books on codependency, but I would feel so overwhelmed I usually just put them to the side. I kept coming to this forum though, reading stickies, reading daily readings, reading posts by those who have spent time recovering. I also kept going to my therapist who continued to give me tasks each week. Sometimes I did well at them, sometimes I didn't. Usually the ones I didn't do well at I have found I am just not ready to tackle quite yet.

My last few therapy sessions, I find myself easily summarizing my areas of progress, and having a harder time identifying the problem areas. I am finding myself holding to my boundaries with my family really well (most are active addicts in some way or another). I find myself catching patterns of co dependent behavior much more quickly. I still will default to my old habits when under stress or put on the spot (like talking in person), but I am getting MUCH better at realizing this in the moment or very shortly after. In turn, the requests from family and some friends have changed. One of my family members who was the worst still tries new tactics, I can tell they see the change (and don't like it), but I have put more distance between us and I keep learning how to shake it off.

I have a couple of good friends that I have struggled with over the years to become closer to. I always still felt a bit on the outside and couldn't understand why. In the last few months I have become MUCH closer to them, and most of it has just happened naturally now that I am not practicing some of my old behaviors. I am learning to become vulnerable, learning what that means and how to get comfortable with it (this has been harder then my other tasks). I am trying to not over extend myself, one of my old tactics with friends...doing far more then I should until I burn out. I am almost 40 yrs old and just now learning how to make REALLY good friends, lol.

My husband has always been my best friend, and while I would say we have a great relationship, there were a couple areas we struggled. We have started to finally make progress in those trouble spots, and that is nice after years of trying various things only to end up at the same point. I have also let him own more of his problems. I still help if needed, but rather then be the person to research, come up with a plan, then implement the plan FOR HIM and then later own the results, I am now learning to let him take charge. If he needs assistance to implement the plan he comes up with, I am there for him, but I am learning to stop owning his problems just because I am married to him. Conversely, if he hasn't asked for assistance, I am learning to keep my nose out of it!

So I guess this is all to say, thanks to everyone who has posted directly or indirectly that has helped. I no longer feel crazy overwhelmed. I still have a hill to climb, but it doesn't seem nearly as impossible. 10 years ago I thought I was going to be on disability, living on pain pills, half bed ridden and reduced to a life of permanent pain. Now I hike fourteeners and am rarely more then just normal sore the next day. I think of this codey thing as just one of those mtns I have to climb, I will get there.

I would like to tell my brother thanks for opening my eyes to my own issues, that as terrible as his addiction is, it has brought some level of good to someone's life....but he doesn't seem to be at a point where that would go over well, lol.

So I will just leave him to his life and the repercussions of it. (he has court in 2 days 'I think' to find out if he is going to prison for awhile, but I haven't spoken to him for a couple months and I will not be attending, so who is what it is). I think of him now and again, but rather then spend nights not sleeping and worrying, its usually just a passing thought and I wish him well and move on.

So I keep moving forward and up
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Old 05-15-2013, 11:26 AM
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This is a really wonderful post. Thank you for sharing it.

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Old 05-15-2013, 02:43 PM
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You're doing well, I'm glad you shared that.

If you want an excellent book on codependency that won't put you to sleep, try Codependent No More by Melody Beattie. Many of us found that she was writing about US and could really relate to what she said...and what she suggested we do. Give it a try.

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