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My life is unmanageable

Old 08-31-2010, 04:50 PM
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My life is unmanageable

How do I know when my life is unmanageable?
This was the "aha" moment for me.

I was married to a very controlling and dangerous man. He was the type that could turn the world upside down, and he had a way of always convincing me that his point of the view was the right one and that I might just be crazy for thinking that my point of view was OK. Years later, I learned that he might have been bi-polar, but at the time I knew he had violent and unpredictable mood swings. When he was ok - it was really good and really fun... the most fun a person could ever have. He was great with his kids and mine, we'd go places and do things and just have a wonderful time. When he was on a downswing? It was just a matter of time before the verbal abuse hit and all h*ll would break loose. I came to learn it was a very typical abusive cycle.

A counselor recommended that I go to Al Anon. I remember distinctly sitting in the meeting, and listening to the opening as it was read. When they went around and started to read the steps, I broke down into convulsive sobs when they hit that part - "and our lives had become unmanageable". I was the one who kept all the secrets. I was the one who had to try to hold it all together, and I was truly broken and exhausted. My life was unmanageable! Seeing it, hearing it - that was the beginning of change for me. I realized that my life really WAS unmanageable and I needed help. And , more importantly, the other people in the room seemed happy - in the midst of craziness.I wanted what they had - the beginning of my recovery journey.
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Old 08-31-2010, 04:58 PM
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Wow, thanks for sharing that Cats, it really touches my heart.

I knew my life was unmanageable when I drove an hour to another city, and threatened to kick down the crack house door if my son didn't come out. Normal, healthy people don't do things like that.

All of my life was a mess, but that was the event that let me know I was completely out of control.

That was also the day I surrendered and told God I couldn't do one more day like that.

Unmanageable? I'll say. Like you, I saw others who had been where I had been and who looked to be at peace.

I wanted what they had...I wanted it bad. So much that I was willing to do whatever it took to get that peace that is called serenity.
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Old 08-31-2010, 05:20 PM
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I wanted what they had...I wanted it bad. So much that I was willing to do whatever it took to get that peace that is called serenity.
Amen, my friend. That was it for me too. I was willing to do whatever it took. And for me, that was getting a sponsor and working the steps like my life depended on it.
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Old 08-31-2010, 06:25 PM
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I didn't know what was what, what was real, what was a lie. I was so confused and sick and scared and tired. What I should have been was mad.

It took my counselor looking me in the eyes after she read an email from my AH threatening to have me evicted from our home, and telling me that THIS IS ABUSE, for me to even begin to wake up to it all.

By that time, he had already contrived to remove my car from the home, and he had changed the PIN numbers on our accounts - I could no longer get cash easily. The noose got tighter and tighter.

She kept telling me I needed to make a plan, get independent of him.

I did it the ONLY way I could, I packed what would fit in "his" vehicle and I left.

My life was utterly unmanageable while I was living in that nightmare. I often thought of the scene in Silence of the Lambs, where Jody Foster is in the house and it's pitch dark - she can't see - but he has on night vision goggles and can see her struggling, and her fear.

I had to get out of there, for my sanity and my self worth. And I had to get my daughter out too. I took control over what I had control over, and left.
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Old 08-31-2010, 07:08 PM
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I just came from my 2nd Al-Anon meeting and this question about unmanagability was tonight's topic as part of the Step One discussion.

My A isn't in my life anymore yet I still give him power over my thoughts. I think about him every hour of every day. I miss him. I want to be his cheerleader in his recovery, if he is still working on his sobriety. I want to be the one who is there for him. I want to share his days and nights with him. I want it to be me.

THAT is what has made my life unmanagable, thinking about him constantly. It is affecting my 25-year career and my relationships with the people in my life. It has stolen my authentic joy. I let it have that kind of power over me.

We read from the One Day at a Time in Al-Anon book tonight, the May 14 reading about submission vs. surrender in admitting we are powerless. I cannot wait to know that I have truly surrendered. I can't wait to have that peace in my unconscious as opposed to just knowing in my head that I am powerless.
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Old 08-31-2010, 07:19 PM
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We read from the One Day at a Time in Al-Anon book tonight, the May 14 reading about submission vs. surrender in admitting we are powerless.

One Day at a Time in Al-Anon 5/14

A long-time friend of AA, Dr. Harry M. Tiebout, clarified brilliantly the difference between submission and the surrender idea which is implied in Step One of the Twelve Steps.

“In submission,” he said, “an individual accepts reality consciously but not unconsciously. He accepts as a practical fact that he cannot at the moment conquer reality, but lurking in his unconscious is the feeling: “there’ll come a day…” this is no real acceptance; the struggle is still going on. With this temporary yielding, tension continues. But when the ability to accept functions on the unconscious level as surrender, there is no residual battle; there is relaxation and freedom from strain and conflict.”

Today’s Reminder

Al-Anon tells me that complete acceptance of my powerlessness to change the alcoholic can, indeed, create a new life for me. When I really let go and stop playing God, things will begin to happen. Because at that point, my Higher Power has an opportunity to correct what seemed to me so hopeless.

“Acceptance appears to be a state of mind in which the individual accepts, rather than rejects or resists; he is able to take things in, to go along with, to cooperate and be receptive.” (Dr. Harry M. Tiebout)

=====

Good stuff! Thanks for the reminder to go to the books
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Old 08-31-2010, 07:27 PM
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Thanks for printing the whole thing, Cats. That reading really hit home for me tonight. I'm going to go read it again and think/pray about it tonight before I go to bed.
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Old 09-01-2010, 10:56 AM
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this is a great thread.

i want so badly to surrender, to admit my powerlessness.

you know, the things i have done to actually control people's lives i have been proud of?! maybe it's a dramatic streak in me, but when people would just say "let it go" regarding my RABF, i was always the one to say "NO, WE HAVE TO STOP HIM. . . and this is how we can do it!" i was driving back and forth between our 2 states, calling his friends, getting everyone to "see" the problem. i devoted literally 6 months to this endeavor. and i was rather proud of my work. and somewhere deep inside, i know i still i am. i still hold onto this idea that I helped change things for him.

i have spoken about this before. . . how he, my RABF, helped me through a difficult period of my life. perhaps i gave him too much credit. because, in the end, he wasn't the one who got me to stop failing out of school and start living my life. . . it was ME.

i had such a hard time in college. i was miserable. i was partying. i looked good, but i felt terrible and the fact that i couldn't get to classes, that i didn't really use my mind and my talents until my senior (and 5th) year in school. . . i was simply filled with angst, with pain, i felt the world was against me, i felt no one liked me, i was directionless and terribly depressed. this was the first time i was out in the world, away from my abusive family of origin, and nothing was getting better. so i thought the problem must be me. that i was screwed, and that's just the way it was.

so my RABF sticking by me through all this-- through all the paranoia and fear and all the enemies (not imagined) that i did actually make, all the mess i made of my dreams. . . well, it obviously meant a lot to me then and still means a lot to me now. it's one of the reasons i told myself i had to do WHATEVER IT TOOK to save him.

and whatever it took made my life unmanageable. that's what finally got me to al-anon. i couldn't do it anymore. i really did give up in that moment when i walked in those doors.

but for me, it's more like trying to learn to use a different muscle. the muscle that believes i can fix it all and wants to control it is VERY strong. the muscles that don't believe that and dont' want to control are kinda weak. so i have to keep relaxing that strong muscle and try to grow the weaker one. it takes a lot of attention, and it sometimes seems hopeless.

my mother -- who i am trying to not talk to about anything too deep these days-- has often said to me, "you are an aggressive, persuasive person. . and those can be good qualities. stop trying to change yourself and capitalize on what you have."

but to do that i think it would be some kind of emotional death for me. i don't LIKE using those things, but it's all i feel i've ever felt comfortable or been told.

hope this isn't too much verbal vomit. i'm just trying to get my thoughts out.
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Old 09-01-2010, 03:56 PM
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all of you gave me "chills"(in a positive way) I so love this new step work...you get me thinking and challenge my brain...LOL

took along time for me in the step...it was normal to see that bottle sitting beside HIM(grandpa) and that shot glass.....
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Old 09-01-2010, 05:58 PM
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great thread. I've been deep into step one. Control is my issue. My life became unmanageable 10 yrs ago and the ride stopped 4 weeks ago. Now I work that "different" muscle (I love that NightandDay)
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Old 09-01-2010, 06:44 PM
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nightandDay, and SummerPeach too - you'll learn as we go forward in the step study that those "strong muscles" don't have to be eliminated - they can be adjusted - they might not be a liability, but rather just an asset that's a little bit out of balance.

I just love this program, we get the opportunity to learn so much about ourselves and how to make those little adjustments that keep us healthy and moving in a good direction.
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Old 09-02-2010, 04:19 AM
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My life was a living nightmare, to the point where even thinking about it caused me angina attacks. If RABF was out on the town, I would be sitting in a chair in the lounge, in the dark, afraid to even flush the toilet in case he turned up and started yelling to come in.

Once sitting in my wardrobe, I actually used a torch to see the numbers on my phone and to muffle the sound of me talking to the police. I was close to mental implosion and my heart specialist couldn't understand why I had so many angina attacks (up to 10 a day).

After a drunken call in the wee hours of the morning, I sobbed my heart out and begged God to end this some way, and do it soon. I had taken enough and wanted out....but how?

That day I saw SR and took a look, went back to reading my alanon books and to the Steps. That day I realised RABF had to find his own way and I had to find mine, no-one else could change my life, stop the trauma and pain, but me.

A few hours later reading step 2, I could not argue that my life was not totally unmanageable....that was 2 out of 2 and more to come.

Thank God for his aiming me towards SR and back to the steps.

God bless
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Old 09-02-2010, 06:42 AM
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Originally Posted by Jadmack25 View Post
I sobbed my heart out and begged God to end this some way, and do it soon. I had taken enough and wanted out....but how?

That day I saw SR and took a look, went back to reading my alanon books and to the Steps. That day I realised RABF had to find his own way and I had to find mine, no-one else could change my life, stop the trauma and pain, but me.

A few hours later reading step 2, I could not argue that my life was not totally unmanageable....that was 2 out of 2 and more to come.

Thank God for his aiming me towards SR and back to the steps.

God bless
I too prayed and begged my HP to release me from the pain of my relationship (not that I didn't love him, but we were lost)......my prayers were answered when he cheated. It forced me to leave.

I was out, but it's not the way I wanted out, but I think it had to be extreme in order for us to both stand back and look at what was going on.
I believe he feels like a tool for doing what he did. He said he was going to finally start his steps because he needs to understand why he acted in this way (I have faith he will) and I started my steps because I needed to finally fix me.
His mistake may have been the lifeline we both needed.

My life became unmanageable and now I have the chance to turn that around..........even though it's SO painful!
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