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Discussion Starter #1
I got an idea while reading the Reconciliation thread in CWI to start a similar thread here for those that are in recovery. It seems like there are a quite a few of us, and I thought it might be helpful to have a place where we can share our triumphs and struggles and get support from others who are there now or have been there in the not too distant past.

I hesitate to make "rules" for the thread since we are really good at breaking them :). But try to be respectful, supportive, gentle and more along the lines of sharing our experience, strength and hope than strictly advice.

This is for both sides, the alcoholic or addict and the spouses or family members. We have lots to learn from each other :D

I guess I will go first since I started the thread :)

I just finished my 12th Step! This is pretty amazing to me considering where I was not very long ago. I walked into my first Alanon meeting April 1st of last year (what a April Fools joke :)) scared, royally pissed off and totally broken. I think I cried the whole meeting for the first month. A few things kept me coming back - one, my son loved going to the child care and begged to go back (I couldn't disappoint him :)). Two, the woman who eventually became my sponsor was running the newcomers meeting and her husband had just had a relapse. I couldn't believe how together and sure of herself she was in the midst of crisis. I wanted that. Three, there was a man sitting next to me, a big, burly biker dude and double winner who gently touched my hand after I shared and was bawling my eyes out and told me he was so sorry that I was going through all this and it would get better. It really meant something to me that this tough guy could be so gentle and caring. It spoke to me about the program. It gave me hope for my H. Looking back at it today, I see very clearly how God was working in my life.

I have changed so much. Today when I look at myself in the mirror I see a strong, smart, beautiful woman who is capable of so much. I love myself for who I truly am and am willing to be myself. I can state my feelings and desires without thinking the world is going to end if I do. I see more positives than negatives and even when I'm in a giant pile of horse sh!t I can say at least I'm not in a pile of elephant sh!t :D. I see opportunity in the midst of crisis. I can let go of results, control and anxiety. I believe my higher power will lead me and am willing to let that happen. I understand myself and my reactions better. I am grateful for what I do have instead of focusing on what I don't. I am ok not being perfect. I am worthy of love and the life I want and I am capable of making that possible.

Life is not all unicorns and rainbows, but I'm making it through. It never will be "perfect", but I love knowing how much I can learn in the crap as long as I have the willingness to do so.

((((HUGS)))) to all of you :)
 

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Omg. What a great idea for a thread. I must say oregonmom you are one of my favorite people on this site. Thanks for sharing your story. It was really touching and beautiful. I too think you have a lot to offer to a lot of people. I have one question for you, if you don't mind. Is your husband still drinking? Is he in a recovery program? What prompted you to go to alanon? How are things with him now? Whoops I guess that's more than one question. :) I have an enormous amount of respect for alanoners and I'd love the opportunity to pick each other's brains (so to speak) I'm an open book btw, so feel free to fire away at me too. ;)Thanks.

My story. If you want to know the nitty gritty of what I was like, you can read my hubby's thread. His screen name is Gutpunch. Now I have a little over six months clean and sober, and have just finished my seventh step. I have an amazing sponsor and a home group that feels like family. I won't lie, I still have moments of morbid reflection of what I used to be like. But overall, I am very happy, calm, and supremely grateful. Hubby and I are both in IC and MC and I think he and I are starting to communicate really well. Right now I am staying home with the kids and I really love it. Oh well, gotta go do homework with the boy..
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Hi Ms GP! I'm glad you found this post as I love your insight and willingness in recovery :) I've always liked GP too, you are a lucky woman, but you know that :D. Thank you so much for your kind words.

My husband, like you, is a pill popper. Although, he will take whatever he can get :). He has been sober since February of last year and is attending both AA and NA. He went to rehab almost six years ago, but did not stay sober very long. I think this is his longest period of sobriety. As you said in another thread, he was not willing that first time, just compliant.

I finally went to alanon because I was out of options. I tried everything else I could think of before that. I desperately did not want to go. I didn't like my experience during family times at my H's rehab - I felt picked on which is not good for someone who has been bullied most of their life. It was not gentle in any way. I was afraid alanon would be the same. My H also told me they would tell me to leave him there, and I was tired of hearing that. Thankfully, my experience there has been nothing like my fears. To be honest, I desperately wanted someone there to tell me how to leave him, and no one ever has. It was quite disappointing at first :D

A little more background, I found the proof (pills) my H was using again in June 2011 even though I knew it was going on for a long long time before that. Without proof though, he just lied about it. Proof didn't turn out so great either, his using was all my fault, he made me feel like I was stuck and a piece of sh!t and I just continued playing the victim.

What I didn't know at the time was that he was in an affair. He was getting pills from a woman who was 24 years older than me and sleeping with her to keep the supply coming. I found out about the A in February 2012, and as much as I wanted to leave, I didn't have the strength. Did I mention what I great victim I was? :D

Things are much better today. We have a lot of moments where I have been close to walking out the door. There is still a lot of work to be done for both of us. But we both respect each other much more now. There are much more good times than bad. My biggest problem is that I wish I had started my own recovery before I did. Honestly, I hated him when I started. I have had to rediscover the love I had for him. That is still hard a lot of times. It would have been much easier had I started when I still loved him with all my heart. That's all woulda, shoulda, coulda stuff though, and I try not to think about that, just accept it for what it is and keep moving forward from where I'm at.

All the best to you and GP!! I think you are doing great :)
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Since I didn't see your edit before I replied, picking the other sides brain is an important thing I hope can come out of this thread. For me, it is hard to see it with my H sometimes because of all the history. I hear things much better from other addicts and alcoholics than I do him. I think the same probably goes for him. It is also easier for me to share with others than him. I hope all of us will gain more understanding of our spouses etc. when we are not so invested in the past sh!t.

A couple questions for you, how long were you using? Are you still really stubborn sometimes? (I am!:)). What made you turn from compliance to willingness? I know GP really put his foot down, but where there other things inside of you that also contributed?
 

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Sorry it took me so long to respond, It was a busy evening in the Punch house. I had homework with the boy, a continuing care meeting, football practice, and a pep rally. Whew!

I couldn't agree with you more about being able to hear something from someone else easier sometimes. I hope this is ok, but I suggested to GP that he might want to ask you some questions too because I'm sure you have both had similiar experiences and feelings. Right now, he is not interested in alanon which I think might really help him. I accept that I have no control over that. That's funny that your hubby thought they were gonna tell you to leave him. That thought never entered my mind. I'm sure there are a lot of misconceptions about alanon ( and AA for that matter). One I have heard is all they do is sit around and bash the alcoholics and addict in their lives. I thought that one was funny. My response to that one was, "Trust me, We're not that important dude." I have also heard from others that they too felt attacked at the family programs at rehab. That makes me sad because the fact they even went shows so much about their charachter to me. My own family did not go, or call me, or even participate in any of the family counseling. Which I will be honest hurt at the time, but I now feel was a blessing in disguise complements of HP. They are too sick and dysfunctional to help me or themselves, and I now see for right now the only solution is putting loving distance between us. (and I'm at peace with that decision)

I'm also surprised to hear you express remorse over not starting your recovery sooner. I can totally relate to what you are saying. I think a lot of times if I had went to treatment that my relapse may not of happened. But as painful as my relapse was for me and everyone around me, it was a very powerful learning experience that I think started the transition from compliance to willingness. I was working a crap program. (obviously right) I went to meetings, but I wasn't doing any step work or keeping regular contact with a sponsor. Heck, my sponsor at the time had only worked 4 steps in 3 years. When I relapsed, I picked up right where I left off (just like everybody says) and went straight down quick! I realized I was suffering from a case of terminal uniqueness. I was so miserable and broken but I thought if they were right about the relapse and picking up where I left off that mabye they were right about everything else.

Another reason for the transition was deep down I felt utterly hopeless. I thought I was too damaged and too far gone for any of this recovery stuff to work. It wasn't until my ninth week of treatment and going through the motions hat I had what I can only call a spiritual experience. I had a crappy emotional exhausting day and I remember walking outside to go back to my cabin and thinking, "man this day sucked. Good thing they have yoga today because I could really use a yoga class." My jaw literally dropped and I just stood there shocked and dumbfounded. I just had a horrible day and I didn't even think about imbibing any chemicals. It felt like a miracle. I thought omg this stuff really works, and I have been on fire for it ever since. I know I have to put in the work to maintain it, but that is no problem because for the first time I didn't feel hopeless.

Oh and to answer your other questions, I used for about 2 years and I'm stubborn as heck!! ha ha Thanks again for starting this. This is really cool.
 

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Hey there! Thought I would jump in and join you. Here is my story, and I have to stick to it. LOL! http://talkaboutmarriage.com/relationships-addiction/111282-remorse.html

I'm an AA and my wife is now an AlAnon.

I guess I am taking the Steps slower than some and faster than others, lol. I am working on finishing step 4 and moving into action. Kind of difficult because my sponsor and I work so much, but we'll get it done.

Feel free to ask me any questions that aren't covered in my OP. :)
 

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Hey Movealong! So glad you're here. I'm also glad you and your wife are doing better. (Hate to say it, but I told you so. ;) jk) 4th step that's awesome!! Oh man, I can't wait for you to do your fifth step. You have to tell us all about. For me, it felt like I got to have a conversation with my higher power and he answered me in my sponsor's voice. Very powerful to say the least. I am curious to hear your take on compliance verse willingness. I'm also wondering if you have noticed your wife acting out of fear? (Fear that is very understandable I must say) Like trying to control very seemingly small things because she knows she can't control the big ones. I'm also curious if Oregonmom has any feedback on this one. Is there anything that we can do to help alleviate these fears? Because I know I can't always agree with him on every little thing, because I will ride that train straight to resentment town, and I like to get tore up in resentment town!! ;) No thanks. Ha ha
 

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Hey Movealong! So glad you're here. I'm also glad you and your wife are doing better. (Hate to say it, but I told you so. ;) jk) 4th step that's awesome!! Oh man, I can't wait for you to do your fifth step. You have to tell us all about. For me, it felt like I got to have a conversation with my higher power and he answered me in my sponsor's voice. Very powerful to say the least.
I am looking forward to it as well!!

I am curious to hear your take on compliance verse willingness.
That is a tough one. I think it depends on the circumstances/situation:

- rock bottom (self) walking through the doors on your own = willingness

- legal (law or because of marriage) = compliance

That is not to say that compliance can't or won't become willingness, it just doesn't start out that way. I know several AA's including my sponsor that started out in compliance and ended up becoming willing.

I'm also wondering if you have noticed your wife acting out of fear? (Fear that is very understandable I must say) Like trying to control very seemingly small things because she knows she can't control the big ones.
Her main controlling pattern was communication. She only wanted to talk about mundane, ordinary, things until she was ready to open up bit by bit.

I'm also curious if Oregonmom has any feedback on this one. Is there anything that we can do to help alleviate these fears? Because I know I can't always agree with him on every little thing, because I will ride that train straight to resentment town, and I like to get tore up in resentment town!! ;) No thanks. Ha ha
I have been using all of the tools I was given in AA to deal with resentments as they come up. Because I am able to deal with them quickly, they don't fester and become big blow outs later.

Resentments are like nitroglycerin attached to a long, old, fuse. You don't know if the fuse is going to last long enough to let you regain composure, or if it is going to burn fast and explode in your face. Just being able to deal with resentments has alleviated a lot of stress that would normally have been transferred on to her.
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
Thanks for your response Ms GP! No worries about being busy, we all are :). I am a SAHM myself, and I still find it amazing that I feel like I have all this time, but then I don't. Maybe it is still that superwoman complex - I can do it all at all times!!:). It doesn't bother me as much any more though, it's not the end of the world if it doesn't all get done.

Of course GP is welcome here! I've made the suggestion to go to alanon a few times to him lol. He seems to be a pretty strong guy, and alanon does kind of have a stigma of old ladies knitting and b!tching :D. I feel lucky that I have found some really great meetings to go to. Well, still lots of knitting, less b!tching :D. Newbies can tend to sometimes, but that's understandable, lots have held it all in for so long. My H says the same goes for AA.

Thank you for sharing your awakening, that was really great to read! That first time around sounds a lot like my H's. I love his first sponsor a lot, but he had the philosophy of letting my H come to him and my H needed someone who was going to hold his feet to the fire. I love that yoga story!! I guess my first little awakening came about a month in. I'm a golfer, and I was playing in a tournament. My partner and I were playing awesome, and the ladies we were playing were holing shots from the fairway, hitting trees and ending up perfect, holing impossible putts, it was ridiculous! After one of those impossible putts, my partner starts swearing up a storm to me and is pissed all to hell, and I just started laughing. What were we going to do? Pull a Tonya Harding and bust them in the knee with a club? :rofl: That's what my program was all about - I was doing the best I could. I couldn't control what they were doing. No matter what I did, my preferred outcome wasn't always going to happen. Let go, move on and keep doing the best I can. HP works in mysterious ways :)

Something I have noticed as I write, lots of smiles and laughter in stuff that can seem pretty crappy. That is one of my favorite things I have gained, my sense of humor back :)
 

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What a great story about the golfing. I mean for real what can you do? Are you gonna expend all this mental energy on something you can't control? Or are you going to choose to be happy? I love that!! Yes. I have certainly regained my sense of humor back too. It gets me in to trouble sometimes though. :) Oh well, progress not perfection right?
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Thanks for your response Ms GP! No worries about being busy, we all are :). I am a SAHM myself, and I still find it amazing that I feel like I have all this time, but then I don't. Maybe it is still that superwoman complex - I can do it all at all times!!:). It doesn't bother me as much any more though, it's not the end of the world if it doesn't all get :)
I hear you about the time and super woman thing. I never thought in my wildest dream that I would have a job where I had to say things like, "don't poot on your sister!!" :) Good times.
 

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Such a great idea for a topic oregonmom.I'm many years into my own recovery now and I just want to wish you and everyone who comes here the very best in all your journeys.:)
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I just read through your thread Movealong, it sounds like you two are doing so much better! I am so happy for both of you :)

A few things that stuck out to me - I was a lot like your wife in the early stages :). Me sitting on my victim throne, I didn't want my H to think I was doing jack sh!t for him. He's the one who put us in that situation, he's the one who screwed me up so royally, and I certainly didn't want to praise him for stepping up and doing what he "should have" been doing all along. How wrong I was, it took a while for me to realize that all tho.

I wish I could speed everything up too! Unfortunately, no matter how willing both parties may be, it takes a long time. It took a long time for it to get that bad. Not giving up till the miracle happens, that helps a lot. I also try to think it won't take as long to fix as it did to screw up, so that's an improvement, right?

Acting out of fear, I have done that a lot. It has taking quite a while for me to just stop and think what is causing my action or reaction. If it is fear, I stop and call my sponsor or a friend and work out something better. I love these two Alanon sayings (maybe they are AA ones too?): Don't just do something, sit there. FEAR=False Evidence Appearing Real. Most of my fears are unfounded really, I will stress about it, then once I do it, it is not that bad. Whodda thunk? :). Resentments really are worse than fear. I still tread pretty carefully, but not terrified.
 

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I haven't heard that saying about fear. That's a good one. I like the expression self centered fear because if I look at how a fear is controlling my life and affecting those around me as selfish, I'm more likely to do something about it. I agree resentments are very toxic, but I think a lot of them are set in motion by fear. For example, I have a huge fear of turning out like my parents and I also have a fear of abandonment. It created this weird sense of obligation towards spending time with them. Well the more time I spent with them, the more I allowed myself to be hurt by them, and the more I became sucked into their dysfunction. I am not healthy enough yet to not let their actions affect me. (I'm getting there though) The deeper my resentments grew. I see know how my fear set all of this in motion now and am now able to back away without feeling guilty. Does this make any sense?
 

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Pork chops! Don't forget about the pork chops!!! :D
Ha ha. Lol. Actually the argument was about bacon!! We had a two hour argument about bacon!! I'm not even kidding here folks!! We are far from out of the woods. Ha ha. Oh well.

What's up long walk? Glad you're here buddy. I agree. Great thread.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
I haven't heard that saying about fear. That's a good one. I like the expression self centered fear because if I look at how a fear is controlling my life and affecting those around me as selfish, I'm more likely to do something about it. I agree resentments are very toxic, but I think a lot of them are set in motion by fear. For example, I have a huge fear of turning out like my parents and I also have a fear of abandonment. It created this weird sense of obligation towards spending time with them. Well the more time I spent with them, the more I allowed myself to be hurt by them, and the more I became sucked into their dysfunction. I am not healthy enough yet to not let their actions affect me. (I'm getting there though) The deeper my resentments grew. I see know how my fear set all of this in motion now and am now able to back away without feeling guilty. Does this make any sense?
Makes perfect sense to me. Abandonment is a huge fear for me too. I have had very few "real" friends in my life. I have been very good at being whoever you wanted me to be, so much so I didn't know who I really was. Even if someone liked me, I wouldn't believe they really liked me because I was being someone else, and they wouldn't like who I really was. The program has really helped me with that. My sponsor loves me and thinks I'm wonderful even after steps 5 and 8. What a relief! It has made me feel like I can be my authentic self with everyone, and if they don't like me, oh well. Not everyone is meant to be friends, not everyone has personalities that mesh, and there is nothing wrong with that. It might actually save me from pain down the road.

I am dealing with a pretty big fear right now. My H did something that is a deal breaker for me about six weeks ago. He knew it was, and his explanation was "I knew you wouldn't like it, but I was in an uncomfortable position and you are stronger than she is so I figured you would get over it easier than her" :mad: So many things wrong with this. Then he defended his position till the death and all those pre-recovery things started happening again - I'm the unreasonable one, I need to just get over it and deal with it, im trying to control him. And the buts...I hate buts!!! Had to tell him he can do as he chooses, but I respect myself enough to not live with deal breakers. He still tried to talk me out of it, so I had to spell it out. I was not ok with it, so he had to decide if our marriage or this bull was more important. After being "shocked" I felt this way, he agreed it would not happen again.

It wasn't so much the actual thing that happened, it was what happened afterwards. The same blame game, the same no taking responsibility, the same "you're the crazy one" crap. Just say you screwed up and what you're going to do to help fix it and what you'll try to do better next time. Call your sponsor! Follow the program! Arrgg. But hey, I'm proud of myself I didn't say any of that sh!t to him, just my sponsor and another friend and didn't try to control what I wanted him to do or say.

The good news is he has been much more open with me about things since, and loving, and he believes me. I still feel fearful tho that he hasn't followed thru with what he said he would do and has beat around the bush instead, and I'm fearful to just say, "so how'd it go with all that?". It seems so simple and silly not to do. So why am I so afraid? I think it is just not hearing what I want to hear, erasing the other progress, not wanting to start WWIII. Fear has definitely been the hardest thing to let go of.
 
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