Happy Summer :). I hope you are all doing well.
Several months ago I moved out of my home with my 10 month old baby. Two months later my husband went to an inpatient treatment center for alcoholism. Today is four weeks since his release from that program. He is attending outpatient treatment, and AA meetings. He wants to work his recovery program. Things aren't always great, but I believe they are moving in a positive direction.
However, recently I have sensed my husband withdrawing again a bit. He also seem to be having some issues with control (of course, so do I). He has chosen a new sponsor and a group of men to spend time with and attend meetings with. I've noticed that, again, the people he's chosen are those who don't challenge him in certain ways, who he may possibly be able to manipulate (I don't think this is a conscious or maliciously intended act). I was excited to meet these people, but when I finally spent time with them, I felt very uncomfortable about the atmosphere, especially with my daughter around them. I have taken her to AA meetings, etc, and never before felt this way. Do I have the right to speak up about this? Do I stay quiet and "mind my own business?"
Recently he hounded me, nearly every day for 3 weeks, for a translation of my daughter's name, in my (deceased) father's native language. When I finally got it for him, he indirectly indicated that he was having it tattooed on himself. He knew I would not be very supportive of this, and I feel like I was duped. I thought he was having something made for her. Before we were married, my husband got a number of piercings and tattoos, which I am fine with - he told me he probably did this out of pain. So, this feels like old behavior to me, and I'm not sure why getting the tattoo is such a priority for him.
There are a few issues here: 1) we are having financial problems. My husband has been laid off for a year, and he himself has quite a bit of debt. 2) He and his counselor both asked me to hold him accountable when he left inpt treatment. So, 3)I told my husband that my feeling was this: perhaps he could wait a while, since he is so new to recovery, before making such a permanent decision. Also, I asked him if he could just please not use our daughter's name, and my father's language. I only offered this because he keeps trying to involve me, and kind of asks my opinion. When I give him this information, he says my feelings don't matter, and that just because he is sober doesn't mean I get to make the decisions.
If I need to stay out of this completely, someone please let me know.
"The first step toward success is taken when you refuse to be a captive of the environment in which you first find yourself."
Let go and let God...Let it be... let it begin with me...
I would guess that when they say "accountable for his actions," they mean not enabling. That is, not protecting him from the consequences of his behaviors. So, for instance, if he'd been drinking and lost his car keys at the bar, you wouldn't go pick him up to bail him out of the situation. Or if he spent all his money on alcohol and needed to pay a parking ticket, you wouldn't pay the ticket for him.
The tattoo sounds like a more complicated matter. There is the issue of the money, but also the issue of the fact that you don't like the choice of tattoo or even the tattoo at all. This sounds like an issue of boundaries -- what we get to say we like about someone's choices, and the times when we need to stay on our own side of the street. (Really, not enabling is also staying on our own side of the street.) The way I see it, we can say what is true for us ("I don't really want you to dye your hair green, it's not my favorite look"), but in matters of personal choice and appearance, that's where it's wisest to stop. Sometimes our partners make choices we don't like. One problem with my AH was that he rarely talked. I was always encouaging him to open up. It turned out that when he opened up, I didn't like what he had to say. At that point I made some unhealthy choices: I tried to force him to think and say what I wanted him to think and say. Well, sadly, you can imagine how well that worked.
I can also hear your worry about whether he'll fall back into bad patterns, hang out with bad influences, and take the wrong road. Al-Anon has a saying: "He's going to do what he's going to do -- what are you going to do?" We learn to take the focus off the other person's behavior and put it back on the person we can influence: ourselves. I hope you have the support of meetings? Please keep on taking good care of yourself. Hugs to you.
Stepping onto a brand-new path is difficult, but not more difficult than remaining in a situation, which is not nurturing to the whole woman.- Maya Angelo
Aloha K...Might be useful before you attempt those compulsions to first check out your program and inventory your program tools. What is it that you have to work with and what is it that you're lacking? Meetings, literature, sponsorship, steps and service really helped me than see how much of my alcoholic/addict wife's life. It also helped me to understand how much power I had to change other things outside of myself and still connected to the disease...loss of jobs, lack of money, etc.
It was my wife's sponsor in AA who was initially responsible for me taking a look into Al-Anon and while it was me who directly caused my wife to walk from AA and go back out again it was her sponsor who helped open the door to Al-Anon for me finally and then I never left.
A Power Greater than myself is a must...or I find myself in the enabling and other management profession without the tools and successful experience to do so. She didn't get better for it and I didn't either.
In support (((((hugs)))))