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Post Info TOPIC: Recovering and tattooing


Senior Member

Status: Offline
Posts: 142
Date:
Recovering and tattooing


Hi Everyone,

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. 

Thank you.

KLotus

 

 



__________________

"The first step toward success is taken when you refuse to be a captive of the environment in which you first find yourself."

 



~*Service Worker*~

Status: Offline
Posts: 1212
Date:

Well I assume you are going to Alanon for you? Alanon teaches us that we have to focus on ourselves. In that, we have to remember that the other person is an adult and can make their own decisions for themselves. I wouldn't like it if someone told me to not get a tattoo (I have 6), and if someone said I shouldn't get my child's name tattooed on me, I wouldn't like that either. When we turn the focus to ourselves and work on our own recovery, we feel better. I see that you said you are supposed to hold him accountable for his actions. I am not sure how that works with alanon, maybe someone else can enlighten me. I can only hold myself accountable and I can only change myself not anyone else... Take care of you! And that sweet baby too :) HUGS! Keep coming!

__________________

-youfoundme

Let go and let God...Let it be... let it begin with me... 

 



~*Service Worker*~

Status: Offline
Posts: 2397
Date:

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.



__________________


~*Service Worker*~

Status: Offline
Posts: 3871
Date:

KLotus,

I think the thing that stands out to me are two things. 1st is if you were financially ok and trying to tell him he couldn't then that's a little different. This is a financial decision that affects not only your sig other, it affects you however your child too. 2nd I am always about mothers intuition, if you are feeling your daughters safety is an issue then I do not feel that is a subject to remain quiet about. I'm not following exactly what is going on, are these people coming to your home, are you meeting them at aa how is it your daughter is around them? Our alanon meeting has a babysitter, (my daughter) and so the kids are not exposed to the grown up emotions (which they can be). I'm not sure I understood your post, 100%.

Yes, we need to allow others to be responsible for themselves, at the same time we still have to hold on to responsibility for the daily things in our lives. Food, shelter, and so on are first always vs an extra and a tattoo is an extra. ESPECIALLY, since he's not working and choosing to make this kind of purchase. I have no idea how much something like that costs? I know they can run very expensive based upon what is done. So my line for minding my own business is, when it is something that directly affects my kids and it's choices my AH has made, either they or myself is paying for them in some way, then no he doesn't get to say gee honey, I'm driving again because I want to. That's money that will cover fun things for the kids to do this summer. It puts food on our table, helps towards some other bill. At the same time I can't dictate to my spouse if he wants a can of chew, only because I don't think he should do it. Ditto on other things as well.

Hugs and just keep the focus on you when it needs to be there however know you still have rights as well. :)

__________________

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



~*Service Worker*~

Status: Offline
Posts: 10292
Date:

 

 

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))))) smile



__________________


~*Service Worker*~

Status: Offline
Posts: 1124
Date:

I am not sure I completly understood your post so forgive me if I get this wrong.
Your husband still is in AA but now hanging out with people you do not feel are the best influence on him. And he wants to get a tattoo of your daughter's name in your father's native language. Also he is out of work and money it tight.
Hope I got that right. In alanon we learn we can't control the actions of another. They are gonna do what they are gonna do. Our job is to take care of oursevles and for you your daughter also.
Your husbands decision to change or shift friendships in his program is his right to do so. Sounds like he is trying to work the program as best he can in order to do that we need to find people with whom we have a more common bond. At least I do in my program. I choose to interact more with people I am comfortable with or who have what I want ( recovery wise ) and maybe thats what he is doing. No disrespect but how he chooses to work his program is his business not yours. You cannot work his program for him, he has got to find his own way. If those guys aren't right for him he will figure that out for himself in due time.
Now he has debt and wants a tattoo. With that I would maybe sit down and go thru your bills/debt and how money is being disbursed now in order to cover the bills and ask him where will the money for the tattoo come from? Let him figure it out that maybe the tattoo may have to wait until he is working and contributing to the bills. If you give him just a plain " No tattoo" I am guessing that wouldn't go over to well as it is his right to get a tattoo if he wishes. So let him see for himself that added income is needed in order to save for a tattoo. Include him in the household finances, let him feel a part of it.
Now the tattoo itself that he wants you seem to really disapprove of. It took 3 weeks you say of him hounding you for the translation of your daughters name in your father's native language. Why? I would ask your motive for not wanting him to know the translation of your daughters name. And also your motive for not wanting him to put it on his tattoo. That was really the part of your post that really caught my attention.
I would urge you to right now to work your program to the best of your ability, let your husband work his. My son is my A and believe me if i could make all his decisions for him aka... control him I wouldn't be here. It's my need to control as futile as it may be that was the hardest thing to let go of when dealing with my son. I get that you are in uncertain times with your husband in early recovery that is why we need our own recovery so badly because we can't expect our loved one to maintain thier sobriety and that is scary. Again why we need our own support system and tools to get us healthy no matter what our A is doing. I have found working my own program to be a full time job so I can take my son out from under the microscope and put all my efforts on myself and my husband.
I wish you and your husband all the best in your recoveries
Blessings

__________________


Senior Member

Status: Offline
Posts: 142
Date:

Thank you, everyone, for your thoughtful posts! I will now try to answer some questions that were raised, while I'm up at 4am (my one year old is having a restless night!).

Why did it take 3 weeks to get the translation? Because I called and emailed my cousin in CA, who is very busy and was unable to get back to me sooner. I had no idea what the translation was for, I was actually eager to get it for him because (some time ago) we had discussed having something made for her bedroom. My husband knew I would not be supportive of the information being used in the way he is using it - which is exactly why I did not know his plan beforehand.

I agree that my program is my business, and my husband's is his. I struggle with the financial component. My husband occasionally finds work under the table, but that is only occasional. He has been laid off for over a year. He sometimes applies for/interviews for jobs, and when it is a good job that he comes close to possibly getting, he finds a reason to dislike it. He hasn't really had many offers anyway though, unfortunately.

It is his sponsor and a small group of men in recovery who I was referring to - there was a lot of inappropriate discussion, in a bit of a chaotic atmosphere, with little regard for any of the children present, not to mention lots of secondhand smoke, etc (which, I realize is not my business). So, for the time being, I will just have to decline any invitation to spend time with them, and especially when it comes to my daughter. I am trying to let go of the possibility that my husband's feelings may be hurt.

I'm becoming more confused about when I "am allowed" to speak up, which has been something I need to work on: speaking up at all. In the past, when I was uncomfortable with some of my husband's choices or behaviors, I did not know how to say so, and allowed myself to be damaged by it. I realize this is something he wants for himself, however. I just wish he had not involved me at all. He tells me it's not my business, and then solicits my opinions, then tells me he doesn't care how I feel. He's not going to get my "permission" if that is what he is seeking - he should know he doesn't need it.

I'm particularly having a hard time with another aspect: Marriage. We are two separate people, who have come together, do move through life together, and make decisions, together. It begins, yes, by being individuals first, and I do not want to make decisions FOR my husband. However, I feel like being married to an alcoholic, and both of us in recovery, means the best we can do is come close to having a marriage, but never actually having one. The healthier relationships I have seen (which did not involve addiction of course) would have dealt with this situation differently, e.g. having more consideration for a partner's feelings. I'm sure my husband would want to speak up if I decided I was going to cover my face in tattoos, get a breast enhancement and liposuction, and start stripping... and if I told him he has absolutely no say, he would probably start looking at the possibility that we want different things and have different values. If I can't trust him to make decisions in our family's best interest (I'm thinking of the finances here), then why be married to him? In the end, I never told him to do/not to do anything. I said I didn't like it, and asked if he would considering something else. It's up to him.

I apologize, this is about more than a tattoo for me. I'm just feeling very sad and angry. The tattoo is minor in the big picture. I know that, as someone said, he may figure out in the long run that he chose the people he spends time with for unhealthy reasons (maybe) - but he used to make decisions like this when he was drinking, for a long time - it serves a purpose, by keeping him in a comfortable place where he isn't challenged much. So, I don't know that he'll "figure it out for himself," ever. Then, I'm left with wondering if I want to raise a child with him. I'm scared.

Much Gratitude,

KLotus

__________________

"The first step toward success is taken when you refuse to be a captive of the environment in which you first find yourself."

 

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