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Post Info TOPIC: Co-dependancy and Jealousy with the recovering addict


Newbie

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Co-dependancy and Jealousy with the recovering addict


My wife just returned home from rehab. YEAH!! Or so I thought. I am entering a strange emotional state all of a sudden. We have been having some nice chats but it always seems to end with my jealousy regarding some male friends she met there. One in particular. She says it was a total brother sister relationship. He was her rock. They text all day and talk on the phone. She also told me of the hooking up and sex that went on at the place. She was and I beleive it one of the serious ones.
In our past years of marriage she has had a few situations that lead me to be untrusting of her with other men she finds attractive. Drunken kiss in a bar in front of me, a lunch date I found out about with a "old friend" who was trading dirty emails with her, never a full on affair or fling that i can prove. I shift through my feelings of: am I just being co-dependant and jealous? Are my fears valid due to her past indiscreations? Really not sure. She likes to through it in my face that other men she meets now at AA meetings I would be intimidated by due to their looks. She knows it's a sore spot for me but can;t seem to understand why I dredge up the past and project it onto this new relationship. I am afraid it might blossom into something. She is totally into getting better and I know in this fragile state our heated talks are driving a wedge between us and pushing her under ground with this "relationship." She never hid his name from me or how close they became. She was very upfront about it and that her focus is now on her, which i get. But there has to be some fine line here.
I have been to Alanon several times and plan to continue for my own good and sanity. We're married 10 years and have two beautiful daughters. I can't bear the thought of divorce or a "you live your life and I will live mine." Anyone with some sanity out there?
Thanks
-trying to livestrong!


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SLS


Senior Member

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Welcome to MIP and I am so glad for you that you have found Al-Anon. I strongly recommend that you continue to go to F2F meetings and start putting the focus on you and your own recovery from the effects of alcoholism.

I can tell you that you are not alone in the situation in which you find yourself. I was there myself. I know now that the reason that the newly sober latch on to each other with apparent disregard for the family waiting at home is because it is much easier for the A to try to save another A than to look in the mirror, deal with the wreakage of their past, and to do the hard work that is necessary for long-term sobriety. In my case, I saw it as it was happening. I voiced my concerns and was told that I was crazy and that I could never understand what the bound was between them. My AH, now 4 years sober, has recently been able to admit to me that I was right and that his recovery "connection" was simply a way for him to avoid reality. He had never hurt her. He had never betrayed her. He had no past with her except for what happened in rehab.

In our case, we separated. We had too--the arguments and fights were just the same as before rehab except that no one was drinking and no one or nothing was hurt or broken. He had to find his way through early sobriety. I had to detox from him. It was hard and it hurt like hell. But, by throwing myself into Al-Anon and my own recovery, I discovered a new way of life and a happiness with myself that I had never experienced before.

I would encourage you to attend open AA meetings. Listening to those stories and shares helped me when I had no compassion for my newly sober asshole of a husband, which was exactly what he was acting like at the time.

There is an Al-Anon book that really helped me during that time called "Living with Sobriety." It has some wonderful shares about the insanity of early sobriety. You will sometimes hear the phrase "stark raving sober" and that is what it is. My AH was INSANE, but in a totally different way that I did not understand. He did not know up from down, right from left. He had to learn how to live life sober--how to recognize and identify emotions and then figure out how to live with those emotions without numbing himself to the hard emotions.

In many ways, I was as sick or sicker than my AH. I had to learn how to let go and let him live his own life and live with the consequences of his own behavior. I had to learn how to put the focus back on my and learn how to take care of myself before others. I had to learn how to not internalize every emotion that my AH threw in my direction--to stop taking responsibility for everything and everyone else.

You are in the right place. I am sorry that you are in pain and I can't tell you how it will all work out for you. But, I do know that if you work on YOU and keep the focus on YOU, that the it will all work out as it should for YOU. That may mean that your marriage continues, it may not. You can't control your A. You can't make her want something she doesn't or work on something that she either can't or won't work on.

Hang in there and keep coming back.

Yours in recovery,

SLS

__________________
Do not be anxious about tomorrow; tomorrow will look after itself.
The Bible, from Courage to Change, p.138




Newbie

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Thanks for responding. I needed that.
I am sorry to hear of your experience. Hopefully you are in a better place. Did you have children together?

 


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~*Service Worker*~

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so ok, she told you & was honest and u say you belive her.  Great. Now take the focus off of her and put it on YOU.  You are the only one u can control or change. Focusing on other people is a waste of our lives but as al-anons this is what we do.  Learn to focus on you, leave her with her issues & feelings and love yourself.  This is the best way to support her - give her the space to work it out.  It is true, with most people - if u begin to argue about circumstances - she will only cling harder to this other person b/c she will want to defend herself & him from you.  Just accept that they are friends & give her plenty of room/space.  Focus on you, get to meetings, find a sponsor, apply the steps to your life.  Get healthy for you and your kids, it will improve all of your lives.

I agrew with SLS, getting to open AA mtgs can be very illuminating and u can get to know more about how she is struggling.  The first year of recovery for an A, is essentially getting to experience emotions again, it is very confusing ~ and you have different persepctive & issues from her drinking, feel, deal, heal YOU.  It does get better, glad u found us & hope u give al-anon a fair chance, you are worth it!

Focus on you, love you & it will allow you to be a better partner for her.



__________________
Light, Love, Peace, Blessings & Healing to Us All. God's Will Be Done. Amen.
SLS


Senior Member

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We do not have any children together, but I have a 23 year old step-son from my AH's first marriage.

We have been separated 3 1/2 years while we have slowly rebuilt our relationship. We have each worked our own program, and sought counseling both individually and together. He is scheduled to move back into our home on July 31st.  smile

Being apart has allowed much healing that I don't believe could have happened under the same roof. Also, he has had to learn how to take care of himself and I have had to learn how to let him.  It has taken time, but we talk daily, have date nights, attend family events together, etc.  We just don't live together. We have learned how to have a pretty functional and healthy relationship while living apart--as a couple, we are probably the healthiest that we have ever been.

But, it is important to note that there is no guarantee that we will work as well living together under one roof--we certainly didn't do a very good job at it while he was drinking. All we can do is use the tools we have learned in recovery to continue to take it One Day at a Time. I realize that I cannot control him and for the most part, I no longer try. I have set some boundaries for behavior that I will or will not live with--it is his choice whether he honors those boundaries or not. For example, I have told him that I am done if he drinks again (because I cannot trust that he will not physically hurt me) or if he cheats again (a symptom of the disease, but a pain that I am no longer willing to endure).

You are so early in the game--you have got to take it all One Day at a Time.  Your A probably doesn't know what she is thinking or what she wants from one day to the next--maybe from one hour to the next.  That is why it is insane to put all of your focus on her.  Keep it focused on you.  Now is the time for you to figure out how you got where you got and how to get where you want to be...and that may or may not be with your A, but the nice thing is that you don't have to make any decisions right now.  In fact, you shouldn't because all you can really do at this point is react and not act.  It is the reacting that gets us in trouble.  So, take a deep breath, put the focus squarely on yourself and start the process of becoming whole again.  It is worth it!!

Yours in Recovery,

SLS

__________________
Do not be anxious about tomorrow; tomorrow will look after itself.
The Bible, from Courage to Change, p.138




~*Service Worker*~

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Welcome Livestrong,

Glad you found us!  While reading your post it brought back to me all those feelings I had when my wife first admitted she had a problem and started attending AA.

On the one hand I was thrilled!  I just knew this was going to fix everything that was wrong with our marriage.  Namely her!!! smile By this time I had already somehow survived learning that my wife had been having affairs during our marriage.  Mind you I hadn't really dealt with it, but I survived it.  The way a child is forced to survive abuse from his environment growing up...they have no choice.

I had no choice either, yet.  I was incapable of dealing with it.  I used the "pretend it wasn't real" school of thought...also known as denial.

But AA, well I knew that is what she needed.  And she seemed to know that too.  Early on in her recovery, she would leave an AA Big Book on the coffee table in our living room and I started reading it.  I was blown away.  And I was armed!!!  I became educated about how she needed to work her program.  And while I was outwardly supportive...I was also inwardly judging how she was progressing.  I don't remember ever really telling her she was doing something wrong....heavens no!!...didn't want to upset her, she might drink again!!!

She started changing.  She became more willing to talk.  She became more tolerant of my "ways".  After a while she started sleeping on the couch, always everything was just temporary...and "everything was going to be allright". 

A few months later she was trying to buy her own house.  And weeks after that she moved out, for a "temporary separation" which was quickly followed by filing for divorce.

What little sanity I had left disappeared.  I became suicidal.  Somewhere in there she let me know that, at her sponsor's suggestion, she had registered me at a AA/Al-Anon conference she would be attending. 

I went.  I was saved. 

What saved me was finally realizing something, that I didn't even know I had a big problem with. 

Step 1 says, "We admitted we were powerless over alcohol - that our lives had become unmanageable".

I was powerless.  I had been trying to manage my life and all those in it, and didn't even see it.  That was the beginning of my getting better. 

Al-anon taught me the Serenity Prayer.  That saved my life.  I chanted the first line of that prayer over and over and over, every day when I started getting that feeling of panic and utter terror watching my life change right before my eyes.  "God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change".

My marriage ended.  That was over 5 years ago.  My life has never been better than it is right now, today. 

Thanks to this program and learning my powerlessness, and learning acceptance.  And letting go of the idea that I am responsible for the people in my life being who I think they should be.

Your story will be yours.  It may turn out nothing like mine, I only share mine with you to let you know, that no matter what happens, you can be happy. 

Keep going to meetings.  Get the literature and read.  Find a sponsor.  Keep coming here and reading and posting.   Start focusing on you.  That is where you will find your peace.  And all of the people around you will benefit it too.  And so will we! smile

I would also recommend the AA open meetings...or reading a Big Book or both!

And one last thing, my ex-wife was absolutely right!  Everything is "alright" today.  It wasn't the "alright" I thought it was going to be....but it is so much better! biggrin

Yours in Recovery,
David


__________________
Laughter is the Beginning of Healing


~*Service Worker*~

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Aloha Livestrong and another welcome.  MIP is a very supporting family as is the
Al-Anon Family Group.  Your post for me is "the" post regarding trying to attain
sanity and serenity thru recovery.  I learn that alcohol would allow a person to
do things they might never do when not drinking.  Infideliy would be one of
those things.   It breaks down the values barriers and relationship values are
one of the ones to go.  I remember listening to a counselor tell my addicted wife
that my feelings "were as if she was having an affair with another man."  I reacted
to that because it was exactly how I felt without having the words myself.  She
hung and sought comfort exclusively from her using friends and associates.  I would
be in the picture only if I joined in on the action and I would not however I got very
very sick, mind, body, spirit and emotions.  I could trust that she would be and
would prefer to be "with them" and not "with me" as I was.  She might as well
have been having sex with another or others.   To shorten the story I received a
prescription to divorce from my family doctor and then had my perceptions
identified by my counselor.   Though she denied she wasn't...she couldn't deny
how I was reacting to it.  It was and is real.   My next wife was an alcoholic/addict
and sexual infidelity was a reality including me having to identify myself along with
the other Toms' Dicks' and Harrys' who she included in her drinking life. I identified
with being "just another one of the guys" when we got together.  I wasn't making
a sound choice regarding having a lasting relationship and marriage within the
disease of alcoholism.  While in program I learned what to expect from making
these choices and learned to expect infidelity.  It came with the disease and was
usual.  That expectation afterward almost always came to reality.   The lesson
is attached to the second part of the first step..."our lives had become unmanag
-able.  I've been in program a while and so many other members have revealed
the same situation in their relationships with alcoholics and addicts.  One of the
results is screwed up emotions and thoughts and expectations.  For me it came
down to the question "Okay what do you want to do with this situation?"  It came
down to me redefining my value systems and commiting myself to that.  I came
down to choosing peace of mind and serenity and not leaving that choice up to
someone who wouldn't participate in the "we"  process.  I also hated being
the victim and dressing up in (poor me) sack cloth so I've learned that a partner
who chooses self gratification in spite of its consequences on others is not a
partner "They are a user".    An early sponsor once told me, and it was regarding
the relationship with an alcoholic issue, if I arrived at the awareness I had made
a wrong choice...go back and correct it.  If I act as if it will correct itself all by itself
I deserve the consequences.  If I believe that it is God's will for me while I and 
others are running on our own wills, I deserve the consequences.  If I cave in to
fear of changing what I can and convince myself it's OK...I deserve the 
consequences.

Your post hit a home run for me.   Thanks much.  (((((hugs))))) smile 


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Newbie

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So it has been 9-1/2 years since I posted anything. I cant believe I could still find the original thread and remembered what password I used. Has anyone had experiences with not separating from their A but rather lived almost separate lives, lived through additional -ism, although sober and stayed married? Im short the timeline looks like this : her : active addiction, sobriety, secret life shared with other sober men, the bitch of karma, therapy, reconnection. Me- no serenity, thinking you found serenity but it was just a mask of disconnecting (without much love), As sobriety, whirlwind of a new kind of crazy, addiction like stuff but sober, more disconnecting while she went about her way of finding herself, I went about my own way, years go by, kids grow up, holidays are shared, secrets and suspicions are ignored for fear of breaking my serenity and meering the beast of liar (or truth not sure which I would have met) named Denial, then the inevitable discoveries, the bitch of karma comes home to roost for her, my realization that detachment either saved me from the old crazy Co dependence or that I had no balls to confront the suspicions. 
9-1/2 years later, crying, yelling, honesty, walls of shame, resentment, truth, detachment: shattered, until its like a second marriage to someone new. But their name is unchanged.



-- Edited by livestrong09 on Saturday 24th of November 2018 01:28:57 PM

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Bo


~*Service Worker*~

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First..If you are going to face to face alanon meetings...then you've heard the slogan..."Nothing changes if nothing changes."

Second...If you are going to face to face alanon meetings...have you been "working" the program? Have you had/do you have a sponsor?

Third, the you being OK seems to be completely contingent upon her being OK. What have you done for YOU? About YOU?

Nothing changes if nothing changes.

__________________

Bo

Keep coming back...

God, grant me the serenity...to accept the PEOPLE I cannot change...the courage to change the ONE I can...and the wisdom to know it's ME...

 

Bo


~*Service Worker*~

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I am so grateful...and it is truly amazing...that I can read a post, and a follow up...9 1/2 years later! This is life, real life. Right here in front of us.

I am glad you've returned, and wish you all the best.

Today at the meeting I go to here in NJ -- a person came back after 15 years away from the (same) meeting. It was the same thing -- nothing changes if nothing changes. His share was fascinating! He was able to reflect on his first meeting and his circumstances 15 years ago...and then relate it to today.

Nothing changes if nothing changes.

__________________

Bo

Keep coming back...

God, grant me the serenity...to accept the PEOPLE I cannot change...the courage to change the ONE I can...and the wisdom to know it's ME...

 



~*Service Worker*~

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Date:

Hi and welcome back. I cant add to these great and loving and wise posts that you got on your thread so Ill just welcome you back and tell you I could not agree with the ones who shared above me anymore than I do. Youve got to do this for you, you are on your spiritual path. And she is on her path. I hope you have a sponsor or a recovery partner to get into the steps and slogans while you go to the meetings. I learned pretty quickly on in the program That the only thing I can fix or change is myself. Never the other. I live life now for myself. If I dont take care of myself, I am useless to the ones whom I can help. I know its hard, but the only choice you have if you want serenity is to let her work this out herself and you keep the focus on you. The outcome of this is not in your hands but your higher powers

In support

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Rose:

*** KEEP IT SIMPLE***



~*Service Worker*~

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(((livestrong09))) - welcome back to MIP. I am still with my AH and we've gone through the merry-go-round of denial. Long story short, we met and married in AA; both had 5+ years, dated first, etc. He relapsed between the birth of our 2 boys and never returned to the program. I stayed sober and have 31 years (kids are now 26 and 24).

We have certainly grown together and apart. We have certainly battled over many, many things. There have been a million reasons to leave and a million reasons to stay. What I do know is I am happy today in my life, my marriage, my role as mother and grandmother because I have worked my tail off in recovery - both Al-Anon and AA.

What I know about me as a member of AA is my addictions are not limited to alcohol/mind altering substances. I can get just as obsessed/addicted to gambling, shopping, attention, sports, dieting, exercise, etc. I believe the mind of an addictive person is just wired different. It's taken me all of my 31 years of sobriety to see these patterns, recognize these patterns and really, really be on guard against self-destructive behaviors well beyond alcohol and drugs. I still learn every day about me, what makes me tick, etc.

What I know about me as a member of Al-Anon is that each step of our journey - growing apart and growing together was necessary to get where we are today. It's far from perfect but it's exactly what I need for me, for my life, for today. We are content, comfortable - we even golfed together with our oldest + his child today - I would never have seen that coming in a million years. Again, I believe it's a direct result of working my program, staying on my side of the street, learning the difference between my needs and wants and relying on a power greater than self.

I hope you know you are not alone and that you keep coming back. There is hope and help in recovery!

__________________

Practice the PAUSE...Pause before judging.  Pause before assuming.  Pause before accusing.  Pause whenever you are about to react harshly and you will avoid doing and saying things you will later regret.  ~~~~  Lori Deschene

 

 



Senior Member

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Aloha Livestrong and welcome back to MIP and thanks for bringing this ESH with you it is awesome!!  I learned in early Al-Anon that alcoholism is a disease of the mind, body, spirit and emotions which could be happening on any level individually or all levels at the same time.  We use to read the AMA definition of alcoholism before all of our meetings back then which was clearly helpful and over time I left the fear of working program for doing all that was suggested and taught me.  This didn't happened over night and I included going to college on addictions and behaviors to get as much as I could.  When I was done with college my Higher Power let me know that many fellows would learn as much just from inside the rooms of Al-Anon.  

Yes co-dependence and jealousy and anger and rage and more were part of my life with in the addiction and then...finding that I was also alcoholic, born and raised within the disease was enlightening.   Do your inventory on yourself before, during and after and be informed.  I married the women I drank with...enlightening.  What was my expectation after doing that?

I divorced the addicted women I married and married again the same way.  My sponsor taught me when I was blaming her doing every Tom, Dick and Harry to add a Jerry at the end of the list.  I did.  

I learned I could change and that there was no law that said I had to accept doing the same things over and over again.  I needed to listen and  make the healthy, sane changes and when it came to having that happen my HP even used my alcoholic/addict wife to learn that humility was being teachable  as my sponsor taught.  In time my alcoholic addict got into recovery and one night at an Al-Anon meeting a guy came in with a story "that you all will not believe" he mentioned and when he was given the chance to tell it he talked about being at the recovery program at the hospital and being led into the night time meeting with a bag over her head.  He counselor said that when he met her that first morning she was that same way sitting on the side of her bed with the bag over her head.  He asked why and she said, "I have come to believe that if I am not willing to be led blindly thru this program I will not make it."  Turns out that woman was my alcoholic/addict wife and when we parted she was beautifully clean and sober and I had no reason to be married to her.  Truthfully she and I and the family lived through total insanity often including me almost taking her life at one time. That is not how HP wanted it for us.  HP wanted and wants us sober and sane and of use to others who need to find what we have found in the 12 step/tradition programs.  This is where HP wants me and abides with me 24/7.

 

Glad to have you here...in support.   (((Hugs))) confuse



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Jerry F


Veteran Member

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Livestrong, congratulations on making it so far. I relate to your post. Been through all of it. My AH and I have a child together too. Your post (and others) caused me to look back on the 20 years we have been together to take an inventory of what has changed. I remember the insanity when we were new of worrying about him, chasing him around, trying to fix everything. Change occurred when our daughter came because a new reason to end the bs had opened her eyes (and mine). The problem was, I knew not how. Throwing him out was the beginning. He ended up in rehab for the first time (of many), which at the time I thought was the relevant change. I realize so many years later, the relevant change was focusing on me (and baby) and protecting us. The jealousy and fear of others was all part of it then. He was a liar almost all of the time and even a cheat during a particularly low point. I havent divorced him yet. Some days it is because I love him and see a good man struggling before me who I enjoy being with. On bad days the reason I havent divorced him feels more like -keep your friends close but keep your enemies closer. If only I had a crystal ball about custody issues now and for my daughters entire childhood. Believe me, its not just him I think about but the ? of who would be attached to him (not women but lowlife men who flock to the company of an alcoholic) Going back to what has changed...a lot. Once I found Alanon I began really working on me and with a playbook, for the first time. Learning how to focus on me made a lot of the bs stop. Just last night, we were supposed to go to a play with a friend. My AH knows he is not permitted in our home if he has been drinking. After all of these years he tried to lie to cover the drinking. I honored my boundaries and reminded him he could not be present. The manipulation hasnt changed. His response was oh, you dont want me to go with you? Before, it might have been my turn to convince him this wasnt it, blah, blah, blah. Now I just reminded him again of the boundary. He left, I went with my friend and had a nice time. Ive firmly remained on my side of the street. His crazy is on his...all if it and whatever it entails. I cannot control him or anything else he does. Does that mean it is any easier to hear my daughter tell me it is sad when her dad keeps leaving? Nope. I just love the heck out of her and acknowledge her feelings, validate them completely, enforce her dad is the only one who can make better choices for himself, and make sure she understands I am always going to make good choices for us and that she is loved by me and by her dad even though he is very sick. The changes ive experienced over the years are the attainment of my own sanity amongst his crazy, my ability to turn things over to HP when I should, and the ability to focus on today. If I can make today happy, safe, good, loving, and secure for me and my daughter and keep my focus there each day...well be be good. Does this mean anything will change about my AH, my marriage wont end, my husband will be faithful? Nope. If you find a married couple without alcoholism who has a 100% lock on those things either, id lke to meet them. If you are having a hard time and this brought you back to the old posts, this too shall pass. I hope your walk down memory lane allows you to qualify what has changed for you and the girls. If you find truly nothing has, then I hope your retrospect is the beginning of the work on you that you desperately deserve. Do something nice for yourself today if you havent already.

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