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Post Info TOPIC: need alanon again....but


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need alanon again....but


Long story alittle shorter,husband got sober in 1989.We had been married 20 years.I don't think we were ever compatible,but with my upbringing and desire to leave home I was doomed to marry an alcoholic.He asked me to marry him after dating 5 months.I was 17,he was 27.We have been married 50 long,hard years.He became harder to live with after sobriety,but was no picnic when he drank either.I dreamed of having babies,getting a house,being a stay at home mom with a man who was crazy about me.Didn't take my own feelings for him into account.Didn't love him,was not attracted to him.In a 17 yr old's mind,I guess he was just the ticket to my dreams.He did seem to be head over heels for me.It was all downhill from there.There were some good times but basically I gave up what little self I had and went into perfect wife mode.This was 1969.At that time I think alot of women just wanted to get married,none of my friends were seeking careers.This was before women's-lib you know.

When he got sober,my sister,a recovering alcoholic at the time,told me I needed alanon.She said 'he will get better but you  will not'.Wise words.So I went to meetings.On the first page of my old worn One Day at a Time,I have written the following....

Sun Sept 16.1990 my commitment to Alanon......Mon Nov 21 1994 my new commitment to the alanon program...Fri 5/26/95 back again-hope to stay this time....Weds 4/12/06 back again for real this time......Tues 8/6/13  insanity at work drove me back,lost myself again......Tues 11/25/14 I have a disease.I cannot fight it alone.If I am going to really get better I must work the alanon program.I'm back.....July 2017.Back.

In 2006 I had quit my job and lived on my 401K for 3 months.It was wonderful,I will never regret that time.Husband was chasing another woman and I was going to online meetings here twice a day and using the message board daily.Had a bunch of books and daily readers.I was close to my HP,and when I read back on my journals I was so serene and content.We planned to get a divorce as soon as we could sell the house.I was happy and looking forward to my new life without him.After I went back to work,I started falling away from Alanon again.The other woman didn't want him and I got into fear and insecurity about living on one paycheck and being able to take care of myself. I had never lived alone before.We decided to stay together as friends until we could finish the work on the house that we had started.The work never got done and we are still in the house.

You can see from the dates above I returned to alanon three times after that but I just can never stay.I am an introvert.I am not a people person.I am likeable,people always like me.I have made many 'friends' over the years but I only have one really best friend.We met in 1968 when we worked together at a Kmart.The friends I made over the years were 'earth ppl'.Meaning they knew nothing about AA or Alanon.That is probably why they didn't stay friends.But even tho I didn't go to meetings and only read the message board when I really got crazy,I did ok.The last time I went to meetings in 2017,I felt I helped the others more than they helped me.They told me I had a gift.They loved what I said. I know it is great to help others but I felt I wasn't getting any help for my struggles.Maybe it was just me.But I loved my job and with both of us working full time we didn't see that much of eachother.Separate bedrooms,and pretty much separate lives.Neither of us dated other people and we stayed married.

Fast forward to today.Husband has been going to meetings but since his sponsor died years ago he has never gotten another one.He does not work the steps but has been sober 30 years.In 2014 he had a stroke,then after that a couple mini strokes.Now he has dementia.In all the ups and downs of my life this is the absolute worst thing I have ever gone thru.He had to quit work,of course and I also had to quit to take care of him.Now we are together 24/7.He can't drive anymore.I used to get time to myself 3 times a week when I dropped him off at his meetings and then at church on Sunday.I love solitude.I love quiet.I have a very sensitive nervous system.I am sensitive to bright lights,loud noises,strong smells.Don't like crowds.He is the opposite.

Now with the pandemic he can't go to meetings or church.He cannot go online or any social media because he has lost all ability to do  anything like that.We do not have children.He has sisters and brothers but they are elderly as well and have their own families.Also they are all alcoholics,some drink,some don't.He is only close to one brother but doesn't see him much either.I have to help him get dressed,turn on the shower,He is delusional.There is not much treatment for dementia,it seems they just let you go on until you end up in a nursing home.I searched for support online but mostly it is people who will come sit with them so I can go shopping or have lunch with someone.( not now with the virus) But I don't want someone to sit with him,I want someone to take HIM somewhere so I can have time alone at home to relax and have peace and quiet.I pretty much always did everything around the house but he did work on an appliance or plumbing if needed.Now he can't do that.Sometimes I wonder how much is dementia and how much is alcoholism because some of the behaviors are similar,and some of them he always had.

I feel trapped.I feel to leave him now would be a horrible thing to do.We would still have to sell the house and it still needs work.I can do alot of it,it is mostly cosmetic.The rest maybe I can pay someone to do.I have good days and then it builds up and I have to let go.I hate my life and feel such despair then it will lift after a day or two and I will be better again.It's not like bipolar or manic.There are no high highs or low lows.It's just a feeling of well being and then a couple days of feeling low,then back to being ok again.I think the bad days are just normal from what I am dealing with.I am stuck now,I have to take care of him.But I still have hurts and resentments from the past.This is not a marriage.I care about him.I have been with him most of my life.Sometimes I hate him too.Sometimes I hate myself for putting up with him and staying with him all these years.So now I am reaching out to alanon again.I see that there aren't very many online  meetings anymore so I have joined the board again.Alot of the alanon program is still in me but I find I have a difficult time practicing it.It's hard to focus  on myself when he needs so much attention but then again it is the same with an active alcoholic, right? I think it can still help me alot if I get back to talking with others in the program.

Thank you for reading.It felt good to be able to tell people who understand.Any thoughts would be appreciated.

Iris



-- Edited by iris52 on Friday 17th of April 2020 02:29:42 PM



-- Edited by iris52 on Friday 17th of April 2020 02:30:24 PM

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Hi Iris52. First of all, I am so sorry about what you are going through. I am brand new to Al-Anon so I dont have a lot to offer other than my love & prayers to extend to you. I imagine, as I watch my mom care for my father-who was not an alcoholic (he was loving, kind...a bit high maintenance though ) that caring for someone who maybe left you feeling uncared for could be difficult. The inability to get a physical break in todays climate is can for sure be an added stressor. I have the same disposition....I need peace & quiet in my own space sometimes. there are zoom meetings that allow you to see some faces & phone meetings to hear some voices. FreeTime gave me a link. Im so new Ive only done one Zoom meeting, but it sure was nice to see some faces & connect with people outside of these four walks, while remaining inside these four walls! Thank you for sharing. I know more experienced members will offer some great words & guidance.

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Cath



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  smile Iris... lovely share, and welcome. aww

My first 10 years we did not have sponsors- we just shared into the meeting. It was a humbling experience. Looking back I just learned lots sandlots, and absorbed lots and lots too. In a Noo Joisy accent I talked about my "poisonality". biggrin ...

And ma'am I hope ya'll aint from Not Joisy. If so- that was just a wild coincidence! 

But hey... I call Alanon gals and pals, laughter and tears.

Heaps of both!  "You may not like all of us, but you will come to love all of us in a special way- that same way we already love you!"

awwawwawwawwawwaww...



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A Universe that Creates Flowers : Has to be Trustworthy.



~*Service Worker*~

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My dear Iris, I have been where you are. I am sorry you are facing this, and I will try to offer some hope based on my experience. Believe me, I understand.

I too had a husband who developed mild dementia and a host of terrible medical conditions tied to alcoholism. Our life became one medical crisis after another, and I was losing my mind. I attended a support group for caregivers, which was helpful in finding resources to help me, and eventually I got to Al-Anon. I'm an introvert too, but I was desperate. I was so desperate that I lost my shame of admitting what was going on. Al-Anon helped me more than almost anything else.

I hear what you shared about needing someone to take him somewhere so you can rest. I first hired caregivers to come to our home, and they were wonderful, but I had to manage them, so it was like having another job! I eventually put my husband in a board and care home. I felt guilty about doing that, I felt that I was a not a good-enough wife, I felt it was wrong to be so angry at a sick person -- but my sanity was on the line. As I interviewed these homes, I learned that some of them offer respite care -- so the person can stay for a limited time to give their family a break. Maybe that exists in your area?

I am glad you reached out here. Post any time, and someone will respond -- if not immediately, then within a day. As I look back on going through this time with my husband -- he eventually passed away -- I can see that it did not break me because I did not go through it alone. I had Al-Anon and a few close people who supported me in ways I never imagined.

The slogan that helped me many times a day is "One Day At A Time."

The silver lining to this quarantine is that many local Al-Anon groups are meeting on Zoom, which means we can go to meetings anywhere in the country and many places around the world, any day of the week. If you Google your city or state plus Al-Anon, you may find the local website where their online meetings are listed, or try al-anon.org/al-anon-meetings/electronic-meetings/. If you have trouble with searching, reach out to me here or by private message and I will try to help you.

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Aloha Iris and welcome to the board.  You sound definitely in a fix and in need of support.  Good that  you reached out for support.  I did that also against my inner feelings back in 1979.  I fought the idea and the program until I could fight no longer and then found out  I was abided by a HP or as we come to recognize in the program in Step 2, a Higher Power.  I surrendered to my HP and quit fighting everyone and everything.  My then 2nd wife was an alcoholic/addict who I  was strongly attached to with this disease.  I was born and raised in the disease and didn't know it at that time so much of my thinking and feeling and behaviors were justified by habitual practice.  I did what I did over and over and over again not knowing there were other ways of  living until I got into Al-Anon.  Starting with the daily practice of the steps and Traditions and slogans and suggestions (the program) I started to find sanity and the power to change the things I could which were a lot.  I committed to 90 meeting in 90 days which back then was a recommendation to the alcoholic and I did 102 in 90 days an knew why I should.

I was told "Start somewhere and keep following thru" so I shut my resistances off and found a home group and volunteered to be the coffee maker and got my literature.

Start somewhere and keep following thru is what I am reminded of when reading your post. Doing the same things over and over again, expecting different results also comes to memory as the definition of insanity which I knew so well.  Keep reaching out with and open mind and repeat.  

I use to work for NASA and found Al-Anon more powerful.

I pray you keep coming back and that your Alcoholic also finds sober support.   (((((hugs))))) winkconfuse



-- Edited by JerryF on Friday 17th of April 2020 08:12:36 PM

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Welcome back Iris - sorry to hear of the current situation. I do love that you wrote a commitment each time you returned to recovery! There is no shame ever is starting over and/or stepping away - YOLO - You Only Live Once and there are no dress rehearsals. I met and married my AH in recovery 29 years ago (AA). I stayed sober; he did not. It's been one hellova journey! I vividly remember standing at a crossroads and feeling as if I had given my life away and was 'stuck'. We do have kids and one of my largest fears at that time was IF I left, they would never see him (he has another child, whom we never see) and they loved him deeply in spite of his disease. They, my small children, taught me tons about unconditional love.

I did arrive @ Al-Anon. I was angry that people there told me I needed to work on me. I had been sober in AA for a long while, yet this level of insanity - the loved one of a drunk - was a whole new side (of me). I walked away to endure more pain, I guess, unintentionally and with the intent of making it all 'work'. I made it back to Al-Anon when I was so desperate, broken and hopeless, I really didn't think it would work.

Slowly, like you, I gained some hope and serenity just by practicing what was shared. I knew from my AA experience that there was no rush in working the steps - we all get to work on recovery at our pace. I focused just on listening, being open, and changing my attitude from hopeless to hopeful. This was hard enough when I first came around and a slow/steady pace has worked well for me.

This pandemic has presented issues for all in recovery. I will suggest if you contact your local AA office, they might be able to connect you/him up with zoom AA meetings from your area. While he wouldn't be 'gone', he would at least be distracted during the meetings. Heck - he might enjoy them enough that you can hook him up a couple times a day! Why not?

Of course, there are also Zoom meetings for Al-Anon. I know online meetings were difficult when my kids were small, and providing home care for one with dementia can be similar, depending upon the stage. Yet, it certainly would help you if you can hook up with some while we're all stuck @ home. I also found You-Tube speaker videos helpful when I couldn't get out to F2F meetings back in the day. Just another thought!

With your previous exposure to recovery, I'm sure you recall that we really do practice One Day @ a Time. My sponsor had to pound into my head, daily, that the past was gone and nothing I thought, wished, prayed, yelled, etc. about it would change it. Projecting into the future also never served me well as I always looked for the 'worst'. Staying present on this day, and finding joy in small things and keeping everything as simple as I could really helped me slow down, and really find myself and my center. I truly believe no matter what stage/age we are at, HP really wants us to be Happy, Joyous and Free, which looks vastly different for each of us.

In my world, I had to give up tons of expectations and my own desire for 'perfectionism'. This doesn't mean I settled, not at all, but I did decide to be grateful for what I have and to focus on what's good instead of continuing to obsess or worry always over what was broken/not good. I heard many times that changed attitudes aid recovery and that's been true for me.

I hope you keep coming back. I hope you know you're not alone. I hope you trust there is always hope and help in recovery. (((Hugs)))

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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

 

 



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Welcome back (((Iris)) I'm sorry for the struggles you are going through including your husband's mental decline. Since you're not new to the program but may not have a sponsor, the step board at MIP might be of help for working the program again. Anyway, I like to read that board at times and have found it helpful. I'm definitely feeling in Step 1 right now due to this pandemic. I'm glad you came back here for support. If you have Alanon literature still, making the reading a daily ritual can help of course. If not, the WSO Alanon website has some pamphlets and Alanon topic articles that are free to visitors to the site. Whether you are living with someone actively drinking or another situation that mimics that, our program can be applied. I appreciate your honesty about the hurt and resentment you feel. It's a bit like "Is that all there is?" You aren't alone. I think at the moment many of us are feeling like the rug has been pulled out from under us and wondering how our future will look and how we will adjust to what is rather than how we would like things to be. But thankfully because of the program we know in our hearts that we have the ability to empower ourselves one day at a time to even make small changes that will make our days better ones. It's all so overwhelming right now but things we settle down a bit and we do have each other here to share with.

I don't know if this will help you but when I lived with someone who was drinking, I created a space that was mine alone. You mentioned loving solitude and quiet. I created a spot in my home that was filled with things I loved including spiritual readings, poems, music, pictures of peaceful places, pets, loved ones, live plants and other things I enjoyed and cherished. If you already have an entire room to yourself, it may still help to make a little serenity space within it. At the time, it felt like a way of nourishing my soul, an act of self love. Only a suggestion. Anyway, I'm glad you found your way back here and to the Alanon program. I hope you'll keep coming back to share. People at this board are here for you. (((hugs)) TT



-- Edited by tiredtonite on Friday 17th of April 2020 08:58:13 PM

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2HP


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Dear friend, your topic headline is perfect for me, "need Higher Power again...." 

I too am an introvert and enjoy solitude where I find my creativity thrives.  But when my thoughts had turned dark ( the effects of living with active alcoholism,) I was then isolated with my own dis-eased thoughts. and I could not find my way out of that darkness on my own. though I tried everything in the book.

It is true, doing the same thing over and over expecting a different result is the perfect "definition of insanity."  When I became sick and tired of BEING sick and tired ( so damaged and broken) I thought by then it was too late.. I kept telling myself... 20 years has passed ... it is now hopeless..."

(at that time, I believed my every thought was a true fact.)

A painful personal bottom did result in making a commitment to myself, and gradually to Higher Power. that commitment was about installing a new program into my system, and uploading that program on a daily basis that it might stick and ease my suffering more and more.  Counselors had always suggested al-anon to me but I had always rolled my eyes. By the grace of God, there was no where else to turn.

and soon I was listening to Al-Anon's closing remarks, "you will come to realize that there is no situation too difficult to be bettered and no unhappiness too great to be lessened." 

It was music to my ears even though I still believed I was a "special case," this probably won't work for me.  I recall telling my soon to be sponsor that I was an introvert and would not care to make so many meetings.  she said it was my disease talking, the darkness keeping me from the light.  I believed her enough to to step up my F2F meetings and within a few short months, I remember telling the group, "I feel like I've been floating.... even though nothing outside of me has changed!"

they all smiled... gave me warmest hugs... held me up during that dark time.


with that happy memory, I hope you will enjoy that kind of friendship with your local al-anon groups when this stay at home period of time is lifted. that was how I stopped feeling so alone. introversion is good until I start feeling alone.

My personal ESH on dementia, take what you like and leave the rest.   As a child, I had been affected by my fathers drinking. A few years ago, he was diagnosed with dementia. At first I was very bitter that I had to be there for him in ways he was not there for me.

Slowly, with the help of inventory steps, I began to realize I could have the relationship with him I had always wanted, by BEING for him what I wanted him to be for me. This was the amendment that I could make. I had the power within me to experience what I wanted between us.

I found it the highest gift and privilege to give him love and care. by focusing on that, the painful past fell away. accomplished daily and continuously through step 11.

On the last day we spoke, before I left the nursing home, the nurse came over and asked him, "Who is this pretty woman sitting here with you?" He looked at me with innocent childlike eyes I will treasure forever. with calm, confident voice, he said, "this is my daughter. She is my daughter."

When I said Goodbye, I love you Dad," he replied,

"I love you dear. I love you more and more each day."

Only a HP could have directed that scene so perfectly. Now I have my peace. the use of the 12 steps daily and continuously helps me to pray in the way God seems to listen:

"Don't change my circumstances. change ME."


(((big hugs)))



-- Edited by 2HP on Saturday 18th of April 2020 08:50:48 AM



-- Edited by 2HP on Saturday 18th of April 2020 09:26:10 AM

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2HP...Thank you for those kind words.It is wonderful how you were able to reconcile with your dad.I too had an alcoholic dad.I only saw him when the woman he was living with at the time kicked him out and he came back to my mom.She always took him back.I understand now that it was partly love for the man he was when they married,partly endless hope that this time would be different and he would stay and help support the kids and tell her he was sorry and really loved her.I also think she was afraid of him as well.So he would be there a few days till he found another woman in a bar.He never mistreated me or any of my siblings as far as I know..He just never paid much attention to me.It wasn't until I married my husband and they became friends that I actually spent any time with him.We would visit.He was remarried and had quit drinking after a stroke.His brain remained sharp,he never had dementia just lost the use of one hand.We never really connected.The only thing he ever said to me that was of any substance was that my husband was a good man and I should quit work and take care of him.I don't think I hold any resentment against him or my mother.I realize they were just doing the best they could with what they had.

But a husband is different.The betrayals,the mean cruel things he has said.I am not sure who I am more angry with, him or myself.There is no way to know what my life would be like now if I had left him after the first one.Could be worse I guess.Could be better.What I do know is that it just seems so unfair.Like you said,having to be there for him in ways he was never there for me.I have been bitter.Angry.Mad at God asking Him why He has put me in this situation.Then I started to think that I was becoming a better person through this.More compassionate,maybe forgiving.Then I started realizing the darker side of me.That I am not as 'good' as I thought I was.I can be mean too.I don't want this life.I am not cut out for this.But,as I said there just is no real escape from the responsibilities.I am all he has.No one else, family or so called friends are coming to help him or take care of him.None of them ever will.Sometimes I feel like I am that 17 year old again being forced to grow up.I don't want to grow up.Not like this.

So.yes,I will embrace the alanon program again.It is like an old friend that knows me better than I know myself.Always there waiting for me to come back and knowing that I always will.It's comforting.I tried church for awhile.But I always seem to find God in this program.He was not at the church.At least not for me.

Iris



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