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Post Info TOPIC: question for 'old timers'


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question for 'old timers'


I know there are some 'old timers' here so I have a question for you.Please tell me what life looks like after a long time in the program when you are still living with your alcoholic (drinking or not). Does it feel like a life of your own? Do you really feel fulfilled?
Are you living separate lives but in the same house? Everyone has problems and no marriage or relationship is perfect,I get that, but can you say you are content/happy with your life?

How many old timers here made the decision to leave? Do you have any alanon friends that are still with the alcoholic and making it work?

I do realize that because I have been affected by living with alcoholics all my life I will always need alanon wether I am single or not. I just wonder what life is like after years of recovery and I realize everyone is diffferent.

Thank you.  Iris



-- Edited by iris52 on Sunday 3rd of May 2020 04:19:51 PM

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  Iris... do you understand these acronyms? If not, just ask...

I am an old-timer now- and happy at it. My A died 20 years ago. He got sober the day he died.

My SO is OA really. And ACA too. I felt like I had married my father! And that she had married her mother.

The middle years were awful. So full of unresolved anger.

I am a rural person, really- and believed- "out of the frying pan and into the fire!"

But the rewards are here now... well worth the effort... keep coming back :D 



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There are many al anoners who stay with the alcoholic. I.do not have the statstvs Fof some of us the alcoholic can become A boss, a co worker, a friend, a family member The skills we learn in al anon can be really hepful. In fact z think they have saved my life. Maresie

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Iris the answer to your question is it works when you work it.  And what that came to mean for me is my life is so much  more manageable even while my program wife is attempting her control with me.  She isn't wrong...If I change shoes with her I can and will admit her concerns and solutions to get thru it are honest and honorable.  I have actually use her situation to support my needs and she hasn't resisted.  Does she drink and/or use? Nope she is the former spouse of an alcoholic and he has wondered how it is/was that I could treat his children with so much care and love.  We work the program regardless.  

I was told by a former sponsor, "Your Addict/Alcoholic spouse is not your problem...you are".  42  years later he still is right even as I have reach progress and not ever perfection.  Keep coming back "Acceptance is the solution to all of my problems".smileaww

 

(((((Hugs))))) 

 



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Jerry F


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Iris52.....all those questions you asked have been bouncing in my head for awhile now. I wonder the same exact thing. I know the outcome is different for everyone, but sometimes the thought of tomorrow, next month, 1 year, 5 years, etc. becomes so daunting to me. It literally elicits a physical response in me, that fight or flight panic. My AH is in recovery, working AA. I am in recovery, working Al-Anon. I have really embraced the one day at a time mantra. Sometimes its one hour or. On the bad days, one minute are a time. I know life has become unmanageable. I know that regardless of anything, I need to get myself healthy. Youre right, no marriage is perfect. I guess we all make decisions what we are willing to live with. Alcoholism, its a beast. I have just been trying, with the help of everyone i this group & others Im in (Zoom meetings) to focus on my health. Im clinging to the hope that it works if you work it. Thank you for your honest post. It really hit home with me

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Cath



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Greetings Iris52. I hit 7 years in alanon next month, and Im 28 years married to my spouse with multiple addictions. We stay together at this point for a variety of reason, someone in our age range and health would most likely understand. We share a friendship and history and family. We have plenty of dysfunction and disagreeable moments. But alanon has taught me to focus on myself. Honestly I have some bad days. But most of the time I am happy and at peace. I have a toolbox of amazing coping skills, and an alanon family both on this board and in person (zoom at the moment), who truly care about my wellbeing. It is a personal decision to stay or leave the alcoholic. There is no right or wrong answer. And as someone else said, there are no perfect marriages nor lives. There is One Day at a Time which I try to accomplish everyday. This is a fabulous program if one is willing to get serious about their own recovery. Im sure as heck serious about mine! Lyne

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Lyne

Bo


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In my experience, what life looks like is a very layered question. First, after a long time in the program, the question can be asked under the guise of the spouse finding recovery in alanon. Second, your premise is that you are still living with the alcoholic. Third, is the variable, whether the alcoholic is: a) drinking, b) not drinking, but not in recovery, or, c) not drinking and in recovery. So, in my experience, and I've been in the rooms of alanon for 26 years and have seen a great deal of people, the answers are all over the board!!! The answers are no different than the situations, scenarios, and lives -- different for each different person. Is there a norm? I don't think so. I think each person, their lives, their situation, etc., is different.

Does it feel like a life of your own? Do you really feel fulfilled? -- I think the same answer applies. However, if the alcoholic spouse is is drinking, then in all likelihood, they are not in recovery! That is where the overwhelming majority of drinking people/alcoholics are...While some people might be honest and tell you what their life is like -- don't you think the answer is going to be, to some extent, based upon their own viewpoint? And experience? Could it always be 100% objective? I think not. I know plenty of people who stayed, when the spouse kept drinking, and they will tell you the truth...but it's just that...their truth. I also think that some people won't or can't tell you the truth. Not because they don't want to...but it is because, perhaps they don't know the truth. Living in that situation is not ideal. For countless reasons. That person might be in their own denial, rationalization, vacillation, justification, and so on. Their truth might be distorted.

Are you living separate lives but in the same house? Everyone has problems and no marriage or relationship is perfect, I get that, but can you say you are content/happy with your life? -- Again, I think the same answer applies.

How many old timers here made the decision to leave? Do you have any alanon friends that are still with the alcoholic and making it work? -- how many? Who knows. As a percentage? Who knows. Making it work? Well, what does that look like? For me it looked like part-time, not 100%, not what it was or what it could be, and so on. You see, my life, my happiness, my being OK, my enjoying life and having the life I wanted...was, to me, for me, more important than her drinking and the life that I and we had as a result of her drinking. But that was my decision.

I stayed for 10 years. Then I decided to end the marriage. For the 10 years, was I happy? Yes...TO SOME EXTENT. BUT NOT 100%. NOT FULL-TIME. After I found recovery, I was OK...but not ideal. I was able to find a sense of normalcy, and avoid the extreme drama, chaos, turmoil, and havoc...but not avoid it 100%. So, was I truly happy? Well, you tell me. I say no. I wanted 100%. Were we living separate lives but in the same house? Yes, to some extent we were. I could NOT include her in every single thing I did, because she was drinking and was an alcoholic. Because of boundaries, detachment, and because of me not enabling by including her!!! There's an interesting one for you!

I can say that I have friends who have stayed -- and their spouses are still drinking -- and not one of them are completely happy and content to the extent they would be if their spouse was not drinking. But again, that's to each their own. They all stayed for different reasons. If anyone tells you they stayed, that their spouse is still drinking, and that they are completely happy and healthy, content, and living the life they want -- comparatively -- relative to if their spouse was not drinking; then I would say that representation is based upon the respective person's own standards, and that it would not apply to anyone else. It has to be individualized.

Ironically, I think you will get many answers, under one category, for people who stayed, and many answers, under a separate category, for people who left.

What's my point -- and this is based upon my own experience(s) -- ANY ONE PERSON, has to make their own decision based upon THEIR OWN INDIVIDUAL situation, circumstances, specifics, etc., AND if that person's spouse is STILL DRINKING, then the alanon program offers us certain perspective...NOTHING CHANGES IF NOTHING CHANGES, JUST FOR TODAY, and ONE DAY AT A TIME.

How would anyone else know? They wouldn't. I always thought that the major benefit of alanon and a person finding their own recovery was that alanon could allow us to get better, get healthy, and get to a place where can make our own decisions based upon intellect, logic, facts, sound and healthy decision making and thought process...as opposed to where one might be before alanon and before recovery...which was a place of duress, fear, anxiety, angst, not sound thinking, not healthy thinking and decision making, distorted thinking and corrupt thinking. These are two very different places!!! This is what happened for me. After I found recovery...the decision wasn't really a decision. It was not as painful as it was before. Again, this is just me.

Take what you like and leave the rest.

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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...

 



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Hi Iris, The Alanon program is my way of life. My life is fulfilling and I choose to keep learning new things about myself and to have new experiences. In my humble opinion, you can't have a relationship with anyone else until you know yourself. This means identifying my own needs and desires. We all come to Alanon sharing that our lives have been affected by alcoholism. The program is there to help us to create a fulfilling life. We come with unique personal histories which have led each of us to where we are today. There is no certain way to work Alanon to stay married to an alcoholic, divorce one etc. Both people in Alanon and people who are alcoholics (and some recovering ones have been responding to your posts incidentally) all are unique people making choices based on where they are in they're life and who they are. The Alanon program is one of self discovery. We are told that we can be happy whether the alcoholic is still drinking or not. The alcoholic can be any relative or friend. Today I share my life with an alcoholic. He's on loan to me and I to him. Each of our higher powers sent us to one another. I continue to work Alanon. I have a good life. ((hugs))) TT

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I guess I asked the question because I was looking for hope.I have been around alanon long enough to know that it changes lives. I wanted to hear people say how their lives have been changed.If they stayed,alcoholic drinking or not,what life is like after some years and how they keep their lives from becoming unmanageable again.If they left,are they glad they did and does life still get unmanageable? The last time I joined alanon, there were several ladies there who were in their 60's and 70's ( my age group) One,who said she was in alanon 36 years, had divorced her alcoholic but then the second husband had a stroke and was disabled.Alot of her stress was caused by her grown children as well as the stress of taking care of her husband.Another one was married to a recovering alcoholic.She also had been in alanon over 30 years.She had alot of problems with her grown daughter but also she and her husband continued to fight over that and other things.The thing that stood out to me was that both of them were having the same issues and problems as I was,and I was not working the program,hadn't been to a meeting in years.They,on the other hand, had all those years in the program.

At the time I said to myself,if after all these years they are still dealing with the same things I am dealing with,what is the point?Why do they continue to come to meetings? Before my recovering alcoholic husband ( now 30 years sober) got dementia, he used to say that he didn't go to meetings to keep from drinking.Not anymore,he said he no longer had the desire to drink.He said he went to be able to deal with life and with himself.He needed to be around other alcoholics who understand him and what he goes through.I know they helped him because I could see a difference in him when he didn't go.So I guess that is why those ladies continued to go as well.

So what is the answer?For me? It seems that because I grew up in a family of alcoholics I formed certain beliefs about myself and the world.There was alot of fear.I never felt safe.I didn't understand what was going on around me.Why did my dad want to hurt my mom?Why did we move all the time? On the other hand I didn't know any other life.I never had friends close enough or long enough to see how they lived,what their families were like.The world was a very scary place.That is the thing that has stuck with me most.The fear.My husband was a safe place.No matter what the chaos was in my marriage,it was safer than any place I had ever lived.He didn't hit me.I always had food and shelter.He kept our cars running and some of them were real rags.He made a good living even when he drank.I think the marriage protected me from ever having to face the world on my own.So that is why I stayed.Now it's been 50 years.He has dementia,he is 77,he has been sober 30 years.We've had good times and bad.I have mostly lived in a fog,a shell of a person just getting by the best I can protecting the 'life' I clung to for safety.

Would it have been better with the alanon program? Will it get better now with the program?Is it too late?I can't answer those questions right now.That is what I am struggling with.I only had a sponsor once and after she moved to another state we lost touch.I never found another one that I really trusted.That is another issue of mine.After reading some of your responses to my posts I have realized that even though every time I came back to alanon and told myself that THIS TIME I would stay and I would really work it,I usually didn't.I went to the meetings and did some reading but that is all I did.Except from about 2006 through 2009 I did work the program,though I didn't have a sponsor.I went to many online meetings and posted on this message board often.I even worked the steps,I used the step board.Reading back on my journals I can see that I was in a very good place. Lots of serenity and very close to my Higher Power who was really working in my life.I long to be back in that place.So I am going to give it another try.Yesterday I started with step 1.I have a book that walks you through the steps one at a time and I am going to work each one the best I can.I cannot go to 'zoom' meetings because my computer does not have a camera and I do not have a smart phone,only a flip phone that I use just for a phone.Imagine that.Some daay I need to come out of the dark ages I guess,but not right now.Thanks for reading.Thanks for being here.

Iris



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~*Service Worker*~

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  aww Lovely share, Iris...

                                       These days i say: the only qualifier I bring into the rooms is myself.

                                       I don't feel I have to justify why I am here, any more. For many of my

                                       years I didn't feel like was teachable. But some things did sink in-

                                       I know now... and today I find myself learning lots, and most of this

                                       comes from having a healthy sharing environment. smile ... 



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Iris - I have stayed in my marriage and we celebrated 29 years of marriage in April.

We have a long story - met in AA recovery and married. Simply stated, I stayed sober and will celebrate 33 years of sobriety in October, he did not stay sober. He did not slip - he began drinking again (call it a relapse or whatever you want) and was never able/willing to stop and return to recovery.

There's no doubt I have had serious thoughts of leaving the marriage over the years. We have 2 kids - both are addicts - and while it would be really, really easy to blame him for that, I simply can't. They are the outcome of two gene pools full of dysfunction, alcoholism and much more.

Over the years, if you asked me why I stay/ed, I would have said a variety of things - the kids, the fear of the unknown, etc. What I've learned as I've embraced Al-Anon and kept the focus on me and my recovery is that I stay/ed because I love him. We both were divorced before, and made a promise that we would not divorce again! So, beyond the standard commitment of marriage, we had an extra level of commitment built in!

So, there have been ups and there have been downs, and I do not think our ups/down are any better/worse than another marriage. I believe love and marriage are a decision and commitment and for me, there are far worse reasons/sins to end it than being afflicted with a disease. I would NOT have been able to stay and move to a place of unconditional love and acceptance of him and all others in my life without Al-Anon recovery.

There is always, always hope! I have never sat 'here' and hoped for a better marriage, family, etc. What I have done is practiced hoping for the strength, humility, courage, endurance, and grace to just keep working to be the best version of me and one that practices gratitude for what is vs. the alternative. The more I grow/change, the better my marriage is and all other relationships.

(((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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"So, there have been ups and there have been downs, and I do not think our ups/down are any better/worse than another marriage. I believe love and marriage are a decision and commitment and for me, there are far worse reasons/sins to end it than being afflicted with a disease. I would NOT have been able to stay and move to a place of unconditional love and acceptance of him and all others in my life without Al-Anon recovery."

IAM, I LOVE this .. it is exactly that "a decision and commitment".

There are times that to me leaving is the right thing to do and that's in an abusive relationship, if your relationship is fear based then I don't see it as an option and the other person has to check in from time to time, because there needs to be something to feed the relationship. If it's a daily life and death issue .. at some point you have to value yourself over the relationship regardless of the fear. I chose to leave my relationship however being outside of that relationship for many years, every relationship is a daily decision and a commitment to see it through. I do not need to sacrafice myself for a relationship and that's the difference now. I am in a place to be more selfish and self serving in my choices so making a decision about a partner is more about standards going forward. Again, it's still about making a daily decision to be in it to win it so to speak. It is about what I want in a relationship, how I want to be treated and how I want to treat someone else. I was thinking about this today so forgive me as a laminate a bit .. you have to know how to give love in order to receive it, and if there is no joy inside or outside the relationship what a miserable place to be and I'm speaking from experience.

That old adage you get what you give, something that Alanon revealed to me is I wasn't as good of partner as I thought I was to my X. I wasn't in a good place. I don't wish I had stayed, for us we had just done to much damage to each other to get back to a place of not damaging each other when we were in the same room. The only regret I have and it's a waffle regret in terms of sometimes I feel this way and sometimes I don't .. I wish he took more interest in the kids, he didn't because "it was too hard" .. and I don't do whiners in that way. Every day I have to suit up and show up for my kids. I don't have a lot of compassion or empathy on that lines because if I don't there is no functioning parent. So it's been a blessing and a curse in some ways that he just hasn't been involved and it's been less complicated for me being a single parent. It's also been hard, and exhausting and there were days and sometimes still are I go to the closet and cry so I can dust myself off and keep going.

One of the sayings in Alanon is give it a try, if it doesn't work you can be refunded your misery for free. I just came to a place of being sick and tired of being miserable all of the time. That was the gift Alanon gave to me is the ability to see the joy in myself and my life without giving up and giving in to other people. Sometimes for me that means limiting time around my family of origin, and doing what is best for me. I hope you will come to a place where I don't care what the age you can find your joy regardless if the alcoholic is drinking or not.

Hugs, S :)



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Faith minus vulnerability and mystery equals extremism.  If you've got all the answers, then don't call what you do "faith". - Brene Brown



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I have attended AlAnon for over 5 years off and on (and tried it a few years before). Though I dont attend FTF meetings often, I do try to live by the principles of AlAnon in my life and can honestly say it works for me! Now I dont claim my life is perfect, nobodys is. I do make mistakes (and last night was one of them where I jumped to the wrong conclusion), but I did lean heavily on my AlAnon teachings and did refer back to the literature for support. It helped in an amazing way!!! My RA husband has been in recovery for just over 5 years and has done amazingly! He drank well over 30 beers a day for more than 30 years. We have been married for just shy of 25 and have been through literal hell together. I was at the point where I had even gone to an attorney when he got into trouble and changed his life. I only stayed because I felt he would do harm to himself in a real way if he were completely abandoned, but staying was not in the honest way of saving a marriage. It was for the short term in my mind. I was wrong! My RAH has been sober and working a program since he began his recovery and I honestly credit his program and mine for our marital success. We both had a lot to learn and occasionally still do. I do not pretend to know what anyone else should do in their lives, but I do believe the program works if we work it and I do know that life can be really good with a RAH if everyone works their program!

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