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Post Info TOPIC: Recovering Ex...


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Recovering Ex...


My ex, whom I have a 4 month old baby with, is starting to recover from being an alcoholic (this is the second time). The first time I had to leave is when I was pregnant, and I went back too soon, because right after our son was born, he started drinking again. Well, I have left for the second time, and now he is starting the recovery process again. But unlike last time, I have learned to detach. And Im starting to feel like I might not want to get back together with him, even if (and thats a strong IF) he gets clean and stays clean. Im completely new to Al Anon, but since this COVID stuff, I cant go to an actual meeting.. So I have two questions that are burning inside my head.

 

1) How many couples stay split up after the alcoholic gets sober?

2) Why do I feel so guilty about not wanting to get back together even though I wasnt the one who ruined the relationship??



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Bo


~*Service Worker*~

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Welcome Teslou...you are in the right place...a few quick observations as your share resonates with me and brings me back to my early days of alanon (BEFORE recovery). First, face to face alanon meetings -- meaning official, Alanon World Services approved alanon meetings -- are meeting!!! They are meeting "virtually" via zoom, web, etc. So, as I've called it, alanon is now making house calls!!! Real alanon meetings are only a click away! Second, while you may be stressed, having anxiety, and who knows what else...take a breath, breathe, and get some stable, sound, healthy thinking and RECOGNIZE that you went back too soon once already. Lesson learned. A slogan in alanon says NOTHING CHANGES IF NOTHING CHANGES...and that statement is ABOUT YOU. Not him. YOU. Nothing will change UNLESS AND UNTIL YOU CHANGE. Third, your ex is an alcoholic. It doesn't matter if he is clean and sober -- and there is a difference between not drinking and being clean and sober -- one day, one week, one month, or one year...he is still an alcoholic. Now, he can be a recovering alcoholic if he stopped drinking and found recovery, meaning he is in AA and is "working" the AA program. Or, he may just have "stopped drinking" on his own. Big difference. Go to alanon meetings and you will learn the difference and more importantly WHAT THAT MEANS TO YOU. You getting better has nothing to do with him! I don't know if you understand that.

In alanon, you can find contentment, even happiness, whether the alcoholic is still drinking or not. I know that may sound crazy to you. It did to me when I first walked into my first alanon meeting. But, and you might not believe this...it is true!!! If your motivation, focus, goal is for YOU to be OK, healthy, get better -- for you and your child -- that's great. If that is contingent on him being OK, getting clean and sober, etc. --then you better get to alanon meetings. One reason being, and I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but the reality is...the alcoholic will NOT quit drinking UNLESS and UNTIL he wants to. Period. Forget about what he says, promises, deals, negotiations, etc. I am referring to reality. Not denial, not rationalization, not justification, nothing -- just reality. You can't do anything -- nothing -- to get him to quit. He will possibly quit -- and I say possibly -- perhaps when he feels the pain, consequences, and results of his own actions and decisions and hits his "rock bottom" to speak. Not when he says he did, but when he really does. My wife told me dozens of times that she hit rock bottom. She was done, she was not going to drink ever again! She too said she was starting to recover. Starting? Either you are in recovery and working the AA program...or you are not. However, none of those times was she done, none of those times did she quit, none of those times did she actually get into recovery and start working the AA program in order to maintain being clean and sober one day at a time. She quit drinking -- when I threatened to throw her out of the house, which I did, threatened to leave her, which I did, threatened to go see an attorney, which I did, and so on -- and she quit to appease me. She quit drinking, until a day or two later when she had a beer or a glass of wine and proclaimed "What? No, it's only a glass of wine" or "What? It's just one beer". Right. Sounds good. So, good luck with that. She even "agreed" at times to go to rehab. A few times it was even her idea. But it was her idea to get me not to divorce her. Rehab? Are you sitting down? I spent well into six digits on her going to rehab...and that's with insurance!!! I have the best health insurance in the marketplace. I always have. And, over the course of 10 years, I still spent six digits on rehabs, intensive outpatients, counselling, and more!!! Do you think when this entire escapade started...I planned on being in it for 10 years?

You see, your thinking becomes distorted. You lose grasps and understanding of reality. You can't even see it. You are in denial. Ironically, so is the alcoholic. Their thinking has become corrupted. Even when they are sober and not drinking at the moment. They are still an alcoholic. Their thought process is distorted. It is no longer normal. You are no longer dealing with a healthy person, a rational person. My wife was sick -- and suffering from the disease of alcoholism...and I BECAME SICK TOO. Now, you may say, no, my life is not that bad, he just drinks too much, and so on. This is a very enigmatic, baffling, confusing, insidious, progressive, and decimating disease. It is all of those things for the alcoholic AND FOR US! I never thought my life would get to where it did. I look back -- from where I am today, happy, healthy, and I live a wonderful life -- and I can't believe I allowed my life to get to where it did. I can't believe the things I put up with. I can't believe I did the things I did and I accepted the behavior I accepted. But, as unbelievable as it is...I did not realize it when it was happening. Everything that was going on, everything I did, even though I was ridden with anxiety, and my life had become unmanageable...everything at the time seemed relatively normal. I was really messed up so to speak.

So...what does all of this mean to you? Well, here's what worked for me...here is why today I live a wonderful life...I went to alanon meetings. I got a sponsor. I started doing the work needed to get better, to get healthy. I started to learn what alanon could and would do for me. I made changes, in my thinking, in my behavior, in my actions and reactions. I focused on me, and not the alcoholic. I stopped trying to fix it, control it, cure it -- it being her drinking. I stopped trying to prove to her that she had a problem. I stopped trying to be right and to get her to quit drinking. Once I did, I learned how to live again. I learned how I could better and it didn't matter if she was drinking or not. And...I kept going back. I kept going back. I kept going back.

I hope you do not have to experience what I did. I hope your life doesn't get to the point mine did. I hope you don't feel what I felt. BUT...even if you don't...the steps I took which I spoke to above...is still what everyone who has gotten better through this program...it is still what they did -- meetings, working with a sponsor, focusing on themselves, and making change...all of that can and will help you whether you are as bad off as I was, or not that bad. It works if you work it, so work it, you are worth it.

I wish you all the best.

__________________

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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In addition...about your questions...

1) How many couples stay split up after the alcoholic gets sober?

2) Why do I feel so guilty about not wanting to get back together even though I wasnt the one who ruined the relationship??

You are trying to apply logic to an illogical situation, person, disease and situation. The percentage of couples that stay together AFTER the alcoholic gets sober, is perhaps an unknown answer. Why? Who knows who gets clean and sober. Do NOT take for granted he will. It's great to hope. But your life cannot be based upon HOPE for HIM to get better. Your life is based UPON HOPE FOR YOU.

As far as why do you feel so guilty about not wanting to get back together even though you weren't the one who ruined the relationship...welcome to the club!!! That is common! Very common. It's part of the enigmatic dynamic of what goes on this is baffling, cunning, and completely making no sense disease.

The more you try and figure out the alcoholic, this situation, making sense of it, boiling it down to logic, and so on...the more you will drive yourself crazy!

There are several alanon meetings starting in 60 minutes in Los Angeles, CA...all of them on zoom!!! If you want info on zoom meetings, just ask. The meetings are there. They are meeting, every day and every night of the week!!!

All the best.



__________________

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...

 



Senior Member

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Hi Teslou, Congratulations on your little one. Congratulations on your ability to detach as well. Detaching allows peace and freedom doesnt it? I dont have an answer to the question of how many couples stay or split. Ive wondered myself many times. I felt if only I could have the stat, I would get validation for whatever Im thinking/feeling or maybe I would finally know what to do. I am married to my AH but have stronger boundaries in place then ever. I am clearer in my understanding of what it is to live my life with peace and calm. I am a firm believer in the idea I know as much as I am supposed to right now. HP will reveal more when it is time. I can be grateful for all of the blessings in my life right now. I understand the feeling of guilt that comes with change as well. I think it comes from compassion and my previous reality of not expecting anything for myself. Compassion is love. Knowing I can change and climb out of the darkness of alcoholism while I leave someone I love down in it can feel sad. The thing is, I didnt cause this and I cant control anyone else. I can chose something better for myself. Everyone can make better choices for themselves. It doesnt mean they will. Why should I live a life of chaos and unhappiness because someone else chooses to? I still feel sadly the other wont rise to the occasion and accepts less instead. Its hard to witness. Its also honestly hard to let go of what I thought life would be until I wake to the fact it will be better. A real life of peace and happiness is worth more than a hellish existence holding onto a fairytale or fantasy. That is what it was for me anyway. I hope that helps to hear. It helps always for me to hear others struggle with the same things I have and Im not alone. Enjoy that little bundle of joy and the person you become. ((((Hugs))))

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Bo,

I dont even know where to begin.. Thank you for your post!! My Mom has been in AA and attending Al-Anon for quite some time, she was the one who told me I need to go. So a few points you brought up, she had too. But so many other things you said, for instance, trying to find logic in an illogical situation, really hit home. I know I have to focus on me, and identifying that I am also sick, I order to lead a better a better, happier, healthier life. And also be able to take care of my kids (my oldest one is almost 7, but her dad is also an avid drinker who doesnt think he has a problem.. I really know how to pick the winners). I know he has to hit rock bottom, but it hurts to see him go through this, I want to be able to help fix it, even though I know I cant. And YES (I cant capitalize that enough) to him having endless promises, perceived regrets, and wants to change... but not actually doing it. Also, thank you for pointing out that there is no starting recovery, its either in recovery or not. Like I mentioned, I moved out, and took the kids with me, so I am not there to see if he is still drinking or not, but 99.9% sure that he is. He lost two awesome jobs because of it, one which he is trying to save right now by seeing a counselor, which is good, but hes already asking me to help him save his job. We have seen each other about two or three times since I left, and every freaking time, he acts as if everything is normal. This infuriates me. Ive expressed to him that Im angry, resentful, and confused. But yet, he still asks me to hang out like I never even told him how it makes me feel. I was telling my mom earlier that now I can see all the little manipulative things he did before and still does even though hes in recovery, and these things make me not want to go back to the relationship. And then its full circle again, because then I have this needless guilt because hes trying and I feel like I should too. But I completely hear you when you say that if any trying to do anything is being done, it should be my trying to focus on and fix myself and not him. It just hurts so bad. So again, thank you for your wisdom and words. And I've never used zoom, but if you could give me information on zoom Al-Anon meetings, I would VERY much appreciate it!!!! 



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Thank you sunmustshine!! 

I started crying when I read that if you knew that stat it may give you validation, because that is exactly how I feel. Even though, logically, I know each case is different, I feel like if I could see that Im not wrong in leaving him behind and getting on with my life while he does... whatever it is he decides to do, that I may feel a little better. And I think that you are also correct in that I am really compassionate and feel bad for not sticking around. But I cant, and I cant put my kids through it (thank you for the congratulations by the way). Even just having heard from you and Bo already make me feel so much less alone. Props to you for staying, because I am just so angry and resentful towards him that I was/am driving myself absolutely crazy. I try not to cry multiple times a day, I try to compartmentalize so I dont take it to work with me, or let my 7 y/o see it. But some days are soooo much harder than others. 



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~*Service Worker*~

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Hi Teslou, just chiming in on your question about Zoom meetings. The Al-Anon World Service lists various electronic meetings here: al-anon.org/al-anon-meetings/electronic-meetings/ .

So many hundreds of meetings have gone electronic during the coronavirus situation, that no one place lists all of them -- but you can try Googling your city or state plus Al-Anon, find the local area's website or information phone number, and find electronic meetings where you live. The silver lining to this is that we can find electronic meetings all over the country now, because that's how most groups are meeting.

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Freetime,

Thank you! I will definitely be doing this!! Its like one thing piled on top of another (with having a baby, splitting with dad, returning to work, COVID) and I did feel hopeless. But seeing even just a few people respond to my post has made a world of difference!!! 



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Welcome to this wonderful place. I am glad you have a support system with your mother. It is remarkable she is a double winner. This is a great place to start of. There is no judgment here only total acceptance and most of all caring. This is a grouo that truly cares Yeah it is hard enough being out there with COVID. Any other stress on top of that is total overload. That is like maximal overload. This is one of the hardest times in this century When I was with my qualifier he didnt hesitate to pile it on I have many health issues he resented them deeply. He had every kind of problem imaginable but I was not allowed to have any. And he brought it on daily. I.survived that 8.year odyssey because I cane here. And it certainly involved ny going back to rescue him when I.should have known better but I had to go to the end of the earth one more time So going back fir more is nothing to question. This group saw me through all of that and more Validation is really important. Setting limits is really difficult around anyone with an addiction super difficult and onerous. They do not accept limits easily. This is one place to.start of. One place you can feel safe. One place to be oresent one day at a time. Welcome Maresie

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Bo


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Teslou -- here are some links to Alanon World Services (conference) approved alanon meetings...

Meetings in Northern New Jersey:

https://docs.google.com/document/u/2/d/10_AVAVHOv33BU1EJlgA0CWLYRlvgbJeutGjl8Vlrd9M/mobilebasic

Meetings in Seattle, Washington:

https://www.seattle-al-anon.org/saturday.html

Meetings in Los Angeles, California:

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1HVCMg9pBmIRhkVmUYTCuqEmskvP1u3OHj7_yWzWrEfI/edit#gid=0

Meetings in New York City:

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1rBD5yTc6jKLy2KsEkKXhdqkhI1EicHhRDVkTyNaAzxs/htmlview#gid=883977222

All the best.



__________________

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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You will have to copy and paste the links as I don't know how to make live links in a post, LOL.

Being that your mom is in a 12-step program, she can relate to what it takes to begin, to get better, get healthy. Now, even though the steps are the same -- except for one word -- the alanon steps come from a different point of view, a different perspective...that being living with and/or having a loved one who is an alcoholic...rather than being one. Focus on the alanon approach, perspective, mindset, methodology, etc.

I did start to see improvement and progress as soon as I stopped trying to figure out the alcoholic, why she was drinking, what she was doing, why she didn't see what I saw, and so on and so on. Children are entitled to -- and need -- one sane, healthy parent...and YOU can be that parent...but you have to want it and be willing to do the work. While you may know he has to hit rock bottom, you are still focused on him, his problems, his plight, his issues, drama, chaos, etc. -- and it is consuming you. I was there!!! I know what it's like. I know how it feels. However, right now -- YOU want him better MORE THAN HE wants him better.

You keep referring to and saying that he is in recovery...but if he is drinking, he is not. Even if he's not drinking, but he's not in AA, working a program, etc. -- then he is not in recovery. But it doesn't matter. Let him do what he's going to do. Stop letting him be your focus and focal point. Forget about going back, not going back, deciding, etc. Simply look at the next immediate thing in front of you. Focus on YOU. Live today...and begin to live ONE DAY AT A TIME. That's how you get better. Seeing him, being part of his pretending like nothing is wrong, entertaining helping him save his job, being a part of him acting as if everything is normal -- all of that is YOU ENABLING HIM. You express to him how you feel, that you are angry, resentful, confused, and so on...and what? You expect him to understand? You expect him to change? So, I have one question for you...How's that working out for you? Stop getting caught up in the minutia, and all the little manipulative things going on, the talk, and the back and forth...as that is what is making you unhealthy. That is part of your sickness.

Go to meetings. Start with ACCEPTANCE. The people in the rooms will help you understand what that means and how it applies to you. That will be the beginning.

All the best!

__________________

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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Maresie,

Thank you. I can already see the support and it helps like no other. And I am forever grateful for my Mom, she has been my saving grace through this. It has been an overload of things for me to try to process all at once. And OH MY GOD, you nailed it on the head with even though we both have problems/struggles, his are ALWAYS worse and he has more of them. Like mine dont even count. Hes always the victim! And while I understand he does suffer from PTSD, depression, and anxiety, he would project it onto me. I was doing things wrong (when it came to the kids) because he was raised a different (abusive) way. Even now, he still plays the victim, like me leaving was to intentionally hurt him, and Im not struggling in any way, and if I really loved him, I would be there to help him.. the manipulation is endless. And the more and more I talk about it, the more clearer it becomes. I do still love him, and that makes this so extremely difficult, but I keep getting empty promises. And yes, I did enable him before, so I kind of understand that he thinks he can get me to do it again, but Im tired. Im tired of walking on eggshells around him, Im tired of one day straight of drinking and the next whole day of him sleeping. Tim tired of the anxiety I get as soon as I hear that beer can open. Im tired of not wanting to leave work (and I work at a prison) and go home. Its sad when you would rather be at prison than go home. I never knew what kind of mood he would be in. I refuse to enable him and make excuses for him. It sucks because I still have a lot of things at his house that I have to get, but since hes not working (he didnt go back to work after his paternity leave because he started drinking heavily again) he is there all the time. Not that I think he would start a fight, but I definitely think he would try to guilt trip me. He misses me and doesnt want to lose me, then DO something about it!!!! And he says he trying to do something, the SMART Recovery, but I think hes only doing it because I told him that the kids and I are not coming back until he gets his shit straight (and who knows how long thatll be), so I dont even think hes actually hit his rock bottom, or attempting to get sober right now because HE wants to.



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Bo,

Wow, you are absolutely right. I am focused on his problems, his drama, entertaining his plights, and I never saw that as enabling before, but I do now. So even after I sit here and say Im done enabling him in one way, I still am in another. So then just cut all ties, and just talk to him about letting him see his son? But then set firm boundaries and stuck to them when it comes to do with anything besides him seeing his son? I know theres no easy approach to any of this, but how can I talk to him without enabling him? The last time I talked to him, he invited me to get food and I told him no, and expressed my feelings on why I didnt want to and how I felt uncomfortable doing so. So next time should I just tell him that if it has nothing to do with seeing his son that I dont want to discuss things? And as far as expressing my anger, resentment, etc, youre right... it has gotten me ab-so-lute-ly nowhere. 



-- Edited by Teslou523 on Saturday 9th of May 2020 12:36:22 AM

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There is no #right# or #wrong# This stuff takes work. When I started ir rather stopped arguing with the now ex qualifier I slipped and slided all over the place. Unentangling yourself does not happen overnight. At some point engaging with the now ex was not necessary anymore I am currently exiting a roommmate sitiation that was a disaster on many levels. I am by no.means rushing out the door and burning all the bridges. Certainly my .now ex roommate was hoping I would put #him# first. That doesnt mean I confront him on it. I do not confront him on many things. I.am too busy getting in with my life I do not think there is an easy #out# Unentangling yourself takes time and energy. For me I hace known this specifuc alcoholic for over 29 years. Lettimg go of someone who has been around that long is pretty difficult. Nevertheless i will. No one gets points on this. This is really hard work. I know that treating myself with kindness and love is one way to go. In fact it is the only way to go. Maresie

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Welcome Teslou.  I am glad that you have found Alanon and this board.  It has (and is) truly saving me.

When I first came to Alanon I had similar questions - how many couples stay together, whether the alcoholic is in recovery or not, and how long would it take to decide etc etc...

In the beginning I thought I could fix my AH and make him change, then I moved onto looking at changing myself but underneath it all was the thought that if I changed enough then somehow he would see it and change himself.   And I felt so guilty.  Guilty that somehow I had done something or not which has made him turn to drink, guilty for not giving him yet another chance and guilty for the life my children were living.

Nothing really changed for me until I realised through Alanon that I was nowhere on my own list of priorities.  And so slowly I didn't even notice, I was putting up with more and more unacceptable behaviour and my self esteem and self worth were slowly being chipped even further away.   Sure he was sorry the next day and I allowed myself to believe he meant it.  This went on for 2 years.   I had even begun to hate myself because I thought how low does his behaviour have to get before I will do something and not accept the apologies and get back on my own merry go round of denial.

He said the words - went to AA a few times, did some other recovery things a few times - but it was all done to placate me and never because he really wanted to do it.  It was words and not action and then a week or so later we would be back at the starting point and going through it all again.

I had to love myself first before I could even start to do things differently.  I sat down and asked myself if this is the life I want to live - day after day.  And really strip away the mirage of what I thought were good days.

And truly accept that I had absolutely no power or indeed any right to control my AHs life.  He can do what he wants to do.  I can choose not to be a part of it and instead choose a happy and healthy life for myself.   It took time and I am still on the journey, but what I think is so brilliant about the Alanon programme is that if you stick with it and really make it part of your day to day life, you will get better and you will see progress.   Hugs (((())))

 

 



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Bo


~*Service Worker*~

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Teslou523 wrote:

Bo,

Wow, you are absolutely right. I am focused on his problems, his drama, entertaining his plights, and I never saw that as enabling before, but I do now. So even after I sit here and say Im done enabling him in one way, I still am in another. So then just cut all ties, and just talk to him about letting him see his son? But then set firm boundaries and stuck to them when it comes to do with anything besides him seeing his son? I know theres no easy approach to any of this, but how can I talk to him without enabling him? The last time I talked to him, he invited me to get food and I told him no, and expressed my feelings on why I didnt want to and how I felt uncomfortable doing so. So next time should I just tell him that if it has nothing to do with seeing his son that I dont want to discuss things? And as far as expressing my anger, resentment, etc, youre right... it has gotten me ab-so-lute-ly nowhere. 



-- Edited by Teslou523 on Saturday 9th of May 2020 12:36:22 AM


 

Going to alanon meetings will give you some resources and tools on how to handle the various situations you are in. It's not so much about cutting all ties as it is about learning how to navigate having an alcoholic in your life. I can't tell you what to do, but for me, in my experience, I had to learn how to say "I'm sorry you feel that way" and end conversations, arguments before they started, and simply learn not how to get caught up in the dance so to speak. In alanon, they say, when the tug of war starts...just drop your end of the rope! I also learned how to say "I am sure you'll figure that out" and letting the alcoholic know that I was not going to jump in and be involved in them and their "stuff" so to speak. 

Talking to the alcoholic is not necessarily enabling them, but participating in the back and forth, their stuff, the drama, chaos, job-saving, and whatever it is that is their business -- that can be enabling. That can be perpetuating the drama, chaos, turmoil, etc. That can be your role, your contribution to what is going on. My sponsor used to say -- when you are at a wedding, just because there is music playing...that doesn't mean you have to be out on the dancefloor dancing!!! Yes, it takes two to tango...and if I am not dancing, the alcoholic only has themselves to dance with!

What are you trying to do when you "discuss things" with him? In alanon there is a saying -- CHECK YOUR MOTIVES. So do that. Are you trying to convince him? Prove your point? Change him? Get him to change? Well, right now, he is NOT READY. He doesn't want it...even though he says he does.

Go to meetings! Learn how to act, react, behave, and navigate what you are dealing with now.



__________________

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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Posts: 1687
Date:

Teslou523 wrote:

Bo,

Wow, you are absolutely right. I am focused on his problems, his drama, entertaining his plights, and I never saw that as enabling before, but I do now. So even after I sit here and say Im done enabling him in one way, I still am in another. So then just cut all ties, and just talk to him about letting him see his son? But then set firm boundaries and stuck to them when it comes to do with anything besides him seeing his son? I know theres no easy approach to any of this, but how can I talk to him without enabling him? The last time I talked to him, he invited me to get food and I told him no, and expressed my feelings on why I didnt want to and how I felt uncomfortable doing so. So next time should I just tell him that if it has nothing to do with seeing his son that I dont want to discuss things? And as far as expressing my anger, resentment, etc, youre right... it has gotten me ab-so-lute-ly nowhere. 



-- Edited by Teslou523 on Saturday 9th of May 2020 12:36:22 AM


 

When you go to alanon meetings you will learn about tools as well as about the disease of alcoholism, and more importantly, our disease. The alanon program focuses on US and teaches us how to focus on US. One of the things we learn is about enabling, and yes, while the traditional definition of enabling is doing something for someone that they can do for themselves...there can be far more to it than that!!! Far more. While I very, very rarely enabled my wife, according to the traditional definition...another form of enabling for me was "contributing" to and "perpetuating" the then current situation. My wife constantly looked to engage. It was her release. It could be a fight, it could be something else. That was part of her thing. Sometimes, it was me -- trying to tell her how I feel, express to her that I was hurt, upset, whatever. It didn't matter! I was trying to have an intelligent, meaningful, logical, important discussion...WITH SOMEONE WHO WAS INCAPABLE OF DOING SO!!! I wanted to believe she was. But she wasn't. But that didn't matter either. Check my motives -- yes, I was trying to fix it and hr. I was trying to get her to understand. I was trying to convince her. Sometimes covertly, sometimes passive aggressively. 

And so the dance continues. I learned how not to do that. I learned how not to dance...even when I didn't know that I was dancing.



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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...

 

Bo


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Teslou523 wrote:

Bo,

Wow, you are absolutely right. I am focused on his problems, his drama, entertaining his plights, and I never saw that as enabling before, but I do now. So even after I sit here and say Im done enabling him in one way, I still am in another. So then just cut all ties, and just talk to him about letting him see his son? But then set firm boundaries and stuck to them when it comes to do with anything besides him seeing his son? I know theres no easy approach to any of this, but how can I talk to him without enabling him? The last time I talked to him, he invited me to get food and I told him no, and expressed my feelings on why I didnt want to and how I felt uncomfortable doing so. So next time should I just tell him that if it has nothing to do with seeing his son that I dont want to discuss things? And as far as expressing my anger, resentment, etc, youre right... it has gotten me ab-so-lute-ly nowhere. 


-- Edited by Teslou523 on Saturday 9th of May 2020 12:36:22 AM


 

What I found with me was that my desire to have her be "OK" was just all that I felt, could see, etc. At first, in my mind, it was simple. I was upset, angry, unhappy, and in pain...because she was drinking! Period. So, she stops drinking, and I will be fine, happy, not in pain, not angry, and life will be wonderful. If she just listened to me...all would be wonderful. But...she's not listening to me! So, I must not be explaining myself well enough. I must be failing in my effort to convince her! So, let me try, let find some other way. Some other ways. And I tried and tried and tried...and I failed and failed and failed!!! That is the merry-go-round of denial and alcoholism!!!

So I learned to detach. First, physically. Whenever she started to engage, I learned to say "I am not getting into this with you" and I would go to another room. Often she would follow me and continue to try and engage. But, I had my boundary. I guess in a weird kind of way, it almost became a game, or a battle, of wills. I didn't view it as a battle or adversarial. As a matter of fact, that's what I was trying to avoid! So, I had to detach. Sometimes, I would have to leave the house. That may seem unfair, but it was really simply me looking to detach and not get into it with her. Sometimes she would be in her denial and trying to convince me "we" should work on us, discuss some of our issues, talk it out, who knows what else. I used to say "I am sorry you feel that way". When she would tell me about her issues, problems, drama, her alleged "recovery" -- and remember, she was not in recovery -- I would say "I am sure you'll figure it out" or "I am sure you'll figure out what to do" or "I am sure you will go through what your options are" and more along those lines. My motives? To leave her alone. To let her figure it out -- BECAUSE -- that's the only way she would feel the consequences of her own actions. If she learned I wasn't going to be her partner in her "stuff" and not even participate in those types of discussions -- it left her to either figure it out on her own or change. But, she had to want it. She had to want to get better. 

So for me it was a combination of detaching, not enabling, having boundaries, and understanding that SHE had to want to get better, get healthy, quit drinking and find recovery FOR HER. Not for ME. She had to want it more than me. SHE had to want it FOR HERSELF...Just like I had to want me to get better for me. 



__________________

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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Teslou523 - welcome to MIP! Glad you found us and glad that you jumped right in and shared. Congrats on the little one...motherhood is such a blessing! To this day, no matter what else is going on, my heart melts with the smiling eyes and face of a baby!! I will share that it's lovely you are chasing recovery while your baby is small - I so wish I had done that. I spent so much time obsessing over this disease and the diseased, I really missed many 'moments' with my kids!

Yes, the pandemic does bring challenges to all of us who attend F2F meetings. Visiting the Al-Anon official site can give you access to online meetings, email meetings, phone meetings, etc. If you look to the top of our MIP site, left hand side, you can see a schedule for meetings here. There are times as well as a link to the chat room. They are not consistent, but they served me well when I was not able to get to F2F meetings (work/kid/life schedule). I attended twice daily for a long while as it just worked out well. I was able to supplement my F2F meetings with the meetings here and it really helped me obsess less.

All I know is what was shared with me at the start - don't make any major decisions for 6M-1Y and change your focus from outside of self to self. My sponsor suggested that when I woke up, I considered what I needed for that day first and then populate what others needed from me. Self-care is strongly encouraged in recovery, boundaries become 'gifts' and detaching is 'gold' for me!

I do much better when I keep things as simple as possible. My sponsor suggested that I just practice doing something, anything different each time my mind wondered off to thinking about my A, our marriage, our future, etc. It could be as easy as taking a walk, cleaning a closet, reading literature, calling someone or ... - just something more for me and to shift my mind. It is in recovery that I learned I had choices - to take a call or not, to answer a text or not, to turn my ringer down for naps, sleep or not, etc. I had spent so much time wrapped up in obsessing about all that the disease brings, I had forgotten that I was a separate person with my own needs, wants and life!

It was suggested that I keep an open mind, and keep coming back. Others told me that nothing I did, said, cried, screamed, asked, etc. was going to change what my A or any other person was going to do next. I did not have the capacity to consider much beyond step one for a long while simply because a part of me still thought I had some level of power or control over the disease and the diseased.

We each get to work this program our way, in our time frame. Faster doesn't mean better. There's no graduation and no hurry. Serenity comes to each of us in different ways, through different choices at different times. We do chase progress vs. perfection, one day at a time. In the beginning, I considered myself a success if I didn't cry, scream, curse, eye-roll in a day. Most of my reactions were unhealthy and non-productive (my contribution to the chaos and drama) so I focuses on pausing and responding instead of reacting. I learned in recovery that many times, my best response is no response in the moment.

So, be gentle with yourself. It's so painful to watch one we love self-destruct through active disease. It's perfectly okay if you decide to leave the relationship and it's perfectly okay if you decide to stay. There's no one size fits all answer for recovery/relationships, etc. I hope you know you aren't alone, and there truly is hope and help in recovery! Keep coming back!

__________________

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

 

 

Bo


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Date:

Teslou, I hope you are well, and have attended some alanon zoom meetings. If you have, or haven't, I am sure you are overwhelmed. While the pandemic and all that goes along with it is going on around us, keep in mind that alanon meetings are now a button away. Just last night, a woman from LA attended a meeting with a newborn! I find it far easier to go to a zoom meeting, than going to face to face meetings, but that's just me.

I remember when I first walked into the rooms of alanon, I couldn't think about anything at all. Planning my day, dinner, whatever, was a fleeting thought as my mind was racing, yet I couldn't get one coherent well thought out thought. Planning my day, planning for whatever, trying to figure things out, everything was just more and more chaos and turmoil. All I knew was that I needed it to stop!!! I needed to stop!!!

I was willing to be open-minded and try what alanon because I did realize what I HAD BEEN DOING WAS NOT WORKING. It was failing miserably. I felt I was failing miserably. Whatever I tried WAS NOT WORKING. So, in my desperate wisdom, LOL, I knew I had to try something else!!! But I did not want to hear that my wife would not quit drinking unless and until she wanted to. I found that as very bad news, horrible news. But soon, that news allowed me to be free of feeling like I could fix it, control it, change it and her, and so on.

If you want to try alanon, it is here for you. In my experience, you get out of it what you put into it. While you can't rush, cut corners, cheat, well, I guess you can, but it doesn't help, I have found that pain is a very motivating factor. I experienced so much pain that I had no choice but to change! And I wanted it over so fast, I committed to doing whatever it took to stop the pain. I have found if you are motivated -- that helps recovery. If we are open-minded, embrace, work, commit, and change, progress comes little by slowly. Little by slowly we can get better. I wanted nothing more than to stop what was going on in MY life and in MY head, and heart...so I went on a mission to get better, hence, my commitment, and what I found in 30 days. But that was me and what worked for me. Thankfully, and I was so grateful, I saw immediate results that alleviated a lot of pain, a lot of the chaos, a lot of the stuff that was going on with me...not her...me!

The pain we feel is not just because someone we love is spiraling out of control, ruining their life, ours, and who knows what else. This is very painful. However, part of the pain comes from us not being able to stop it! It comes from us wanting it to stop more than they do. It comes from us seeing what they don't see, wanting them to get off this wild roller coaster, and them not seeing that they are even on a roller coaster! It comes from us getting angry because they just don't get it. It comes from a lot more along these lines. Some of that pain we are feeling, is caused by our own thinking and actions and reactions, and so on.

I hope you are well and are finding some calmness, serenity, and even happiness.

__________________

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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