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Post Info TOPIC: It's been a while / brand new qualifier(s)


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It's been a while / brand new qualifier(s)


Hello everyone,

     It has been quite a few years since I have posted here. I got remarried and moved to a different city and life just kind of happened the way it does. All the while, the disease of Alcoholism has been waiting and doing pushups getting ready for another round of battle against a badly armed opponent.  My "New life" brought me to a brand new set of qualifiers. My Family of origin qualifiers have both passed away having never found recovery. My brother is in the process of being left by his wife of 23 years due to his inability to address his Alcoholic issues, and my new wife has suffered childhood traumas that I can not even imagine. She has 2 adult children that are both suffering from Anxiety and substance abuse. They both use their anxiety as a crutch to not do things, not be able to hold jobs, not interact with people etc. In my 2 years living with my new wife, her daughter was asked to move out of the home because she did nothing but take from her mom and absolutely could not hold down a job. She is stoned pretty much 24/7 and was unable to live on her own(in her mid-20s)so she now lives with her dad. Her older son is also stoned 24/7. He had been asked not to smoke in the house and he ignored that request completely. He is a gamer and not social at all so, other than a part-time job, he lived in her basement on a game console most of his life. 2 summers ago he started drinking to excess. She found 7 bottles of Vodka in his room after he suffered a seizure(she has written that off completely to epilepsy and refuses to consider that alcohol played any part at all) and he spent the better part of a couple of weekends after a binge sobbing, screaming and throwing up in the shower only to do it again and again. Waking up for work one morning, I came down to the kitchen to find a red-hot burner on the stove having been left on all night after he somehow cooked himself a plate of eggs, toast and a full glass of milk(these were ALL untouched, sitting on the table and he was passed out downstairs in his bed). We sat him down and came up with terms that would allow him to stay in her home.  Full time school, Paying rent, getting his anger issues under control and attending AA. These conditions lasted about as long as it took her to issue them to him. After one meeting of AA, it was "Not for him" there were excuses why he could not go to college and he attended no anger management therapy. This really put my wife and I at odds. Being an Alanon/ACA and having seen it all, I have a a pretty keen sense for people that have a problem and how situations will progress if the addict is left to their own devices. My wife started making excused for his behavior and even claimed to have not issued some of the ultimatums that I heard her say. We started therapy together and attended several sessions and it felt like we were making a little progress. A few weeks later the sons behavior started again. He would eat dinner, go downstairs and then there would more screaming, moaning and throwing up in the shower, inebriated! I had been told that she didn't want my help disciplining her children and it was her house so when this happened for the 3rd time I decided it was time to take care of myself and I left the house. It was not my place to tell him or her what he could and could not do. Not my kid, not my house but a boundary was crossed for me and I moved out. This was in March just as COVID was starting to settle in. When I left, my wife was and still is absolutely devastated by my doing so. She is sadder and more depressed than I have ever seen a human before. Following his last incident, the son chose to move out of his moms house and "address his problems head on" which meant I got an apology text and he moved to his dads and continued his behavior and changed absolutely nothing. He has asked his mom to return to her home several times and has been denied. This has left my wife and I in absolute ruins, while the alcoholic faces nothing but where and how to continue his drinking.  We are left trying to pick up the shattered pieces of our lives.  My wife and I are each seeing therapists individually and I am attending Alanon by myself. I have asked her a couple of times to attend with me but she has no interest. I am really being made to feel like the bad guy for doing what I did, while the behavior that caused this whole thing is minimized and justified.  She is so upset by my leaving that this may very well be the end of our marriage. I love her with all of my heart, but I refuse to live in a home where I have to live with the consequences of someone else's poor choices. We are still living apart and there does not seem to be much hope at this point.  I am very resentful that his choices have done this to us and I know I have a lot of work to do to try to let go of those. I am also grateful to this program for giving me the tools to take care of myself when I absolutely needed to. Thanks everyone for letting me vent. 

 

Mike



-- Edited by mikeco on Thursday 24th of September 2020 06:09:20 PM



-- Edited by mikeco on Thursday 24th of September 2020 06:09:39 PM

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~*Service Worker*~

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Welcome back Mike and WOW does that  seem like a good basis for Inventories.  I was inventorying myself as I was reading your share (thanks) because some of what I am going thru with my present marriage is similar.  What is my part in it...I hate that question (LOL) yet is most valuable in finding solutions to that important question.  Part of the answer is in the fact that I have aged continually and no longer keep attention as I use to.  My spouse is an Al-Anon member also so I get to focus more honestly about what is going on and how it is resulting in our life.  Of course both of us have been affected by the disease for a long time yet HP hasn't disappeared with the tools for too long periods of time...I am still grateful.  Daily Literature reading and prayers with intentional working of the steps, Serenity Prayer, reading the literature and coming here to listen and read the ESH of the fellowship.  Grateful you still knew where we are at. 

We have done and been doing much the same as you and your wife have been doing and what is most important for us is that after we do those things we practice Letting Go and Letting God actively.  We Act as If and it does.  smilewinkawwbiggrin 



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Jerry F


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Wb Mike. Good to have you back with us. You've been through a lot and sounds like you're putting healthy boundaries in place for your own sanity and serenity. It's great that you're continuing your recovery journey and sad that your wife is not interested. Nevertheless, your choice to keep taking care of yourself is an excellent one. It's such a hard issue when it's someone's else's child, even when it's a spouse. I recall having so much fear that if I didn't continue"helping" my ex, I would get the dreaded phone call one day. I thought omg if I get that call after putting him out because he's using; how will I live with myself? So I kept doing the same thing until it got to be so much I could no longer handle it. Then it was rehab for him and respite for me. Finally, I could rest and someone else could be responsible for him. The disease affects the whole family as you know. Up until that point, my other family members got little to no attention from me. Life had revolved around the elephant in the middle of the room. I gave up so much and withheld love from family members trying to save that one family members I believed was sick. That was my sickness, that was my life. And if you'd have told me I need to stop, I would've thought you were crazy because in my mind no good person would just do nothing when someone they love was suffering the way my exah was. I hope your wife has a very good therapist who understands and values Alanon. Maybe she'll find her way to the program. I feel compassion for her because I can remember being where she is. We're ready when we're ready and not a moment sooner. Often a crisis is the catalyst but the danger for me was when going from crisis to crisis became how I lived. You sound like you bottomed out and got out if nothing else, temporarily to regroup and regain your sanity. To me, that was a healthy action of a person with recovery. I understand your feelings of resentment concerning the disease. It sure can be a relationship wrecking ball. I hope there's recovery and healing for your marriage and sobriety for her kids. Keep coming back. Glad you found us again. TT

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Thank you both so much for the replies! I am so grateful for this program and the wisdom of those who choose recovery because almost none in my family(except me and one of my aunts) have and most have paid with their lives. My wife is concerned that I jump to conclusions and go from zero to 60 in seconds with these things. While this might be true, I can spot these things from ten miles away. I have an entire lifetime of experience. I picked the therapist for "Us" to see together, but it turns out that she will be seeing her solo while I see someone else and attend my Alanon meetings. I did pick one that has a background in addiction. While I will probably never know what they will talk about, I will hold out hope that this Therapist can open my wife's eyes to the reality of addiction and can maybe break through her normalizing and denial of the problems that her older 2 children are facing. I did bottom out hard there and felt I had no choice. As much as i love and miss her, I am also damn proud of myself for finding the strength to leave and take care of myself. I am so happy to have found my way back. Thanks so much for being here!

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It is very impredive you took.care of yourself. As you know having boundaries around an alcoholic is tough For ne there are hooks that keep me in certain.stuations. The hooks olay into triggers that realky hold me hostage I know I had sine crazy udea that I had to say I gave a rekationshio my best. Unfortunately most of the time they didnt have much of a cjance to start with I know there is something to oearn in these realky trying situations. Al anin has heloed ne.immensely to sort out what holds ne in those situations I am glad you afe focusing on yourself Maresje

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I too welcome you back to MIP Mike....In my experience, denial runs deep, very, very deep - esp. when we are talking about this disease in our children. I have 2 sons, both affected greatly by this disease. Because of my experience, I was extremely alarmed about what I was seeing and what they were doing, yet my AH was stuck in a 'kids will be kids' denial loop. Even when each child OD'd at my home, with my AH present, he just could not turn off his denial.

We always have the right and choice for personal boundaries. It took me time and practice in Al-Anon to realize I was just as powerless over another's denial of reality as I was over this disease. I could not change how my husband acted/reacted/responded to this disease any more than I could change/control/cure/fix my boys. It was exhausting, stressful, chaotic and horribly painful to watch, witness and experience.

I have heard and believe that denial is a defense mechanism to avoid pain. It's possibly the only thing standing between living and not living for anyone who is experiencing trauma.  Watching your child be attacked by this disease certainly counts as a trauma for me - watching two of two almost put me in the grave.  We in Al-Anon really struggle with trying to control people, places, things and outcomes - and this kept me stuck in a cycle of negative thinking/reactions for a long while.  When I fully embraced how powerless I was and how far reaching this disease is, I was better able to let go and let God.  I still find myself shaking my head at times about the disease, the denial, etc. but have chosen unconditional acceptance, compassion and a 'seek to understand' mantra these days.

Just like the diseased, the unintended enablers are going to do what they're going to do - and I have to ask myself, what is best for me? Do I want to get back on the merry-go-round or do I prefer my sanity, serenity and joy? I learned early on in Al-Anon some great neutral responses to help me not jump back in and they still serve me well today.  Counseling in our family did nothing to break through the denial; it was helpful for me as I wanted to be there and felt I needed help but not so much for my AH or my boys as they did not see any need for help (denial).  

I continue to operate under the premise of: Trust God, Clean House and Help Others for my program and life. None of these 3 suggest it is my role to fix, change, control anyone else, including family so I step out unless asked. My home became much more peaceful when I began to focus on me and stopped offering my input, insight, experience, suggestions and advice. Al-Anon gave me the grace and humility to realize I was not helping in spite of my best efforts. Take good care of you, trust the program and the process and your HP and all will be as it's supposed to be. Keep coming back - it does work when we work it!



-- Edited by Iamhere on Friday 25th of September 2020 05:03:11 PM



-- Edited by Iamhere on Friday 25th of September 2020 05:03:41 PM

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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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IAMHERE,
The phrase "unintended enablers are going to do what they are going to do" really resonated with me and the other was "What is my part in it" from JerryF. I think as an Alanon and an ACA, even after my lifetime of horrifying experiences with my family of origin, it's very easy to fall back into the trap of expectations and to try to force outcomes from situations. The very thing I did to take care of myself, leaving the home, was what has caused this huge rift between me and my wife. I was terrified of staying any longer and she was terrified of my leaving "Her." The bottom line is I have to feel my feelings, she has to feel hers, and then we need to try to deal with OURS together and see if things can be repaired. I have to ask myself if things with us do get "Repaired" am I just going to be jumping back on that merry go round again? I am proud of my decision of self care in this situation. It's very difficult when you are the only one that "Sees" a problem with a situation and when unacceptable behavior/zero consequences are and have always been the norm, you become the "Odd one out."

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Aloha  Mikeco.  Reading your post brings back alot of recovery memories for me.  I didn't want to get into any program when I first arrived helter skelter.  I didn't know anything about alcoholism and didn't know that I didn't know.  I was born and raised in the disease and the family drank "because we could".  We didn't have or need permission and the only word that made drinking difficult to handle was the word "Drunk" either the person or the action.  Yet to call a relative drunk or "a drunk" in my family was to commit disrespect so for a youngster to do that meant punishment.  We called it as we knew it then and got punished for calling it that.  We drank because we could and everyone who came to the house knew where the booze was.

I started drinking at the age of nine as my Grandmother was trying to introduce me to our family traditions while at the same time fighting with my Mom not to do it....because the men in our families, both sides, were alcoholics/drunks.  My mom lost her side of the fight and life went on.  My elder brother and our friends who use to serve mass in our church use to squabble and fight for the left over wine in the cruets that were used in the ceremonies.   Alcoholism is a progressive disease and only gets worse never better as cited in the AMA  manuals so it was with us and most every other drunk male or female in our families.   Honestly I am a dual member for Al-Anon and then AA included.  I stopped drinking after 9 years in Al-Anon and my then sponsor advising me that I "ought to learn everything I could about the disease".  I loved that man and took his leadership into college for that reason.  He also suggested that I separate myself from all of the drinkers in my life which included both sides of my families, most of my friends and of course my alcoholic/addict wife.  I followed the suggestion fully and confined myself to our program of Al-Anon and took up service including Alateen.   My journey started in early 1979 and was difficult during the early years.  I came and went and came and went off and on over short periods of time until I made the commitment.  HP was there when the commitment was made.  After and will college I became a Behavioral Health Counselor working Adults, Families and Youth which saved my sanity. 

I have recently requalified under a certain characteristic of my disease which is emotional/mental relapse.  I am not overly concerned because I know that this program does work when I work it and that  feelings are not facts and other areas of wisdom. 

Like you I have come back which is always available to us.  I have to repeat what I learned early on to get the recovery I got early on.

Welcome to the family.  ((((hugs)))) smilewink



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Jerry F


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I now believe that trauma is something we revisit throughout our lifetime thaf is if we are remotely conscious which is a whole art in itself. Certainly I think that someone coming from a backgroumf of trauma, addiction.and neglect is going to.struggle in relationshops. But hey who.doesnt struggle. We are constantly.exposed to these myths of perfection, idyliic relationshils with no.conflicts and this compulsive need to portray images of blussful relationships I know people who.do that. Niw I really do not.have such a starry eyed view of them. What a relief to give up buying into that denial equivalent to the functioning alcoholic. Real authentic relationships are based on a lot of struggle and conflict and a desire for truth rather than denial. Going into a blended familly would be a difficult undetaking without the background of traima and addiction. What a feat for all those people to coexist together but independently and how on earth do you pull that together? In other words it a great deal of what we are shown iin our popular culture s built on #lies# What's more of course the layers of denial where my sisters live and make it #look good# too like the compulsive smile of the alcoholic with a drink. Their lives no lomger appear that attractive to me. I have to make my own image of healthy relating. Denial is certainly a pretty hard barrier to negotiate. My own family of origin operates compulsuvely out of layers of denial and are rigidly compulsive about it. I no longer see that dysfunctional relationshios.as an affront to me because of course I do not hsve to deal with it on a daily basis in the role they asigned to me. That is all they know how to.do to.survive and despite their education it is what they #choose# today . They chose not to.delve into our traunatic history. I did. My choice certainly.did not appear too attractive to them. Why would it? Goimg into a boundaried nuturing relationshio is a blind pursuit for sone of us. None of my family had one. None of.my peers had one and none of the people I was in recovery with had one either. They had relationships based on lies we are all compulsuvely.bombarded with 24/7. Therefore the fact that you say the problems with your marriage is an amalgamatio of your problems.is an act of real courage. So is being willing to look.at what the experience brought uo for you That is pretty much revolutionary in a world of heros and vilains where someone has to be blamed at all costs My own experience of being in relatiinship with others even on the most basic level is a minefield with daily changes. The knee jerk projection of #its all their fault# is the norm. Indeed I am expert at being able to identify and project why others cannot relate in anything but a patholical way. My own pathology being centered around the pursuit of relationshios based on a mirage rather then anything approaching reality Of course reality was never a meighborhod I wanted to negitiate because it looked pretty murky to ne. I would nuch rather hce sime fantasy until that fantasy became too high a price to negotiate Expectations is a really difficult issue to negotiate especially in a relationship (wherr expectations know no boundaries).My own expectations in relationships were based on nothing remotely close to reality. Nevertheless on a day to day basis the issue of what I can acceot and not acceot is pretty difficult. Finding ways to nuture myself during the exoerience is another matter entirely but i know it is absolutely essential. Therefore I have had to comopetely revisit the notion of what is nuturing, what are healthy boundaries and how I can stay out of constant conflict. I no longer have the grandiosity to even suggesr what others should do (especially in relationship) That is because of course #should# is knee jerk reaction when you dont have the mirage of blissful relationships we are all sold. . However I do have admiration.for those who are willing to go through a process of examination which involves self scrutiny When we are surrounded by people who chose to live in denial no matter what it costs that is real courage and dedication. Good luck keep posting and keep being honest because that is a real feat of courage.in itself. Maresie

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Mikeco - what I choose to do/believe is all related to what I've learned in recovery. "To thine own self, be true." This really stays front & center in my mind as I work to live this life in a healthy manner, one day at a time. I do believe that each of us is the sum-total of our past experiences. I also do believe that these experiences, good and bad, stay with us for our lifetime. I think each and everyone of us has 'baggage', and what we do with it is what matters.

I have no doubt that my FOO and all that past affects me. Yet, I still wake up each day and make a decision to stay present, in the now. I've been told for ever and a day that my past is to peak out, not dwell on and certainly for learning from. I do believe that if we don't let go of the past, either through the steps of this program or professional services, our growth is limited. I have spent many years examining my past looking for answers, reasons and perhaps a place to cast blame - all of which has not helped me. What has helped me is processing the past, examining the facts, the feelings, the outcomes and then letting it go. For me, I had to forgive to free my heart for all that my HP has planned for me.

This does not mean I am never triggered or influenced by past events. Instead, when this happens, I use our tools and my sponsor to talk about it, write about it and pray about it. I am determined to make sure that my past does not affect or define my future - so willing to practice all that we learn in recovery to stay present, in this day, and this moment.

There have been many, many times when my qualifiers have challenged my boundaries/choices. I don't love them less for being who they are and doing what they do. What I know for me and my family is that things go much better when I am consistent with my boundaries. Like Jerry, I come from a large multi-generational family of alcoholics. It's really, really easy to get lost in the sea of disease and diseased. I did that for years, and it just did not serve me well. When instead I focus on being true to myself, being authentic and protecting my boundaries, I have much more sanity and peace to do this thing called life on life's terms. There are no right/wrong ways to work recovery, process the past, manage relationships, etc. - thank goodness! Keep doing what you're doing and I believe the answers for you will come to you.

Keep coming back - you are not alone...there's always hope and help in recovery.



__________________

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

 

 



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Thank you all so much for your words of wisdom. This Program has saved my life and I am so grateful to have all of the ESH to help guide me through these times. It reminds me that even though I feel so alone I'm not. This disease is so destructive and cunning that I spend a lot of time second guessing my actions, my judgement and my motives. In spite of all that, I am grateful to have had a place to go when I knew it was time to get out of that house. I am grateful to be employed and to have food to eat. I'm healthy and this program has given me many gifts that have opened my eyes to the plight of at least 3-4 generations in my family. It has also afforded me the "Sight" to have been able to not repeat the pattern of my alcoholic parents and not leave my own children thinking that the bottle meant more to me than they did. My brother was not so fortunate and is also now following in their footsteps. Being able to step off of that speeding train has been the best gift I could ever hope for and It was because of this program that I made that decision. Thanks to you all for responding and just for being there! It truly means the world to me!


Mike

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