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Calling all Nar-Anon/Al-Anon members...
April 12, 2007
11:19 am
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feelingfree
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My ex-H (who I have reconciled with) is an addict currently clean- but not attending a 12-step program.

We seem to have the same type of argument over and over, and I need your advice/opinions..

When I feel or see a 'red flag', I ask him about it. I try to do it in a nice, calm way.. but sometimes, depending on his answer (if he seems hesitant), I inquire deeper- which sets him off on the defensive, and what started out as a simple question escaltes into a full blown argument.

In Nar-Anon/Al-Anon- is what I'm doing 'wrong'? Should I not even ask anything when I have one of those worried feelings (trigger from past experience) ?
He says I should wait until he actually DOES something instead of being the "thought police" (THINKING he might be doing something).

HELP!

April 12, 2007
11:55 am
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atalose
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How often do you get those worried feelings?

What kind of worries are you having? Do you find yourself looking through his things or snooping to find things?

Are you attending nar-anon or alanon for yourself?

If you can explain a little more then maybe I can offer you a different approach to your worries.

Atalose

~~Hope has a place, but not above reality~~

April 12, 2007
12:35 pm
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feelingfree
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Thanks for replying Atalose~

Worried feelings- maybe once a week- once every 2?

Kind of worries.. old triggers mostly. Example.. he used to have a pattern of leaving for work early or leaving work early at the end of the day to make a drug run. I had no reason to think he is using recently, but realized this morning that he had left for work early yesterday and got up early today. It triggered fear inside me, so I asked him why he was leaving so early. He hesitated and explained that yesterday he left early because it was the first day at that particular job and he wasn't sure where it was exactly. But then I called him on the 'hesitation', which he said was because he 'wasn't even quite awake yet'. He said he wasn't planning on leaving quite as early today, just got up early.
But because it then escalated into more of an argument- I felt he was being defensive and to me, defensive = maybe using? I don't know.. when I type this out it sure seems like ME.
AGGHHHH

No, I don't attend nar-anon and know I should.

April 12, 2007
1:26 pm
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atalose
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I do know exactly what you are going through and it will make you and him crazy. It will keep you on edge and looking for things and it will make him defensive.
As hard as it is, you are going to have to give him the benefit of the doubt.

How long has he been clean?

It’s very hard right at the beginning and especially if he is not working any kind of recovery program to re-build trust. Addiction or no addiction, its going to take both of you to work on trust issues. Trust is very hard to regain once its lost and you both need to be committed to re-building that. To him your questions are a constant reminder of his past and you not letting go. To you your questions are out of worry and also on reminders of the past.

I think you need to get to a new starting point and be willing to not hold his past against him. It doesn’t mean you need to forget the past you just need to keep it as yesterday not today.

Try and put the focus on you, work through your feelings of resentment and anger about his drug use. Often it’s those unresolved emotions that we carry with us each and ever day until we resolve them.

The more you talk about what happened to you because of his drug use the more distance you put between yourself and your pain and anger. And by releasing allot of those emotions you’ve built up it will help you deal with the trust of today.

Atalose

~~Hope has a place, but not above reality~~

April 12, 2007
1:41 pm
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feelingfree
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Atalose~ thank you so much.. I know you are absolutely right. Trust is the biggest issue of all. I think overall we've done a really good job at working on that, but every once in awhile, my fears get the best of me.
I agree also that I need to keep the past in the past.

I can't tell you honestly how long he's been clean because only HE really knows. We've been back together for about a year now- and I know of 2 relapses.

The biggest change in him is his communication. He used to be very quiet, and I was the controller. Now he's speaking up, and OFTEN, and sharing his feelings.. REALLY sharing them.. and now I almost feel that I'm the one supressed and controlled.
I'm always afraid to say something, because I know he will instantly rebuttle- where as before, I talked, he was quiet. I didn't like that either- believe me.. but it's all I know.. and all this is very new to me.

April 12, 2007
3:02 pm
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mj
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Hi Feeling Free,

I just want to add that in the Al-Anon program, I learned to keep the focus on myself. If I work the steps, I will be able to see my own inventory and work on the things I can change which is me!!!! It frees up alot of my time and frees my husband to make his own choices and suffer his own consequences. I can't change anything by worrying. I don't have to accept unacceptable treatment either. It's up to me to figure out what parts of my behavior I can change that isn't working for me and leave his business alone. I highly recommend reading about the twelve steps and finding a safe, supportive meeting!

April 12, 2007
3:51 pm
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lettingo
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feeling,
man, you brought back so many memories. The answer to your question regarding alanon, is yes, it is wrong. It it his business. Until you actually find him doing drugs there isn't anything you can do. What would you do if you did find out he was using? When did he use last? I don't blame you for having fear. One things we learned in Alanon is the three C's regarding the disease: You can't CONTROL it (i.e., asking questions, snooping, etc.), You can't CURE it (i.e. getting them help if they don't want it) and you didn't CAUSE it (i.e. getting into an argument, etc.) I really don't want to sound negative but you could be picking up on something that he is doing but really what can you do anyway? You can't make him to the right or wrong thing anyway. I used to: check his car, under the bed, his pockets, cell phone to see who he called, check with his boss about stuff, show up at an AA meeting he was suppose to be at, (this one is good) hand deliver his anabuse and make him swallow it in front of me, threaten (divorce and much more) and you know my story very well. NONE OF IT WORKED so WHAT IS THE POINT? You are just spinning your wheels. Just focus on your life and let him do the same. If you don't trust him, don't lend him money or credit cards. I don't think there is anything wrong with that especially after being burnt in the past. I have said this before, if he isn't working a program of any kind then what is he doing to recover? They say if your not doing the work chances of relapsing are very high. The drug/alcohol is not the disease but a symtom. Just because you put that down dosn't mean the disease is being treated. The disease is phyical, mental and spiritual. When I thought my ex was up to something, he usual was. BUT it doesn't mean the same for you. Back to the question what can you do about it anyway? What will you do if you find out he is using? This is a tough situation you are going through. I know you know, I'm always here for you. Hang in there. I think it would really benefit you if you got to an Alanon meeting. Your reactions are SO NORMAL!

April 13, 2007
9:18 am
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feelingfree
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mj~ thank you! I have been to Al-Anon, and really enjoyed the meetings, but tend to stop going as soon as I feel "better". I spoke to ex-H last night about how I live in fear.. fear that I may be living a lie or living in denial, since only HE knows how often he is still using. I told him it concerns me that he does not have the support of a 12-step program (and added that I also need to go). He agreed and said he would look up a meeting schedule and start going. I told him that I didn't want him to go for me.. that we both knew that doesn't work. He said no.. he would do it for him.

I think if we both go to meetings, it would make a big difference in our relationship. Now its just taking the step to actually DO IT.

April 13, 2007
10:17 am
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lettingo
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Feelingfree,
My suggestion, is if you are ready then definetly, a 12 step meeting will benefit you. They say when one person in a family gets better it changes the rest of the family. It doesn't mean they will get better by the dynamics will. I believe even if he doesn't go to a meeting or goes for the wrong reasons as long as you in recovery things will improve. Not sure what that "improvement" will actually be or look like but it will change things. They say "if you want to keep feeling they way you do then keep doing what you are doing". Or the classic saying "If nothing changes, then nothing changes". These are so simple get so true. Try to remember you are both addicts in need of recovery. It took me awhile to get that because I just thought my ex was the problem and if I could only get him to stop or behave differently everything would be perfect. So I focused ALL my energies into getting him better and as a result I became sicker and sicker. It is not an exaggeration to say there were times when I was sicker than he was. My disease was actually more out of control.

April 13, 2007
10:41 am
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atalose
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Feelingfree,

I think heading back to your meeting would be a good thing. You'll start to re-learn how not to be walking or talking! on egg shells.
It's good he's opening up and sharing thats new and different for you and you need to learn better ways of handling that. And its even better hes going to get involved in a program. It's a fresh start for the both of you.
My bf and I used to go to the same place on the same night for our meetings. It was good it was something we did together towards the relationship yet very much on our own. Maybe there is something like that in your area as well. Those two meetings were only held at one location at the same time one night a week.

Atalose

~~Hope has a place, but not above reality~~

April 13, 2007
2:53 pm
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caraway
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feeling free,

I am in a relationship with an alcholic who has been sober for 13 years. I think that you have every right to ask anything that you want.

I really believe that so many in AA really get so self-involved in their own needs and recovery that they think we should just sit back and take anything we can get. I get so tired of hearing about "the program" and "my friends in recovery". There are two people in a relationship and both lives are affected by alcholism.

Most folks in AA need to get there heads out of their asses and be grateful their families support them.

Cary

April 13, 2007
3:11 pm
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feelingfree
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Hi Cary~

Thanks for that.. sometimes I feel exactly that way as well- which is why I reached out for other's opinions. I've always felt that in any relationship, the lines of communcation should be OPEN.. no one person should feel 'afraid' to ask anything. I feel sometimes my ex-H takes things I ask too personally without remembering how his addiction affects ME too. I talked to him last night- and said that I was sorry I put him on the defensive by the "way" that I asked the questions. I will work on rephrasing.. but at the same time, he needs to be open to the fact that I have my feelings too.

April 13, 2007
3:40 pm
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atalose
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In many ways Cary is so right. Many of those programs such as AA or even alanon seem to go towards the extreme. I have been fortunate to have found a group from alanon who feel they do count in a relationship and it's not all about the alcoholic and his needs and its not all about just my needs. It's about both of our needs. I think finding that even balance is the key to a good working relationship. Neither one should feel like they are walking on egg shells.
It's funny that Cary said that because both my bf and I get fed up with "the program" because of the people and the extremes.

Atalose

~~Hope has a place, but not above reality~~

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