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Keep me focused, guys!!
December 10, 2003
4:09 pm
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julesFL
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Ok so here is my story. (I am a 33 yr old recently divorced female-to help you paint the picture). I am in a relationship with a successful man that has been nothing less than a roller-coaster ride since our first date. I almost feel addicted to him. As time passed with this relationship, I started thinking he was an alcoholic. Now, nine months later he has admitted to drug abuse as well- but says only four times (??). I always forgive him immediately when he goes on his binges (but it IS getting old). I have never abused anything in my life and have never been close to anyone who has- so this is hard for me to accept.

I was told by a counselor about three months ago that I was codependant and so many things make sense to me now. I am a level-headed individual and quite successful as well. I have struggled with this dependency of him for some time to the point I was physically ill—and I don’t know why—I was never like that before—what is it about HIM? Why did I turn my focus to that lifestyle?? Ugh…..
Knowing what I know now and doubting SO many things he ever told me, the right thing to do is end it, and fast--- I know that deep in my heart.

I also know he is a good man deep in there somewhere. Tomorrow night is his Christmas party and it’s a big deal to both of us. He has never brought a date or his x-wife. I know I am the best thing that ever happened to him. Everyone tells me, including him. It just makes me doubt his past and wonder if he really had a severe drug/alcohol problem and maybe I showed up just in the knick of time. ??

I thought if I was really worth it to him, that he would get counseling. I was thinking that would be my last option with him—and figured tomorrow night was the perfect time to spring that ultimatum on him.

You guys, help me focus here. I have 2 beautiful children. I need a lifetime of sanity-for their sake. Please.
(This website is awesome)

December 10, 2003
4:19 pm
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unhappy camper
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Hi julesFL

Have you read the thread here about Charmer/Abusers? It's sensational. Click at the top of the page where it says "view all posts". The first post is the one to see.

Your intutition is telling you something. Do you feel you are being used or abused in any ways?

December 10, 2003
4:45 pm
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julesFL
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Unhappy- cant view that thread. I'm no dummy but I am new at this--all i see is my own initial thread.
And the answer to your question-- is sometimes-yes. Ugh....

December 10, 2003
4:47 pm
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unhappy camper
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You may have to use the back button to get back to the main page where the threads are.

December 10, 2003
4:52 pm
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gingerleigh
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Hi Jules. Ultimatum is a scary word. "Get counseling or I walk". Am I predicting your ultimatum correctly?

Maybe it will be that simple. Generally though, from what I've seen in my own life, with people around me and here on these threads is that presenting an ultimatum like that will usually elicit a response something like "fine, leave!" or "why don't you get counseling, since you're the one with the problem, I'm fine!" That's my reaction too, when someone tells me that I need to give into their wishes "or else" I'm more inclined to give them the finger than to give them what they asked for. *giggle*

Sticky situation. If his problem with drugs or alcohol was there before you, he is the only one who can save himself. And he won't do that "for you" or for anyone else, except for himself. If he's willing to do that and take that journey with or without you, then yay! But if he isn't, it's a spiral downward, a long long journey for you, and a battle that you can never win. And choosing to fight that battle even though you know it's hopeless is what codependency is all about.

See him for what he is, not what you wish he was, or what you wish he were willing to do. He is who he is. You've been dating, and you've gotten to know him. Is he still what you want, now that you see the whole picture? It's OK if he isn't. That's why we date and don't get married as soon as we say hello to someone we find attractive, right?

One additional point I'd like to make regarding Camper's post. Just because someone is an alcoholic or addict doesn't necessarily mean that they are a charmer/abuser. True dyed-in-the-wool charmer/abusers are much rarer than you might think. People with problems, addictions, and an earnest desire to better themselves, yet without the motivation to do so are much more common. And just as common are people who aren't compatible that are trying to make something work that might be going against the grain of who those people are fundamentally.

Unfortunately, some people do get roped in by C/A's. Camper has a nightmare story she could tell. So do a lot of people here. But that might not necessarily be your situation. Just keep your eyes open, really try to keep that level head and "see" what is going on. Best wishes, Jules!

December 10, 2003
5:05 pm
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unhappy camper
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gingerleigh

You said: "Just because someone is an alcoholic or addict doesn't necessarily mean that they are a charmer/abuser. True dyed-in-the-wool charmer/abusers are much rarer than you might think. People with problems, addictions, and an earnest desire to better themselves, yet without the motivation to do so are much more common. And just as common are people who aren't compatible that are trying to make something work that might be going against the grain of who those people are fundamentally."

I am beginning to feel that way about my husband. I do feel that after I read the article I posted in the thread "Addictions, Lies and Relationships" that my view of him changed. I still need proof, of course.

But I am ready to see the possibility he was not a C/A. He always claimed he wasn't when I accused him for a long time of setting me up. Knowing him as I do now, I do believe he did want our marriage to work, but his personality disorders and alcoholism were his downfall. I am wondering if, as it says in that article, his aggression was motivated by his survival instincts as an addict....attack the attacker to do anything to let the addict continue to use.

I am willing to talk to him through a third party to seek some answers, if possible. If there is any doubts, I will run. I read Ladeska's advice to Hermione about not getting conned or sold to, also.

I have lots of knowledge from the wealth of experience and expertise here to use. I feel I am entering the "battle" well armed.

I have a realistic expectation of the results too.

December 10, 2003
5:06 pm
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sixfootblonde
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The thing with ultimatums is that you have to be prepared to follow thru if you don't get the answer you want.

I guess I've been here for over a year now and I don't know that every person who is in a relationship where they are realizing they are unhappy, is in a relationship with a charmer/abuser per se. That's a pretty strong label; oftentimes I think it's us -- as people on here will tell you: You are getting a payoff from the relationship/interaction that this far has meant enough to you that it outweighed the negativity. For sure this guy has issues. I don't know that this means he automatically falls into the c/a category; lots of good hearted people have issues that when coupled with our issues, make for a bad deal for both involved. Does that make sense? If I'm really nice but I am allergic to sunlight and you are really nice but terrified of the dark, we wouldn't be bad people but probably not a very viable combination....do you see what I mean? For sure the binges etc don't sound great, and the fact that you are seeking out this website is an encouraging sign that you realize things are in need of a change.

I guess I'm not trying to say where you are is ok -- only you know that and it seems pretty clear you're ready for a change. If you are prepared to issue and follow thru on this ultimatum, hey -- go for it. I agree with you that things need to change. I do - it sounds like it. But I guess that charmer/abuser isn't really a broad thing I would assign to the erring partner of any codependent. Too easy.

But hey that's just my opinion. Welcome to the site anyway and don't mind my musing aloud! 😉

December 10, 2003
5:08 pm
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sixfootblonde
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The thing with ultimatums is that you have to be prepared to follow thru if you don't get the answer you want.

I guess I've been here for over a year now and I don't know that every person who is in a relationship where they are realizing they are unhappy, is in a relationship with a charmer/abuser per se. That's a pretty strong label; oftentimes I think it's us -- as people on here will tell you: You are getting a payoff from the relationship/interaction that this far has meant enough to you that it outweighed the negativity. For sure this guy has issues. I don't know that this means he automatically falls into the c/a category; lots of good hearted people have issues that when coupled with our issues, make for a bad deal for both involved. Does that make sense? If I'm really nice but I am allergic to sunlight and you are really nice but terrified of the dark, we wouldn't be bad people but probably not a very viable combination....do you see what I mean? For sure the binges etc don't sound great, and the fact that you are seeking out this website is an encouraging sign that you realize things are in need of a change.

I guess I'm not trying to say where you are is ok -- only you know that and it seems pretty clear you're ready for a change. If you are prepared to issue and follow thru on this ultimatum, hey -- go for it. I agree with you that things need to change. I do - it sounds like it. But I guess that charmer/abuser isn't really a broad thing I would assign to the erring partner of any codependent. Too easy.

But hey that's just my opinion. Welcome to the site anyway and don't mind my musing aloud! 😉

December 10, 2003
5:10 pm
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sixfootblonde
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oops- puter glitch -- excuse the double posting.

December 10, 2003
5:12 pm
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julesFL
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Thanks guys, its alot to grasp. i printed everything to read at home later--alone. (no I dont have a computer at home!!)

jules

December 10, 2003
5:16 pm
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unhappy camper
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A great book to read is "Co-Dependent No More" by Melody Beattie.

December 10, 2003
6:22 pm
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gingerleigh
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Possible, Camper. Perhaps the true C/A can't be identified unless the substance addiction isn't present. Until you remove that component, there's no way to tell if someone is consciously weaving a web or unconsciously seeking out the road to satisfy the addiction and barrelling down it, no matter who is in the way.

No matter what the motivation though, I wouldn't want to be stuck in that web, nor would I want to be run over. Whether it's murder or manslaughter, I'd still be dead, right?

December 10, 2003
6:29 pm
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unhappy camper
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100% right. thanks...

I just want to get past my anger now. It served me well. I can go on without him. But my curiosity needs to be satisfied. I don't want to just shrug my shoulders and say "boy, that was weird" and walk away never knowing. I am looking for answers, and hopefully I can find out the truth. If not, I tried.

I can't go forward with him without knowing what he is all about. If he does wish to work on it, I'd expect him to go all the way.

If he gives up, then he is giving up on us. That is his choice to make. But he can't expect me to be there for his needs under those circumstances. I will just have to abandon him.

I feel this is fair.

December 10, 2003
6:40 pm
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Ladeska
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Things you wrote with huge red flags attached to them...

I also know he is a good man deep in there somewhere.

I know I am the best thing that ever happened to him. Everyone tells me, including him.

I thought if I was really worth it to him, that he would get counseling.

What I see in these three things is - you ae wrestling with what you see as the "consistent" him vs. the him you'd like to see - IF he would change and be what you invision.

I used to think that way and I think alot of women start out their lives thinking this way, that somehow we need to look at the man we are interested in and "imagine" as we would like him to be after we get through with them. (smile) A little nip and tuck so to speak...

Eh.....I dunno...never seen that one actually work. Maybe it does, just never seen it happen. He is what he is and just by you saying that you think "he is a good man DEEP in there somewhere" tells me that you do realize what you look for is hidden from view. Why is that? Why should he want to hide that? Why so hard to find? And why isn't that the constant here? And is it really there at all? What would you base this assumption upon as really hard core facts?

These are the things you have to look squarely in the face at here and see if your hope is well founded If the answer is yes - ask yourself to provide data that proves your point. And see if it's more of an emotional feeling that you base this on, or a hope or desire of yours.......as opposed to signs and signals and behavior that time has presented to you as fact and consistent behavior. THEN you know whether or not you are making an emotionally charged decision that might be illogical OR a logical one with sound reasoning.

I don't know where we get the notion that we should decide things in the emotional realm of things when it comes to love and just completely slam the door on our intellect and rational critically thinking self. I guess it just plays better with the "devil may care, wind in my hair" kind of Hollywood love we've all been sold. Real life played out tells a real different story though.

December 10, 2003
7:00 pm
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Ladeska
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Also......if him changing into what you want hinges on him doing it because he loves you.....uh...that scares me for you.

Him wanting to change......needs and HAS TO COME from HIM. It can't be for you or about you for it to be - the real thing. And IF he did change all of a sudden and tell you - it was For You...one of the more unwise things you could do is jump at that one.

Flattering though it may be - would it be a good thing to buy that one lock, stock and barrel? If he were going to change - don't you think it might need to come from a place that he just comes to all by himself and not because it pleases you or because you give him an ultimatum of some kind? How could you ever trust that whatever change would be "real"?

A life long change has to be about and for the person involved. Not to please someone else. And if our love or what we assume is our love for them - dictates that they have to jump through hoops for us and change - then we need to examine what we call "love".

December 11, 2003
10:50 am
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julesFL
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So much to take in - and so sensible.

I always tell him "when you are sober, you are my perfect guy"-(and that usually is 95% of the time). Sunday was just the first day he came out and said "I have a problem" and hated himself for it. Isn't that a first step for an addict?? That's why my suggesting counseling seems realistic.

I see your point-everyone. He is who he is. He always says that to me. If counseling is not in his future plans, I see my self giving up- I cannot let him continue to hurt me like this. It is getting so old. He knows I am scared to death now knowing much more than before. He held me all night last night- I know he feels horrible and most of all feels that I look at him different now. The truth is, I do. But should I give him credit for being honest with me?

Unfortunately, I will always question where he really is, what he was really doing........... no relationship could ever survive on that much doubt.

I am going to the Christmas party tonight with an open mind and the intention to have a blast anyway. I care about him so much. That is my bond to him now, to be his friend and give him support when he needs it. I don't want to kick him when he is down.

My biggest fear would be me breaking it off with him and him going on a binge that would harm himself in some way, and I keep telling myself ITS NOT MY PROBLEM!!

Sound ok?

December 11, 2003
11:02 am
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mj
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Enabling keeps the addict comfortable in his addiction.
Once you focus on yourself and what you can do for yourself....then you get in a much healthier place.

I attend a twelve step program and try to implement the program daily in my life. I read meditation books to help me get focussed on me.

I left my husband because I couldn't deal with the insanity. Me leaving him helped him to look at himself more clearly. He called his sponsors, and got to meetings, and started thinking about his own choices. Then he called me and made amends....and I came back. We still have problems, but we are both more focussed on our own individual choices and what we can do to help ourselves while being a listening ear when we can for the other.

December 11, 2003
11:46 am
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Ladeska
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Sounds great Jules. You have your head on very straight here. And it's okay for him to be tested as life will test him and his committment to himself and getting help. If you pulling away or whatever sends him over the edge - got news for you - he was going there anyways.

And that's just the biggest tie to them ever - making you feel responsible for their actions and their mis-steps in life. So you are actually caring about him - by letting him flounder when he does instead of coming to his rescue or staying intertwined in an unhealthy way.

I love the story about the caterpillar inside the cocoon, turning into a butterfly. They beat their wings against the side of the cocoon until they become strong and dry and if you strip that away too soon - they die. You can't go inside the cocoon and help this kind of process either. There are some things - they MUST do on their own.

It's tough to watch, it's tough to let go of our need to rescue and enable but you have to keep yourself within a certain circle here.

Sure you can love him, care about him and all that. As long as.......you stay where you need to stay and let him do the work here for all the right reasons.

The thing is......it's not like he doesn't know where to go to get help. He knows. We can't live in our society and not know these things anymore. But just like the caterpillar.....he has to be the one that searches this out for himself, that's part of making the wings strong so he can fly and if we push and coerce and try to "help" them do it - we only weaken them. There are times in life when, regardless of how much it hurts us to watch or to even see the truth, we have to stand back and let that person learn to walk without their crutches. We can assist somewhat but if they don't have the will and the absolute committment to do the work - it will never happen.

December 11, 2003
1:41 pm
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unhappy camper
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julesFL

You said: I look differently at him now.

That is power. I am glad you have reached that point. Detachment. Do you know about that from AA or Al-Anon?

"IN AL-ANON WE LEARN:
Not to suffer because of the actions or reactions of other people;
Not to allow ourselves to be used or abused by others in the interest of another's recovery;
Not to do for others what they could do for themselves;
Not to manipulate situations so others will eat, go to bed, get up, pay bills, not drink;
Not to cover up for anyone's mistakes or misdeeds;
Not to create a crisis;
Not to prevent a crisis if it is in the natural course of events.

Detachment is neither kind nor unkind. It does not imply judgement or condemnation of the person or situation from which we are detaching. It is simply a means that allows us to separate ourselves from the adverse effects that another person's alcoholism can have upon our lives.

Detachment helps families look at their situations realistically and objectively, thereby making intelligent decisions possible."

December 11, 2003
1:51 pm
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julesFL
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I am feeling confident. I need some clarification on "detachment", though. I have read Codependent no more- which helped me get to this point, thank God. The part I am unclear about is when I detach, does it necessarily mean that I leave, or that I can continue to be in love with him, but more from a stand-back state? (which gives me peace inside)

And you guys, thanks for all of your feedback- it is so reassuring to know someone else in this world understands my situation.

December 11, 2003
2:13 pm
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unhappy camper
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I think there may be a million degrees of detachment. You have to experiment and how much is needed to make an effect on the alcoholics behaviour, if anything will. From slight detachment, to divorce...and everything in between.

I think a counselor will be able to assess your situation and the degree of his problem, and what other issues are involved, and advise.

You can give more info here for others to consider too.

You have to change things to the degree that you are not "enabling" him to drink. Again, the definition of "enabling" is another question.

If he can keep drinking and not suffer any negative consequences himself personally in his life...he is being enabled.

December 11, 2003
4:09 pm
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mj
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Detaching in love means that you can still love someone, you just don't allow them to walk all over you. You continue to focus on your own recovery and let them take care of themselves the best way the can.

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