When I was living with someone in active addiction detachment was something I really struggled with, not separating the addict from the man I knew in recovery, that part I could do. Well I could hold onto the memories of the man in recovery and hope one day I would meet him again, but dealing with the man in active addiction was a lot harder.
Because of my codependent behaviours and thinking I still find it hard to detach from things that don’t necessarily have my name on it. One of the groups I have been a member of for a few years now, is changing ( as they do). We have had some strong personalities come into the room, and The ‘coziness’ of the group changed. Maybe I changed too but I struggled to let it go to let it evolve. Practicing detachment in this is difficult. Allowing our Higher Powers lead the way practicing our detachment is the only way to be able to recover from obsessiveness of people places and things.
Today I finally think I have detached with love and let the past stay there. I have been able to access information that is more or less from the horses mouth ( Facebook 😂) that my qualifier is definitely alive well and in recovery…I felt an enormous sense of well being and closure. It felt like a weight that had been sitting there had lifted. I felt a huge sense of gratitude that his HP had at last got him where he needs to be, interestingly the panic and dread I usually feel when his name comes up had gone, as early as just a few months ago when I thought I had seen him and hid, that feeling was no longer there. I was able to look at his profile and be happy that he had moved on and seemed happy. It didn’t upset me as I say it was a relief. I have no idea why he unblocked me it was by chance that ‘on this day’ popped up with his name in bold and curiosity got the better of me because he had unblocked me, but my HP guided me to where I am and this was part of my journey. It was time to detach myself from my past with love, I will be forever grateful for this journey and what I have learnt about addiction and indeed about myself but wanted to share even though the journey can be hard trust the program works because it does.
I’m not sure what has prompted me to write today…I’m doing well and working on my recovery. I now belong to 2 fellowships both dealing with my addiction to people places and things, my warped ideas around placing people to the position of my Higher Power, and putting everyone’s needs and life above my own, whilst being totally self absorbed and being a victim!
It’s hard to fit in when you’re codependent, lack of self esteem and confidence make it difficult to interact, if you do want to interact you say the ‘wrong thing’ or say stuff you don’t mean to. Then you end up feeling shit about yourself and give yourself a hard time because once again youve said something honestly but inappropriate. I don’t know which is harder not working on myself and just continuing in a way that is harmful to me or being aware of the mistakes and facing up to them! 55 years I was unaware, well no that’s not strictly true, I knew I didn’t fit in I was different I had many bad relationships – didn’t know it was because I was codependent, so today I can be grateful to be able to work on this with a face to face group. It’s hard today I introduced myself to a women’s group and probably shared the wrong information but I have learnt from that and now can let it go. I was asked how I was feeling and I told the truth! But that’s life….maybe there’s nothing wrong with being honest? I have no idea of the impact I have on others – due to lack of self esteem…I guess I still don’t value what I think or feel matters enough to make a difference….long way to go then but that’s good, New Year new way of living
Recovery is possible Just for Today
I spent years not reacting not responding just building up resentment – hardly healthy but didn’t know what else to do so did nothing. But the thing was i was doing something. I just wasn’t aware of it.
I’ll be frank and honest ( I have to be!) as a child I learnt not to react not to be honest. One of my earliest memories was being totally honest and getting a slap. I probably reacted to that and cried but soon learnt that didn’t achieve anything. It didn’t stop or change what had happened but as a child it was the only way I knew how to express my hurt pain frustration. I remember crying a lot. I didn’t have the emotional vocabulary the self esteem to express myself any other way. I was a pretty sad kid. I was disliked in school by other kids because my parents taught their older brothers and sisters and then once I got to 11 went to the same school they taught in and was hated even more. We’re talking an age when punishment in school was often physical and it was the norm to administer the cane, and often told of tales of what had happened in class and the consequences, so of course I was scared to ‘get in trouble’ in case I had some of the same. That threat whether real or imaginary hung over me all the time. It lead to mistrust lies and of course unhappiness. Even now I am thinking should I write this – but as an adult is not thro fear as such but because I dont want it to sound bad or negative. I don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings for something that happened a thousand years ago!! (40 I’m sometimes prone to exaggeration!)
So the point is when I lived with someone in active addiction I sometimes reacted if it was something that was impacting on me, rarely responded but definitely was building up resentments! I learnt that reacting every time he wanted money only led to the next hour or so being badgered until I gave in, or going to the cash point to PROOVE there was no money in the account by actually trying to withdraw the money, which always led to something of mine being pawned or sold. So often just capitulated and if I had money gave it to him with out a fight because it was easier and I had already had a 13 hour day and couldn’t be arsed when the outcome would be the same – except I would be even more exhausted + £20 down! Of course this led to resentments building. But ultimately it was me that was responsible because I could have left him. Not so easy when you love someone to leave. I had the carrot of recovery dangled so of course I stayed – I had to see this thro! I had to be supportive but all the time resentments because it wasn’t happening, before he went to rehab I was resentful at the system at the drugs services for their stupid rules. I was resentful that I was paying £20+ a day to some dealer whilst I was working my ass off and had nothing for myself including food, so in fact was resentful at myself for doing this day in day out with nothing in return, but then I couldn’t see it. I can now and how all my resentments actually come back to how I reacted and not responded to the situation I was in. I didn’t have my program for the first 2 years so wasn’t aware there was a better way to live, that I didn’t have to live in the crazy town of addiction. And respond the way I did. I certainly do not feel resentful to my HP or my program for me not being aware of them being there, because when I found them I still ignored what I needed to do but definitely don’t resent them.
I like this journey of discovery – it’s hard, taking responsibility always is. But for me to progress I have to take a bit of pain now to negate the pain I have experienced, but better that than living in this deep seated pain for the rest of my life, I have to face up to the denial get out of it and look at why these resentments have developed. I also know ( now) it’s my chance to hand them over I don’t have to challenge anyone for the pain I experienced even as I kid as an adult I can now learn to heal that inner child myself, to grow healthily – if it didn’t happen when I was younger it doesn’t matter – that only leads to resentment, so blame aside and move forward in the healing hands on my HP as I know she won’t let me down.
Humbly ask God to remove our shortcomings
New month so groups will be looking at Step 7. Our shortcomings…. I’m not to sure what I want to say on this, well I do but it was something that came up in group so it’s difficult, but it triggered my thoughts around this or at least what was said triggered my thoughts
‘I like some of my shortcomings they make me who I am!’
So that got me thinking are they then shortcomings? If we have character traits that are harmless to ourselves or to others are they character defects or shortcomings?
Whilst I understand the whole thing around enabling and allowing people to take responsibility for their own actions, to do for themselves what they can, or can’t and learn from it, helping and wanting to spread happiness – is that a shortcoming? I am blessed with some gorgous genuine kind people in my home group. They are generous in the spirit of friendship, have seen me alone and struggling and took me into their lives inviting me to do things which I wouldn’t necessarily do by myself. I don’t see that as a shortcoming and yet it was highlighted as possibly being so. Not about me personally and what these ladies had offered me, but the whole issue around wanting to make people happy. Looking after others. I suppose there is a fine line between organising someone life – caretaking and genuinely wanting other to be happy, I don’t feel as tho I am pushed into anything I don’t want to do, I am grateful for the invites I get, for being with people that understand me. When we have lived with addiction it’s easy to lose sight of who we are. Our lives focused on the addict, obsessing about what they are doing, who they are with, why they haven’t come home yet, instead of living in the moment and being grateful for having a life. Yes I am very grateful for having my group and those that have held out the hand of friendship, so no don’t you let go of those ‘shortcomings’ that make you who you are, kindness is not a weakness, wanting others to be happy is a genuine concern for the welfare of others – their spiritual wellbeing, those things are not shortcomings they are beautiful character traits, especially if they are done selflessly.
Someone I admire just posted this on FB and it set my mind thinking so thank you @struggletostrength Eric Ease my thoughts are below
Don’t change who you are for anyone who demands it against your will. It’s wiser to lose someone over being who you are, than to keep them by being someone you’re not. Because it’s easier to mend a broken heart, than it is to piece together a shattered identity. It’s easier to fill an empty space in your life where someone else used to be, than it is to fill the empty space inside yourself where YOU used to be.
I’m not sure I changed my self when living with addiction. I think I was still trying to find who I was. Stuck in co-dependency I would often just do what another wanted. Even when his addiction was at it’s worse I still fell in line and did what was required of me. So when I eventually walked away not only did I have a broken heart I had no identity to fill that space that should have been me. I had allowed myself to live my life through someone else’s. I guess making a positive out of that allowed me to make a new me or to find out who I am. When my marriage split up over 10 years ago I lived by myself for quite some time before I hooked up with K. Looking back I’m not sure that person really had a lot of substance. I lived in a bubble of going to work and going out with friends but felt I had to be with someone to somehow validate who I was. Drinking became a good friend. I knew it was too much but I got up for work every day and my bills got paid, was always careful not to be over the limit if I had to drive early in the morning, so felt it was under control. But part of me likes being in a relationship. Well no I like company. I’ve been single again ( in my head) for over 8 months now. I’ve been lonely at times but on the whole I’m enjoying the freedom of working on myself. A couple of the girls in group are trying to fix me up, they don’t want me to be by myself! The one requirement I have decided is that who ever this man is he has to be in recovery or at least understand my program. I nearly met someone off a dating site a while ago, may even have mentioned it on here before, he didn’t understand why I couldn’t meet him on certain nights. Basically he’d asked to meet and it was one of my group nights so I just said I have something on on a Monday and Thursday which is important to me. He pushed and pushed to know what, then totally didn’t understand when I explained what. 🤷🏼♀️ so yes if I am going down that road again recovery and/or and understanding of recovery is important to me.
I will not let myself be lost in another’s life or live thro another’s life again, I may never be ready for another relationship but when I am I know that I am as important as they are, and it about being true to my self and trusting my feelings.
Going back to step 1 has allowed me to look at acceptance again. When living with active addiction I thought I was pretty compliant. I didn’t want arguments, especially if I had worked all day, I accepted pretty much what he told me. He didn’t want to live like this, he didn’t want to be using drugs everyday,he didn’t mean to do bad things, he didn’t want to feel sick all the time. I even believed that this wasn’t going to be forever, he would get help and do what he needed. I accepted that this was a disease, that he was sick that it was the addiction that made him do all the crazy things the bad things. Acceptance is more than just believing in tho. Acceptance is knowing I’m powerless over anything but myself. Acceptance is a way of letting go, is a form of kindness, is not judging or allowing my negative thoughts over ride me. I can use it to quiet all the things that are going on in my head and give it up to my HP. I accept and I then can forgive. Acceptance doesn’t mean I’ve given up or submitted it means I can accept the facts be aware of my options and decide what I want to do, or don’t want to do.
‘We can not change anything until we accept it. Condemnation does not liberate, it oppresses’
Carl G Jung
So I sat down with my work book and read it, really read it, I’m am so pleased my new sponsor asked me to start again! When I first did the steps I had completed I think it was all about ‘getting through them’. That somehow the quicker I got through them the quicker I would recover. Of course I didn’t get through them all that quickly to be honest, I found the questions difficult and the things being asked of me hard to do. I struggled for years to honestly find a HP I could believe in. Yesterday I read the questions differently. I understood what they meant, I understood what it was asking me to do. I’m not suggesting they are any more easier but I’m now at a place where they make sense. From this I have been able to see why it was so difficult before. The denial of so many things. Interestingly when I started another fellowships work book a few weeks ago I found the questions much easier, I thought maybe it was CoDA is all about being kind to ourselves, so I thought what was being asked was easier, but now I think it’s more about the fact I have listened. I have heard some things I don’t like recently, others opinions of me. But I listened. As our fellowship says take what is useful and leave the rest. But something’s were highlighted that I can work on. A lot of the negative behaviours highlighted are totally co-dependent behaviours. So I wasn’t really surprised to hear them even if it is never pleasant to experience it. With out sounding as though I’m justifying these behaviours I still feel at the moment that when I displayed them I actually had no idea – no idea of the impact on others or that they were in fact anything but normal. I thought that was who I was. It is who I am but with my programs I can learn a better way to live, and ask the god of my understanding to help me remove them.
So for now as I restart my journey I am grateful for what I have learnt so far, and with the help and love of my fellowships know I can become a better person.
Sometimes barriers are put in our way so we have to rethink our path. I lost my sponsor and was unsure whether to ask the person I want to ask as a replacement as I knew she had a couple of other sponsees on the go, and didn’t want to ‘bother’ her. So I approached someone else just to get me thro the next 3 steps ( as was suggested by my old sponsor) this person has now decided she doesn’t want to and so I was left with no one. Then I remembered what it says in the program about caretaking! If I assume that I’m helping by not asking then not only am I blocking my own recovery but I’m not allowing the person to make the choice for themselves. So I asked. The answer was yes. But she wants me to start over. Back to step 1. I understand the reason for that, and of course my impatience for getting on and doing it kicked in but now I’m grateful. I am actually excited to go back and start again, it’s been a long time since I started with step one so I’m actually excited to see how my answers have changed, how my understanding has changed.
We admitted that we are powerless over the addict, our lives lives had become unmanageable.
As part of my recovery I have joined another fellowship, I can’t get to face to face meetings but have access to a Skype group and an e-group. The e-group has a weekly topic, and people can share through the week. This week’s topic is Happy Endings. I’m not sure I have a ‘Happy Ending’ as such as yet, but I am starting to feel happy. Through one of my fellowship groups I have met some awesome people, these people get it, get me. We don’t have to even speak we can just be. They’ve been there lived it the same as me. That bond is hard to explain, but they will always hold a special place in my heart. So Happy Endings? Maybe be maybe not… anyway here’s my share,
Happy endings? I have thought about what to share on this topic, there was a time when I thought my life would never be happy. But that was when I was placing my happiness in the hands of others, if only he would do this or that, if only I didn’t have to do this or that for work, if only I didn’t have to do…. with the help of my HP and the fellowships I attend I understand that happiness is truly in my hands. I am not reliant on others for my happiness. If I don’t like to do something I don’t have to, because I think or feel I have to to keep others happy. Others happiness is not reliant on me or mine on them.
Yes of course I have to do things I might prefer not to, getting up at 6 to drive 150 miles because work require me to is not something I do with a ‘happy step’ but I have to be grateful that I have a job, and enough money to now enjoy things out of work time, a means to an ends!
I thought if only the addict in my life stopped using we would be happy but the relationship was toxic regardless of whether he was using or not.
I think for me it’s not so much happy endings but happy beginnings, the fellowship,the step work all contribute to me healing myself and becoming a better healthier person. I have started making some truly magical friends that understand me without me having to feel as if I have to ‘make them like me’. I can talk to them outside of group time, we have been down parallel paths they get it! They get me. We can hang out and share our war stories but not for sympathy, which I would have done in the past, but with honesty because we know we get it. If this is happiness I don’t want it to end, because for the first time in my life I feel accepted for me unjudged and not alone. I am happy.
Thank you for reading
Last night I was privileged to be invited to a surprise party in celebration of a ‘first year’ in recovery party. I can’t tell you how special it was. One year clean of drugs after battling with a disease that takes so many. To be in a group of recovering addicts it’s truly magical. The hope that radiates from them is tangible. I was more than lucky to be invited as I didn’t know the guy personally but know his wife. For us affected by another’s addiction this is what we dream of, we get it wrong we push them into recovery when they don’t want it, we make them feel like shit because we want them to stop using drugs – they want to stop but it’s not that simple. In the UK rehab and detox are not easily available on the NHS we don’t have the funds for private treatment centres – that’s for the rich and famous! But last night knowing that this individual had faced his demons and will have had the resolve to stay off the drugs for a whole year was most definitely worth celebrating. This morning I thank his HP for giving him the strength to do this, for his gorgeous wife who has stood by him, and arranged his special evening and my HP for guiding me to this life where I can celebrate the successes, but also be there for those who’s loved ones haven’t got there yet. We have to remember this is their journey when the time is right they will find recovery, we have to have faith.
I feel truly blessed that I have been given access to this amazing community, and whilst I work in my recovery give thanks for all those that are also finding theirs.