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 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.
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
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
Today is my 3rd anniversary of joining NAR-ANON. Every year I learn more about myself and how the program works. I came broken, I put blame on the addict whilst refusing to think that I had done anything wrong. Locked in my codependent mind set I saw myself as a victim. Granted I hadn’t been treated well, but had made all my own decisions to do what I did. I didn’t think that of course at the time I thought I didn’t have the choice to walk away, I wanted to fix something that wasn’t mine to fix. Being told over and over to have faith that he would get back into recovery held me there. The worse it got the more I wanted to stay, to see it thro, to prove I wouldn’t give up on him. Now with every passing month I see the changes I have made, by giving strength and hope to others starting in their journeys I see myself, lost desperate for help, wanting the addict in their lives to stop using, but the pain we experience is inflicted by our own wants and desires, not the addicts. I understand that now, but probably took longer than it should to accept or even realise.
Step one – Came to realise We are powerless over the addict and my life had become unmanageable.
My life was in a mess that’s for sure I even believed I was powerless over him, but not to the point of understanding I have now. What that really means. To be fair I think it was post step 3 ( turn my will over to the God of my understanding) that Step 1 started to make sense. It’s not my job it’s Gods job to guide the addict. My job is to let go let God and focus on me. I dare say as I work the program and I mean work it not be a passive passenger, I will look back in another year and think how much further I have come on again, and that’s good. I look forward to it. My journey to recovery in both the fellowships I am now attending is positive, I am starting to get a feeling for me and who I could be, left it a bit late but I am finding serenity and for that I will always be grateful.
Back to the future! Posted on March 13, 2016 by hopelesslesslyaddicted
Things went as I thought they would, he was open to my fears and concerns but knew the right things to say back! He’s going to try to get somewhere else has agreed to let me find my head (and heart!) but now it’s up to him to prove me wrong. Of course he said the right things he wants to have an easy clean and happy life free of drugs and in recovery ( apparently with me) but where as 6 months ago I would have been well made up hearing his words today I was cynical. Of course I (don’t) know it must be horrible being told that your plans for the future are being changed last minute that you are no longer welcome when just a couple of weeks ago you were, coming off drugs in prison with little or no control over a situation must be very dis empowering and that wasn’t / isn’t my intention. But keeping me safe from addiction is. There is no place in my life for drugs or the drama it brings with it. There is no place in my life for mistrust and the drama that comes with that either. It’s complicated for sure but I will get thro it. With the love and guidance from my fellowship and HP. It might take a little longer than I wanted due to outside agencies needing to be involved but what will be will be. I didn’t back down but have to be reasonable given the shortness of time. We have both agreed that it’s not reasonable to expect him to find somewhere at such short notice ( if his bro don’t help him) but likewise it’s not fair on me to live in constant worry and mistrust. Right now I wish I could just take off somewhere for a couple of months with my dog and come home and just get on with my life in peace…no addicts no dramas no messed up head and heart! It’s not denial, it’s not even running away but I would just like all involved to sort out their shit without me being dragged into it. I like K he can be good company he’s how he was when I met him ( and that is dangerous for me!) I don’t like wishing my life away I don’t even really want to hover over a future that hasn’t come yet but for once I would like to fast forward and see what where and who is in my life in the next 6 months….I don’t want to go back to the future, but I wouldn’t mind if Marty could have a look and tell me 😀
One year on and things are so much better. He relapsed sadly but I didn’t. It took another stint in prison for him before I finally got the courage to change the things I can, when blog posts come up on my FB feed I reflect back. With the program on my side I knew I couldn’t change him, that as he spiralled out of control and back into addiction there was nothing I could do to stop it. The program taught me that. It was hard. I was in love with a false image of someone. I was trying to do the right thing – it’s hard when you’re being asked to have faith that the addict will actually succeed this time, that they promise that this time it will be different, so you stay you believe and when relapse happens you stay and believe because you have to have faith they will find recovery! And so it goes. When I said to him I couldn’t stay any longer but did have faith that one day he would find recovery and when he did he could then contact me a small part of me didn’t expect him to stay away. It’s weird and has taken time to get use to the idea, that this time he has actually respected my wishes or maybe thinks he’s burned his bridges, but in the time I have known him he has always always turned to me in times of need. So now I wonder if you ever get over being with an addict. Is he alive? Is he using? Is he in prison? Is he in rehab? I would like to know if he’s ok, but can’t contact his family to find out as that might be misconstrued as me wanting him back. I don’t think he would understand my genuine interest in how he’s getting on as anything else. So there you have it.
I get comfort from a fellowship member who’s addictive loved one also disappeared offthe face of the earth. She too left wondering, tho she has heard that he’s alive in recovery and that must be so painful for her to know whilst she supported him when using now he’s in recovery doesn’t want to be with her. I dare say ashamed for what he put her thro, but hurtful all the same. I am grateful for my fellowship and I’m grateful that I can live in peace and serenity. I am grateful to K for respecting my wishes. So a year ago I wondered where I would be? And now I have my answer.
So I went and watched T2. I guess for a lot of you going to see a film isn’t such a biggy but for me it’s the first time I’ve gone to see a film in a cinema by myself! Anyway it wasn’t so scary haha.
As I said in a previous post I was apprehensive because after rewatching T1 I wondered what 20 years later would be portrayed. Well – is the answer! There were some poignant moments of course, some of the scenes struck a chord the hopes and dreams of addicts. The inability to stop using the ability to stop using, bringing back my hopes and dreams for the addict that brought me here. I would have wanted to see T2 regardless of my recent insight but would I have gone to see it at the cinema? Who knows but I didn’t want to wait til it came out on download. But had a good evening – home now of course eaten and now just putting my thoughts down. I enjoyed the experience of watching on the big screen might even go again if there is something worth watching. Anyway it was worth the effort for me to go. I don’t make resolutions but I did promise myself to do more with my life. Focusing on my step work getting out and doing more things rather than the isolation of being at home. When you’ve been cut off from society thro addiction it’s hard to break that habit. I lost my closest friend thro addiction. I do have people to hang out with but that’s at the pub and I don’t want to go and drink so that’s kinda off limits! Anyway enough ramblings with no purpose and in the words of Renton Choose Life 😀
So here I am again! This Christmas was probably the best I have had in at least 4 years…maybe more. But of course the last 4 were taken up in the centre of addiction. Don’t look back only look forward don’t project or hover over a future that hasn’t come yet are phrases you hear in the fellowship phrases that have a lot of bearing when you live in addiction/with addiction wise words but hard to actually live up to when you’re in it. I don’t mind looking back – it’s useful to reflect. I like to look back not in the what could I have done differently way of looking back because that achieves nothing no one can erase the past or change it, but you can and do learn from it. I’m not even going to remind myself of what I did in the last 4 years at Christmas – I know! I know things that I won’t even put in this blog. Bad shit that happened but it’s in the past. I was powerless over the addict! In every sense. His choices were just that. My choices were just that. So this year mentally I was at a much better place. No expectations I didn’t measure up or down on anyone or anything. It happened. I limited myself on the drink and food I didn’t binge which I have done in the past. For comfort! It’s been a sad year on the celebrity front lost a good number of people this year, every night over Christmas we seemed to loose another. 4 in the space of 24 hours, although Ricky Harris didn’t make the news on the TV. Or at least not on the news I saw. Anyway end of year reflections
I came to believe that I was never going to change the addict. In fact more than that it was not my place to even try. I found the power maybe from my HP -( which someone once told me was myself and I doubted it but maybe he is right) to let go let god and release with love. Words and mantras that are easy to say but not so easy to put into practice. I saw yet again the the addict was not ready to change. That he was prepared after going thro the pain of coming off the drugs to start it all over again even tho he knew he was killing himself time and time again. That he hadn’t as yet made the decision to say enough is enough. But more importantly no matter what I did it wasn’t going to change anything. The only thing I could change was me. I know 1 year ago 2 years ago I said this but it was words this year I did it. I haven’t lost faith that it’s possible I know it’s possible I follow a fellow blogger seen how he has changed his life around he’s not a kid either but a grown man. But for my own sanity I jumped of the merry go round. Maybe I reached my rock bottom? Maybe I came to realise that I needed something more that I couldn’t be pulled into the downward spiral of someone else’s addiction yet again. Maybe I just realised just how hurtful it was to me and those around me? Nah what it was was I believed. I believed that I was powerless that my HP gave me the strength to say know what? You go ahead and do what you want, but don’t expect me to be part of it, one day you will find the way, but my hurt has to stop and only I can control that.
So on that little reflection and in knowing everyday I am getting stronger and better I wish you all well. I hope your festivities were with out drama. And that you live in serenity and hope
Not posted for a long time….again! Not keen on this time of year the last 4 haven’t been brilliant. Don’t we just build it up to be this and that and then feel let down disappointed that it isn’t what we want. Interestingly my last 2 long term relationships the other half didn’t do Christmas! One was just too tight the other had ligitimate reason well 2 no actually 3 if you include the addiction. So here I am again free of the addict. I don’t suppose I will be ever be free as such until I hear he’s gone to a better place free of that eastern temptress that has his mind body and soul! I suppose I haven’t really thought about him in any depth for a while. I have been away – a week in the sun and I don’t think he has really been in my mind at all. So why now? Today I had a lovely visit from a friend she knew what I have been through and asked how I was – really was. And I guess that’s why I am writing this to put it behind me for the holidays! 😶 am I in a better place than a year ago? Of course. I’m I in a better place than even 3 months ago yes. I don’t know if you ever get over being with an addict. If someone passes then you have to deal with the grief. I’m sure that brings a whole load of different emotions hurts and what ifs. The codependent probably goes into over drive and blames them selves – something K did over the passing of his on/off girlfriend ( the 1 before me) he blamed himself for her dying of an embolism but she was bi polar and an alcoholic and drug user ( the last from his instigation) but she died because of a organic problem not an overdose or too much drink. Both of those contributed to her death but he was in prison on a 7 stretch so hardly his fault. But I get it – I’m sure if, when it happens and IF I ever find out I will ask my self if I could have done anything different. I couldn’t of course which is why with the support of my fellowship learnt there was a better way to live, I didn’t need to ‘save the world’ be the fixer.
It was so lovely to hear the words it feels like the old Karen is back today. Thank you S it meant a lot to hear that. I am back. I have to make amends to many…only if it won’t cause more harm, that’s not a get out cause, that’s me being honest and practical some won’t want me to. Have already said as such. That ok I have hurt many in the last 4 years. I don’t expect their forgiveness. However I do forgive myself. I didn’t understand 4 years ago the power of codependency I didn’t know i was sick and even tho I knew I overlooked friends for relationships I had always been lucky enough to hold on to those that understood better than me. So here we are a few days from what in the western Christian world is the big event…tho how many understand that I don’t know, the whole celebration of the birth of Christ has been taken over by commerciality the I want this I want that the disappointment for not getting the same as your friends in school as feeling inferior too many children feeling let down ashamed because maybe all they got was a new pair of shoes or something they needed not wanted and others in class got a new iPhone of iPad maybe they got nothing but a hot meal when normally they eat cereal for tea, single mums or dads feeling they have failed coz they are in a hostel escaping a brutal ex partner and can’t give their child something better. Young teenage kids on the streets out of a ‘care’ system that no longer can help them. No this time of year isn’t always kind. So when you are opening those presents eating your Christmas dinner and forcing yourself to have just one more potatoe enjoy it of course but give a minutes thought for those that can’t or won’t have anything this time of year. Even have some compassion for the addicts out there that might have robbed someone or something for their fix, as they need your compassion ( maybe not forgiveness) too. They know what they do is wrong they know people think they are the lowest of the low and don’t think of themselves much higher. But addiction is a disease there is no cure – only abstinence. So dear reader I get this out here now before the full on festivities start. Put away so I’m not thinking about it. I thank my HP that I am free ( ish) of the hurt addiction brings. I hope that who ever is reading this also is free to enjoy this time of year and with people that cares about them.