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.
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.
Whilst I have been writing this blog many things have happened. I relapsed again and again going back to my negative self belief that I was somehow knew better than K that he should want to get and stay in recovery, that I was better than ‘god’ and I could save K from self destruction. I’m Not sure how or when my mind set changed but it did. Call it my HP if you like, but something steered me away. Something clicked and I came to believe that this was not my job it is well and truly Gods job. Reading another’s blog this afternoon affirmed this @fromstruggletostrength. The words struck a chord with me. The self hate and self loathing that K lived with weren’t mine to fix. They never were. He often would say he liked using drugs and I don’t doubt it. It blocked out all the feelings ( for a while) but then on coming too the self loathing starts again, I’m sure you are aware of the cycle of addiction.
Looking at myself and some of the defects of character I may have, I have recognised my OC behaviours. Some are for the good putting 110% into a project is never a bad thing, I know that I have addictive traits to my personality. I don’t have a cut off switch when it comes to alcohol. I have nothing drink for weeks at a time but if I have more than a couple I’m in a very dangerous place as my brain makes me believe I want more. I have to put things in place to stop me, like making sure I have no money around or going out in the car so I only have 1. Again I can have drink in the house and not touch it, but if I open it the chances are I’ll drink it. I don’t even know why I am writing this! I’ve digressed! Oh yes the OC traits!! I’m not very disciplined when it comes to doing stuff, my blog is very haphazard. In the beginning I had lots to say, I was still in denial and self pitying mode. I had joined a fellowship and if I’m honest was a non believer! But I wrote and wrote often I became obsessed with writing it. My journey was slow I relapsed like I say, but that’s because I didn’t understand the harm I was still doing to my self. But I didn’t give up – I wanted to live a different way. The co-dependent wanting to believe in a dream that wasn’t shared. Once I understood that then it became easier to really walk the walk. Once I fully 100% understood that I could NEVER change the addict, that no matter how much he said he didn’t want to live that way, until he actually changed it for himself, I could do nothing. Maybe you read this and wonder why it took me so long or it is obvious that you can’t change another’s behaviour, maybe you are thinking she’s said this before, and I probably have, but that was talking the talk! Now I 100% believe I am walking the walk! My OCB meant I was fixated on making him better, on doing anything and everything to get my reward, a cliché but couldn’t see the wood for the trees! My fellow blogger stated that addiction wants to kill you, and it does. It wants you to live in misery it feeds off that and gets stronger so you stay in it thinking that everything will be all right, that eventually your loved one will see the light – didn’t they say they didn’t want to live like this whilst asking again for money! It’s self destruct on every level.
Do I wonder what’s happening to him yes of course you dont give up 4 years to a person without wondering how they are and what they are doing. But thankfully even if he is still in addiction I somehow found the strength to let go and let god.
My latest obsession is instagram I don’t think that’s too harmful! But like a lot of my obsessions it will become boring and I will stop, or at least not be on it as much! I need an obsession for my step work haha maybe tho now I am getting settled again I will find the time, but we are coming close to the start of my other love the growing season 😃 seeds getting sorted my spare bed room turned into a growing room propagaters cleaned and ready – that’s one obsession I won’t get hurt by!
Thanks for reading
When you are wrapped up in co-dependency you can become a pawn in a game that you don’t think you have any control over…in fact you might not even know you are a pawn! I look back and wonder how much I was played without realising. Other people’s agendas and fucked up lives. As things and stories unravel truths come out I wonder just what part I played in fact in the case I am thinking about I wasn’t even aware I was in some ‘master plan’ being played. But truths come out like I say and even tho my pride is a bit hurt from what I now know I also wonder if it was meant. Or if it was that persons way of looking for an escape.
I am doing ok. I have been lazy with my step work I try to blame my sponsor for not pushing me even though i asked her too but it’s not her responsiblity it’s mine. But at last I think I have stopped people pleasing. If I don’t want to do something I don’t have too. With my qualifier back in jail I have been able to think about me again. I am getting stronger. He keeps phoning and has written asking for money. I say no. The time before last when he called he asked for money I evaded the question didn’t answer yes or no, but was deliberate in not answering. He asked if I could see what I could do…I said I would, but to me that meant I don’t have to see what I could do I didn’t need to see what I could do, I wasn’t going to do anything….it was just easier than getting into a battle by saying no directly. Last time he called he was going on and on even said you said you would see what you could do…yes I said but that didn’t mean I was going to give you anything, just I will see….he then said but if you send me some money I can phone you. I am afraid I didn’t even think the words came out before I could think of the impact – I reacted! But for once reacted in my favour. I could hear the words come out my mouth I didn’t like the tone of my voice I wish I could have said it in a nicer way but I just didn’t give myself time to think. I didn’t breathe I heard myself saying – why the hell should I pay you to phone me? The line went dead he hung up – good there was nothing more to say. Maybe he’s getting the message that this time I mean it it’s over. He’s not my responsiblity I get nothing from this relationship ( I use that word loosely!) you can give and give but if you get nothing in return eventually you have to walk away. Draw a line under it. It’s not his fault he has this disease. But it’s not mine either. He actually was honest enough to say in his letter that he won’t make promises he can’t keep any more. That words are just that words and he needs to action it not talk about it. I feel sorry for him. I think he has had his chance – too many times. Twice he’s been given rehab. He even did detox in jail, and even tho he knows it makes him sick he lives a hopeless life on the rob to pay for his drugs or selling them until he gets arrested and back in jail he still goes back to it. Again and again. A hopeless case ☹️ don’t get me wrong I know I too was on that merry-go-round I too was repeating the same behaviours hoping for a different outcome, that little co-dependent voice is still trying to mug me off whispering but what if this time he does stay off the gear??? Well if he does then Well Done K! But I can’t live a life wondering if he will relapse the minute something doesn’t go his way. Which is way I must let go. I said to someone the other day, if he could use ‘socially’ smoke a bit of crack or heroin for a bit of pleasure I could accept it. I have a drink at the weekends or what ever it isnt something I HAVE to do. I know others that smoke crack snort coke have a joint but it’s controlled.
I have gone way off my point! I guess to finish off I am getting more aware of being played, I will no longer be a victim, I catch myself all the time, saying stuff that really is trying to make people feel sorry for me. Not about the addict. But poor me I have had to do this or that. I might not have stopped it but I am becoming aware of it. I am getting better!
Not much battery life left on phone so will leave this here! Been told some bloody awful things tonight by someone I knew a long time ago – she is disabled And had been treated in my view disgustingly. I also heard this morning that dear friend had passed over – still waiting to find out how or why but he too lived with someone in addiction we had bonded over this and spent many afternoon chatting shit about how awful it was , yes we were both co- di’s and loved the martyrdom! I did try a few times to get him to go to Al-anon but he didn’t. His addicted loved one was his mum…. Mum is still alive and he is not… Too many questions too many emotions right now but trying to get my head around it all
And that is all I want to say tonight
This is my FB status which kinda says the same thing…..
Lots of u know I have had My ‘problems’ over the last 4 years but I have my home I have an income have my dog. I have food in the house I have my bills paid and for that I will be grateful. I have a little extra money and can help others with that in the form of donations money food. My time to others I give freely my service to my fellowship I give freely I do not expect thanks or anything in return this is what I want to do in thanks for what I have from them. Sometimes people confide in me again Of which I feel humbled But sometimes just sometimes I am left feeling completely totally overwhelmed by things people tell me – powerless angry and frustrated For me because I can’t do anything and for them because they are powerless in a country that’s so poor has had so many cuts that basic human rights are stripped bare and the most vulnerable are mistreated and abused
Often in Mental Health settings you come across situations where physical pain manifests from the inablitity to express mental pain. As I am sitting here in bed in abject pain from my jaw and gums I wonder if this is a reflection of my mental torment. It isn’t of course it because the dentist has been poking about in there and has triggered something off but in pain I am. 2 years ago K called me into his rehab setting to tell me he couldn’t stay with me as he had to focus on his recovery – bullshit of course as he didn’t stay in rehab or recovery but I can clearly remember the pain I felt back then. I felt physical and mental pain like no other I had experienced. I wanted to die! I was heart broken. But I also didn’t know that I was sick. I had started to attend Nar-anon meetings but was still very far from understanding what it meant that I had become a co-dependent and my pain was intrinsically linked to that. My focus was still on K not myself. I still didn’t understand how I had contributed to his addiction. And to some point 2 years on still am not 100% convinced that everything i did was wrong. What I do know for certain is whether I contribute money to enable him to use drugs or not will not stop him from using. What I did control to a greater or lesser degree was I stopped him from committing more crime than he did to get what he wanted or needed. So in that respect that was my reward. I kept him with me. He used that to his advantage at times when I was getting fed up of the constant daily ritual we went thro, the ‘love you don’t want me breaking the law and doing something stupid do you?’ line was used again and again as though if I didn’t give him the cash I would somehow be responsible if he went to jail. Of course now I see it was manipulation but when I was lock in to co- dependency actually believed it was my responsiblity – that’s how sick I had become.
For me my recovery comes in waves. I knew I had to change a lot of my behaviours before I was able to move on. Or at least learn how not to revert back to harmful behaviours. After speaking with my sponsor I realise that these behaviours will never go away and can be triggered at any time, but I need to learn how to control them. As with any addict. I have certain personality traits that will always be there. I am kind I am loving I am giving, all positives….but can be taken advantage of if co-dependency creeps in. Doing things for the right reasons can easily become for the wrong reasons. Helping someone out can be linked to wanting power and control of a situation that isn’t mine to control. So helping becomes enabling – that tightrope I mentioned in a post recently.
Now I am estranged from the addict in my life again I am able to reflect back to see how I have moved on. How much have I actually learnt and put into practice. I get upset when people can’t see I have moved on. Jeez if I hadn’t I would be still doling out twentys every day. Be running around after him phoning him pleading with him to take me back. Texting him how much I love him need him. But I have come full circle back to the beginning but with a new way of seeing things to the point where I have put into practice the steps I have learnt and jumped off the merry go round so I DONT repeat the same mistakes again. I can see the circle but am now a bystander. I can see HIS merry go round revolving door call it what you will, but it’s a ride I don’t want to be on and am not paying to get on it – physically mentally or emotionally. Of course I feel for him I would feel for any relapsed addict be that a friend a lover a family member. But I no longer feel I have to be part of it. It’s NOT my responsiblity.
I was asked by someone to make it implicit what I had learnt on my journey – I don’t feel the need to do that – but actually that sort of thing is difficult for me. To focus on my recovery is hard enough so maybe this post will go some where towards showing what I have achieved if it’s not obvious! 2 years ago I was thinking how I could kill my self I was beyond sick. Now I understand how I contributed to my own illness, and now how to keep myself safe. How I can let go – have let go. I have detached with love and am letting the addict make his own choices. Again I question – for the addict how he can make reasonable choices when in active addiction- but I have no input to his choices. Being a people pleaser is hard, to say no is hard, but saying yes is sometimes more hurtful and destructive.
So I wonder if this post goes some way to answering the questions that I was asked. Still being a people pleaser, by doing this so maybe I haven’t moved on that much when others opinions mean more to me – but I haven’t gone backwards or jumped on the ride again so for that I am grateful and if I have to justify myself to those I hold dear then here it is my justification and some of what I have learnt.
So I said I was going to look at me, and I am. At last I am putting into practice the tools I have been learning about. I really am detaching with love. I care of course but if I call and he doesn’t pick up I no longer go into panic mode. That’s cool! For me that’s bloody incredible 😀 his phone is switched off I don’t automatically assume he’s been arrested. He has a life what he does when he’s not with me is not my concern ( as long as it doesn’t impact on me) – if my phone is off and I don’t answer he doesn’t get into a huge strop and assume the worse and if I am to get better I must do the same. Am doing the same. I know he’s not well. I know he’s using. I know he is probably involved in petty crime to fund it all, his choice. But and I know it probably sounds a very small thing rather than make it my business I am letting him do what he wants without getting involved, telling him not to, getting upset. I have to bite my tongue at times, I have to think very carefully about what I can or should ask him. He’s very private like I say, he’s also ashamed for what he’s done regarding his drug use, I have no right on making him feel worse. I might not like it, ( does he?? Of course not!) so me having cheap jibes only make him feel more worthless than he already does. I know I know I said I wasn’t going to talk about him! But I think it’s important for me to be clear. When you live with an addict it is a tightrope walk, getting out of co-dependency is hard, that line between caring and controlling. I can love the person but hate the addict. If I am with someone I am genuinely interested in what they have been doing, its normal to ask how’s your day been? What you been up to? Isn’t it? But that can be seen as interfering, nosey….why do you always think I have been up to something? I don’t I am just asking how your day has been …(guilty conscious??) so yes it’s a tightrope walk. Well my day has been long and have another early start tomorrow so signing off and going to bed.
So for the next 2 months I had a house guest! Well even though he was on the meth he still used and so trips to Macc in the day time if I was working that way were a given. They were a given even if I wasn’t working down that way. Part of me was happy I had my man at home but a big part of me was becoming more and more saddened by this awful situation we were in. All I wanted was for him to give 3 clean urine samples in 2 weeks and he would be put forward for detox. I suppose that’s like asking an alcoholic to go into a bar with a free range of what ever their poison is and not take a drink! Or the shopaholic on pay day not to go shopping or giving a gambler £10000 and tell them not to put a bet on the only horse running in a race! Services ask the impossible because in my mind they have such low finances they can’t afford for addicts to achieve what they ask! If all the addicts that say they want to detox actually achieved the 3 clean specimens in 2 weeks services just couldn’t cope! There just isn’t enough beds. At this point I truly think he cared for me so much he tried so hard. He could manage about 3 or 4 days but then he started feeling ill so by the time the 3rd Sample had to be given he had used, so didn’t go. I am not proud of this but he even manipulated me into giving a sample so he could take it with him, to give a clear one. ‘Come on love you know I want to get into detox but I can’t and even you said how it’s a stupid request to give an addict’ fuck he was clever he used anything I said to his advantage making me feel the guilty party if I didn’t comply with what he wanted me to do. The price of love??? I am not a victim by the way. I am not trying for one minute to make out he was pressuring me but when you live in another’s addiction you will do ANYTHING to get them well. It wasn’t until he actually got into rehab and I found my 12 step programme that I realised how his addiction had made me addicted to trying to fix it all though enabling. Until I recognised my shortcomings and how I wasn’t helping I got pulled deeper and deeper into our addiction.
I am quite an honest person I say it as it is! I don’t deliberately try to hurt people and will keep quiet rather than hurt someone’s feelings and this is one of my shortcomings! By keeping this addiction to my self and trying to keep family and friends out of what was really happening in my life, I cut ties, I stopped seeing friends and family. I stopped caring for myself and put his addiction needs above anything and everything else. When I learnt about codependency I refused to accept it. I choose to help him, I was stopping him from being ill by paying for his drugs. Did I get off on it? No not really but I didn’t want him to break the law by burglary or theft so I took it on to myself to pay for his habit. Of course I am now enlightened so see that we were both codependent on each other. He was with me for his benefit and so was I.. I am battling with this as I have said previously. Its hard looking back and thinking about how I was manipulated allowing my self to be pulled every which way, in the name of love! It’s funny how I convinced myself I was doing these things for the right reasons. I was in my head, I loved him and knew no different. And of course it was early days, we had only really been back together since September 3 or 4 months but by Christ so much had happened. The last time I had my hair cut was around this time. He was looking at some photos of me with longer hair. ‘Babe I think I like you better with longer hair’ oh ok I say I will grow it then, ‘ yes cos it costs so much every month to get it cut, you should grow it’ so I do! Of course the £40 a month could be put to better use, money was already tight, in stead of thinking he wants that money, I thought we need that money for food! I am being selfish spending that on myself a month.
As he was at mine I was still able to see N&N on a Sunday. Not every week but managed to see them around Christmas time. I so wanted him to come with me, to meet up with my friends, but he would just say you go love and have a good time. I will stay here. More guilt! I felt it was unfair of me to go out and enjoy myself when he was cooped up at home. Sometimes when I got home when he was off the tag he would say he was feeling ill and needed to go back to Macc. I had been drinking so couldn’t drive, so he would drive back. I didn’t like him driving the car, he didn’t have a licence, but couldn’t risk my own so let him. So over the space of a few weeks my weekly meetings with my friends started to stop. As the need to feel normal ( for him) increased the earlier we would go back to Macc. And so it continued, after my dog went for his last sleep, I stayed over at his more and a more, depending on work. But I would get phone calls asking for me begging me to transfer money into his account. One time I think he must have been with some others in ear shot, what he said to me appalled me. I actually started to feel that this was enough that he would stoop so low! I was working on a case in Wolverhampton, it was lunch time and a got a call. I was still smoking at that time so was outside, by myself which was a blessing. He phoned and asked how I was. He was always respectful up to a point! Babe please I really need to get a thing…I gave you £20 this morning, I know love but it wasn’t any good come on you have to help me out. I was really skint, I had enough money for fuel to get to work, for the rest of the week and that was about it. I had transferred £20 in his account in the morning, before I went to work so knew how much I didn’t have, come on love please he says, and when you get home I will have sex with you….WHAT!!! What did you just say? I ask in disbelief, come on I will give it to you good! My head was in an absolute mess, one thing you don’t have with a heroin addict is sex! The fact that he was trying to use this as a bribe, disgusted me. You want me to pay for sex? you are disgusting! I can’t believe you said that to me. No I will not give you money for sex, I will not give you money because I HAVENT GOT ANY! Are there others around you? Are you showing off to ur ‘mates’ no K I will not give you any money. I will see you later, aw come on love, I really need to get a thing, I am ill, look if I give you the money I won’t have any for tomorrow, yeah that’s fine babe I won’t use tomorrow. Yeah yeah I have heard it all before but this was a new one!
But part of me still wanted to believe that tomorrow he wouldn’t use. Come on love you know you have the money, you are just trying to control me, I promise on my mothers life that I won’t use tomorrow I will come with you to work and we can go to yours PPLEEEAASSSE!
So once again I go back on my word, but this time I am saddened that he has resorted to trying to use sex as a bribe, but again trying to excuse it by thinking well he is showing off to his friends. But that phone call took away a little bit of the love I had for him. 💔
After my birthday his usage increases to at least once a day, depending on money we could be spending £60 a day. one day I gave him over £100 it was taking its toll on my bank account. And of course the more he used the more he needed. I remember one time about 10 days after pay day going to the bank and there was nothing there, I was over my overdraft limit thankfully if I remember rightly it was a Wednesday I got my weekly travel expenses paid on the Thursday so it wasn’t the end of the world, but I felt an enormous sense of panic, I had let him down 😳 what would he think of me he needed to get sorted I felt panic in my heart and soul. I suppose that was the first sign of my addiction, the panic not being able to make it right for him, so there it is my confession to my addiction! I am still struggling to accept it for what it is. But back then I didn’t even know such a thing existed! I have learnt that from Nar ANON. Co dependency! I still am in a bit of denial that I was codependent or in a codependant relationship. Surely wanting to make someone you love feel better when they are ill is normal isn’t it? If he had flu or something no one would call it co dependency if I pop down to tescos and buy some lemsip! What’s the difference to going out and buying a substance that will make him feel better?
we were skint most of the time. But got by, most weeks with his money every two weeks my expenses evey week we had enough money for me to get to work and for him to get at least one bag a day. But that was about it! We often didn’t have food, I lost a fair bit of weight, I wasn’t complaining but I was hungry a lot of the time. It made it difficult to concentrate not good in my job, but his needs always came before mine. In my head it was the right thing to do, to make sure that the man I loved was as well as he could be. I didn’t know how damaging that was. That in the long term I was making it worse. I didn’t have any idea.
Soon enough this became my reality. I would go to work go to his house go out to get what he needed cook for him and go home, to walk and feed the dog. Weekends at mine. A little while later he wanted me to stay over. The fuel for my car was expensive it was money wasted I guess in his head, money we could spend on other things! I think the round trip at that time was £20 fuel at that time was running at about £1.48 a litre. I didn’t want to leave my dog at home he was old and on medication, so it wasn’t fair. He said for me to bring him over, so if I had a job in the morning in his area I would take my dog with me and go to his and sleep over. it was nice to be able to stay with him, but it wasn’t the best set up. A snoring dog, a single bed and a house with 4 other people and one bathroom! But we were so much in love I don’t think we really noticed. He was at his best with me then, loving attentive respectful grateful always saying thank you if I helped him out with money. I remember we watched a programme on the TV about addicts in America it was a Ross Kemp investigates thing, and addicts were talking very openly about taking heroin and crack and I ended up crying. The way they talked about those drugs! That hit me hard one of them said they know they could die but can’t stop. This is what I was living with. ,’whats wrong love?’ He asked….’ I can’t compete with that, this is what you are like, this must be what you are thinking, you can’t stop and I can’t do anything to stop it’ he was quiet for a bit hugged me kissed me looked into my face and said ‘I will get help I will go CDT ( community drugs team) and get off it’