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.
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.
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.
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.
God, help me begin to take healthy risks.
Help me let go of my fear of failure, and help me let go of my fear of success.
Help me let go of my fear of fully living my life, and help me start experiencing all parts of this journey.
The Language of letting go – Melodie Beattie
Today I am able to do things I couldn’t do even 6 months ago. Sometimes I make mistakes, but that’s ok. I do what is right for me at that moment. If it’s a mistake I can own it and learn from it, that is what my recovery is about. No more getting it right first time all the time! That isn’t learning. If my mistake hurts another then I have the the chance to make amends, not repeat that behaviour. I might make the same mistake over many times like a drug addict might relapse, we don’t mean to but sometimes we make the wrong choice we make mistakes. That is ok. I am a human being. I am not God, I am not a super being. I am not perfect! Progress not perfection can be my only aim. I might slip back in to negative harmful behaviours but if I recognise them as such instead of beating my self up about it Ican acknowledge them and strive to not repeat them again. My HP does not sit in judgement does not tell me I am right or wrong just wants me to be happy and in recovery. I am allowed to make mistakes. That feels good 😊
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.
Things in life don’t always go as we want planned or even think! Life serves something up and we deal with it as best we can. Sometimes it’s expected sometimes it’s out of the blue, sometimes we have to face disappointments, sometimes we have to take life on life’s terms. Sometimes people do things you don’t like. Sometimes people do the best they can to get by given the circumstances. Sometimes your gut reaction is right sometimes it’s wrong ( mine is rarely wrong). Things are sent to try you, things are sent to make you happy, things are sent to confuse or test you. Living in recovery is a maze of what ifs? should i’s? shouldn’t I? Living in recovery you are tested every single day every hour every minute. Consequences from my actions consequences from others actions it’s always in the for front of my mind. If I say that how will it be perceived? If I do that how will it be perceived? Is that being co-dependent? Is that just being nice and human? What will happen if I do this? If I don’t do that what are the consequences and what will the impact be for me for the other person?
These as the questions you ask your self when you try to get out of co-dependency but are still involved with the addict in your life.
I have made some hard choices, not to enable one of them. I know I am still very much still in the co-de mind set because I still feel guilt for not helping out more. I am seeing the consequences of not enabling and I don’t like it. I don’t like the choices that he has made because I am working on me. I feel guilt for not helping him more and today saw the consequences of my not enabling. Ok no that’s not true, I saw the consequences for the choices he has made because I haven’t enabled him. And that leads to guilt if I am honest. Part of me knows it matters not if I provide money for drugs or not he will always be an addict. He repeats the same behaviours over and over. When I enabled him financially he stayed out of trouble with law for nearly 2 years. When ever I stop paying for his drugs it doesn’t stop him from using he just finds other ways to get the money he needs. He then ends up in jail. I don’t need to feel guilty about that of course but that’s the madness of co-dependency and addiction because I do feel guilty. Misconstrued feelings of responsibility guilt and it’s somehow my fault. Don’t get me wrong I know it’s not my fault if another gets into trouble through their own choices – but I don’t know if you are living in addiction you actually have choices.
Let’s just look at what happens when you go to prison for some drug related crime….heroin related crime….you can do your rattle but will be offered subies spice even the real thing for a price, you can get a script after a couple of days (methadone) which for most addicts is worse to get off than heroin. But if you choose that root but misbehave it’s withdrawn. So have to rattle off that no support no mental health services in a jail full of druggies offering you God knows what trying your best to be clean and off it all when you get out. But after being on it for so long you can’t cope with all the feelings and thoughts you start to feel, you get released no money for a month ( if you are on sick benefit) have to fill out all these forms again when your literacy levels aren’t too good have to wait 4 days before you get a food hand out, no money no food too many feelings emotionally to cope with no services to support you apart from probation that you have to get too, or you will be recalled but because of cuts you have to somehow get 20 miles away to an appointment, so when you have no one to help you you’re mentally struggling you have less than a handful of people that you can call on because the only people you know are drug users or sellers you desperately want to stay clean but can’t cope with all the feelings and emotions physically you know you can’t go back to drugs and put your body through this again but mentally you just need some peace….and there you are back in the cycle stealing for a couple of bags just so you can get a bit of sleep and before you know it are back in active addiction and doing what you have to get the next bag.
So knowing all that If I have slipped him the odd tenner don’t sit in judgement. When you have walked my path or his then you can. However his actions create his own consequences as do my own. I am mindful not to send mixed messages I always say and explain my reasons. I buy food and burn for him but try to avoid giving him hard cash. It’s a tightrope like I said in my last post 😔 but yet again I have slipped back into talking about him! Oops that wasn’t meant to happen! But my journey is intrinsically linked into his.
Thanks for reading
As said previously I am trying very hard to keep the blog’s focus on me..yep what brought me here was the pain of living with another’s addiction…over the last 4 years I have also come to realise I became a co-dependant an enabler and addicted to places people and things. I was hurting really hurting I had been betrayed I had given everything emotionally and financially and had been pissed on from a great height, I had every reason to feel angry and upset when I was in that mind set! So as I know another’s behaviour will impact on me I am trying to move the focus from him and on to me. Sometimes I will still refer to him of course he is what has brought me to this place brought me into co-dependency and enabling but this blog hurts him he is very private ( of course he’s an addict with all the feelings that brings the shame the pain but also I have to think about how I would feel if someone was writing about my every move!!!) so reader I am shifting gear…shifting focus I have been trying but honestly I probably only write when something he does triggers a reaction in me. So here we are…my journey out of co-dependency . My ‘partner’ /’boyfriend’ is a drug addict my blog did focus on all the pain that caused me when I was in co-dependency but now I am looking forward and will talk about my journey into and keeping my serenity. I didn’t realise there was another way to live, to live with another’s addiction, but whilst I have started my recovery I have come to realise there is another way. It’s not easy sorting out and separating helping and enabling, supporting and co-dependency, being and doing. But when you live with addiction that is actual what you have to do. So dear reader lets go back to the start of my recovery you know what and why I am here. Read or know the drama I went through, let’s celebrate the fact I am now able to talk about my recovery….