Wednesday, April 18, 2007

One Step Back and One Step Forward

After having a much needed meeting last night, I went to the nearby restaurant with some Al-Anons and a couple of AA fellows. We sat and talked about the roundup and other things related to the program. I had called home on the way to the meeting and after the meeting. Things seemed to be okay.

When I got home though the proverbial shit hit the fan. My SO started by saying that I had no interest other than with the program and that because we had such different interests, it seemed best for her to take a bedroom upstairs and for me to either move out or stay in the downstairs wing of the house. Needless to say, I was taken aback.

I would like to tell you that I detached with love and let go and let God. I would like to tell you that I just accepted that she was tired after a business meeting out of town and that all would be okay. But I reverted to my old behavior and tried to discuss the matter. Rather than just say, I'll talk to you tomorrow and let her sleep upstairs, I asked what was going on to bring this tirade about. So I got a lot of resentment lobbed my way, and I accepted it. As I was embracing all her resentments though, I realized that I didn't feel anger at her or any resentment myself. She said that she wanted things to be the way that they were. And I told her gently that wasn't possible because neither of us are the same people we once were. I told her that I was finally making some good friends in the fellowship and that it was good to get together after the meeting. I said that I was doing what I needed to do for me. Then, she lapsed into self-pity, claiming that it was all her fault with the drinking and that had driven me away. At this point, I just listened. I wanted to say, "No, it wasn't just the drinking that drove me away it was the depression, the self-pity, the martyrdom, and the lack of any interest in me until I started having outside interests myself." But no I didn't say anything. I just walked over and took her hand and said "let's go downstairs and get some sleep".

I got about 3 hours of sleep last night but thankfully today is a different day. She still is wallowing in self-pity to a degree but has gotten better as the day has worn on. I put some speaker tapes on and we listened to those. I took the day off today to be home and be around and try to get some rest. I wouldn't have been much good at work anyway.

What happened to me last night made me realize that it is so easy for me to get back into those behaviors that made me crazy and empty. Today, I'm thinking about Steps One through Three and going over them in my mind. After doing that this morning, I have found that today is a different day. One day at a time is all I can do.

"Today I have a chance to make a contribution to my sense of well-being. I can take some small action that will strengthen a relationship, pursue a goal, or help me to feel better about myself. I don't expect to dramatically alter my life. My goal is simply to move in a positive direction, knowing that major strides often begin with very small steps. " from Courage to Change


  1. Sorry for the difficulty. I can relate to going back to the old behavior before you know what hit you... it happens still.
    Don't be too hard on yourself.

  2. I don't see the step back. I see courage, sensitivity and change. Love you Syd

  3. Have you heard that one "we don't make friends, we take hostages". You know, this possessiveness that can come up when one half of a couple start going to meetings is very common. It happens the other way round when aa's start going to loads of meetings and the al anon feels left behind. Its understandable for the person who is not perusing recovery to feel left out, but its just that a lot of us are very 'into' recovery in the beginning and its a healthy short term obsession to throw ourselves into meetings.
    Anyway, I'm just saying, its a very common issue for people with partners in early recovery. I cant imagine how I would manage if I had to deal with an alcoholic tantrum. I don't know where you get your patience from!
    You sound a bit disappointed with yourself, but I can't see why. I think it sounded like you did a really good job of not saying the first thing that came into your head. None of us are lily white! We can all be grouchy, moody and irritable when we are under a lot of pressure or we haven't slept.

    My favorite thing for avoiding arguments and pointless debates is:
    "Never wrestle with a pig: You both get all dirty, and the pig likes it." that's what my favorite old timer used to say. Its not easy to sidestep the bait and walk away when the other person wants to have a row, but it CAN be done. The best way is if you figure out a pre-prepared 'get out clause' BEFORE they 'kick off'. Because its IMPOSSIBLE to think of a good one in the heat of the moment. Prepare beforehand! Then you won't get caught out the next ! time she throws a wobbly!
    You did alright Syd. I bet you you reacted a LOT less than you used to. See? Progress not perfection. All we are looking for is evidence of progress. Nothing more really. So well done! Give yourself a pat on the back for doing a better job of it than you used to.
    Hope you are back to your old self soon..

  4. You are amazing.
    My SO is a natural Al-Anon but has never attended a meeting. If he ever leaves the scene (for whatever reason) I am hoping you will want to try a homosexual relationship and move here with me. LOL
    Thanks for the post.

  5. wow.honest share.
    sometimes those slips move us further ahead than we realize it at the time syd..? hope you get some sleep..thanks for sharing.

  6. You sound like you have made some remarkable internal changes to me. I doubt it would have been very helpful to have confirmed that her self-pitying was indeed pushing you away while she was in the midst of self-pitying.

    I think continuing to get the support you need at Al-Anon is terrific for you. You sound good.


  7. Hmmmm - - - dear dear Syd - - - Some questions are better unasked! Your power lies in Step #2! Love ya.

  8. When I started al-anon 18 months ago in July 2007 I began dating a man for 7 years ONLY. He started asking me how long would I be going to Al-Anon and he heard that place brain-washed people etc. (a cult) I did explain to him but he was so Ignorant and amongst that and other reasons I stopped dating him.

    I started dating S. when I had 6 months in Al-Anon. I explained I was in Recovery and had to attend meetings consistently for a YEAR. I had to be at the Saturday 9:30 a.m. and the sunday 4:00 Pm (and Monday 7:30 PM meetings).

    He asked if I was using it as a crutch. Recovery was IMPORTANT; and no I could not go away for a whole weekend from Friday to Sunday (while my son is away with his dad). He could see me Friday night; Saturday after the meetings; and on Sundays until 4:00 PM.

    I stuck to my schedule because I needed to do so for me. He came from an alcoholic home too; and came to meetings; but poof-poof the other men for going; and resented me going; and did not like my personal growth.. because I saw more and more he was NOT right for me. He was playing Victim all the time; etc. I grew and he did not.

    I have to say I heard it is better to not date for the first year of any program; because a person is changing so much.

    I changed for the GOOD. :) I'm proud of me.

    But with spouses at home; I could understand their feeling of being replaced for meetings.. but YOU needed to RECOVER and grow and in the long run better for both spouse.

    I know my adult children saw me change too; MOM was putting herself first more and more.. and that was hard on them.

    People feel threaten when they see a person changing; .....and really not use to the change.

    Good you stuck to your program. You sound so positive and strong; and it was a great experience.

    I think spouses might feel LONELY too being home and missing you.. but this was a necessity for your soul and well being and whatever woke you up to the fact you had to get help.


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