Friday, August 26, 2011

We are not who we used to be

So many sad people at the meeting last night were having trouble with alcoholic husbands and children. Tears were flowing and the Kleenex was flying.  There is nothing like newcomers to spark up a meeting.  So we talked about being powerless which is something that I need to be mindful of.  It's so easy to take my power back when I think that someone else needs to take action. 

One lady shared about her alcoholic husband who went to rehab after the family did an intervention which drove him to have an affair.  So now he thinks that she is an interfering bitch, doesn't want to talk to her, has moved out and is living with his lover. Whew! What a tangled web we weave in our co-dependent unmanageability.  She is crying because she wants him back, especially the man that he used to be.  I wonder at the wisdom of wanting someone at any cost, even when that person does not want you.  There is no logic to what happens to those who live with alcoholism.  Self-respect and self-esteem are so low that most of us are willing to settle for a few crumbs of affection. 

I see how far I have come.  I see myself where that woman is: willing to sacrifice myself, do anything, to get the person back.  It doesn't work.  The person who was the one we married or gave birth to or who gave birth to us is not the same.  No one is the same after alcoholism enters the picture. We become different people and if we are lucky enough to get into recovery, we learn to love who we are.  Because of recovery,  I think that I am a better person.  I hope that the newcomers stick around long enough to see the miracles happen in their life. 

“All the art of living lies in a fine mingling of letting go and holding on.”
- Havelock Ellis

“When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.”
- Lao Tzu


  1. No, we are not who we used to be.

    Thank hard work, love, and the Universe for recovery and the changes it brings.

    hope you're safe despite Irene

  2. i imagine you a better person as certainly allows us to see our habits and mannerism for what they really are...

  3. I have been grieving over a lost relationship myself, still holding on to the hope that things may yet return to the 'way they used to be'.

    The difference being, in my case, is that I am not willing to sacrifice myself to get him back. I work my program the best I can, and leave the rest to my Higher Power. As long as I remember that 'feelings are not facts', I know I will be all right today.

    Thanks for the post, Syd. It is painful to see myself in there, but I also see that I am on the right path.

  4. Its really like the frog in the pot of water that is slowly being heated up until he boils to death. You don't even realize the chaos is happening and how sucked in you are becoming until you are fully immersed. Love your quotes at the bottom of your post. So true.

    And Irene!! Yeah....Syd please keep us posted that you are ok.

  5. I call it negotiating recovery.

    We do it with ourselves and with our addicts and alcoholics. If only......then I'll.......and you'll......

    Sadly from my own personal experience it doesn't work. Negotiating recovery with someone else or within yourself for yourself is a negotiation when you have nothing to gain and everything to lose.

  6. Hope you and yours will be safe through Irene....

  7. Ah yes, we are indeed becoming more than we ever dreamed! On the other hand, I still love the story and how it evolves and builds.... it is hard work and yet it is largely about surrender, when we realize we have done all the work we can do, for now.

  8. This gave me the shivers. Oh how well I remember selling my soul for a few measley crumbs.

    Thank god...THANK GOD for how far Ive come. Great post!

  9. Havelock Ellis is a WISE human being.

    Hope you are dry and safe.



  10. The person living with the alcoholic is just as sick as the alcoholic. If they work on their own recovery they will be amazed at who they really are, who they can finally be when they just work on their own stuff. I too hope the newcomers keep coming back, for their sakes.

  11. I love the Lao Tzu quote, amazing and this is so true, we need to just let go and let God do for us what we cannot do for ourselves and for others...they will find their way on their journey, and more will and is always revealed.

    Great post!

  12. Syd, I love this:
    “When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.”
    - Lao Tzu

    Let's keep our fingers crossed where "Irene" is concerned.

  13. Thank God, I am not who I used to be. Be strong through Irene. Hope it's missing you although I fear it will hit my friends in NC. Prayers that all are safe.

  14. Very thoughtful and insightful, Syd. Alcoholism or not, we are not who we used to be, not a one of us.

    Isn't it sad how much time we lose longing for yesterday when we could be enjoying today?

    You closed with two outstanding quotes.

    Take care.

  15. After my husband cheated my counselor showed me a graph of the progression of alcoholism. It started with lies then on to infidelity and ultimately job loss.

    Sometimes I wonder now was I in denial about who he was or was it really the alcoholism. My judgement wasn't so great and my denial was strong back then.

  16. I loved this Syd. For people with long term sobriety, we get complacent and need the new blood that comes with newbies in a meeting. Lest we forget.

    I had a bit a month or so ago when i wanted to pick up. What stopped me is I realized how far I have come, like you said. And realized the drink wasn't worth it, so I treated myself to a diet Coke.

    Sometimes we don't see how far we have come but others see it. You have to keep remembering. Thank you.

  17. Syd, this morning I was looking at Al-Anon schedule times wondering if I should go. Part of me says "it's too late", Nicole has already died maybe I should stick with Compassionate Friends.

    I know I blew it with her. I admit it.

    I'm not sure where to go when it's too late.

  18. It's the newcomers ...
    Oh yes in so many ways I am still a newcomer after slips, but the tools of the program keep guiding me toward more peaceful solutions.
    We come together to learn a better way of life, to find happiness whether the alcoholic is still drinking or not.
    This is a a big one for me keeping the focus on myself.

  19. "No one is the same after alcoholism enters the picture. We become different people and if we are lucky enough to get into recovery, we learn to love who we are."

    I believe the same is true when we work a strong Al-Anon program. We, too, become different. Greater patience and serenity is ours. We're less controlling and we respond more and react less.

    When we start living with healthier boundaries and learn how to still be kind and courteous while differing with our qualifiers, the family dynamic improves.

    "One life showing the way is better than ten tongues trying to explain."

    Thanks for your post. I wish you safety and ongoing serenity.

  20. I'm "working" with a newcomer, a woman who has relapsed over and over again after seven years of sobriety. She knows everything and everyone else is to blame. She has little hope, she says. I see my own self-pity in her. It's hard to have hope when you haven't surrendered. The practicing alcoholic who is counting her resentments is a hopeless case. But there is One who has all power. I've seen miracles. So I have hope enough for two people today. And needed it.


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