Sunday, April 1, 2012

When did I stop pretending?

I dropped all pretenses about my wife's alcoholism the last few months of her drinking. It brings back some bad memories. I would repeatedly ask her to stop which she would do for a while and then, the insanity would start again.

Finally, things got bad enough that I no longer cared. Her driving off from a party drunk, and leaving me to walk home was the final straw.

It took me a while to learn to keep the focus on me. That took a lot longer than continuing to blame her and others for my problems.

We had so much resentment after getting into recovery. We were civil to each other, but both of us were shell shocked. We both knew that each of us was hurting.

I always thought that an "I'm sorry about last night" would make me feel better. But it didn't because the behavior didn't stop. I could recognize that nothing was going to change with words. She really and truly meant it when she said that she was sorry and wouldn't do it again. And then the disease takes hold and is stronger than the person's sheer willpower.

Fortunately, I listened to what my sponsor suggested over and over. I didn't dwell on all the damage that was done. I did not want to pretend that nothing happened but saw no point in blaming and being mired in resentment.

I've learned that it's fine to speak what's on my heart so long as I don't have any expectations attached to the response. I ask myself "what is my motive?" when I want to speak my mind. That really got me to pause and examine whether I had a lot of unrealistic expectations attached to what I was about to say. If my motives looked anything remotely like "I want you to change so I can be happy" then I chose not to speak or to let it rest until the day I felt I could speak without the expectations attached.

I acknowledged the elephant in the room, looked hard at it, and got my self together so that it did not continue to ruin my life. Everyone's solution will be different. In the long run, we do what's right for us and helps us to get our life back under our own control.


  1. "Will you change so I can be happy?" That is a huge turning point when we move from that thinking to nurturing our own happiness despite what our alcoholics/addicts are doing. Great post Syd.

  2. This is a daily struggle to not pretend nothing has or is happening. I work little by little to speak my heart with no strings attached. I trip and fall a lot with this. However, because I keep trying I see miracles happen all the time with my husband and me.

    Thank you for sharing!

  3. some great wisdom there syd on the question you ask yourself before speaking your mind...i will take that...

  4. You and your wife both have been incredibly courageous. I think that what you have accomplished, both together and separately have taken just that- COURAGE- more than anything.
    I stand in awe of you both.

  5. One of the things I admire about your life is that both you and your wife work on your individual recovery. I know it took hard work and lots of time to get to where you are today. Thinking before I speak has been a life long lesson. I don't have to voice every single thought. In fact, taking a little time think first has helped with many situations.

  6. Pretending keeps us safe, but not sane.

    I now acknowledge there are different solutions, and everyone finds them in their own time. For me that "finding" was helped by the hope, experience, and strength I found in meetings and the blogs.

  7. Hmmmm - - - All the replies are quite good; however, Ms Moon has expressed my feelings about all the courage you and your loved ones have shown in getting recovery for all to work! It only takes one to begin . . .

    Anonymous #1

  8. I did not want to pretend that nothing had happened but saw no point in being mired in bitterness and resentment.

    That is the attitude that I am aiming for Syd. Thanks for your help.

  9. That gulf between words, or good intentions and actions is what struck me, Syd. Recovery makes relationship possible.

  10. One time, when my husband complete his first time in rehab, I suggested he let me punch him, HARD, in the arm every day until I wasn't mad about all the hurts. After a few slips and a second stint in rehab, I let all the past hurts go and focused on the NOW. I don't think punching your wife would have been a good thing. In fact, it didn't end up being a good thing for me, either.

  11. Last paragraph..Yep once we all take responsibility for ourselves, and actions including thinking, walking the road becomes a tad better and easier.

  12. Acceptance and detachment with love are so VERY powerful and life-saving!

  13. words v actions in an addicts motive... thats my core frustration in dealing with an alcoholic parent. thank you for sharing.xx


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