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PostPosted: Sat Dec 20, 2014 6:25 pm 

Joined: Fri Aug 22, 2014 6:51 pm
Posts: 21
Exercise 14

*Over the next month, how much time do you intend to spend focused on managing, tracking and/or assessing your partner’s addiction/recovery? List the role(s) you intend to play in his recovery. If none, say so. If some (and there are potential healthy roles for you to play), list them.

My husband is not doing anything about his addiction. He says he is too busy at work (he has always been a Workaholic). He says he is abstaining, but seeing as nothing has changed (no difference in communication between us, no increased involvement with the family, for example), I’m sceptical. I have no way of knowing whether he’s acting out – he managed to do it for 16 years without me knowing. (To be fair, I THINK my husband does want to change, but his business isn’t doing as well as he’d hoped, which is making him feel overwhelmed and unhappy, so that is his priority). So there is no role for me to play in his recovery, unless I continue to ask him what he’s doing about it. I do still check his emails and his phone from time to time, but not very often now because I know I won’t find anything in those places anymore. Over the next month, I intend to TRY spending much less time focused on my husband and much more time focused on building a better life for myself and my children.

*How much time do you intend to spend secretly investigating his actions? If none, how will you manage those times of mistrust and/or doubt?

My aim is to stop myself secretly checking up on him because there’s nothing to be gained for me from it – it just makes me unhappy. “Times of mistrust and doubt” are all the time because I know he hasn’t committed to recovery, and the result is that the distance between us is growing.

*What personal values are you willing to allow your partner to continue damaging over the next month? If none, how will you protect these values?

I will try not to let my husband damage any of my personal values. Which of them have previously been damaged by his behaviour? Snooping on him is against my values, accepting his bad behaviour towards me before I knew the full extent of it (i.e. betrayals) is against my values. I will work via RN to strengthen and protect my values.

*Over the next two months, what mistakes are you prepared to tolerate from your partner and why? What mistakes (if any) are intolerable and will serve as the catalyst to end the relationship? Note: think with your head here, not your heart. You are no longer ignorant as to what to expect in recovery and so, define those true ‘bottom lines’ for you and your relationship.

At this point I would be willing to tolerate any number of slips (porn or anonymous massage parlour activity) if only my husband was actively pursuing recovery, or had even demonstrated a believable genuine desire for recovery.

Intolerable mistakes which would end in divorce would be my discovery of any “relationship” with another woman, or any illegal behaviour (I don’t think my husband has crossed this line, but how would I know?) or hiring a prostitute, or any inappropriate behaviour around my children.

*How much responsibility do you intend to invest in changing your partner? Versus placing the responsibility for change on them? How do you envision communicating your observations about their motivation/responsibility — both positive and/or negative? For those positive observations, how will you make them seem genuine? For those negative observations, how will you make them seem non-punitive?

After 1.5 years I’m pretty much finished with trying to change my husband – I know that he is the only person who can do this. I’m pretty good at communicating my observations – I’d be very happy to communicate positive observations but there haven’t been many of those any time recently. Regarding negative observations, it’s becoming more difficult to communicate these in a neutral, constructive way when I know he’s not doing anything. I’m sick of trying to be patient and understanding!

*Do you intend to motivate change in your partner by threats and/or rewards? Or by simply sharing your needs and allowing your partner to find the motivation to meet those needs? If the latter, how much clarity do you have in determining and communicating your personal needs?

I think I have established that threats and/or rewards have been unsuccessful in motivating my husband to change. The threat of divorce – losing his family and being financially worse off – has not made him seek active recovery.

I’m not sure that I have actually shared my needs with my husband, other than assuming that he knows them. Hmmm. Perhaps I should try that: I need a faithful loving happy husband, who likes and takes care of himself first, and who wants to be an open, honest and active member of our family, rather than a “sleeping partner”.

*How do you envision moving beyond two individuals in recovery/healing to becoming a team in overcoming those areas of your relationship that have been damaged? What changes will YOU need to make in your own perspective to regain a sense of teamwork? What changes do you need to see from your partner for this to happen?

My husband has always acted like a single person living in a family. He’s closed, uncommunicative, secretive. But the main area of our relationship that’s been damaged is trust. So moving forward to become a team seems like a long way off.
Changes in my perspective: I would have to forgive him and accept him as he is. He would have to be well on the path to recovery before I could take this step. If he was, then I would want us to start couples therapy – I have the name of a recommended therapist who deals with SAs.

*Apart from your partner’s addiction, identify the current major obstacles that your relationship faces. For each obstacle, seek out any patterns that will eventually need to be worked through as a team. For instance, communication. We have fallen into a pattern of dysfunctional communication that must change. Here is what I can envision doing to bring about change to these dysfunctional communication rituals:

1. Lack of communication (my husband).
I will do some Googling and speak to my counsellor about strategies for improving communication.
2. Lack of relationship – the only time we spend together alone is watching TV dramas and sleeping!
Do I care? Not sure at the moment. Husband never organises anything, and I no longer want to unless he decides to choose recovery.
3. No sex (husband can’t do loving marital sex).
Again, this won’t be happening unless husband is way down the path to recovery. If then, we will get help from sex therapist.

*Should you find yourself struggling to manage your own life (intense emotions, undefended boundaries, deteriorating values, neglected values, etc.) how do you envision getting yourself refocused and back in balance? List this general plan.

I will get help from my best friend, my counsellor, and Recovery Nation. Also helpful is focusing on my own life – paid job, exercise, speaking to my mother, and being engaged with my kids.

*What signs will you look for in your partner to generate confidence in the sincerity and stability of his/her recovery?

Signs of recovery would be my husband voluntarily speaking about himself – his childhood, his feelings, his recovery – anything personal … Voluntarily spending more time with me and the kids … Starting to take care of himself physically – exercise, health check-ups, dentist, filling prescriptions on time … Taking an interest in future plans – holidays, etc.

*What unique signs will you look for in your partner over the next few months to generate warning of imbalance and/or insincerity?

Husband getting angry easily at the slightest of things, staying up late alone or going to bed very early alone, drinking too much, spending more time at the office / away from home.

These are just some of the questions that you will want to consider and prepare yourself for. There are potentially many others. List anything additional that you feel is important in preparing yourself to face this transition in your life/relationship over the next few months.

I will add more here if I think of additional concerns.

Last edited by Jenny209 on Tue Dec 23, 2014 5:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.

PostPosted: Tue Dec 23, 2014 5:46 pm 

Joined: Fri Aug 22, 2014 6:51 pm
Posts: 21
Exercise 15

A. Make a list of all support resources (people only) that you currently have available to you in helping you to deal with this current crisis? How many of these people have you already turned to for support? What have you found beneficial in their responses? What have you found to be disruptive?

1. My best friend – she knows everything and has been like a sister to me for 30 years. Our values are aligned and her advice is always good.

2. My counsellor. Her main function is listening to me! But she has experience with SA and has recommended many great resources including RN.

3. My mother – she doesn’t know about the SA but she knows we’re having problems due to my husband’s unresolved childhood issues, which allows me to discuss some of my problems with her – on the phone, as she is in another country.

4. My friend X – she knows what my mother knows and I meet her regularly. We don’t talk about my issues much but I know she’s there for me.

5. My friend Y – same as friend X but she’s in another city so I only see her a few times a year.

6. My friend Z – same as friends X and Y but in a different country so most communication is by email.

7. A group of friends from my own country that I meet every few months – they don’t know what’s going on, and I don’t want to tell them, but I know they would be supportive and caring if I did, and that’s enough for now.

8. Other long-standing friends in my country of origin – also mostly don’t know what’s happening, but I know I could tell them and be well supported if I wanted to.

B. List all resources (not people) that you have available to you in developing a balanced, healthy support system. This list should contain at least eight items. Put an asterisk in front of each resource that you are currently using to help you through this crisis.

*Recovery Nation

*Journaling on my private Blog

*Daily Meditations – I subscribed to this website and they email me a positive thought every day:

‘Your Sexually Addicted Spouse’ by Barbara Steffans and Marsha Means
‘Out of the Shadows’ by Patrick Carnes
‘Passionate Marriage’ by David Schnarch
*’When Someone you Love is Addicted to Alcohol or Drugs’ by Jim Maclaine

Partners of Sex Addicts:
Wife of a Sex Addict:
Bowen Theory (for understanding how our families influence the people we become):

*Exercise – I go to a class a few times every week

*My paid job

Meditation: I’ve downloaded an app – Headspace – but haven’t made time to do this yet.

C. Discuss a time when you were a part of someone else’s support system. Was it a positive or negative experience for you? What made it so? Is there anything that you would have done differently? How can you use these insights to further define your own support system?

When friends of mine have had a parent die, or a child in hospital, I have been supportive – bringing them food, and being available to talk, and checking in with them regularly. Supporting my friends has always been a positive experience because I care about them and they appreciate it.

PostPosted: Tue Dec 30, 2014 12:16 pm 
Partner's Coach (Admin)

Joined: Fri Sep 14, 2007 3:07 pm
Posts: 5200
I would even go so far as to suggest that most of the time he succeeds in hiding his addiction from himself.
Yes: Denial and self-justification are all part of the broader problem in addiction.

my focus has definitely shifted from him to me.

I sometimes wonder if this means that I’m losing interest in a future with him. I know that I can’t make him choose Recovery, but I do still bring it up every few weeks and make suggestions which he says he’ll do but then he doesn’t.
It seems that you are beginning to his that he is not invested in his own recovery, which is not acceptable for you—it is a violation of your long term vision and values. Naturally, in such a circumstance, it is healthy for you to lose interest. For now, it doesn’t matter if your lack of checking in on him is because you are losing interest, or because you are learning how to manage your own life in the aftermath of the initial discovery. Behaviours must first be (consistently) practiced before they become integrated. This is the same for any behaviour, not just addictive behaviours.

But I need him to want to resolve his own wounded self, and to want a closer relationship with me – if he reaches this desire himself, then we have a chance of success.
He may want those things, too. I wonder if what you really mean is that you want for him to take quantifiable action to align himself with those value-based wants.

I’ve been putting off doing this exercise for several weeks. It’s definitely the most difficult one so far. I guess I didn’t want to upset myself. I’ve chosen to list the emotions I’ve felt with just a small amount of detail, rather than writing a very elaborate letter.
Acknowledging your emotions is a good first step. I would encourage you to go back and write the letter. It is not meant to upset you, although, it is admittedly upsetting to be present to the impact this addiction has had on you—but it is also healthy (as long as you don’t go into rumination over it). That said, I found that writing the letter helped tame rumination because it allowed me to acknowledge what I had been habitually repressing; it “gave a voice” to my fears and concerns. (The workshop will have that effect as well, gradually).

I sometimes feel a huge sadness for the loss of the marriage I thought I had, and the irretrievable waste of time.
It will help, here, to list of the positive things that have come from your relationship with your h. Having children being the first, most obvious positive result of your relationship. What have you learned/are you learning about yourself in this process? What skills are you developing that you may not have had, previously? What lessons can you pass on to your children? Are you more present to your values and what is important to you?

I don’t know yet if I can live like that, but I’m not ready to make this decision yet.
This response indicates good self-awareness and a balanced perspective with commitment to making values-based choices, rather than ones based on emotions. :g:

My situation has made me feel fearful for the future relationships of my daughters whose sex lives will no doubt be governed by pornography. The internet is now where pre-teen boys and girls learn about sex – I pity them, and I believe that sex addiction will be far more prevalent as a result in years to come.
Fortunately, you have gone through this experience such that you are aware of this potential danger—no are longer naive as to think that your children are safe to learn for themselves. Your awareness allows you to take an active role in teaching them healthy sexual values, and limiting their exposure to unhealthy ones!

He says he is abstaining, but seeing as nothing has changed (no difference in communication between us, no increased involvement with the family, for example), I’m sceptical.
He may be abstaining, but you are right that —in a health based recovery—one can expect to see transformations in the critical areas of life management and engagement (e.g. communication, openness, presence of mind, etc.).

After 1.5 years I’m pretty much finished with trying to change my husband – I know that he is the only person who can do this.

I’m not sure that I have actually shared my needs with my husband, other than assuming that he knows them. Hmmm. Perhaps I should try that: I need a faithful loving happy husband, who likes and takes care of himself first, and who wants to be an open, honest and active member of our family, rather than a “sleeping partner”.
Yes. It is a good idea for you to be clear on what you want for your partnership (the mini vision within the larger vision for your whole life) and to develop boundaries to protect the values that support you in living into that vision, communicating these to your partner. Doing so will help you continue to move forward, and replace yourself as the bearer of responsibility for his lack of doing (e.g. “How can I expect him to do this, if I don’t tell him this is what I want?”). In a healthy values based partnership, one does not have to explain to their partner that lying, not begin open, not being actively engaged, etc. undermine that partnership…. But, given that you are willing to work with him, sharing this information with him is the most that you can do and if you have not done so to date, then it may help you heal, knowing that you did all you can do to promote the health of your relationship. The rest will be up to him.

I will do some Googling and speak to my counsellor about strategies for improving communication.
The one concern I have with this statement is that partners have a tendency to take on more than their share of responsibility for what is wrong in the relationship. Here, it seems you are taking responsibility for your husband’s lack of communication. I don’t know that there is anything more for you to do, other than to continue modelling the healthy communication skills that you already possess. "You can lead the horse to water, but you can't force him to drink."

It is great to see you have such a strong support system. And, good to see you persevere in yourself and your healing, despite your husband's apparent lack of interest in recovery. (Some partners tend to drop off when their partners do not engage, because they don't see the point of healing if it is not going to lead to the desired outcome of "fixing" their relationship or their partner. But, the point of the partner's workshop is healing, regardless of the outcome). Keep up the good work!

Be well

Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom. (Viktor E. Frankl)

PostPosted: Fri Jan 02, 2015 6:33 pm 

Joined: Fri Aug 22, 2014 6:51 pm
Posts: 21
Dear Coach Mel,

Thank you for your wise feedback - I really appreciate it. You've given me some things to think about and work through. It's great to know that you and the RN community are here with me!


PostPosted: Fri Feb 13, 2015 6:21 pm 

Joined: Fri Aug 22, 2014 6:51 pm
Posts: 21
Exercise 16

A. Create a list of at least ten core values that represent the person you want to be. You should be able to rely on this list with confidence in guiding decisions, actions, prioritization, etc.

LOVE – I love my family – my kids, my family of origin, my extended family. I would like to love my husband more again too if he would let me love him.

HONESTY – being open and honest with myself and with others.

INDEPENDENCE – being strong, capable, responsible and self-sufficient has always been important to me. (But I’ve realised recently that perhaps this is also me keeping my emotional distance from others / not trusting others).

COMPASSION – feeling empathy for others.

INTELLECTUAL INTERESTS – books, movies, politics, feminism, sociology, visiting places of knowledge (museums, galleries) and learning new things, traveling.

GOOD MOTHER, HOMEMAKER, COOK and ROLE MODEL (the Homemaker and Cook bits are a work in progress!)

PEACE OF MIND / RELAXED / EASYGOING (work in progress!)

FAMILY ACTIVITIES – we seem to find this very hard. Are we a family of 4 introverts/loners?

SELF CARE – work at maintaining friendships. Make time for personal care e.g. more exercise, waxing, pedicure, flossing!

FINANCIAL INDEPENDENCE – maintain professionalism in paid job, etc.

HAPPINESS – I must take responsibility for my own happiness, by taking control of my own life. (This means not blaming anyone else, and not trying to punish anyone else, for my unhappiness).

B. In your own words, how can you use these values to guide you through this current crisis (or a future crisis)?

I used to be very sure of who I was, very confident that I was a well-balanced person, a likeable person. Since D-Day, however, I’ve learned that a lot of things in my life are not what they seemed, and this has made me doubt myself. So, to answer the question, I know that by reaffirming the above values, I can deal with any crisis.

C. Compare this list to the vision that you created in Stage One; Lesson Two. Are they similar? They should be. In fact, they should be practically identical — with your vision serving as a narrative for the list you have here. If they are not, change whichever is inconsistent with the life that you want to lead. Your vision must be forged from your core values or you will continue to struggle with imbalance and chaos.

Yes, the above list of core values is very similar to my Vision in Exercise 2.

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