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PostPosted: Thu Jul 23, 2015 9:19 am 
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Joined: Mon Jul 13, 2015 12:43 pm
Posts: 83
dnell wrote:
hadenuff - I now understand what you are saying. Jon, here at RN, did not totally agree with the 12 step approach. I also know that each 12 step group is different. Some groups want no disclosure to partners, others allow some, and everywhere in between. I do understand about your concerns about the advice she is getting in 12 step. Does your counselor agree with the 12 step advice? That could be problematic.

Essentially I believe she is minimizing her effort and going through the motions. I believe she has a sponsor who isn't proactive enough to confront her in these actions but this is WAY outside what I am allowed to discuss since it's handling her recovery and that's not my job.
Our therapist has just dropped the hammer after being lied to in our session once again, she's currently deciding if she will continue to work with my partner. She refuses to be a party to enabling her behavior.

dnell wrote:
There is a book by a man named Magness that I recommend you read that talks alot about disclosure. (I think it's titled "Halt Sex Addiction Now"). It would be good for your partner to read it as well. If Jon had not been taken so soon from us, I'd be really interested to see how his thinking had evolved about treatment of SA and trauma recovery for the partners.

I've looked up this book already based on comments about it in these forums. The situation I'm concerned with is that I like the concept of this book, the full disclosure, the fact that an addict wrote a response denouncing the book for forcing the addict to disclose and confront the damage they've done. This all obviously appeals to me but it also concerns me based on its massive conflict with SA. There doesn't seem to be a clear path through this situation.
I could be crazy but I felt like the best situation here would be if her SA sponsor had suggested an open conversation with the three of us. Giving the sponsor an idea of where the relationship is, what the boundaries are etc.
The 12 step concept is that the addict needs to surrender to the process and volunteer full disclosure instead of being made to. Basically, SA is for those who want to recover, not need to recover.

dnell wrote:
I want to tell you my current views on this, and they do not represent RN, just me. My husband is in 12 step. RN alone was not enough for him to recover. It gave him a great start, and the framework of living by values is something he gets. But he still was white knuckling. He is also in individual therapy. In my view, he needs every form of help he can get (12 step, individual therapy, marriage counseling, RN). There's overlap in philosophies and conflicts. He needs to be mature enough (and isn't that a scary thought) to figure out the conflicts, explain them to himself and me, and decide which approach he agrees with. His 12 step group tends to tell him not to disclose quickly. On the other hand, step 4 is taking a "fearless inventory" about their behavior. And later steps talk about making amends. His individual counselor and our marriage counselor definitely think he needs to disclose and that he needs to be transparent and honest. So, there is a counterbalance to any possible 12 step advice to not disclose. I'd be uncomfortable if my husband did only 12 step, but with these other resources, I feel somewhat safer.

So how do you handle the disparity between the different methodologies.
I want full disclosure, transparency (including her email and phone) which I see RN supports and her 12 step basically says no to this.
So, violate 12 step or feel like I'm being forced to manage her recovery?

dnell wrote:
Help for the partners of SA's is brand new. The focus was on the addict. Then it was on us as being "co-addicts". Now it has evolved to trauma recovery for us. Effective treatment is still in transition. My view is that addicts need two approaches (and this is a bit at odds with RN): I think they need to get the addiction in control, but concurrently, need to work on their early trauma which set the stage for the addiction to develop. I think Jon's approach, which was more nuanced, is that the 'why' of it was not as important as the stopping of it by living by values in a healthy way. But when you strip the addicts of their rituals which provided escape from some uncomfortable emotion, the uncomfortable emotion is still there. That original emotional issue needs to be addressed. That's my two cents.

I'm new to all of this and obviously my pain is driving a lot of my concerns and views but currently I feel like there is a ton of support and protection provided to the addicts and the partners are consistently told by 12 steps to just endure the continued abuse.
I'm doing everything I can to separate from her recovery for my own safety, it seems reasonable to expect the addicts would separate their partner from their abuse of them by being honest, open and transparent willingly.

dnell wrote:
Finally, the last thing I want to do is whack you. Haven't you been whacked enough?

LOL, yes, I basically just meant I deal better with brutal honesty rather than kid gloves. If I'm being stupid, tell me I'm being stupid.

dnell wrote:
You have the right to make bottom lines with your wife. That may mean you want a structured disclosure with her by some date. You have a right to decide what you want when you want it. Learning about addiction helped me to figure out if what I want is reasonable. That is, I want my husband to be more transparent. I learned he wasn't going to do it right away. But as time passes, I continue to say what I want in terms of disclosure and daily transparency. When he doesn't deliver, I "up the ante", or in other words, I enact the consequences of violating this boundary of mine. In my marriage counseling I commit to only six month periods of staying with my husband. Neither of us is supposed to do anything to threaten the marriage. Of course this is ridiculous since he is an SA trying to recover and threatens the marriage all the time. But, it helps me to realize I have control and autonomy. It helps him to realize there are consequences to his behavior. Since I believe he should have progressed more on transparency by this point and has been not doing so, I am now saying I want to write a post nuptial agreement. That got his attention. Keep doing the lessons. Figuring out our boundaries is critical and, hate to say this, took me a long time to figure out how to do it.

This is what we're supposedly working on now, after yet another realization that she's been lying by omission, minimizing, possibly deceiving and manipulating her sponsor etc. We're discussing making a list of boundaries and consequences. I've asked her to come up with hers first and we will discuss them. I've also asked a recovering addict who has several years sober to provide some reasonable suggestions for boundaries and consequences. I'm trying to focus on the fact that she's not even a month sober and there's going to be some issues to contend with. We had a bit of a come to Jesus conversation after this new realization and she claims I put the reality of her lack of full surrender into perspective, that she feels like she's been putting forth a good effort but admitted she's been using things like overview and summary to avoid full detail which she's embarrassed of. Only time will tell.

I'd love to see some samples of what you felt were reasonable boundaries and consequences....I understand this is a very personal discussion between you and your SA so I'd understand if that's not possible. As a mentor are you able to PM that information?

dnell wrote:
In solidarity,
dnell

I've honestly began to feel like this is the only place I find that solidarity. I feel like I'm providing half measures due to my unique situation which leaves me limited to what I can explain based on how obvious it will make it who I am, who she is and eliminate the privacy and anonymous nature of recovery. So, thank you, it means more than you know even if it is a signature line, it's a reality for me. I honestly wish the forums were way more active since I feel better here more so than anywhere else.

HadEnuff


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 24, 2015 11:51 am 
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jacki3030 wrote:
Hadenuff, you are speaking of things here that have always troubled me too. I could never get over the indignation that it does appear like, in order to be a supportive partner, we need to hold back some of our pain, hurt, anger, lest we overwhelm them with guilt and shame and derail their recovery. I know it appears that way, I don't think it really is, in truth IMO, they will do or not do what ever they CHOOSE to do or not do, regardless of their spouses opinion, feelings or anybody's or anything else.

I agree wholeheartedly, it's becoming abundantly clear that the SA has control over whether or not they recover and how much effort they put into that recovery. We on the other hand control our own recovery and our decision as to whether or not we want to continue to be in this relationship.
I think the hardship I have is more about feeling like there is so much support for the abuser in the situation.
If we look at this from a perspective of a crime, we have been the victim of a crime and the SA is the criminal who perpetrated the crime. It would be like going to court and having the judge scold the partner for not treating the SA better when they were being abused.
If we were robbed at gunpoint we wouldn't sympathize with the perpetrator for having a horrible childhood or for struggling with the decision to rob people. The courts wouldn't go easier on a perpetrator because they perpetrated 50% less crimes this year than last year. If 12 step programs are about accountability shouldn't it be more like AA, NA etc with a zero tolerance policy towards accountability?
I understand AA and NA understands relapse and slipups, but I can't imagine NA saying that they are doing a great job if they are doing less drugs.
I struggle with this a lot, I keep trying to read the documentation here reminding me that this isn't going to be fair. In the beginning I struggled with the concept that the SA should basically be doing everything to make me comfortable, to live inside my restrictions to adhere to my values and concepts. Now, I'm realizing this is about them making the choice to WANT to do those things not to do them because they NEED or HAVE to do them.

jacki3030 wrote:
I would be so angry that even though, he never seemed to put any value on my concerns, fears, feelings or dignity, Im supposed to be concerned with his? heck no! In some ways, it is true, for me. I always struggle with my own emotional reactions, now more than ever. I believe that it is important to state your feelings, for your own sake, at least you said it. So when I react from emotions, or from ego, which almost always is explosive, I have figured out that I can regret and apologize for losing my temper, for instance, in essence, the manner in which I CHOSE to deliver the message, but NOT retract or apologize for the message. Although, Im pretty sure he hears that and assumes that the message is retracted whether or not I mention it at all, grrr!. My feelings and thoughts are my feelings and thoughts and I must state them or I will feel like I am disrespecting myself. And although this his recovery, it is my life too, if we are together, and I have a right to state the things I accept in my life, thats what boundaries are all about.

I have anger management issues, I have struggled with them all my life. I have ensured that my reaction and communication has been from a point of clearly communicating my feelings and emotions without hiding behind easy answers like anger. It's hard enough to handle communication in this situation but I've realized that I've been selfish as well. I've allowed my decisions to cause me to be part of the damage being done to two little girls, raising their hope about something that may not work. I've enabled my partner by not setting healthy boundaries and standing by them. I've involved other people in the situation by choosing to have a revenge affair as well as choosing to have many casual sexual encounters when we broke up during this process and then returning to the relationship. This was my choice to make and in that I chose to continue to involve those girls, I chose to involve other people and that damage is mine to own.
So, now it's time to be an adult, own my part in this damage and that I need to be able to rationally communicate my feelings and emotions without the safety blanket of anger and blame to end my part in the damage being done.


jacki3030 wrote:
I too struggle with the concept of full disclosure. That forcing them to tell all too soon, well doesn't work, they will just clam up or lie, minimize etc, because they were put on the spot. Until the person with the addiction (I hate to use the word addict, as it does somewhat dehumanize them, and this is a person with an addiction, not an addict, but darnt! its much quicker to say 'addict' rather than 'person with an addiction', lol, so I do use the word addict, even though I know I shouldn't, also im angry now, so it is what it is, for now, lol). Until the addict is truly ready to be self aware, to let go of their secret world, they are not ready to let go of their secrets, either. And anything they do or say until then is lip service and putting on a show, IMO. But, I have to have that disclosure, so I can get the missing pieces of my life back, line it all up in my mind, deal with it, accept. Be able to figure out if I can know this person, for real, learn to trust him, trust in a future. Until I get that, I feel as though I am in limbo, which I can't deal with. But that is my feelings, others may be able to look at it differently.

I'm right here with you Jacki, I'm sitting in limbo waiting for either the next shoe to drop or there to be some rigorous honesty (their term), transparency and disclosure. I have to choose if I'm going to wait for that and endure the shoe dropping sensation or to leave, seek my own recovery and move on with my life. That's the power of the partner, it's not a punishment for the SA, it's about our protection, our sanity, our well being.

jacki3030 wrote:
Im sure you will get better advise and guidance from others here, Im mainly just lending you some support and solidarity.

Yesterday I stumbled across your journal/post in the other section. I completely mistook that for a community support post and just added some solidarity. I appreciate your understanding and thankfully this is a place where breaking rules are met with polite direction. So far I've assumed a SA post was open to partners because of the subject even though it didn't have "Both Sides Welcome" in the title and had to remove a post and now I've stuck my nose into your recovery thread. I love the support and solidarity here, I love having a place to vent and find like minded individuals so now I need to focus on not stomping through here like a bull in a china shop.
I don't think there can be better advice or guidance, I think it's about supporting each other through this mess. We can all choose to white knuckle the process but history shows that's not helpful.
Please assume if you see me posting here in the community support forum that I welcome any and all comments, positive or negative. I welcome any response as I have no one to discuss this with in person.

There's a common AA, NA phrase that I've always liked, "Thank you for sharing". I think maybe we need something along those lines. I like "thank you for understanding". I think it's extremely accurate for me lately as I feel like I've stormed through this place kicking open doors and throwing things on the ground like a child.
So, thank you all for understanding.


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 25, 2015 1:37 pm 
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Joined: Fri Oct 03, 2008 1:49 pm
Posts: 3957
Hello Hadenuff,

Welcome to RN. Although the reasons you are here are not good ones the fact that you found us and are starting your own healing is very positive. I have not read your thread but wanted to follow up with whats already been said.

You've had some really good feedback and I can see just in the short time you've been here that you are starting to make the journey your own and not you and your wife's. Let me clarify. In the beginning we partners usually want everything to happen simultaneously. We want their recovery to happen while our healing is happening and while our relationship gets better because of all the work we are doing and our marriage is healed. But the reality is not only do we have to concentrate on ourselves we have to let go of any expectations in the relationship until there has been a certain amount of individual growth on both your parts. And while this is absolutely not fair for the partner there is no other healthy way to approach it. And as others have stated making those boundaries and sticking to the consequences is what will protect you in the long run.

As far as the SA group, there are plenty out there that are still health focused while using the 12 steps but there are just as many that are stuck in the old way of doing things. RN can work along side 12 steps with a lot of progress if the addict is open to it. Have you given your wife the link to take a look? Of course without being tied to the outcome of whether she actually does look. That is her decision.
She is very early in recovery and she is only in a position to hurt you more if you allow it. She has to learn honesty, values, empathy all over again. That takes time and a lot of work. In the end the whys and whats will drive us nuts. We concentrate on getting healthy, managing our values and detaching from our SO's recovery, for now. As you go through the rest of the workshop you will see progress in yourself, learn what a true recovery looks and feels like and get answers to question we didn't even know we had.

I wish you the best on your journey to health.

Coach Cheryl
Director


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 25, 2015 2:13 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jul 13, 2015 12:43 pm
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Thanks Cheryl, I've made every rookie mistake possible so I think I've got a lot of that out of the way.

Meantime, I sent a payment for the private forums and I was wondering if you've seen it?


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 25, 2015 3:00 pm 
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Joined: Sun Sep 14, 2014 1:34 pm
Posts: 661
Hi hadenuff - I have been reading your posts and admire your candor and commitment. I especially admire your thoughtfulness about your stepdaughters.

I wanted to respond to some questions you had from my last post.

Quote:
So how do you handle the disparity between the different methodologies.
I want full disclosure, transparency (including her email and phone) which I see RN supports and her 12 step basically says no to this.
So, violate 12 step or feel like I'm being forced to manage her recovery?


I'm still working on full disclosure and transparency with my husband and it's been a year since the D-day he actually understood. He insists he has made a full disclosure. I would be a fool to believe that. I think the reality is for many of those in recovery, full disclosure does not happen. Instead they drip, drip, drip away with disclosure. Why? Lots of reasons. They are still in damage control mode and they are lying to save themselves. Remember, lying is one of their primary life management tools. They also have lied so much to themselves that some of their crap is crystal clear; some is confusing; some they have forgotten. My husband still fears my reaction and he still has a ton of guilt and shame. And my husband continues to want to "manage" me and decide what is in my best interest to know. This is a huge pile of BS because it really is about protecting his addiction. I think my husband still struggles with whether or not he REALLY wants to give up all of his rituals. As Jon says in a supplemental lesson, at first he wanted to give up the negative consequences of the rituals, but not the rituals themselves. This is an important bridge for the SA to cross. And, I think they really don't fully get how much of their behavior and thinking is SA related. If they get into a sincere recovery and start to develop a sense of honest awareness about themselves, I think they begin to discover just how much distorted thinking and hypersexualized behavior they engaged in. They believe all sorts of distorted stuff that isn't true, but they, I think, honestly don't know yet that it is a distortion.

And, if your wife really starts going down the road of sincere recovery, you may notice, and for me this was quite a shock, just how empty an SA is and how little they have at their disposal to manage life. Without rituals, they have very few tools to manage their emotions, heck, to even identify their emotions. Communication for my husband is very, very difficult. As his addictions progressed he became more and more isolated, more and more distorted in his thinking, and his life management skills eroded even further. I can still be overwhelmed by this reality and I can't imagine how hard it must be if I were the addict.

I talk with my husband about his views of the 12 step philosophy and methodology. And, frankly, as he has stayed with it, he is getting better at telling me about it without revealing anything about the other members. Here we have to be comfortable with waiting to see what our partners think about all of this and whether or not they will tell us. A good marriage counselor familiar with SA can also be tremendously helpful to work through these disparities.

Quote:
I'd love to see some samples of what you felt were reasonable boundaries and consequences....I understand this is a very personal discussion between you and your SA so I'd understand if that's not possible.


This is a bit like asking the captain of the Titanic for navigation tips. The boundaries lesson was really challenging for me. Here's how I started: What were my bottom line behaviors that if my husband violated I would leave immediately? (No sex with anyone but me.) If he violates that, I am gone. We actually wrote contracts (which I'm sure he didn't adhere to, but it was important for me) which listed my boundaries and the consequences of violating them. For example, if he looked at porn, I might leave for a night. These boundaries change over time. Ideally, when they really get into recovery, they need to be making their own boundaries. Their lack of boundaries is what led them down the hellhole of their addictions. I started to learn day to day stuff, like, "I am not able to talk with you about...." My husband needed to set boundaries with me, which he is crappy at, about my keeping my rage in check. Another thing I will not tolerate is any negative comments about my appearance from him.

Here are some other things that I considered or experienced that might be helpful to you. When I first started RN, a coach suggested that I consider a period of physically separating from my husband. I didn't do it since he didn't want me to (duh! no surprise there for me in early healing!), and in retrospect, I wish I had done that. It would have been financially disadvantageous, but emotionally to my benefit. I would encourage you to consider finding your own therapist. I found a trauma therapist who is tremendously helpful to me. Don't go to anyone who labels you co-dependent or a co-addict. It is so very helpful to have someone there just for me who has only my best interests at heart.

One of the most important gifts I had to give myself was the gift of time, the gift of letting myself muddle and not know what to do, the gift of changing my mind.

Detachment gets easier over time. I still have very strong emotions, lots of them quite unpleasant, but I am okay with that. I still do not know how all of this will turn out. I do know that I am healing.

hadenuff, I want you to heal as well. I want you to get back your joy. I believe in you, in me, and in all the partners here.

With compassion,
dnell


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