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PostPosted: Thu Feb 21, 2019 2:43 pm 

Joined: Wed Jan 02, 2019 10:57 pm
Posts: 2
Hi, I've been lurking here for a while, reading a lot of the lessons and posts. Sorry I have not introduced myself until now. Dday was mid October, so it’s been four months, my husband was so slow to get started with any kind of recovery, even though he said he would, it took him two months to get going (at my urging) but then there was Christmas so I understood that it was a bad time to commit to much. Since the first of the year, he is finally going to the therapist twice a month (he said the therapist said that was enough, I am not so sure!), going to Celebrate Recovery almost every week. He is supposed to be going through a video series (The Conquer Series) which was recommended by his therapist, and he did it consistently for a week or two, but he has not worked on it in a few days now. (The reason I think he has not worked on it is that he is too busy. He has been working overtime at work because we lost some income due to the government shutdown. So I feel like I have no complaint against his not doing the work, since he's trying to catch us up financially.) But, I wrote to him on Tuesday and asked him what he thinks about his CR group, does he think he's learning and growing, and in what way. Just trying to spark a conversation about it. And I know he saw the message but he has not taken the time to write me back. Or bring it up at all. I feel like he's dragging his feet on this whole recovery thing. Me, I have been taking every chance I can, including staying up late, to read articles and do RN, and other things to help me figure things out and gain clarity, etc. because I am internally motivated to do this! Ok I guess my question is, how long do I just wait for him to show me he is in recovery? And what is my next step if he doesn’t ever do much more than what is doing now, which is at the pace of a sloth. I need help with setting boundaries.
Any advice? ~Seren

PostPosted: Mon Feb 25, 2019 11:19 am 

Joined: Fri Jun 17, 2016 1:39 am
Posts: 55
Hi Seren,
Welcome to RN, even if I'm very sorry for what is happening to you, I hope RN lessons and community can help you

I understand your question, and the need for an answer.
Uncertainty is so hard to handle!

However, if you don't mind, I would like to ask You a question: YOUR healing, how long before you start your healing journey?

What I mean is that his recovery relies on his hands only. Like it has been said: You can not cure it, you can not control it (and you did not cause it ! )
His dedication, his involvement, his efforts, etc... it's only up to him. And he has to realize where his priorities in life are.
it's very hard to acknowledge that we are powerless . that we can not help them. that what we see with clarity, by reading books, videos etc... are complete foreign language sometimes for them.
What took me time to realize is that it's not for him to "understand" or simply "learn" what is honesty, or care or faithfulness or etc...... ;
but that he has to learn it from experience. only by experiencing himself he was able to fully understand and ingrain new life management skills or value.

Here you can have a support role: by setting up boundaries, and consequences if boundaries broken. He can learn by experience what are boundaries , and the value to respect them (my partner did not understand the concept of boundaries, because he did not respect himself . only when he had to face the consequences he started to "feel" what it means)

Also, I think that I helped him in his recovery when I decided not to be involved directly anymore, and to give him full responsibility on his recovery.

So when you ask 'how long do you wait for him to show he is in recovery' and 'what is your next step': we are all different, and situations are different. None of us can answer to you.
But the RN workshop for partner can help you to answer yourself this questions.

I encourage you to do the workshop, and start working on your healing.

Warm hugs

PostPosted: Fri Mar 01, 2019 11:52 am 

Joined: Mon Jan 11, 2016 10:08 am
Posts: 190
Seren, Ana is right. I know how it feels at that at this early stage to want to see something tangible, that steps are being taken and that you receive feedback about how well everything is progressing. I also wanted see the ‘evidence’ that my husband’s recovery was underway but reality was different. Mostly there was nothing to ‘see’ and my husband felt uncomfortable every time I raised the issue. As far as he was concerned he had quit and he wanted to leave it in the past, which is not unusual in early recovery. Also, at this stage the addict has very little empathy and understanding and isn’t capable of providing us with the support or reassurances we need. This makes it all the more difficult to cope with.

My husband quit acting out but he didn’t want me to know what he’d been doing for the past several years. I expected full disclosure but I didn’t get it. I expected honest answers to my questions only to be told more lies.I accept there’s a lot I don’t know and probably never will. That’s tough. I know now that my experience is fairly typical — lies, denial, minimisation, gaslighting and trickle truth. About 12-18 months after d day I gradually came to a place of acceptance. I had to learn to live with the probability that I don’t know “everything”. I accept that whatever happened in the past has already happened. I’ve thought through the “what ifs” and made space in my mind to accommodate these fears. There’s what he did in the past until d day, and that’s where I draw my line. I’m prepared to accept just anything before d day but acting out in any way after d day is another matter. This is where boundaries come in.

Boundaries are a very tough concept to understand at first. Some partners mistakenly believe it’s about presenting the addict spouse with a list of rules that must be obeyed. Ultimately, can only make a request and either your partner goes along with it or they don’t. If there are no consequences when a stated boundary is breached then your boundary is effectively meaningless. Many partners learn this lesson the hard way.

The most effective boundaries are those where you can take your own actions to protect yourself, because what happens when you make a request that only gets ignored or “forgotten”? That’s when it’s necessary to take action without the need to ask another person to do/not do something. So if you need to take yourself out of your situation by going to stay with a friend or even book into a hotel if you learn your husband has acted out again, you can do just that. Or you can choose the “do nothing” option, or anything in between.

As Ana says, sometimes we do have to accept that we are powerless. Your husband’s motivation to quit is beyond your control. He has to want to quit for his own reasons, that his life is better without his addiction. Sometimes the ‘do nothing’ option is the best or the only option, at least in the short term. That’s not quite the same as tolerating the intolerable because you feel you have no choice — I know what that felt like, I’ve been there and I certainly don’t recommend just putting up with a situation that makes you unhappy.

Life after addiction isn’t easy. I’m three years plus since d day and I feel that I have many cracks and scars on my soul. I’ve put a lot of energy into recovery and I still feel I have a long way to go. Is my relationship better? In some ways, yes. In other ways, no. Recovery exposed the fault lines that addiction obscured, and just as addiction changes the brain by developing stronger pathways to the reward centres in the brain, I also believe that many years of lying, deceiving and compartmentalisation are hardwired into the brain through years of reinforcement. In the early years of my relationship my husband was a lot more honest. Perhaps it was gradual but when his addiction took hold his attitude became one of “don’t ask, don’t tell” and in the end he wouldn’t even tell me about anything, not even every day stuff. Instead of his addiction behaviours becoming compartmentalised from the rest of his life, *I* became compartmentalised. Even if this relationship was to end, I’d still be damaged and I’d still have to recover from all those years of being sidelined in my own marriage.

So how long does it take? A therapist would say 3-5 years. But given the fact that this experience went on for so long and damaged me and changed me, I would say that it’s going to take a lifetime.

PostPosted: Sat Mar 02, 2019 7:38 am 
Partner's Mentor

Joined: Sun Sep 14, 2014 1:34 pm
Posts: 671
I agree with what Ana and Blue have said. In my case I'm six years out.

You should see some changes right away, but they are slow. It took a year for my husband to admit he was an addict. I had started RN and took Jon's advice and threatened divorce if he didn't do something. In his case, he did RN and actually completed it. I'm not sure how much sunk in, but enough did that it started him on his road to recovery. He got into IC, again based on my threat, and IC got him into 12-step. 12-step got him into a mens group. IC also got him into a psychotherapy group and MC. He rarely journaled, never read a book, didn't call his mentor. So I was seeing changes, but also continued red flags. The lessons helped me look for what were healthy changes, and that takes a long time. I think 3-5 years is unrealistic. Early on (and I'm talking a couple of years), I think we should see a commitment to recovery and ACTION around recovery. After that, we should see some honesty and more maturity. I'm still waiting for my husband to initiate meaningful conversation. Hasn't happened yet.

I do think it's a lifetime of work.

Over time as I finished the partner lessons and found an excellent trauma therapist, my focus changed from waiting for my husband to recover to focusing more on me. As that occurs, and I felt better about myself and got away from my husband's addictions, I was able to learn about creating and ensuring boundaries.

What I really needed to learn was to be gentle with myself, to focus on myself and my wellbeing, and to give myself time to do it. I wish there was a quicker fix, but I don't believe there is. I do believe I will be scarred forever, but I also am so much better than I was six years ago and I believe I can still improve my life in the time I have left.

I say this with a completely different view of my husband and marriage. I don't think I will ever get the marriage I want with my husband. At my age, I'm not sure if I want to try to find someone else. I grieve the losses, but I also focus on the other things in my life that are fulfilling.


PostPosted: Thu Mar 07, 2019 1:50 am 

Joined: Wed Jan 02, 2019 10:57 pm
Posts: 2
Thank you, ladies, for your advice. I have to admit, it makes me so very sad to read, but I realize I need to accept the truth about this. Thank you for sharing your stories.

PostPosted: Mon Mar 18, 2019 10:23 am 
Partner's Mentor

Joined: Thu Apr 18, 2013 11:38 pm
Posts: 515
Hi serene,
welcome to RN.

I had similar thoughts and questions as you when I joined long ago. Although there are similarities, it seems the people with addiction will follow different journeys in recovery. My husband's path was to protect his addiction at all costs, until, like dnell, I threatened divorce.

From that point, he woke up, but in early recovery there were still a lot of harmful defense mechanisms on his part, and notable, continued self-pity. Over time, these behaviors mostly went away.

Specific to your story, something that stands out to me is the nature of this addiction (and probably others) is it's built on a foundation of avoidance of just about everything--especially their own feelings. So, your husband's foot dragging is likely a combined of a continuation of that behavior (avoidance) as well as parts of him trying to bargain/protect his addiction.

Where we, as partners, live in a realm where we will inherently often take action to fix a problem, an addict will not.

My husband is fairly long into recovery, and while his capacity to take initiative in our general life has greatly improved, he continues to lack initiative when it comes to being resourceful in addressing his addiction.

As blue noted, it is a lifetime of work.

If your husband is in recovery, you should see changes over time. There was a turning point in my marriage, about a year into his recovery, where my husband became much more of a partner and support to me. HIs empathy improved, his ability to share with me his feelings improved. It took a long time to get there. In the meantime, he worked hard at more external measures: blockers in place, working his recovery program, updating me on what he'd learned in the RN workshop.

I could feel and see a difference from the prior D-days, where my husband simply resorted to white knuckling it. If your husband is in true recovery, you should be able to see some notable changes, including his willingness to talk with you about his recovery with sincerity. He should begin to show humility and listen to your concerns about the pace and sincerity of his recovery.

As long as I saw those kinds of changes, I was willing to stay. We all have different metrics for staying--it's very individual. But if you are not happy with the sincerity and depth of your husband's recovery, it may take a very serious conversation with him for him to understand his efforts are not enough, and you need to see a deeper commitment to his recovery program. He may try to get you to spell it out and dictate it completely for him, and I want to caution you here: that;s him trying to offload responsibility to you. While you can define some parameters, one of the biggest markers of sincere recovery, in my experience, is the person is willing to take at least some initiative on his own behalf.

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