Codependency; living with an active alcoholic

The holiday’s are upon us, and for many it is the most wonderful time of the year. Not so much over here. My mother is still dead, my kids live far away, and I live with an active alcoholic Scrooge. Way to deflate the holiday bubble.

So, to give myself a little love, I booked a trip to go see my son for Christmas. I am excited yet apprehensive at the same time.

Back to the active alcoholic, my husband. We relocated to NY 2 1/2 years ago. When we did that, I stopped going to AA meetings. In our old town, I never felt that I was getting all that much out of the program, so when we moved to a new state it was easy to stop going to meetings. I remained sober from alcohol, I just wasn’t working the program.

When we returned to my husbands old home town, he went into a deep depression, and started to drink very heavily. As I wasn’t working on myself, I didn’t really notice or care all that much.

I am now very active in the program again, and working on myself, along with working the steps. His alcoholism has become a huge issue for me. I have taken all of my focus and placed it directly on his drinking.

I addressed the situation with him a couple of months ago. The last time I went to visit my son, I happened to call him at 3:30 in the afternoon, and he was totally shitfaced.  When I returned home, we had a “come to Jesus” meeting about it. He told me, unequivocally, that he will not quit drinking. He will moderate, as he has always done in his life, just two drinks a night. I tried to impress upon him that this addiction is progressive, and that once one has gone so far down that road, it is difficult to get back to the beginning of it. Again, I was told, two drinks a night.

In October he began to drink white wine, his usual drink is vodka. That went on for about a month. (I say about, but the notes that I am keeping know it was exactly a month. And yes, I know this is hazardous and serious codependent behavior.)  After a month, the vodka was back in the freezer.

Being the codependent, controlling alcoholic/addict that I am, I could not let this go unaddressed. I asked, why the switch back to the original culprit, vodka? I was told that he “detoxed” with the wine, and would now be able to control the vodka drinking to two shots per night. WTF?? Right?

Codependency is a gorilla that sits on my back. I am now laser focused on his drinking. And, yes I know, intellectually that this is ridiculous, tell my addict that, she can’t get a grip on this.

I hear when the freezer door opens, I hear the shot glass get picked up, I hear the two shots being poured, then the glub, glub, glub of the extra vodkas that goes in from the bottle. It all just makes me so anxious, fearful and crazy angry at the same time.

Since the return of the vodka, I am too actively involved in his drinking.  I have begun to water down the bottle of vodka. I thought that when it froze, as it is kept in the freezer, it might tip him off, it didn’t, he just moved the bottle to the refrigerator.

This unfortunate trend of watering down the vodka has taken up massive amounts of space in my addicted brain. Each night, before I go to bed, I add a splash of water to the vodka bottle. He either hasn’t noticed, or refuses to address it with me. I don’t know which one it is. (Our communication skills are horrendous about this subject matter.)

I need to get this fucking gorilla off my back. I know the other shoe is going to drop while I am away over the holidays. He will go back to his heavy drinking because he is only moderating because of my monitoring. (How fucked up is this?)

The whole situation, all of my own making, is causing me extreme anxiety about my trip. I  do not want to live the rest of my life focused on him and his alcoholic drinking. I know about Al-anon, I am aware of ACOA, I go to 4 AA meetings a week. I have read countless articles and books about codependency, listened to numerous podcasts, yet I can not shake this behavior.

Therefore, I am turning to you readers, sober, non sober, anyone, with suggestions of how to NOT continue to focus on this.

Before anyone suggests things such as exercise, work, getting out of the house, reading, going to another room, or just try to stop, I do all of the above, and more. I just can’t stop this nonsense. It is giving me huge amounts of anxiety daily.

Any and all suggestions welcomed.

 

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AA is Antiquated

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I quit AA again last night. I am an alcoholic and an addict. Apparently, the AA meetings I go to here in New York, don’t want to hear from addicts, only alcoholics.

Last night the gentleman who qualified, had both alcoholism and addiction in his story. He had 12 years sober, tore a shoulder ligament, then became addicted to pain pills. He pulled his life together, put together another 12 years of sobriety, and then incurred a debilitating back injury. He told the doctor that he was an addict, so the did not give him opiates, they gave him suboxone, more addictive than heroin. He slowly took himself off of it, supplemented with vodka.

The floor then became open in a round robin style share. I have difficulty sharing under the best circumstances, but this was something I know about. Having an injury where pain pills have re-entered my life, I got a lot out of his story. As people began to share, the shares leaned more to addiction rather than alcohol.

I rarely, if ever, raise my hand. I was with my sponsor, and she said, maybe you could talk about what you have recently experienced. I let a few more people speak, then raised my hand, at the exactly the same time. Fortunately, he called on her. After her share, the moderator then stated that all shares only be about alcohol.

Alcohol and prescription medicine are my addictions. I went to AA for the fellowship,  the understanding, and the like mindedness of the people in the room. If I am limited in what I am “allowed” to speak about, then I am not being true to myself, nor am I putting my real self out there.

After the announcement was made, I was stunned. I then quickly picked up my bag and promptly left. I decided on my way home, through many tears, that I am done. I do not need to go to meetings to feel like shit, I can stay at home and do that to myself. I hate intolerance, and I don’t accept it, and I won’t get over it. I have no patience for feeling intimidated about speaking, due to some antiquated rule.

21.5 million people in the United States are addicts, 7 million battle a drug use disorder, about 1 out of every 8 people. A lot of people are cross addicted. When is AA going to move into the new century, and realize that they can not longer be an exclusionary group? Until that time comes, I will have to find a new program that will accept and tolerate a cross addicted person. Anyone have any suggestions?

 

 

Rigorous Honesty and a Day Count Reset ☹️

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I have finally owned up to the fact that I can no longer say that I have 1213 days of sobriety.  This has been a tough one for me.  Since I quit drinking on 11/30/13, I have taken opiates four times, an addiction I don’t readily own up to. I took them for the same reasons I used to drink, to not feel something that was painful.  It is the same behavior as drinking to mask my feelings,  I took the pills to make something less of a THING. To make it go away, however briefly.

I have gone back to AA and am giving it 100 percent effort this time around. When I first got sober, I did it online for the first three months, white knuckling it with the WordPress sober community.  I then decided to try an AA meeting. I found one where no one asked anything of me. No coffee making, no greeting, no commitment. Also no offers of sponsorship, nor did I asks. I just went one night a week, sat in a chair, said nothing, then went home. Just going through the motions.

I had a sponsor, but she lived in a different state, so we weren’t connected geographically, and were unable to attend meetings together. We weren’t able to get together in person and discuss my new sobriety the way I can with my new sponsor.

My current sponsor is tough, she expects a daily telephone call, and she expects me to show up at meetings, regularly. No half assing it this time.  I have been doing that, because there has been a hole in my sobriety. Without the meetings, I was back to white knuckling it, and just going through the motions. I wasn’t drinking, but if given the chance or the opportunity, I would happily gulp down a pain pill.

What I have found by attending meetings for the last three months is that  I was missing was the rigorous honesty. When you don’t have to be accountable for your behavior, you give yourself a pass and rationalize away anything.  And I have. I have done that four times when I have chosen to take opiates.

I have attended a lot of meetings in the last few months. I have been listening, and I have heard people tell on themselves repeatedly. I kept hearing the phrase rigorous honesty. It has stirred something deep in me, I have not been honest with myself, or within the program, and now it was time to own up to it.

In my mind I had kept my two addictions in separate places, never admitting the pills were as bad as the alcohol. I was sober because I didn’t drink. I kept up my day count. Nothing was going to stop my streak. Somehow, I discounted the pills, they weren’t my REAL addiction, so I kept going after each pill relapse as though nothing happened.

Except this time it was different, I had a new sponsor, I had to tell on self. That is what we do. When I first asked her if I should reset my day count, she said she felt that I was a bit too fragile and new at the program to do that, and we could let it go. But I can’t. The more meetings I go to, the more I realize that I have to reset my sobriety date. As I have relapsed, not once, but four different times. The pills and the alcohol are the same, they are both an addiction and they belong in the same bucket.

This morning I told my sponsor that I felt I needed to reset the date. The continued talk of rigorous honesty was getting to me. I am not being honest, I am a liar. I have not been sober for 1213 days, I have been cheating.

It is time to own up to it. I don’t want to, in fact it makes me cringe and cry. I can’t even think about getting another 30 day, 60 day, 90 day chip, it just makes me so sad. I am told I will feel better once I admit this. It will be a weight off, it will be the beginning, again, this time with rigorous honesty.

 

 

 

2017 and percocet relapse

I was lying in bed last night, wishing I had a journal to write in. I have had journals, but I have stopped writing in them because my husband reads them. He reads them even though I have told him, “Hey, this is my journal, it is going to live here on my night table, please don’t read it.” I find this to be a huge invasion of my privacy, among many other things that I am not going to get into today, so I stopped journaling. I moved my current one to the car, which is not a convenient place to find time and put down thoughts. I would suspect writing in a journal while driving is up there in the don’t column along with texting while driving.

Being in recovery, I have discovered that NOT writing down my thoughts has not helped me process the thoughts, or get the thoughts out of my head and put them somewhere else so they no longer make such a racket. The noise keeps me up at night.

I remembered, in my early sobriety I used to blog. I never really enjoyed blogging, I always felt my writing wasn’t good enough, or I wasn’t being insightful, or I wasn’t posting frequently enough, so I shut my blog down. That was about 2 1/2 years ago. I was blogging for the wrong reasons. This blog will now be my journal, somewhere for those pesky, keep me awake at night thoughts to live. Somewhere that the husband won’t find them.

A lot has happened in 2 1/2 years. Of course it has, it has been 2 1/2 years. I am still sober, from alcohol. I have 1,179 days. I have been in AA, then quit AA, and now my road has brought me back to AA. (more on that another day)

I never disclosed in my prior blogs that I also am an opiate addict. I had a botched rotator cuff surgery, and my doctor’s answer to my complaints about getting worse instead of better, was a continuous supply of Vicodin prescriptions. I had the shoulder repaired again, and got more opiates. As time has gone on, there have been various injuries that have required prescriptions for opiates. I have never refused or disclosed my predilection for addiction.

I found that alcohol and opiates were the perfect combination to keep me numb. As long as I had my wine and a pill or two, I was happily high, and nothing bothered me. I could drink and drug and never have to bother with any of the myriad of bothersome, hurtful issues that life consists of.

I had a year of opiate sobriety until two days ago. I found my husbands percocets that he had gotten when he had kidney stones last year. I had previously requested that they be hidden, which they were, (which in itself is pathetic to me, but that is another post) but we are away, and they aren’t hidden well, so I found them.

Then life happened, which it has a habit of doing, so I took 2 percocets. Never one, always 2, 1/2 at a time, spread out over the evening. Naturally, the self loathing was there immediately the following morning.The sick feeling,and the abject sadness at having relapsed after having a year of sobriety with pills.

As I am sitting here, life is coming in fast and furious once again. Things are ramping up to a place where I have no control. Control is my thing, as I believe it is for every addict. I still know where the perocects are, so I am telling you. I am telling anyone who is reading this that I am thinking about taking a percocet to make these feelings go away.

I am also thinking about how shitty I will feel if I do that, so for this moment, I am not going to do it. I am going to finish this post, then go do fold some laundry, and get through the next moment, then the next, until this feeling passes.

And then when my husband gets home, I am going to tell him I found them, and to please hide them again. That is what I am going to do.

BIG BOOK STUDY

I have been attending AA meetings for about a year.  I have 15 months and 14 days of sobriety yet I still don’t feel the serenity. I am not happy, joyous and free.  Life has been a little rough the past few months, and I have maintained my sobriety throughout, but am I just white knuckling it, or am I truly sober?

I have yet to read the Big Book of Alcoholic Anonymous from cover to cover.  My rationalization for this is because it is too dated.  When I went to my first meeting, one of the men said to me, get the Big Book and read the first 164 pages.  I may have read the first 64 pages, then it went to the bottom of the reading pile.

I still took the book with me when we went away last summer, and to Florida this winter.  I did not open it once.  It could actually double as a paperweight right now.

Two weeks ago, an interesting “old timer” came to our little home group meeting.  This person is intriguing,has very long term sobriety and that sense of serenity surrounds him.  I was drawn to him, I needed to find out how he got that and has maintained it for 24 years.

We became Facebook friends, and immediately started using the chat feature to discuss alcoholism, AA, and the Big Book.  I outed myself, and told him I have not read it.  I got the usual reaction when I tell anyone from AA that I haven’t read the book; WHY NOT?

I knew the only way I would actually pick it up and read it is if I was held culpable.  I suggested we do a Big Book discussion group, all two of us.

Yesterday, we got together to discuss Chapter 1.   I was explaining to him that I still have not found a Higher Power, nor can I really commit to the concept of a Higher Power, the whole process seems to still illude me.  I have moments of YES iI think I have this, but it is not a constant ribbon running through my life. I do not feel it daily.

I then disclosed, that frequently when things get to emotionally painful, my go to thought is : DRINK!  Or DRINK + PILLS!  That was when he said, maybe you aren’t done drinking yet.  Followed by, frequently people need to relapse to really be ready to embrace this program.  There was also discussion about putting my sobriety first every day.  Do I do that?  I don’t know.

All of these months of ups and downs with being sober, and maybe I need to relapse to get this program?  How does that make sense?  Is relapse a prerequisite for finding serenity and letting a higher power guide my life?  Will I find the answers to all of this in the book that I have been using as a paperweight for over a year?

I guess I will find out.  Chapter 2 on Monday

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Getting My Drink On

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I have an alcoholic brain.  I can remember many evenings, thinking as I opened my bottle of wine, I am going to get trashed tonight.

I now know, that no one who has a normal relationship with alcohol thinks this way.  This is alcoholic thinking at it’s “best”.   I can’t tell you why I would feel this way some nights, and not others.  Other nights, I just drank “normally”, excessive, but not with the goal of getting obliterated.

Of course, after the evenings of obliteration the hangover and guilt were brain crushing. Self loathing would flow over me when I came to in the morning, along with the resolve to quit.  I would quit, until 4 o’clock rolled around, then I would rationalize the wine I started to pour in my glass.  You deserve it, hair of the dog, you worked hard today.  I loved that voice that made everything okay, that allowed me to continue, that justified my every drink.

The usual mantra would begin,  I don’t drink that much, I can stop when I want, and I will just have a little tonight.  And the cycle would begin again.  Tiresome, yes, but it was a way of life.

The reason I am reliving this 9 months after quitting alcohol is because last night I had to return to the scene of one of those “going to get trashed” places.

We were invited to some friends house for dinner last night.  The last time we were there I got completely shit faced, got up from the dinner table, and went to bed.  (Yes, we had been invited to stay over.)

I remember having that infamous thought as the host poured my first glass of wine, I am going to get trashed tonight. I have no idea how much I drank, as any good alcoholic, I never saw the bottom of my glass.  I learned well at the knees of the alcoholics in my family, always keep the drink “freshened up”.

I can remember sitting at the table, listening to my husband and the hostess talk, refilling my glass as fast as possible.  I then recognized that I would no longer be able to speak without slurring, so I excused myself, and went into the bedroom and passed out, believing that no one noticed.  I find it interesting how I convinced myself that I was acting completely sober, when I was almost falling over drunk.

I remember the bedroom, the feel of the bed, waking up numerous times to get water, have night sweats and to go to the bathroom.  I recall getting up in the morning, feeling like shit, and trying to choke down a cup of coffee.  We went out to a cute diner for breakfast, which I did not enjoy because I was feeling so shitty.  I wasn’t present, the only thing sitting at the table was the hangover, I missed making a memory.

Arriving for dinner last night, I brought my sparkling water and lemon. They were prepared, they already had many bottles of club soda in their refrigerator.  I don’t know if they knew I wasn’t drinking. We had seen them in June for dinner at a restaurant, and I didn’t have any wine. I never addressed the situation, I still haven’t, I just didn’t drink.

We had a lovely evening, lobster, corn on the cob, and chocolate cake.  (I had two pieces, oh well, at least it wasn’t two bottles of wine!)

I will eventually have to make amends for that drunken evening, and probably others that aren’t in the forefront of my mind.  That will come with time.

It is nice to wake up with a clear head and a clear conscious.

Throughout the last month, my drinking cravings have been frequent and heavy.  I am sure it has been the stress that I have been under.  Drinking was how I coped with stress.  Drinking was how I coped with EVERYTHING.

I feel good that I got through the evening, and didn’t have a craving, not even when I saw the wine glass at my place on the table.

As a side note to this, my husband has stopped drinking also.  It has been a week or so, he says he isn’t counting days.  I didn’t think his drinking bothered me, but I have to say, life is nicer this way.

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Step 4: Resentments

 

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I have a very undefinable relationship with my mother.  For me, it is difficult.  I have never asked her how she feels, as she would answer me as any mother would, unconditional love, of course!

The years, and life, have made my mother a very bitter woman.  She is passive aggressive, and a lot of the time, aggressive-aggressive.   She has no idea how she sounds, and most of the time can’t remember what she has said as it is fueled by bourbon.

She has had two major surgeries in the past, the last one was an operation to remove a benign tumor from her brain.  At times I think the surgeon used a hand mixer when he went into her skull as she seems to be getting crazier as time goes on.  Then there are glimpses of cleverness, so I am thinking she is “crazy like a fox”.

Over the years, I have looked at my relationship with my mother with my wine goggles on.

I have always recognized that it is not a typical mother-daughter arrangement.  It may have been at one time, but it isn’t now.

The dysfunction of this relationship became very clear to me as I took my first stab at sobriety last summer.

I was asked to go to Massachusetts and pack all of her worldly goods to move to Virginia. I had 4 days to get it done.   I had 20 days of sobriety going in.  My daughter and I spent 4 days in her dusty, smoky condominium packing up 30 years worth of living.  It was a tenuous situation.  She was scared, naturally, but unhelpful beyond measure.

Such as:

Me: Mom, you have 4 butter dishes, do you need them all to go?

Mom: Well, one I have for the refrigerator, and one I keep on the counter and then I need the others for when those get dirty. (Along with 10 more minutes of babble, which I stopped listening to after it was clear that 4 butter dishes were what one should have in reserve.)

Me: (Huge eye roll)  WHATEVER…they will go, dripping with sarcasm, laced with you are crazy, woman.

Every afternoon ended with the same question from her, “Did you get any wine?  Sit down and let’s have a drink.”

I didn’t tell her about my bad blood tests, I just told her I had too much to do in too short an amount of time to stop and have a drink.

We got it done.  We actually got it done a day early.

My brother rode in on his white stallion and loaded her up, and they moved to Beverly, Hills that is…I mean Virginia, and he drove a U-haul.

Then the shit hit the fan.  She started to bad mouth me.  I was a bitch, I unpacked all her little tiny boxes and DUMPED them into a big box, I threw away all her treasures, and what I didn’t throw out, I sold at a yard sale, or gave to the junk man.  (Who, by the way, wouldn’t even TAKE all of her stuff, it was TOO junky for him.)

Then I drank.  I had many reasons to drink.  I finished the job!  I did it in the allotted time!  I didn’t kill my mother!  I took bushels of shit and didn’t smack anyone until their teeth bled!

I drank for another 3 months.  I drank because of….name it, I drank at it.

Now, I have been sober for 215 days.

I am beginning the 4th step.

Resentments.  Guess who is at the top of the list?  That is right, my mother.

I put her name at the top of the page, and I am astounded at the feelings that flood into my brain and body.  I am so overwhelmed that I don’t know where to start.  I have been so damaged by this relationship that my eyes are filling with tears just typing this.

All I ever wanted was a “normal” relationship with her.  Not the one I got, not the one filled with jealousy, hostility, and aggression.

I know she has been broken by life, but I can’t reconcile the fact that she would have been better off if she had only given birth to boys, as they are her preference.

I have A LOT of work to do.

 

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