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Couples Therapy

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We are scheduled to meet with a marriage counselor tonight. Surprisingly, part of me is not looking forward to this meeting.  I think I’m a little “therapied out” at the moment. In addition, between work, therapy, group meetings & phone calls, there’s not much time left in the day for anything else.  I wouldn’t mind incorporating a couples session with our existing therapists (both ML & I go to our own individual therapists), but to add an extra third party to the mix seems a little redundant to me. Dr. X ( my therapist) seems to agree, suggesting that we might benefit from seeing either herself or ML’s therapist for couples sessions every other week because they are both already familiar with our stories.  While ML’s therapist thinks that going to a separate therapist for couples counseling is best. ML seems to be siding with his therapist, insisting on a neutral third party therapist.

So here we are.  I’m not sure we’ll be able to afford another out-of-network therapist, but I want to give it a try – even if it’s only for ML’ s sake.  This seems to be very important to him. He even researched, contacted and scheduled the appointment with the therapist (to my pleasant surprise!). So even though I’m not exactly feeling this at the moment, I guess one session can’t hurt.

Suffocating Silence

silence

ML and I had a rough weekend.  For the last few weeks, everything was going wonderfully.  ML was being kind, considerate and compassionate.  But like the subtle change of the season, so are the changes that have been occuring in our relationship.  The changes have been small: anything from walking to the next room to watch TV alone (while we’re sitting together) or not engaging in conversation on our date nights.  I’ve been keeping mum about it for the most part, but while we were out to dinner on Friday (and again he was not engaging), I couldn’t take it anymore. I told him I noticed he’s been quiet all night and is everything ok.  He then replied:  I don’t have anything to talk about.  I was crushed.  Here we were at a fun restaurant on a Friday night.  The tables were packed with young couples and groups of friends having a good time together, and then there we were sitting quietly while eating our meals. I even stuffed my face too much as means to distract from the silence ( and perhaps eat my feelings while at it). It wasn’t that we had nothing to talk about, but that he wasn’t even trying to talk to me, even if only small talk.   On the way home, I told him how hurt I was that he had disengaged during our entire night together.  The whole conversation then escalated with me in tears and him saying how unhappy he feels.  He feels unhappy because he feels like he’s walking on eggshells.  I know changing was not going to be an easy process for him, but I never expected him to be unhappy.  The night ended with promises that he will try harder next time and me too tired to even care. 

Saturday pretty much came and went without much interaction. I went to visit my sister most of the day and he attended his Saturday night meeting.  Sunday, I worked from 8AM to 4PM.  When I came home, I suggested that we go get a bite to eat together and go pick up a few things at the supermarket.  During the meal and shopping excursion, we had very limited conversation, except for the occasional “pass the ketchup” or “pick up  a pack of the Chips Ahoy cookies, they’re on sale” comment.  By the time we parked the car, I couldn’t help but break down in tears.  I asked him what was going on with him. I feel so hurt. I feel like he’s detaching from me.  I tell him that we don’t need to talk every second, but we barely exchanged words the entire weekend. Our schedules are already packed with work, meetings, therapy and phone calls, how could we have nothing to talk about when we share so little time together as it is?  I’m scared that this a sign that things are going downhill again.  The only thing he could muster up was an “I know”.  I left the car  with such a heavy heart.  Where do you go when you pour out your heart and only get an “I know” as a response. I was hoping that he would take the opportunity to communicate with me, but he didn’t.  I knew that this situation would escalate out of control if I didn’t do something.  So, I decided to call some program folks. I didn’t mention what was happening with me & ML, but just talking to someone and getting my bearings helped bring me some serenity in that moment.

The night ended quietly.  I cooked a lasagna. We watched a little Dexter. And the weekend ended in silence.  I feel a little loss.  I don’t understand what’s happening.  I don’t understand why ML is pulling away.  Maybe he’s white-knuckling it. Maybe he’s getting too comfortable.  Maybe he’s on the verge of relapsing.  I don’t know anymore. I try to keep the focus on me. I tried to take care of myself this weekend, but that doesn’t mean that ML’s silence didn’t hurt. Or that I wasn’t disappointed all over again and completely exhausted.  Though I managed myself pretty well in this situation, I still feel very sad and just writing this is making me teary eyed.  I’m going to a meeting tonight.  I don’t know what else I can do.

Walking in New Shoes

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After moving back in with my husband, I’m coming to realize how much I’ve missed him during our time apart.  I especially missed the person I knew before his addiction spiraled out of control. I missed the great couple we were when it was just the two of us.  Every night feels like I’m coming home to my best friend.  We’re a great team around the house – he cleans & I cook.  We’ve been going out for date nights and enjoying as much quality time as possible.  We stay up together watching late night TV.  And sometimes, he wakes up extra early to make me one of his “famous” breakfast sandwiches I love so much or surprises me with dinner when I’m late in coming home from work.  He’s being kind and sensitive to my feelings.  We go to meetings together and meet up beforehand for a quick bite and conversation. We  talk, talk, talk.  Talk about our feelings. Talk about recovery. Talk about our future.  I’m happy to say I’m really enjoying his company again.  This is the man I grew to love over the years.

All that being said…Part of me still struggles with feeling a sense of ownership over this new relationship status – like it’s not really my life I’m living. Part of me doesn’t want to get  too attached to these good feelings because I’m afraid a crisis is waiting for us around the corner.  Part of me is afraid to try on this relationship. Like being afraid to try on a beautiful pair of shoes at the store, because if you actually try them on, it’s so much harder to walk away from them when it’s ultimately the time to leave. My prayer every day is to stay in the present. Enjoy this time in my life. But how do you live in the moment whenyou can’t forget the past?  I know there’s no answer, so I’m just taking it a day at a time. There’s nothing else to do but to enjoy these pretty shoes while I still can…

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I’m starting to feel lonely on this side of the road – the staying in the relationship side of the road.  A lot of my blog friends  and S-Anon friends are either separated from their partners or in the process of divorce.  So where does that leave me?  Is it not possible to be working a healthy recovery program and still be in the relationship with my SA husband?  The message I’ve been getting for the past few weeks is that “real recovery” starts when you start focusing on yourself. I get that.  But if you’re in a relationship, at times, your focus has to be divided.  Of course, that doesn’t mean that now that I’m back in the relationship,  I’ll lose focus of self care and my own recovery plan.  But, it means that whatever I do – or my husband does – will ultimately affect the relationship. So yes, his recovery does affect me because I live, eat and sleep next to him on a day-to-day basis.  Yet sometimes, I feel like there’s something wrong with me for feeling this way OR that I’m not working my program correctly.

Is the moral of the story (the purpose of recovery) to ultimately leave your spouse?  This can’t be the case.  I know of strong, healthy relationships that are better than ever post addiction.    And yet, I still fight the desire to feel accepted, even in our  group of codies.  I’m starting to feel like I don’t belong because I’m no longer separated from my husband.  I also fear that posting about the leaps and bounds we are making in our relationship will be viewed as “denial” by others.  But,  I don’t see why it has to be so.   Recovery is different for everyone.  My road may not resemble that of others, but it’s not any less authentic or genuine.  It is real and it is mine.  And yet, maybe actually caring what others think of me – and my recovery-  is evidence enough that I still have a long way to go.  And I have no problem admitting that.  I’m no guru or expert on this stuff – I’m just living my life, one day at a time.

The Oprah & Whitney Interview

Oprah & Whitney

I was one of the many millions that tuned in earlier this week to watch the Oprah Winfrey & Whitney Houston interview. I’ve been a huge fan of Whitney Houston for as long as I can remember.  And like the rest of America, I was in shock as we witnessed her plummet into the dark world of drug addiction. It was nice seeing Whitney looking (and acting) sober , and as beautiful and radiant as ever.  But for me,  the most revealing thing about the interview was  to hear about her codependent/ coaddict  relationship with Bobbi Brown.

Here are some excerpts from her interview with Oprah:

Oprah: Was he jealous of you?
Whitney: He’s not going to like this, but yes.
Oprah: Then did you try to overcompensate?
Whitney: I tried to play down all the time. I did. I tried to play: “I’m Mrs. Brown, everybody. Don’t call me Ms. Houston.” 
Oprah: You started to dim your own light?
Whitney: Yep. Sure did.

….

Oprah: Were you happy?
Whitney: No. … I wasn’t happy with the marriage. … I was losing me into that by trying to be pleasing.
….

Oprah: So we were talking about how [you did] light drugs before The Bodyguard and then after Bodyguard
Whitney: Oh, got heavy. Because I knew then we were trying to hide pain.

Oprah: When did you know that the marriage was not gonna work?
Whitney: I just knew. I was like, “You don’t smell right. You don’t look right. Something’s going on.” And then all this other stuff started coming out about him being with this one or that one or being too promiscuous. Dragging dirt into my home.
Oprah: Did that hurt you? Were you offended by it?
Whitney: It disturbed me. I was disturbed.
Oprah: Did you believe it?
Whitney: Yeah. Because I checked. I didn’t look for it, but I checked.
 

….

Oprah: Did the drugs give you any sense of relief?
Whitney: At times. Don’t forget, there were some times we’d laugh our tails off. We had a ball. Sometimes you do have a good time. But when it gets to the point where you’re sitting in your home and you’re just trying to cover what you don’t want people to know. It’s painful. And then you want more just so that you don’t let anybody see you cry. Or anybody to see we’re not happy. …

….

Oprah: You said you realized that the marriage was going to be over. Did you then make a decision that “I’m gonna get myself out”?
Whitney: Yeah. I remember saying to God one day, I said, “Give me one day of strength.” Because I was weak. I was so weak to [Bobby]. I was so weak to the love. I was, like: “This is love? What is this? What am I into?”
Oprah: Were you weak to him or were you weak to the drugs? Because the world’s perception is you were weak to the drugs.
Whitney: He was my drug. I didn’t do anything without him. I wasn’t getting high by myself. It was me and him together. You know, we were partners. And that’s what my high was. Him. He and I being together. And whatever we did, we did together. No matter what, we did it together.

 

As the “S-Anon Problem” we read at the beginning of meetings states, “some of us minimized the importance of the sexaholic behavior or denied it until we felt emotionally numb. Others focused on the sexaholic to the point of obsession and tried every known method to control it. Some of us participated in sexual behavior that made us ashamed of ourselves or used sex to manipulate the sexaholic.  Some of us misused drugs, alcohol or food; and others kept so busy that we didn’t have time to feel our emotions. We often neglected our health, our jobs and our children.”  This reminded me so much Ms. Houston’s situation, but more importantly, it reminded me of my own.  I participated in many of the activities described in the “S-Anon Problem” and that’s why I am in the program myself.  Because like Whitney so powerfully stated, as a codependent, our addicts are our drugs. Some days, I need to remind myself that the reason I am in the program is not because of my addict, but because I, too, suffer from a terrible disease – an addiction to “people pleasing” and “people fixing”.  And for this realization, I am most grateful. Because now, I can actually take steps to fix it and break the vicious cycle.  I wish Ms. Houston the very best and I hope she continues to get the help that she needs.

 

To read the rest of the Oprah & Whitney interview, please click here.

Mean Girl

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Adjusting to married life again has proven to be an emotionally challenging task for me.  Part of me wants to move away from the pain and suffering of the last 12 months,  but not without causing ML the same kind of pain.  I’m expressing my feelings, not necessarily to purge them, but to guilt and shame him into deeper levels of remorse.  My sense of self-righteousness is at it’s all time high.  I find myself wanting to win every disagreement – no matter how big or small.  And if ML tries to stand in my way, I play the “addiction card” and he has no choice but to back down.  

The problem with this is I’m feeling terrible about my behavior.  I’m turning into this mean and ruthless person I don’t even recognize.  The sad part is that I don’t get any kind of satisfaction from watching ML squirm. Deep down, I know I don’t want revenge.  I’m just hurting and I’m not sure how to cope.  I feel like I’m slipping back  into dangerous territory, trying to engage ML in the codie/addict dance.  I know I said I felt that program stuff was consuming a lot of my time.  But I’m thinking if I don’t latch on to my recovery tools, I’ll eventually be lost in this pain.  And it will no longer be the pain of changing that I experienced in the past, but the sick pain of staying the same.  Today, I’m reminded (once again) that I still have a long road ahead and that there’s still a lot of cleaning to do on my side of the street. 

Welcome!

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 YAY!! You’ve made it, my dear friend!  Welcome to the new “WordPress” site for The Daffodil’s Lament. I decided my site needed a facelift and a move to a new neighborhood in cyber world.  I hope to continue hearing from my old “Bloggy”  friends and make some new ones as well!  I know I’ve slacked off in the last few months with blogging, but the summer’s over and my life…well, it remains complicated.  But if there’s one thing I know for sure, I’m no longer walking this journey alone.  Thank you for continuing to walk this path with me.  I cherish you all more than you know!