I haven't been on SI for a while or in here for even longer but you all are often in my heart & our prayers. I know this is extremely long post, I need to work on being much more concise!
It has been well documented that daily or at least regular hugs are very important for a human being's well being. The lack of human touch is what causes "failure to thrive" in babies & small children. We are literally designed to need hugs, they set off a needed positive biochemical reaction in our brains (& of course our hearts). If anyone is interested in learning more about that, I'll dig up some info to share.
Reading some of the last posts, here are my observations or what I've learned along our devastating path of betrayals & that for some others. So please take what you can use & leave the rest!
Once I got my introductory literature for Al-anon, I read the following: "The Alcoholic's Weapons. The first weapon is the ability to arouse anger or provoke loss of temper. If the family member or friend becomes angry & hostile, this person is less able to help the alcoholic. Consciouly or unconsciously, the alcoholic is projecting an image of self-hatred against the other person. If it is met by angry hostile attacks, the image is verified. past behavoir is justified & now there's a new excuse for the future.
I think the anger also serves to subconsciously recreate the type of angry enviroment that an unloving, abusive childhood and/or prior relationships had them dealing with. Especially when systematically abused as a child, the odds are high there was a lot of unjustified anger directed at the SA as well as other family members that they could do nothing about.
Now they can. And unfortunately, the unhealthy way they can do something is provoke unjustified anger whereby they are the one creating the problem instead of being on the receiving end. Living in a chaotic home with an unloving, angry person(s) they have lots of experience with badly managed or unjustified anger with the childhood abuse was inflicted on them. That was their "normal".
Living with a loving person who wants a peaceful house usually has never been their "normal", at least not for any extended periods.
So their anger lets them do one of two main things: fight or flight. They argue (often pointing the finger at the partner to deflect attention from their own actions). But they won't discuss matters of real substance or at least not in a constructive way.
It's like someone arguing that the shoelace wasn't properly tied when the leg has been badly smashed, bleeding all over the place & extremely painful as hell. This is what I think of as the "But if YOU had tied the shoelace right, you wouldn't have FORCED ME to run over your leg; which you should know HURT ME to do; yet you gave me NO OTHER CHOICE but to act the way I did; & you OWE ME an apology for that I haven't gotten yet!". Ugh.
Or they simply refuse to talk about things at all.
This I think of as the "I MIGHT talk to you AFTER you calm down when YOU are as REASONABLE as I am; I can't deal with you when you are talking to me in that tone & being so UNREASONABLE & so MEAN that I can't stay near you but MAYBE I'll come back after you've calmed down & are ready to PRETEND none of these problems exist or that I created a ton of them!!!". Ugh.
Both of those are emotional bullying by the WS & abusive to the BS.
They also have major problems loving themselves, altho obviously a great deal of selfishness is there. They usually do have a lot of anger & self hate which they try to mask by throwing anger bombs at their convenience as an avoidance manuever.
People that love themselves do not treat themselves as poorly as addicts do, much less their loved ones. Many believe at least subconciously they don't deserve love or that it really exists at all (the last being my H). That makes it harder for them to trust or feel they can rely on their partner's love, & often confuse it with mere lust, an emotion they are more comfortable with & easier for them to recognize & deal with.
And that is what sets their standard of what a loving relationship truly is be & stay extremely low, without intervention & education.
That is true not just of addicts but childhood abuse survivors. For example, my sister & I both had the same extremely toxic abusive childhood. She's addicted to bingo & seeks out physically, verbally & emotionally abusive partners like a heat seeking missle. She married & stuck like a tick to a guy whose first line to you was "Hey Bitch, what's your name?".
Me, by contrast, have an extremely low tolerance for physical abuse (never had a relationship with a physical abuser). But I have an extremely high tolerance for emotional abuse according to my counselors thruout the years. So that's my vulnerablity I've had to deal with in picking my relationships & be careful about.
Abuse survivors or addicts usually don't have a history of being loved so how could they have learned to be truly loving or to value a healthy loving honest relationship as they should?
What motivated me was that I refused to do anything but was my very best for my kids, yet unborn. I could not risk that I would abuse them as I had been, & they weren't. So before I had any kids, I started working extremely hard on detoxing from my childhood & learning as much about love or healthy relationships as I could. That has really been a life long quest & probably will be, my job as a mother is not yet done nor that as a grandmother.
Plus I want my H & I to have the best marriage & life together we can create. I also want to have great friends & wonderful relationships with them, which I have been blessed with having that.
As noted, anger is very handy to use to justify whatever they want to do while feeling "unloved, unappreciated & misunderstood". My H would duck, dodge & weave any substantive discussions about his betrayals or our marriage. If I persisted, he'd build up his anger to stomp out of the house (sometimes overnite). And hang up then ignore my calls repeatedly during our dark age if I brought up anything of substance & persisted in trying to talk that out.
By invoking anger inappropriately, not only can the partner not "help" the addict, but the addict is less likely to be able to help themselves or the BS either. They may feel more entitled to pout or to keep trying to justify the unjustifable. Which eats up a LOT of time & energy, which could be put to better use in solving problems instead of making even more.
Creating drama lets them avoid properly dealing with their trauma & that which they have inflicted on their partner & family. This is really maddening & kills a lot of hope in the BS that any real improvement will happen or that they even want to stay.
Anyway, those are my thoughts & experiences which I hope can be helpful to someone else.
[This message edited by unicornsearcher at 2:43 PM, December 25th (Saturday)]
I was surprised to hear one story so similiar to mine and then to find out her H was a SA! The past 15 years of my life finally made some sense!
My H has always loved porn, has had sexual emails with other women, encouraged me to be with other men and then tell him about it. I knew this wasn't right, but I didn't know the extent of his problem.
I did some research last nite & discovered alot about myself as well, that now made sense.
I found all their text messages and altho they clearly made out and did other things, they had not had intercourse.
The OW is also married, but going thru a D. The big plan was for my H to get our finances in order (take about a year) and then leave.
We have a 6 yr old and 2 yr. old. We have a great family life, that's why I cud never understand his need to cheat.
We didn't have sex very often (bc I am not a sexual person, so he told me)but after the last time he cheated, i told him he was killing off the love I have for him every time he cheats.
I told him the next time, I would have no choice but to leave. So, this time we decided to "fake it" thru the holidays and then let our families know after Christmas.
We are both close to our families. They will be devasted. But, they've never known about his cheating, bc each time, I wanted to work it out and didn't want their opin. of him to change.
Now I think by forgiving him so easily each time, I've made it easy for him to do it again! Right now, we are still living together, but he is sleeping in our son's room.
He did take a SA quiz for me last nite and has agreed to talk with a SA counselor. I'm also going to find a SA counselor to talk to.
But now, Im confused even more! Last nite, I was so relieved to find an "answer" to why this keeps happening, but before that I knew it was over.
Now I don't know. Right now he's in our lv watching TV with kids, it's like nothing has changed, altho he did reach out to touch me as I walked by (like he always has) and stopped himself.His sister says I need to make him suffer, to be without me and the kids for awhile.
But, I think that would just open up this relationship with the OW. My parents have been planning on taking our kids with them to cabin in NM the 29th - 2nd.
This was going to allow us to go out as a couple and spend time just the 2 of us. But now we are making separate NYE's plans, so I was just going to go to the cabin with my fam and tell him to be gone when I get back.
Now he has said he will see a counselor and he will stay off the computer (porn) bc he agrees it has skewed the way he sees sex.
So, now my fear is, if I leave him alone 4 5 days, he won't miss me and the kids, he'll end up having sex with this girl and more damage will be done.
What should I do?
[This message edited by hopeaddict at 1:16 AM, December 27th (Monday)]
What unicornsearcher wrote is very true. What is described is where my SA Is. Doubt he's sober, know he's not working a recovery plan, he tried to deny to me he's even an addict in the first place.
I'm using anger to cover my pain. Pain I don't express to him because "You're shaming me" and/or "it's all your fault anyway" or "you mind your own recovery" or some other bullshit excuse. I feel like he doesn't value me enough to authentically work his shit. I feel like he's an emotional vampire. No matter how much I try to detach, it's incredibly hard to work on myself & my relationship with the kids & maintain my own recovery while married to an active addict.
I begin job training next month. I'm thinking about taking knitting or crocheting classes too. I'm trying to fully let go. I can feel & see him sliding backward. I feel so rejected by my SA. I'm thrown right back into my FOO role of never being good enough to love. I didn't sign up for this. I feel there has been too much new damage to me by his addiction this year. I don't feel I can stay married to my SA. He's too much work. I'd rather be alone. And despite my FOO fears, I'm preparing to do just that.
I'm just so sad, you guys, so dejected, rejected, in pain.
Pity party for me, I guess. Sorry about that.
*edited because I hit enter before I was done*
[This message edited by SabinatheOwl at 2:39 PM, December 25th (Saturday)]
"Live a life not an apology." Edward R.Murrow
"I can be changed by what happens to me but I refuse to be reduced by it."
Also, if you hit the paper icon to the left of your post, it will let you edit what you wrote. Then you can put spaces in to create paragraphs that will make it easier to read what you are sharing with us. I know I'm not alone that helps.
S, I understand your anguish & frustration much more than I would have liked to endure. Your hands are tied as long as your H stays on that path & the only realistic thing for you to do is save yourself in all the healthy ways you can find to do that.
I, of course, also had my share of the platitudes / excuse of "work on your own recovery", yada yada. First of all, I objected strongly to being automatically labelled or treated as a co-addict solely cuz of H's issues.
Second of all, I also have some strong reservations regarding 12 step programs, so before H got too involved I made it clear to him about that so we could figure out how to make that available to him in a way I was comfortable with.
And one of my objections is that to a large extent, many "recovery programs" not just start but stay
A) being only really concerned with the addict's recovery, not so much providing a good safe place for the partner or family as quickly as possible; &
B) take someone that already has taken being selfish to a fine art over years if not decades then teaches them how to be even more self centered to the exclusion of the partner & family.
For example, partners are not really invited to partipate or have input into the addicts recovery activities. So no consideration is given to how it affects the partner at all. So for example, how many meetings should the addict attend? Sure, at the start more can be extremely helpful & necessary. But having the addict use going to meetings even weekly as a continuous excuse to get out of the house for hours on end, for years on end, isn't a good solution for me. Or a lot of marriage & families.
To me, it can easily become replacing one addiction with another, if the meetings are allowed to be used that way. It can't stay being all about only the addict all the time for too extended a time.
There is a major lack of working with the addict to develop characteristics such as empathy, total honesty, remorse, etc by the focus of the me, me, me method of recovery program focus. You don't have to teach an addict how to think only of themselves, to exclude their partner by continuing to make unilateral decisions that affect both or to insist on only doing what they feel like bothering with(which is escape even by hanging out with SA buddies to the detriment of partner, marriage & family life).
They already know how to do all that, with tons of experience. What they don't know is how to be a good or great spouse, father or how to balance the legitimate needs of those affected by or in a relationship with in a proper way or address purposely working on character & self esteem issues by their involvement with the spouse & kids by being with them doing that instead of some else working solely on themself all the time forever.
S, it sounds like that is exactly what your H is doing. What little he feels like making a slight effort to do, should be OK with you if he claims to be working on "his recovery". And you should be somewhere learning how to deal with your own recovery, preferably in a group that strongly discourages you to verify exactly what an addict is doing ever.
But there is, unfortunately, no magic pill you can put in an addict's coffee cup to make them immediately wake it & smell the brew, much less ever at all.
And that's heart breaking because you love & are concerned about someone that keeps being hurtful & self sabotaging. As long as they stay "foggy" the harder it is to deal with & the more the damage done which is already too much as it is.
That being said, it is also true that what took years to get put in place can not usually be removed or fully dealt with overnite, even with divine intervention. The addict has to use their free will to consistently make the needed effort, even if just baby step by baby step when ideally giant leaps would take place. That generally isn't going to happen for quite a while especially with someone foggy. As long as their thinking / feelings are screwed up, so will their actions be.
All I can say is that we were extremely slow learners, we made a ton of mistakes along the way, it took way too long for us to really even get to a good starting place much less be able to work constructively in any sort of consistent way. Still, we managed to muddle thru, are still together committed to having a great life together & wouldn't have it any other way. During the dark age, I really doubted that was going to be a reality I would get to experience.
Also, keep in mind especially if there are kids involved that even if you don't plan staying with the addict long term, the greatest amt of influence you will likely have over them is now. So it is important to try to help them deal constructively with their issues since
a) you don't want them teaching or demonstrating warped values to your kids;
b) the more screwed up the parent the more damage they can do to a child even if by neglect, so anything that can help prevent that is a very good thing; &
c) you can lead by example with the addict in a way that probably will have little or no impact if the partnership is irrevocably broken.
No abuse is acceptable & especially with kids in the house, its hard to know when to keep making the effort vs. when to cut your losses. But if there is no abuse (other than the emotional abuse inflicted by the SA betrayals) & its not a high conflict household, then staying together is at least a choice to be considered. Stay or go, both extremely hard choices with their own difficulties to deal with. And your own wellbeing is crucial to maintain in order to take good care of you & the kids, if any.
I do not have the time today to make an elaborate reply, as I have to go to work soon. However, I wanted to voice my strong disagreement to the statement you are making about 12 step groups. Perhaps you are speaking of when a SA only does 12 step as their only recovery tool. If that is the case, then I am in agreement with you that 12 step is not enough in and of itself. I firmly believe that a SA who wants to recover also needs a CSAT in conjunction with the 12 steps.
However, your reasoning for dismissing the 12 steps as a tool of recovery is flawed, and dare I say, from a codependent perspective. Yes, the addict most definitely needs a support system outside of their primary relationship. I cannot and will not be my H's sponsor. What happens when we have a disagreement? Who is he supposed to bounce things off of? And I have never been a SA, I have just been married to one. I do not have that BTDT experience that his sponsor has.
And why should an INDIVIDUAL 12 step program be focused on "family" recovery? If I divorced my H or died in a car accident tomorrow, I would want him to maintain his sobriety that he has worked so hard for. For family recovery and the development of empathy that is where a good CSAT comes in.
I do not believe that a 12 step program, when one is working the steps causes a person to focus on themselves and to be selfish. On the contrary, I think there is a focus on forgiving yourself and making amends to those you have hurt.
SA is an INTIMACY disorder. Most SA's, if not all of them, have never learned to relate to others in a meaningful way. I think that for my H, having deep conversations with other men has been an awesome tool for his recovery. SA's need fellowship with other men in recovery. My H needs to be able to call and be called by other men. This isn't stealing time from our family, certainly not! Especially when you consider over the years how much time went into my H's addiction. He needs positive outlets for his time, and 12 step, his CSAT run therapy group, and the fellowship of men who are trying to recover has been very meaningful to him.
And as I am sure you already know, there are resources for the spouse. S-Anon has been extremely valuable to me. Being a spouse of a SA is damaging. Heck, I was damaged before I met my H, hence some of the unhealthy attraction. Recovery is NOT just for the SA. It is for us, too.
I think the problem is that when a SA or their spouse only utilizes one tool, they will fall short. This is a tough addiction to beat, and you need EVERY tool in the toolbox. The CSAT, the 12 steps, RN, etc. Just using one of them will not produce results.
There is so much more I could say, but limited time. And just because someone goes to 12 step or sees a CSAT does not mean they are in recovery. People go through the motions. Recovery is a state of mind, and when a SA is in recovery, there will begin to be changes in their behavior. For Sabrina's WH to use platitudes to make her feel bad just verifies that he is NOT in recovery.
Thanks so much for the support. I know it's a long, long path. Recently I'm realizing that I'm feeling like I'll be choosing to save myself & my kids because my SA isn't recovering in any meaningful way right now. I recognize that saving myself (& my gang) & is natural & normal.
Stay or go, both extremely hard choices with their own difficulties to deal with. And your own wellbeing is crucial to maintain in order to take good care of you & the kids, if any.
This is what I'm struggling with. I just don't feel like I've enough energy to do all of this now. Maybe when I'm taking classes I'll be able to cope better. At least, I hope so.
People go through the motions. Recovery is a state of mind, and when a SA is in recovery, there will begin to be changes in their behavior. For Sabrina's WH to use platitudes to make her feel bad just verifies that he is NOT in recovery.
I just don't know that I'm able to wait that long. Meantime I'm in therapy, A LOT of therapy, and I go to S-Anon regularly. And I work my own program.
Thanks for supporting me all.
Hugs & Merry Christmas!
*edited because I hit enter too soon*
[This message edited by SabinatheOwl at 5:11 PM, December 25th (Saturday)]
Perhaps you are speaking of when a SA only does 12 step as their only recovery tool.
No, no I was not dismissing the 12 steps entirely but guess I didn't make it clear that I was especially talking about an addict who is working hard only on making minimal, half hearted efforts if that, so the 12 steps can be a major minefield in that case. That type of person will use it (or anything else they can use, even working overtime) as a shield to duck & dodge the issues that need to be properly addressed.
The 12 steps can be a marvelous tool, easily available, inexpensive & as with SI, an amazing group of caring people. My H has attended & was sponsered. There are a lot of different resources available to SA's & their partners now that weren't not that long ago. Taking advantage of as many as possible is much better than none at all or the misuse of any of them, of course. Some resources will work best for some people & not well at all for others.
I wanted to quickly say that as well as that I will take a close look at your entire post to address it better. And I really appreciate you taking the time & effort to respond to what I said. I'm always willing to be corrected as well as learn as much as I can from others.
But they don't work effectively for everyone (especially problematic as the only tool, IMHO). And I did state some issues that are a concern with wishy washy addicts early in recovery; or those at the other end of the spectrum & much further along in recovery; & their partners.
Have you looked into the history of the 12 steps & why certain things are set up the way they are?
I can't say what will or will work for anyone else, addict or partner. I can say what worked & didn't for us individually or our marriage. I can share what I know others have done, either from their saying so or research.
Perhaps you are speaking of when a SA only does 12 step as their only recovery tool. If that is the case, then I am in agreement with you that 12 step is not enough in & of itself. I firmly believe that a SA who wants to recover also needs a CSAT in conjunction with the 12 steps
I absolutely agree that the 12 steps alone is not enough. That would hold true for many other issues. I really don't know of anything I would say is. Because of the type of problem SA is, & how deeply rooted, the more resources that can be properly used the better. Especially early on when it can make a huge difference in getting on a successful recovery pathway & staying on it for BS or WS.
Yes, the addict most definitely needs a support system outside of their primary relationship. I cannot & will not be my H's sponsor.
A support group outside of the primary relationship is very important (if not crucial) for a lot of reasons. For the SA, having an accountability partner or sponser can be an excellent resource to give information, support & encouragement in a BTDT fashion. And as you said that would not be & couldn't be me either.
However, as to what happens in a disagreement what worked for us & has for many couples is to have another couple or person as a mentor / supporter to bounce things with & also to help put a stop or pause in place when things kept going downhill & were detoriating into non-productive arguing.
Earl Wilson refers to it as a "recovery team" in his Slippery Slope book if I remember correctly the term. He & his BS asked several couples to help guide them thru the post DDay upheaval. I don't remember that SA was a specific issue for them, so its not addressed in that book.
And why should an INDIVIDUAL 12 step program be focused on "family" recovery? If I divorced my H or died in a car accident tomorrow, I would want him to maintain his sobriety that he has worked so hard for.
Of course, but working on relationship as well as individual issues along the way isn't going to prevent further progress / recovery. Instead, he will be better equiped to make better choices in picking a new partner to create a mutually beneficial & loving relationship with after mourning your death properly of course. Same with my H!
I believe it is not good for most people to be alone & a healthy loving partnership is a great gift to yourself & your partner. So I hope that our trials & tribulations would give my H the skills & desire needed for him to pick another awesome partner for himself, if I died. :)
For family recovery & the development of empathy that is where a good CSAT comes in.
Absolutely, but again not the only tool to get the job done. An addiction is such a serious deep rooted issue that putting every appropriate resource in play as soon as possible is a good strategy.
Just like when my ex had a heart attack, we had to not just figure out the best course of treatment & who would carry it out, but also to coordinate that with his meds for his other physical issues. We had to prevent an adverse reaction or making ineffective one needed drug by another. He had different specialists who we had to put in place as a team in order to get the best healing possible & eliminate any new damage being done if possible. To act as if his other conditions didn't exist or not set up a coordinated method to deal with all that as a whole, wouldn't have gotten the best results. Luckily, that did allow him to make a very fast full recovery.
Every BS is different as are the addicts but there are common patterns of behavior. Not taking into account the full impact of the DDay aftermath, what their wants / needs are & their willingness to stay in the relationship is a handicap to the addict, IMHO. And it does little to address the issue of what support they can give each other when it is only addressed in a generic way as some programs do.
Unless the addict is single at the start of the recovery efforts being in a relationship with a partner means both are directly impacted by the addict's actions. The addict is not existing in a void with the relationship merely of secondary importance. It is just as important for the SA to be able to have a good healthy marriage.
Or shouldn't be if they want to get & maintain a healthy marriage that works best for both. Harville Hendricks will not do individual counseling with only one partner, because both directly impact each other individually & as a result, the marriage.
The problem with any program, sponser or therapist getting only one side of the situation (& especially from an early stage addict) is not getting a full picture of what's really happening or gone on for one thing.
And the therapist / sponser that gets no information or has first hand knowledge of the dynamics of the couple is not being exposed to crucial knowledge to also take into consideration as they guide the addict. Especially in the early recovery stage when the addict is still unable or unwilling to articulate fully accurate info about themselves or their actions.
They also are often mistaken in their perceptions of the marriage or the BS as well.
My WS would say "I'm doing all I can to work on the marriage", but actually hadn't even read one page of the assigned book, for example. He greatly minimized the SA activities, which seems to be par for the course.
For us, doing MC together while having different IC's was a disaster & would have resulted in a divorce. It was only when we had one therapist that saw us both together & alone even after the SA diagnosis, that we were able to learn to work together for both our benefit.
She was able to more easily & quicker verify what she was being told was correct. Or at least get input from us both on the matter. That greatly helped us interwine our individual needs with that of our marriage. The addiction was a major but not only part of that. I don't know of any one resource or program still that alone could have helped us as we needed.
I do not believe that a 12 step program, when one is working the steps causes a person to focus on themselves & to be selfish. On the contrary, I think there is a focus on forgiving yourself & making amends to those you have hurt.
A wishy washy SA or any other kind of addict will take advantage of the quirks in the 12 step program which do encourage selfishness & disregard of the partner.
The 12 step addicts are often encouraged or outright told not to tell the BS all the truth under the "do no harm" rationale. The BS should be able to decide what they want to know & the WS should be willing to be totally honest. To not give the BS the option of how much they want to know is not only, to me, a selfish act condoned by the 12 step program but a dishonest one as well.
That did not work for us, it kept in place the two major issues the betrayals brought up: both ommision & commission lies & unilateral decisions being made that affected me.
I do have some SA research that discusses the impact of disclosure on the addicts & partners that I'd be glad to share.
SA is an INTIMACY disorder. Most SA's, if not all of them, have never learned to relate to others in a meaningful way.
Absolutely agree with that. Which is why it is important for them to be able to work on addressing the relationship / partner issues. It increases their self esteem as they become a full partner not just a spectator in the marriage.
I think that for my H, having deep conversations with other men has been an awesome tool for his recovery. SA's need fellowship with other men in recovery. My H needs to be able to call & be called by other men. This isn't stealing time from our family, certainly not!
That is an awesome tool when used appropriately. Again, the problem is that some will take advantage of the opportunity by claiming to be working on themselves or the addiction when they are actually still avoiding addressing the relationship issues or contributing to its growth in any significant way. Or the relationship with their kids either.
And even if they are earnestly working on themselves, they still need to spend quality time with the partner & kids for the benefit of all individually & as a unit.
And that is also important for a true full recovery so the SA enjoy & participate fully with thier partner, in their marriage & with their family, not merely eliminating or minimizing SA activities. That's only getting the job half done.
What I am maybe badly saying is that in my experience & knowledge of particularly the 12 step programS, there is at least a tendency to overemphasize the need for constant fellowship and/or meetings at the expense of the family & marriage. For even decades after the addiction is first acknowledged, addict is not as encouraged as they could be to spend quality time building & maintaining important relationships. And that to me, is a selfish & short sighted approach, especially as the years go on after the recovery was started.
The addiction didn't start overnight & certainly won't end overnight, but after a primary focus solely on the addition, there comes a time when has to be balance in how one's time is spent & where to spend it. At the start of the addiction being acknowledged or diagnosed, it will take a very long time of concerted daily efforts to deal with it properly.
But 5, 10, 15 years later especially if the real work was done, it shouldn't be a such a daily issue like it was at the start. My H & I went to a full day SA training where we saw brain scans of untreated & treated addicts, huge difference.
Especially when you consider over the years how much time went into my H's addiction. He needs positive outlets for his time, & 12 step, his CSAT run therapy group, & the fellowship of men who are trying to recover has been very meaningful to him.
Of course & those are all great things to be doing. He deserves a lot of credit for chosing to make recovery on all levels a priority. As you do for offering the gift of reconciliation & the opportunity to experience great love which is very hard to do after one much less repeated DDays or betrayal activities.
S-Anon has been extremely valuable to me. Being a spouse of a SA is damaging. Recovery is NOT just for the SA. It is for us, too.
I did attend meetings & while not as valuable to me as you, I did benefit & would certainly have no objection to going again. If nothing else, it certainly confirms we're not the only one with a partner in the same boat. And its nice to meet such caring people but also ones that have chosen to continue to build a great marriage with a SA.
That's a challenging & daunting task of the highest order, as well as a very lonely one without support from others experienced in the unique aspects of life with a SA, or even just infidelity without any addiction issues.
Of all the addictions, the SA is the one that hits below the belt the most, pun intended. It is a much more personal one since gambling or a similar issue doesn't have the effect in the bedroom or BS self esteem in the way SA can & does.
I think the problem is that when a SA or their spouse only utilizes one tool, they will fall short. This is a tough addiction to beat, & you need EVERY tool in the toolbox.
Absolutely, I definitely agree with the "leave no stone unturned" that may reveal some insight or aid in fighting the SA monster approach.
And just because someone goes to 12 step or sees a CSAT does not mean they are in recovery. People go through the motions.
Absolutely true plus the research says that those with one addiction are more prone to have or develop others. So even in those working on recovery sincerely & whole heartedly, something else that is more socially acceptable may replace the SA activities.
With men it may be workaholism, women have more eating or shopping issues & for both, volunteer work.
Again, I'm just saying the ultimate goal is a balanced life with a healthy loving marriage for both partners (& being great parents together if they have kids).
Recovery is a state of mind, & when a SA is in recovery, there will begin to be changes in their behavior. For Sabrina's WH to use platitudes to make her feel bad just verifies that he is NOT in recovery.
Absolutely agree again. And even worse in her case he's using the SA card as an excuse to do exactly what he wants when he wants, certainly not recovery behavior.
Recovery is an "actions oriented process", not "a breathing in the same room counts as recovery work" one by a long shot.
[This message edited by unicornsearcher at 1:08 PM, December 26th (Sunday)]
Sex Addiction Statistics & Facts
The Society for the Advancement of Sexual Health(1)[bold conservatively estimates 3% - 5% of the U.S. population suffers from sexual compulsion disorders.
The estimate is considered low because it is based on those seeking treatment for sex addiction. Many of those afflicted avoid exposure & cannot be easily tracked.
Some indication of the extent of the problem is the amount of pornography available & used on the Internet. It is thought that pornography addiction is a form of sexual addiction that is both easier to pursue & less expensive.
Called cybersex, this involves a non-contact sexual episode through private chats, either with or without a video connection. These sometimes develop into real world meetings.
Tracking data from 2010 by Nielsen Online(2) showed that more than 25% of those with Internet access at work viewed pornography during working hours.
This is an increase from 2007 figures.
As of May, 2010, Alexa research, which tracks Internet usage, includes two porn sites in the top 503 for worldwide traffic. This may not seem that impressive until you realize that almost all of the top 50 sites are social networking sites & that CNN.com ranks 57th.
25 million Americans visit cyber-sex sites between 1-10 hours per week.
Another 4.7 million in excess of 11 hours per week.
(MSNBC/Stanford/Duquesne Study, Washington Times, 1/26/2000)
According to Datamonitor, in 2003, over half of all spending on the Internet is related to sexual activity, with 30 million people logging on at pornographic Web sites daily.
The expectation is that this figure will fall due to the rise of other forms of Internet commerce.
(Note that Internet statistics do not include peer-to-peer file sharing which is rampant in the area of pornography. This means that the true figures are probably significantly higher.)
[This message edited by unicornsearcher at 9:57 AM, December 27th (Monday)]
My WH and I are not religious. I am a humanist, and do not live my life as a god-believing, god-supported person.
I have found recoverynation.com to be a very good resource for SAs and their partners who are not searching for higher-power based recovery.
Separated, divorcing, moving on.
I edit because I always make typos.
It's not anymore.
And its allowed to be everywhere, all the time.
It's not hard anymore to find the VS billboards or see the commercials during prime time, even if you don't have the catalog mailed to you.
Equally as bad, are the commercials & billboards for those "you deserve an affair today" sites & companies that provide alibi's to cheaters on the TV or radio daily, all week long.
So its not surprising that sort of non-stop bombardment of sexual images & messages that infidelity is a harmless hobby a person is entitled to enjoy, & you have a perfect storm in place, for a mega-disaster.
The porn / SA epidemic we already see is still the tip of the iceburg, the worst is yet to come -- but its on its way, sadly enough.
I give a lot of credit to any addict fighting to deal constructively with those sorts of issues as well as their partners (including us!). It's not a journey for the faint of heart, that's for sure. It is a journey that can teach you a lot about your partner, yourself & what love means.
[This message edited by unicornsearcher at 8:18 PM, December 26th (Sunday)]
Last DDay: 7/15/09
Dday again: 3/10/2011
All Done: Better late then never.
Your SA is not sober. Neither is mine. No matter what else, find a CSAT, in addition to your regular IC, for you. This is crucial for your health. Go regularly. He carries good insurance, try & use it. Good support systems & mental health is priceless.
Is he just kinda white knuckling it?
Your SA (like mine) is totally white knuckling it. Not just kinda. Mine is the same way.
Can someone really get better on their own without group therapy or a csat?
No. Especially without a CSAT. They're crucial.
I still don't think I get it.
Me either. But my CSAT helps me tremendously.
I posted to your thread in general.
I also was not able to find a good fit FOR ME in any of our local Al-anon groups. I tried several local groups out and the ENTIRE focus was the higher power, they were basically prayer meetings. Now, I'm not saying I think this is what they are all like, just that I wasn't able to find a good fit FOR ME. We haven't tried any SA meetings - either H or myself - and although I haven't written them off completely I do approach the idea with some hesitation. I would LOVE for H to find a sponsor or accountability partner - but I am not going to hold my breath. He was pretty active in AA for at least a year and never entertained the idea of a sponsor.
My H and I did have a "great" couple of days - gotta use that term loosely considering the circumstances - that I wanted to share. I got sick Christmas night. I was bedridden until this morning. And he took great care of me. He totally took care of the kids and took great care of me, too. It was very nice to know everything was taken care of and to be able to spend the whole day in bed without guilt. For those of us struggling, there is always hope.
We also had what I think was a major victory the other day. We were discussing a topic that I think was probably uncomfortable for him and I do think he has lied to me about. Again, looking at the early recovery model this is pretty much to be expected (not accepted but expected) and I have told him that if I touch on some of those areas he just isn't ready to talk about yet I'd prefer he say nothing at all then lie. His answer was "I'm not going to answer that right now". To me, that was HUGE. He didn't lie to me. Small victory maybe, but I'm gonna take it.
I'd be really happy to be proved wrong here because I want this recovery to be successful, but I can't see it! I mean, where was his support when he couldn't sleep Dec 24, so from 5-9 am on Xmas Day was a barrage of anger, frustration, plans to leave, even asking me how one goes about getting divorced. Happy Xmas!
[This message edited by runningscared at 8:37 AM, December 27th (Monday)]
I have told him that if I touch on some of those areas he just isn't ready to talk about yet I'd prefer he say nothing at all then lie. His answer was "I'm not going to answer that right now". To me, that was HUGE. He didn't lie to me. Small victory maybe, but I'm gonna take it.
No, I would consider that a HUGE victory, yippee!!!!
It shows he listened to what you needed, broke a long term habit of avoiding & lying (cuz someone being dishonest is avoiding having to tell the truth & the result(s) of that). It means he put you, your marriage & himself one big step closer to being able to be much more trustworty by being more truthful consistently.
It particularly irritated & hurt me when H would lie or be misleading about something small. Cuz then I knew I dang sure I couldn't trust him to be honest on the big things; that he still clung to at least part if not all of the old mindset & that his personal integrity or the good of the marriage / me wasn't enuff inscentive for him to be completely truthful.
It means that he is working on being automatically & quickly honest instead of having to think about what he wants to do, which is crucial to a good outcome for both of you. He's developing a character which not just gives lip service to the virtue of truthfulness, but is putting it into practice because that & the effect on you / marriage is that important to him.
It is a giant step away from selfishness & towards selflessness every time he refuses to let himeself lie about anything, big or small.
My thoughts on 12 step programs. We're atheists. What has worked for my rSA is seeing a CSAT and going to a group facilitated by his CSAT. He tried a 12-step and found it very, very lacking because there is ZERO cross talk. (It had nothing to do with the religiousness of it, he can work around that easily enough.) The cross talk in his group is what is vital for him. He needs those connections with other SAs. Just getting up and sharing or just listening at a 12 step meeting made him feel more isolated. I still advise people to seek out 12 step meetings, specifically SA and not SAA, simply because it does work for some people and it's always good to have more resources.
To address the "higher power" stuff is more complicated. My rSA figured it out for himself and it has been fine. His higher power is not a deity. It's the life he wants. It's the person he wants to be. It's the family he wants to have. It's nature. It's peace. It's a great many things all of which are about who and what he wants to be and how he chooses to live moving forward.
As to the whole "powerlessness" portion of it. I struggled with that at first too and I do still strongly believe that the SA can't just cop out and say that he's giving it to God to fix. God is not going to do the work, the SA is. But I understand the powerlessness part of it now. In order to begin the process they have to admit that they WERE powerless over their addiction and that the addiction was running the show. Admitting the powerlessness is what allows them to then take the power back and begin their recovery. As spouses we have to look at it as a past-tense statement... he WAS powerless when he was acting out, but now he's taking his power back and working his recovery. If your SA is not sober he is still powerless over his addiction.
Here are some examples of the 12 steps translated to a secular versions:
Humanist 12 steps:
1. We accept the fact that all our efforts to stop acting out sexually have failed.
2. We believe that we must turn elsewhere for help.
3. We turn to our fellow man, particularly those who have struggled with the same problem.
4. We have made a list of the situations in which we are most likely to act out sexually.
5. We ask our friends to help us avoid those situations.
6. We are ready to accept the help they give us.
7. We honestly hope they will help.
8. We have made a list of the persons we have harmed and to whom we hope to make amends.
9. We shall do all we can to make amends, in any way that will not cause further harm.
10. We will continue to make such lists and revise them as needed.
11. We appreciate what our friends have done and are doing to help us.
12. We, in turn, are ready to help others who may come to us in the same way.
The Atheist/Agnostic 12 Steps
1. We admitted that we were using sexual acting out in spite of better judgment, and that it was destroying many aspects of, if not all aspects of our lives and causing harm to ourselves and those around us.
2. Came to realize that we needed the support of others that could truly relate to us, what our acting out had done to us and those around us, and could help steer us back on track when our thinking and behavior got destructive. In short, that we can not find all of the answers alone.
3. Made a decision to turn my will and my life into the right direction, despite my desire to overindulge myself. I realized that I am much more fulfilled as a person when I am truly there to take care of myself and others; and that this is impossible when actively acting out.
4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
5. Admitted to ourselves the exact nature of our wrongs. When appropriate, asked the opinions of others and were willing to take those opinions into consideration, whether they were what we wanted to hear or not.
6. Were entirely ready to make a plan of action to stop these behaviors that were harmful to us and others.
7. Let go of resentments, or at least became willing to try. Started to acknowledge that many of our resentments really came down to our defects, not those of others.
8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
11. Made a genuine effort to maintain a positive attitude, practice patience and understanding of others, and remain honest with ourselves when tracing the root of our troubles. Continued to think for ourselves and not be easily led, but seriously considered the input of others.
12. Having a much stronger sense of self-worth and purpose as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to other SAs, and to practice these principles in all our affairs
The 12 step groups I have personal knowledge of are: the stop smoking, partners of SA & Recovering Couples Anonymous ones.
My background in psychology teaches me that, in order to deal with a problem, we must adopt an internal locus of control. By passing everything over to a Higher Power & relying on others for support, they're simply learning other ways of passing their problems on to others.
Agreed. To me, that can be an effective short term strategy to start getting away from the distructive behaviors which have been a long term pattern of behavior. But I do have concerns for it as the most effective long term one, especially as the only program used. It can be a good adjunct to other tools & resources, while giving an opportunity to meet in person with kindred spirits.
While there was very little to no research on addictions when AA began, there has been a lot since then as well as how the human mind & brain works. Yet, the 12 steps is still pretty much the same program as it was at the start.
It bothers me that instead of encouraging self empowerment more as recovery continues, it still reinforces learned helplessness & powerlessness to an extent I'm not comfortable with. I think that an approach that takes into consideration & incorporates Learned Optimism & Peak Performance principles, would be something both partners can work on together & extremely useful to attain & maintain a good working knowledge of our own strengths or capabilities as applied to our daily challenges of any kind.
Just my viewpoint...