Samantha, hang in there. Protect yourself and your children and listen to the wisdom you find here. PUT YOU FIRST!
[This message edited by scaredyKat at 8:37 PM, April 11th (Wednesday)]
I am shocked that your manager thinks she can FORCE someone to quit. It's outrageous. Are they scared to fire you without good cause?
I'm thinking of you and praying for you. Hang in there, Ghost.
(((Samantha))) I have no words. Just holding you in the LIGHT.
I'm sorry to jump in here with a question after not reading the last several pages. I've found that I have a much harder time finding balance in my life if I read on SI too much. I've been thinking about you all a lot, though, and I.. well, I can't say I hope you're doing alright, but I hope it helps to know that you're all in my thoughts.
So, here's my question. How 'necessary' do you think it is for us to attend S-Anon meetings? I go to IC weekly and have been working through the exercises on Recovery Nation, which I really like. I'm not opposed to getting the S-Anon books and following the steps, but I have a hard time at the meetings. They really bring me down.. it's discouraging to see so many women at the mercy of their sexaholics. It makes me feel like I'm losing faith in humanity.
So what do you think? Are the meetings themselves entirely necessary? Is it possible to get a sponsor and do the steps without going to meetings?
For my SA spouse, thus far, he's not interested in SA meetings, because he's in deep denial. YAY!
I believe most CSAT will also recommend this. aregular IC not specialized in SA isn't recommended.
Former 80s Icon wishful thinking
But it's true that it is hard to hear from the newbies, from the still hurting oldtimers like me, to see that this pain lasts and lasts. I don't go as often, but the lessons of "keeping it about me" the slogans, the valuable steps, ( I feel they are useful in living healthy lives NOT affected by addiction, too) that I learned there, here and at al-anon long ago are VERY important.
In the end it is a very personal decision. I think we all need someone IRL to be able to talk to and to relate to about this issue. It's not something 99% of the population can understand with even the level of comprehension or sensitivity they have toward drug or alcohol addiction. But if you have someone else IRL to be your support, and if your S-anon group isn't nurturing you, then, by all means, choose when to go and when to skip. Just use it as an option when you need it. I don't think it should ever be an obligation.
Sponsor? I don't know whether he/she will agree with my POV. That would be between you and them...
Now the addict? SA meetings are ESSENTIAL and I will not stay married if he stops going.
[This message edited by scaredyKat at 4:59 PM, April 12th (Thursday)]
What is nice about S-Anon is that you hear many of the same things over and over in the readings, and it does sink in after a while and gives you new Aha moments the longer you go. It gives you structure with the steps, and you feel fairly confident about what's going to happen each meeting. It is entirely self-paced and you get out of it what you put into it.
However, groups can vary widely. My group is small, usually about 6 people (not necessarily the same people) each time, so we all have a few minutes to share every week. The ladies are good about no cross talk, not whining forever about their SAs or how bleak their situation is, etc. A newbie can totally come in, break down, and get all the support they need without judgement. I have heard from others that not all groups are this way, some let people talk on and on, or cut newbies off, don't follow the rules the same way, etc. I hear finding the right fit is essential, I just got lucky the first try. Which is good, because it is the only meeting I can actually attend. The drawback with S-Anon is you don't have a pro guiding the meeting, so it can be nonproductive theraputically at times. Unless you have a really good seasoned sponsor, you won't have someone to guide you in your specific journey of healing.
Group therapy is similar in some ways. We get to share, we have a few short readings we do each time. But usually it is more for focused healing. We have assignments and such, discuss the results of those openly so we can learn from others as well as the therapist. Our group is all about on the same level of healing (it is through a big center, so they can group us that way), which helps. But there is not as much of the random inspiration that comes from weekly S-Anon meetings.
I do think participation in some sort of group is important. I think 12 steps can be very helpful in healing. But I don't think you *have* to go every week if its too hard or its not a right fit. But there are other 12 step groups that can work too.
I went to a COSA group several times, and it was incredibly helpful, even though I'm getting a divorce.
I guess I feel that if I couldn't read other people's stories online, and if I couldn't hear other people's stories IRL, I might be able to keep myself in a bit of a state of denial - like I was more "special" than all the others, and my husband might just be able to magically recover easier than the others.
Or maybe I would just be able to pretend that Things Just Aren't THAT Bad.
Unfortunately, if there's one thing I learned here and at COSA, it's that SAs have a LOT in common. And if someone else is dealing with a painful or unpleasant issue or emotion, I will probably have to deal with it too at some point.
I guess the tough question you need to ask yourself is why it depresses you to listen to other women "at the mercy of their sexaholics." Are you different in some way?
My sister's boyfriend broke up with her last night.. they'd been together for 4 years and thought they'd be together forever (she's 24). She's devastated and said a lot of the things I thought at the beginning, and sometimes still do. It just really hurts to see other people in pain. It makes me think, "Are there no good relationships, ever?"
Part of my reluctance to go to S-Anon is feeling like my life is defined by my husband's SA. He goes to three meetings weekly, two SLAA and one Al-Anon. So that's three nights out of four that I have to do bedtime by myself (we have four kids, ages 2-8). Then my S-Anon meeting is a bedtime I miss. It's just a lot, you know?
Here's another thing about meetings/group therapy. You really begin to see yourself in others. Subtle things that you need to work on in yourself. Our self-imposed isolation, since we can't really discuss our sitch with many people, gives us that frog in the slowly boiling pot circumstance so it's hard to see where we are objectively. Also I get a lot of strength from these people as the heal and progress, it is truly inspiring. But you have to attend a while to see that happen. The first few meetings can be a bit depressing because you have no point of reference of where they were before, so it seems like all bad news. So instead of "her SAWH is such a dick" you think "wow, she stood up for herself and enforced a boundary. *I* can do that too." Plus like I said SEEING the progress in person - the change in their voice and demeanor, their appearance, how they handle themselves, etc is truly inspiring.
So he came to me last night and said he's been processing my e-mail to him. He said he realizes he has a problem and that he needs help. (he's never said this before, he's always said he can fix it himself). He said he's scared and overwhelmed by it, but he knows he has to.
I asked if he was doing it for me, or himself. Because it matters. He said he doesn't want to lose me, but he's doing it for himself. Because he doesn't want to feel the guilt, the anger and the shame anymore.
I said ok, but you need to take the steps to prove that to me. *I* can't do it for you. I will walk with you on your journey, but I won't do it for you. You need to take the steps yourself.
As to what those steps are? I dont' know yet. He wants to talk to our therapist, be honest with her with what he's done and ask for her help. She has stated in the past she will refer him to a CSAT.
I'm going to make a list of what my expectations are and bring that with us.
I ordered every book listed in the first post on this thread. On my list of expectations, he will have to read them. And I will read the ones directed at spouses.
One question I have right now, while I'm waiting.
I don't want to be an enabler/co-dependant/mommy.
He's asked me to take the wifi out at night (his idea, not mine) as a means to take away temptation.
I mean, if he was an alcoholic, I would not have alcohol in the house. So...I'm confused on what I should do here.
My husband and I had a talk about this last weekend, as he was showing me his bottom lines, middle lines, top lines (or circles, or yellow, red, and green behaviors). Several of them focus on avoiding triggers, where according to what I've read, the eventual goal is to view potential triggers as an opportunity for learning and growth, rather than something to be avoided at all costs.
He said that his CSAT said that this early in the game, removing temptation, severing contact with his SA life is important. That we can't expect him to respond appropriately to temptation until he's further along in recovery, until he has a good foundation of coping and life skills built up.
Of course, I've been specifically avoiding looking into co-dependency and my role in all this, so I don't know how that ties in. But I get what you mean about wanting to see the end behavior (not needing to Mommy him, him looking at a trigger as a chance to use his new skills), but I know in my case (and it seems like in yours, too), that it's just too early to expect that.
ETA: Another thought - you're not demanding a control measure, he's asking for your help with something. So it doesn't sound as much like you trying to control his recovery, but like he's come up with an idea and needs your help for now.
[This message edited by Raidra at 9:49 AM, April 13th (Friday)]
Because the past two nights I have been removing the WiFi from all computers. As well as, I did put parental controls on, blocked the sites he was accessing, etc. just as a back up. I know there are ways around that, but still.
His phone is blocked too.
At work he doesn't have internet access. He'd look at his phone.
As the years went on I realized that HE had to do ALL the work. All of it.
He had to investigate what books to read and then read them.
He had to decide to disable his computer, and then disable it.
He had to seek out counseling.
Everything that I tried to help with failed. Everything that I tried to help with eventually made me resentful, and him too, if we're being fully honest.
Eventually I came to realize I did not want to be anyone's savior. For me, that's a really icky place to be. Eventually I came to realize that I did not want to make ANY suggestions on how WH could "get better". I detached myself from his decisions as well as the outcome.
An addict won't hit bottom as long as we cushion the final fall with our selves & good intentions. IMVHO&E, of course. YMMV.
I don't know what to do when he's in that place (like now). We did talk in our MC about why I think it's important for him to continue his IC. He has a very good therapist who specializes in SA and has an entire program. My SAfWH is not even half-way through. But he stopped going. Part of it was finances because we got a new insurance plan that his IC isn't covered under, but we had it budgeted and could have made it work (and did for about a month). He likes his IC, he said the program was giving him insight, and he told the MC and me that he understands why it is important to continue and build tools for the future. But it's been 3 weeks (tomorrow) and still no appointment. How do I handle that? I think I'm going to bring it up in MC tomorrow.
It's very hard for me knowing he hasn't done it, thinking about it every day, and NOT saying something to him about it. I am a doer - a type A, get things done, take care of business now kinda person. I know the urge to take care of things for him or nag him to get it done (which I fight) is part of a co-dependant relationship. I just don't know what the alternative looks like. Watch him just not go to therapy? Let it go another 6 months? Wait until his lack of proactive action causes another "slip"? I really don't think I can handle that emotionally.
Again, he claims there is no temptation at all right now. But even if that's true I know how addictions work and that sucker will be back with a vengeance. If he is unprepared he will pay the cost, but so will I. He has done a lot of good things - no internet access on his phone, found and installed a porn blocker that only I have the password to, cut off contact with former friends who pushed him towards this behavior and were bad for our marriage, given me all PWs for email, etc. He is also communicating better. But he only goes to our MC now. No IC, no books, no groups (that's another post), and no real talking about this issue most of the time. It's like he thinks it has just disappeared into mid-air. Help!
He doesn't know I've blocked anything either. Well, the phone he does, because I did that back in October after dday #3 of the porn.
But he doesn't know I've done anything other than that.
HE asked me to remove the WiFi, I never mentioned that at all. I actually didn't think of complete removal, I only thought of blocking/parental control type things. So that was his idea at least.
Here's another question about SA groups. We are both athiests and my H has tried several groups. He has done one through a couseling office, SA and SAA. All of them he found extremely religious based to the point of being very uncomfortable. He actually would come home angry at all the men who were there saying God would "heal" them if they just prayed enough about it. Also all of the 12 steps seemed to be based on God or a "higher power," none of which he believes in or could truly get behind. He feels like those types of programs use "God" as a crutch - like some magic fairy who will come down and cure all your problems if you just believe enough.
He also said that there were a lot of hypocrites who seemed to use the group as their confessional so they could go back out there and keep doing what they wanted to. Those were the ones whose "sexually sober since" dates always seemed to be only days or weeks ago at every single meeting. He said it seemed like they just wanted to be able to come in, say they "slipped," have everyone tell them they weren't horrible, and clear their conscious before the next offense. It was something very hard for him to sit through meeting after meeting.
I have heard a lot of people say that 12 step programs/ groups are vital, but what do you do when they really aren't a good fit? I saw the athiest's 12 step listed at the front of this thread, and I will definitely bring it home to him tonight. It's just that we are in the Bible-belt big time, and there just isn't a group that uses that type of approach. All the ones in this area seem to lead with Bible verses, have prayers, etc.
I truly believe my husband finally accepted that he is a SA. He also seems to really want to do the right thing. There just doesn't seem a way for him to fulfill that part of recovery. He doesn't want to use religion as a quick fix or group as a get-out-of-jail free pass to let himself feel better about possible "slips." Is that so bad? I honestly wouldn't be able to respect him or trust his recovery if he was like those men he describes from the groups he has attended. So is there any other option?