Thursday, December 27, 2007

Anybody wanna play tag?

The Junky's Wife tagged anyone who wants to play to share 5 random facts about themselves. I'm in.

1) I like Sign Language. When I was in college, I spent a couple of weeks at Gallaudet (a college for the Deaf in Washington, DC.) I had taken up the habit of practicing fingerspelling random things while I was walking along. I stopped when all of a sudden it occured to me that everyone at Gallaudet could read my mind by looking at my fingers!! I took a group of emotionally disturbed 11 year olds to the beach one summer. On the way, I was practicing my sign language by signing the words on the radio. One of the kids asked me to teach them to curse in sign language. I told them to come ask me again when they're 18. In the meantime, I wiped my forehead and scratched my nose. The kids thought I was showing them cursing in sign language and spent the rest of the trip wiping their foreheads and scratching their noses at each other.

2) I used to teach swimming to kids with disabilities. One summer, a friend and I discovered a mysterious log and went to report it to the woman in charge. "Oh SHIT," exclaimed the director. "Exactly" was my friend's quick comeback. ;-)

3) I've bailed two different people out of jail and I've had way more people than I care to count committed to a locked mental facility. It's waaaay to easy to do a secure custody order to have someone committed. Don't piss me off, b/c it could happen to YOU!!!!!!!!

4) I got a chance to tour the west wing of the white house a couple years ago. I've got a friend who works for the government. That's all I can say about that. Otherwise, she'd have to shoot me.

5) I'm tongue tied (or whatever the medical term is when there's a piece of cartilege that extends and holds your tongue to the bottom of your mouth.) My first french kiss created an incredibly awkward vacuum suction noise when he was trying to pull my tongue into his mouth and it just wouldn't go that far. After that, I used to do tongue exercizes while watching tv to try to stretch my tongue out farther.

So there you have 5 random facts. I'm not gonna tag anyone who doesn't ask to be tagged. I still have people who's last posts ever included my comment to them that they'd been tagged. So, Anybody wanna play? Leave a comment for me and I'll add you to the list.

Tag Volunteers:
2)just another addict

Wednesday, December 19, 2007


My partner has been having a hard time lately, and I've been having a hard time detaching with love from her hard time.

Last night, she told me that she thought she'd take the day off today. "Ok," I said. "OK? I didn't expect that!!"

Do I feel ok? NO!! I need to acknowledge that, but not necessarily to her. It scares me because as of a week ago, she told me she only had one day off. She took a day off last week, and then missed more than 1/2 a day later in the week to go to the doctor. Math may not be my strong suit, but it "seems" that she doesn't have this day to take. It's also scary b/c frequent absences in the past have been a precurser to even more difficult times in the past. She's in a bad place. That's scary for me.

And the selfish part of me is just hurt that she chose to take 2 1/2 days just before my week's vacation. I told her last week when she was getting ready to use the one day she really did have that needed to be used before the new year that I wished she'd wait and spend the day with me over the holiday. I have to remind myself that this is not about me. She's hurting; she's not rejecting me. Note to self: make plans for ME to spend time with people I care about next week when I'm on vacation alone. Oh well, off to work. Sigh.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

my former doctor

I'm really struggling again lately with trust issues surrounding my former family physician. I've always thought that he's a really good man and an excellent diagnostician. When my partner first told me about her addiction struggle, she told me that she'd been taking the pain pills for over a year and that she didn't even remember what they were originally prescribed for. She told me that she often took them to "deal with" a child in our home and that she hid the pills from me. She said that she was really scared, because her father was an alcoholic, and she knows addiction runs in her family. She said that she was taking substantially more than what was prescribed, that she kept asking for (AND GETTING) refills sooner and sooner, and that she had to sometimes pay cash for them because insurance wouldn't pay for them. She said that she'd tried to stop on numerous occasions, but couldn't. She asked me if I would hold her pills for her so that she could wean herself down.

I told her that I could not hold her pills for her, because it would be unhealthy for me, and that I could not be the sole keeper of this information for the same reason. I told her that I'd like for us to go together to see our doctor, who'd been prescribing the meds. I asked her to go to the pharmacy and get a printout of what she'd taken in the last year, which she did. We brought the printout to the doctor and, with much prompting, she shared with him all of what she'd shared with me.

The doctor told us that it was ok, that some patients used prescription narcotics all of their lives and that he was currently using them for his back. He suggested weaning her off and LITERALLLY patted me on the head and told me "it's not so bad."

After he left, my partner burst into tears and said that she thought he was going to send her to rehab. I wanted to believe our doctor, and I did. I convinced myself that I'd been overreacting. Meanwhile, my partner used substantially more than he prescribed in the first few days, and decided pretty quickly to reach out for help again. She was told to check herself into detox, and she did.

I've felt really betrayed by this doctor. I can maybe understand him being careless with how often she was getting refills, and she freely admits that she lied to him about symptoms, but I spelled it out for him and had her bring him a copy of what she'd been taking, and he still blew us off. My partner says that it was her doing, and she really trusts him. We argued for a long time about going back to him, and she finally agreed to go to a new doctor. I told her that I had trusted him with what's most important in the world to me, and that I feel like he betrayed my trust. She also acknowledged that part of her wondered if he'd give her pain pills again.

That was over a year ago. I've struggled with whether to confront him, because, at best, I think he was ignorant and other patients might be struggling with addiction without his knowledge. I wonder if there's denial going on on his part, and part of me wonders if he's got his own addiction struggles. I get overwhelmed, though, and do nothing, other than working out an agreement with my partner that we'd change practices and find a new doctor. In the last month or so, the issue has come up twice. She's not feeling confident in our new doctor's skills and really wants to go back to the old one. I do think that the old doctor is probably a much better diagnostician (in every area other than addiction) than the new one. I don't know if I could (or should) try to work through my issues with him. And I'm feeling guilty for not confronting him, because I do wonder if my not speaking up might have kept others from getting help.

I'm really struggling with being able to trust my own judgement. It was really such a blow because I trusted this doctor so much for so many years, and when he literally physically patted me on the head and told me that it wasn't so bad, it was like he was telling me that I don't really know what I know. Then, when my partner keeps saying that she wants to go back to him and that she trusts him more than the new doc, I start feeling all crazy again. I start thinking that maybe I should turn myself inside out again and agree to go back to him, or at least tell her that it's ok with me if she doesn't honor our agreement not to.

My big questions are about trust- Can I trust me? Could I or should I try to work through my trust issues with the doctor? But then, the related question is if I do trust me, what do I do about it? I've never seen him since the day he patted me on the head, and I've never addressed directly or indirectly what I think he did wrong. I thought about reporting him to the state licensing board at the time, but I didn't trust me enough to do it. I don't want to destroy the man's career. I would like to do what I can to bring about growth/education/change. It's feeling very similar to the struggle I've faced when considering reporting possible child abuse. But at least I know that system. I don't know anything about the state licensing board or any other way I could encourage this man to respond differently the next time he's faced with possible addiction. Input is welcome.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007


I'm going to be a sponsor. Someone asked me after our meeting where we talked about working the 12th step. My first reaction was fear. This is someone with years in the program. She has had multiple sponsors and is a sponsor herself. They say that what you should look for in a sponsor is someone who has what you want. My worry was that she has way more that I want than I could ever have what she wants. Whenever she shares in meetings, it helps me. I don't know if I've got what she needs. But then, I decided that it's not up to me to decide what she wants. It's up to me to decide about my own willingness. I'm willing, and she says she wants this. So, after the holidays, we're getting started. Anyone with ESH to share on being a sponsor, I'd love to hear it.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

struggle for balance

Last night, I tried to give my partner a "restitution gift." It's a tool our therapist taught us to clear up messes. The concept is that when someone in the relationship does something that hurts the other one, we can offer a restitution gift. It has to be something that the giver would LOVE to give and the receiver would LOVE to get.

Here's the background. It's complicated. Stay with me. (Or don't. I'm really just trying to sort it out for myself.) I had shared that I was really hurt by my partner saying "fuck you" to me during an intentional dialogue. He suggested that we talk about it, and that she offer me a restitution gift. She got upset and said that I owed her one. She said she didn't remember why but that she's sure I didn't give her one a couple of months ago. Actually, from my memory, even that incident was about me trying to own my part of a problem without her being willing to own hers. I had owned my piece of an issue and offered a restitution gift. She refused the gift, didn't own her piece, and left mad. Then about a week later, she comes back and says she's changed her mind and wants a restitution gift. I don't remember whether I gave it to her or not. It was a long time ago. But I agreed to give her one this week. And she agreed to process with me about my feelings about her saying "fuck you" to me during an intentional dialogue. (If you're trying to keep up, that's what brought up the restitution gift in the first place.)

So, last night I tried to give my restitution gift, a body massage. First, she told me that I wasn't really massaging, I was just touching. Then, she told me I was rubbing too hard. I told her I needed to stop. I was trying to give her a gift, and all I kept hearing was that I wasn't doing it right. One of my biggest triggers is that I'm not good enough, and it was getting majorly activated. Then, she got triggered by my being triggered. I'm not going to go into her stuff, but I acknowledged her feelings, and held her and she went to sleep.

OK, here's some of what's bothering me. I tried to take care of her by giving her the restitution gift. She has yet to bring up the dialogue about the "fuck you." Maybe she will before Wednesday, but I doubt it. Ok, I know, that's having an expectation, which is a premeditated resentment.

But things feel way out of balance for me. It feels like I take care of her, and she takes care of her. Last night, what went better for me was that I took care of me too by stopping when I needed to and by sharing my feelings. She took care of her by sharing her feelings. I took care of her by acknowledging, reflecting, and then holding her. So what went better is that I took care of me and I took care of her and she took care of her. At least I was in the equation, since I tried taking car of me. But something's still missing here.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

becoming entirely ready

My writing workshop is on step 6. We did 5 last week. We were all resistent, feeling like we couldn't do it good enough, and then we all said very similar things. We all knew that the others weren't so bad, so maybe we weren't either. Magic!!

But of course, we were supposed to be ready to share Step 6 last week, and like the good little codie I am, I did the writing for it, even though I wasn't really finished with 5 and was in the middle of tantrumming, not a great place to become entirely ready to have God remove all defects of character.

I think it's the word, entirely, that's tripping me up. Sounds like I gotta do it perfect, and trying to be perfect is what trips me up all the time. I wanna change the language. I want it to say "were becoming ready." I could live with "were becoming entirely ready." There I go again, trying to tell recovery how to do it right.

But maybe it's like MPJ's turkey dilemma or what NA says about reservations.

My book has an analogy about bungee jumping. It said you may be all dressed and have all the facts about safety and even all the confidence in the operators, but you won't jump until you're ready.

Today, I can't say that I'm entirely ready. But at least I'm thinking about it.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Recovery Meme

The Junky's Wife tagged me for a recovery meme.

Here's the rules:

Link to the person’s blog who tagged you.
Post these rules on your blog.
List seven things you're grateful to have learned in recovery.
Tag seven people at the end of your post and include links to their blogs.
Let each person know that they have been tagged by posting a comment on their blog.

1) I'm grateful to have really come to understand the concept that addiction is a disease. The first time this made sense to me was in a multifamily group. The presenter asked if any of us in the room had allergies, and I raised my hand. He looked at me and said, "you weak little shit. I can be around pollen and my eyes don't swell or turn red or itch and my nose doesn't run. What the hell is wrong with you?!?" It was the first time I was able to get that it wasn't about strength of character or willpower, it was about whether or not somebody is allergic.

2) I'm grateful to have learned that I'm not greater than or less than anyone else. (OK, so that's one of the one's I'm still working on.) I don't have to be, in fact, I'm not expected to be perfect. And nobody else is either. Even my addict. I'm grateful to know that this program is about progress, not perfection.

3) I'm grateful to be learning that it's not about me. It has especially helped me to get to know people on "the other side of the street." When I watch other people I care about, but am not intimately involved with, struggle in the same way that my partner does, it's much easier to get that it really, truly, ain't about me.

4) I'm grateful to be learning about me- my wants, my needs, my feelings. Sometimes, like last week, I have to tantrum to figure out what's going on inside of me. But sssssssslllllllllllooooooooooowwwwwwllllllyyyyyyy, I'm learning who I am. And I'm learning to speak up for what I want.

5) I'm grateful to have learned the Intentional Dialogue. Ok, so this one didn't come from recovery, but it did come THROUGH recovery. I'm grateful to be learning how to give and receive validation and empathy, and to see more and more that when we are struggling the most, we're coming from the same place.

6) I'm grateful to have learned that I'm dreadfully ordinary. It's comical and comforting when the truths I agonize about are mirrored by my friends in recovery. Nothing that I'm experiencing is new or unusual. Somewhere, in my recovery world, I have friends who have been there, done that, and can help me through it.

7) I'm grateful to have learned that there are recovery programs for ME that can help me get through experiences I need to get through. I used to "help" people by taking them to AA. I learned about Adult Children of Alcoholics, and though there's no alcoholism in my family of origin that I know of, knew that I fit many of the criteria. Then, when I really needed it, I found CoDA. Years, later, when I found myself in the throes of the family disease of addiction, I found Naranon. And for that, I'm truly grateful.

OK, tag, you're it:

A Family in Recovery
Married to an Addict
The Hurting Heart
The Discovering Alcoholic
Tania Marie

Friday, November 16, 2007

I've been tantrumming

I spent the last 3 days tantrumming. Tuesday, I had a great big hit-and-kick-the-wall tantrum. I've never done that before. It's not fair. I want more. I've been so frustrated that I'm expected to suck it up for her family but she won't show up at all for mine. What it comes down to is that I just don't feel important to her when what's important to me isn't important to her. She's been really good about containing me, which I guess is a good thing. But I end up feeling managed and dismissed. I feel like she can't hear me, so I yell louder and cry more. Yeah, that'll make her hear me. Sigh.

Hell, I even tantrummed over at Two Women Blogging b/c MPJ posted hand pics there and did't include the one of the two of us. Kinda ironic when she just gave me a "nice" award. I'm not feeling nice. I'm also, and at the same time, feeling punished for being nice. Like being nice makes it easier for my needs to be ignored. Maybe I need a good dose of "not nice."

I know, the party line is that I can only change me. But I'm not liking my options. I want balance. I don't wanna be not nice. But I can't make my partner be nice. I guess what I'm really feeling is insignificant. Damn it!!!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Therapy, pulling our own weight

I love our couples therapist!

He usually starts sessions asking us what our desire is for the session. Usually, my partner looks to me to bring something (a desire for the session) and usually I have plenty of desires. I'll often ask her for one first, and if she doesn't have one, I'll share. Today, I said that I have something to talk about, but that what my greatest desire for the day was to hear what my partner's desire was first. She didn't come up with anything.

He did an exercize to demonstrate why it's important for each of us to carry our own weight. He had each of us take turns trying to physically hold the other one up, with one person in the relationship going limp in the other's arms. Then he had us stand up on our own, facing each other with our hands touching. He'd have one of us push or withdraw or just touch lovingly, and showed how when we were standing on our own, we naturally matched each other's energy. It was a really good visual and kinesthetic way of demonstrating how important it is.

Geesh, I started this post last Wednesday, and haven't written anything since. It's been a really hard, hard week, professionally, personally, and relationship"y". I thought last week's session went so well, but my partner sure didn't. Today's seemed bad to me. It's sooooo hard when we're both in a bad place.

I'm exhausted. I'm a mess. She's a mess. BLEH!!!!!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

In Honor of Grandma, on her unveiling. Here's the eulogy I shared.

I wrote this piece to share at the funeral. I'm not at her unveiling today with my fmaily of origin. So I decided to share my eulogy with my family of choice. My grandmother was transitioning from life to death during early, early recovery in my world. While I didn't share the addiction with most of my family, I did share the lessons grandma taught me. My grandmother lived many of her later years with a husband in active addiction. While we never had the chance to talk about the struggles I had with my addict, I know that she of all people knows and that she truly loves me unconditionally.

Here goes.....

I don’t need to tell you how special my grandmother was. If you are here, you loved her and she loved you, and you KNOW how special she was. My mom recently said “everyone thinks that their mother is the best, but we KNOW that ours was.” I know that everyone here has special stories to share, because she made each one of us feel like we were the most important and the most special. I know that we will all share those stories over the coming days. So today, I would like to share some of the lessons that grandma taught me.

Grandma taught me about limits. She loved to tell a story that I don’t remember of when I was about 3, and was riding in the car with her. I was sticking my hand out the window and grandma told me that if I stuck it out again, she would slap it. I tested the limit. She enforced it. She told me that I got a shocked look on my face and said, “you hit me.” And I didn’t stick my hand out the window again.

Grandma taught me about independence. Years ago, after she had her stroke, I had the honor of being her “night nurse” over the summer while I was out of school. When I was preparing to go back to my town, she decided that she wanted to have time to herself in her house. She knew that the family would not want to let her be alone at night, so she told everyone that she was hiring someone from midnight to 6am and someone else to come in at 8 am, so that she could have 2 hours to herself. She never actually hired anyone to come in at night. Her plan was brilliant. Nobody ever wanted to bother her in the middle of the night, so nobody ever learned that she was doing as she chose, and being independent at night.

Grandma taught me about perseverance. This also happened in the period right after her stroke, when she decided that she wanted to drive again. Again, she knew that nobody in the family would agree with her plan, since she was a rather adventurous driver even before the stroke. She went out to the parking lot every day, and practiced turning the key. When she had trouble with her upper arm strength, she learned a trick from her friends in an arthritis swimming class at the JCC. She turned her wrist before grabbing the key so that she’d have more power to turn the key. Once she got to the point of being able to turn the ignition on, she’d practice going around the block, again in secret. Finally, after months of this, mom was late picking her up for a doctor’s appointment, and grandma just drove herself over to mom’s house. That’s how mom learned that she’d been secretly driving for so long.

I’m not sure how thrilled my mom was at the time with grandma’s independence or perseverance, but that was part of the spirit and energy that kept her with us for so long.

Grandma taught me how to handle whatever life brings with humor, grace, and gratitude. I remember the night that she had her pace maker put in. I’d called her in the hospital to see how she was doing, and was taken aback by her response. She told me “I am soooo mad at the doctors.” Since I had never in my life heard her complain about anything, I was alarmed, and asked her what had happened. “Well,” she said, “when they put in my pacemaker, they forgot to do my tummy tuck!!”

A few years ago, when I was going through some difficulties at work, Grandma taught me her own version of the serenity prayer, made up just for me. She told me, in a very practical and real way, to accept the things I cannot change, and change the things I can. What she said to me, whenever I was complaining about work was, “R, don’t worry about the tsoris, worry about the eye pencil.” I still struggle with the serenity prayer, but there’s hope for me, because Grandma sure got it right.

There are countless of other examples of grandma’s humor, grace, and gratitude under difficult circumstances, but the most recent one I remember was when Hospice first got involved with her. She told me, “R, I’m so busy. I have a nurse who comes in to do one thing, and a nurse’s assistant who comes in to do something else. I even have a social worker whose job is to make me happy. So, the social worker comes, and when she leaves, I’m happy!!”

Grandma taught me unconditional love. Whenever we greeted each other, we would always sing to each other the beginning of “You light up my life” only she never had the words or the tune right. Her version was “You light up my life; you bring me joy, forever!” Grandma accepted me, exactly as I am. She loved me fiercely, no matter what. I know that she had unique traditions with each of us. And she really did have a talent of making each one of us feel like we were the most important person in her life.

This week, grandma taught me about what’s most important and about letting go. When I first got to town last Friday, I think we both had our feet in two different worlds. I was struggling between commitments to work and my family in another town and my need to be here. Grandma, too, struggled at first, between being here and letting go. My brother in law said that the same energy that kept her with us for all of these years, kept her with us this week, way past anyone’s, including the hospice nurse’s expectations. But, as always, grandma did things on her own terms, and in her own time. And I was so blessed to be a part of this last journey. I went back to my former role as the “night nurse.” It was so peaceful sitting with her at night, and during those nights, I think we were both able to let go.

I love you Grandma, and you will always, always, always light up my life.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

not going

We were supposed to be travelling this weekend to be at the unveiling of my grandmother's tombstone. Meanwhile, my stepdaughter's wedding is this week, and we have lots to do to get ready. And I'm still in the middle of the "am I being displaced at work" crisis of 07. I've been agonizing back and forth about whether to travel for the unveiling. My partner has been really supportive about it overall, and has been committed to going, in spite of all that's going on in both of our worlds. I know that she really didn't want to go, especially this weekend, and that she was suiting up and showing up for me in a major and significant way. We were finally packed and ready to go at 10pm last night for a 5 hour trip. I was carrying suitcases to the car, and decided that it really wasn't a good idea for us to go. We just have way too much going on in both of our lives right now. I know it was the right decision. We're both relieved. I know my grandmother will understand. Honestly, I'm glad it was me who decided not to go. I'm grateful that my partner was willing, even though it was putting a lot of pressure on her. It was a huge gift that she was willing to give me. Tomorrow, I'll say a prayer for my grandmother. Today, in the midst of all that's going on in our lives, I will express my gratitude.

Cognitive Dissonance- Therapy vs. 12 Steps

One thing I'm struggling with is what I'm learning in Naranon and how it differs with what I'm being told by our therapist. Naranon is really big on detachment, staying on your own side of the street, or not taking someone else's inventory. A few times in the last few months, my partner has invited me into her business. Not too long ago, she was working on Step 2, and couldn't think of an example in her life for one of the questions, so she asked me. I gave her an example from my own life instead. Last week, she was struggling with the effects of her avoidance behavior on a relationship that is important to her. She asked me for input. Meanwhile, I was having all kinds of feelings of my own, because her avoidance has bled into my relationship with the same individual. I was also afraid to tell my partner what I really thought, because she was feeling all injured and seemed to be looking to me for reassurance. I told her that I loved her and trusted her to work through it. I reminded her of support people who could help her- her sponsor, her own therapist, and our therapist. All my codie stuff was triggered, and I wanted to fix it, for her and for me. But I was proud of myself for using the tools I'd learned in naranon.

Then, a few days later, the issue came up in couples therapy. The therapist told my partner that she needed to clean up her mess by making an amends. He said that I SHOULD give my partner honest feedback, especially when she asks for it directly. He said that I have a sacred trust with her, and that I know her best and should be giving her feedback, gently, with love, and only when she's willing to receive it. We talked about the abandonment stuff that gets triggered in me. My partner said that she wants to hear the truth from me. She said that she wants me to be honest with her, just like I've asked her to be honest with me. She said she's not going anywhere.

I still don't know what to do with this stuff. I want the kind of openness in our relationship that the therapist (and my partner) talk about. But the therapist talks about my relationship with my partner being separate from relationships I'm learning about in naranon, when my partner is the addict that brought me to naranon to find relief.

It's just all a confusing mess.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Magic in the Rooms

Last night, I went to a meeting and started out kinda resenting the fact that the room was full of so many newcomers who just didn't get it. I had a burning desire, but didn't want to share it, because I figured the people in the room just wouldn't get it. (And no, visitor from out of state, I am NOT referring to you.) Somebody shared her own burning desire and opened it up to anyone to start. The person who started was somebody with very little time in the room, giving advice. The next person, was there for the second time. Last week, she had refused to go to the newcomers meeting b/c she's "a teacher and she knows this stuff." She went into the WWJD routine, and I was cringing. But then, all of a sudden, in the last go round, I saw this beautiful journey in the room. The brand new, very raw newcomer, the person with a couple months in the program just coming to terms with addiction as a disease, the woman who came back after her first week last week, and is struggling with everyone throwing around the word, addict, so comfortably. Everybody's on their own journey, and there really is magic in the room, when I'm willing to see it.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

triggered, and growth

So I was sharing with my partner this morning about some of my most recent insecurities and confusions in this virtual world and she got triggered. We were snuggling, talking, and she got quiet and then bolted out of bed. The topic was just too much for her. My head knew it wasn't about me, but my feelings got hurt anyway. Both of us are making progress though. I was able to ask for reassurance. She was able to tell me that it's not about me. (Yeah, I know this, but I still need to hear it.) I was able to tell her that it would really help me if/when she can share with me in an intentional dialogue, but if she can't, I'll understand. GROWTH.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Too much space in my head

So, this job situation is taking up waaaay too much space in my head. I'm trying to use my tools, but as many of us seem to be saying lately, the tools themselves can be contradictory and confusing. Feel your feelings. Detach. Accept. Just for today. Well, for today, I'm not going anywhere, except to the Renaissance Festival. I know that other than what I've said already, I have no say in whether I stay where I am or am transferred again. There are good things about staying, and good things about ending up in the new place. I can trust that in the end, whatever happens will be good. The suckiest part is not knowing, and if I try to process, accept, and let go of the feelings associated with that, I'll be ok. (And if I choose to obsess my way through it, eventually I'll end up in the same place. I'll just make the journey more difficult.) If I do have to go, I can know that I just got through a similar transition, and that actually, I'd be moving to a place more in my comfort zone. (My comfort zone, crazy codependent that I am, is inner-city high needs, crisis-full rather than my current upper-middle suburbia position.) So, me, relax and go to the Renaissance Festival. What will happen, will happen. The process may suck, but I'll be ok either way. Let's try to enjoy the day and see what happens. Yep, it's yet Another Fucking Growth Opportunity!!

Friday, October 5, 2007

displaced again

I got displaced from a job that I LOVED last spring. I'd been doing it for 20 years and it was the perfect job for me. I started my new position in August. The day before I was supposed to start, I got a phone call from the secretary and just KNEW that I was being displaced again. Nope, she just wanted information about my computer. Then, there was a typo in a list of employees that listed me as half instead of full-time. Again, I knew the handwriting was on the wall. Then about 3 weeks ago, there was a meeting where they told us that more displacements were coming. They said they'd be looking to move people in positions like my new one, so of course, that meant me. I finally let my guard down this week. I'm finally starting to feel competent in the new position, I feel like I'm getting to know and like my colleagues, I feel like I'm starting to make a difference, and I'm getting positive feedback from many stakeholders. So, of course, today, BAM, I get the phone call. Looks like I'm being moved. Damn!!!

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Guilt, Shame, and my brain's weird signals

I was in an online meeting about Step 4 the other night, and this was the question:

9. How has my behavior contributed to my guilt and

Here's what I had to say: My head gets the difference between guilt and shame;
my heart, not so much! Guilt is a healthy emotion for me. It lets me know when
I've got something to take care of, kinda like when i put my hand on a hot stove and
know immediately that I need to move it away. But shame gets me stuck and sends false messages to my brain. Sometimes it tells me that the stove isn't really hot and I leave my hand there and get burned. Sometimes it tells me that a cold stove is hot, and I'm constantly jerking my hand away when I don't need to. Even though my head knows this stuff, I confuse myself ALL the time. I take responsibility for what's not mine. I think that's my way of fooling myself into thinking that I've got control when I don't. And sometimes I don't take responsibility for what IS

You know, I'm looking back on this now and it's not making anywhere near as much sense as it did to me when I first said it. I'm not sure it addresses the prompt. And I'm not sure where it came from. But there it is.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Mi She Berach

Many of my blogging friends seem to have sick bodies and/or spirits right now. So, this is for you, Scout, Jay, MPJ's husband and family, my sponsor's mom, my partner, and anybody else who's hurting physically or emotionally.

If you want to hear it sung by the person who wrote the music and lyrics, you can hear it here.
Mi she berach avoteinu,
M'kor hab'racha l'imoteinu

May the source of strength, Who blessed the ones before us
Help us find the courage to make our lives a blessing
And let us say: Amen.

Mi she berach imoteinu,
M'kor hab'racha l'avoteinu
r'fuah sh'leima

Bless those in need of healing with r'fuah sh'leima
The renewal of body, the renewal of spirit,
And let us say: Amen.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

"Why the boundaries?"

I posted last night about my frustration re: boundary crossing and lying. On another site, I got this legitimate question.

"hmmm, well I'm funny that way. My man and I have always had all our passwords etc. open to one another. I'm an 'I don't have anything to hide' kinda gal and he knows I'm such a codie who has had such horrible fucking cheating, lying shit go on in my life that he's just happy to show me he's trustworthy. so...lest I offend, why the boundaries?"

It really is a good question, and I really want to think about it and process through it. Here's what it's not. It's not about having something to hide. One of the characteristics of codependents that is very much a part of me is that "we are extremely loyal, staying in situations that may be harmful to us for too long." That's quoted from Codependents Anonymous, where I was a member for 9 years pre-partner. The only thing she WOULD find if she explored my email or my internet account would be ventings here and the comments of responders. Chances are good that she'd be hurt, but only because the things she would read would be too hard to handle as I process through feelings here.

So, if it's not about having something to hide, what is it about? Well, first of all, boundaries and lying are two things I am constantly struggling with with my partner. My need for boundaries is constantly bumping up against her need to test them.

If I dig deeper than that, I have to look at my relationship with my mom. My mom really is a lovely lady who would die for me, but she "knows" what's best for me and if my answers don't match hers, then I'm still being a petulant teenager. I've found that I have to build a fortress of huge protective walls to keep myself safe from my mother. She knows nothing about the addiction in our lives or really much of anything beyond a superficial level.

Mom and I, while perfectly pleasant with each other, don't have much of a real relationship. I don't want that with my partner. I don't want to have to build a fortress. I DO want to set reasonable boundaries and to have them respected. But one thing I'm learning in naranon is that I have absolutely NO control in another person's behavior. I can ask that my boundaries be respected. But I can't MAKE her respect them. So, I see my options as continuing to deal with crossed boundaries or to build up my fortress. I'm not liking either option.

Oh yeah, today

My partner doesn't know my internet password, b/c she admittedly has a hard time with boundaries. She decided long ago that she shouldn't know it b/c she'd be tempted to go in and read my shit. Tonight, she wanted to watch a TV episode online. Stupid me, I thought about logging out of my screenname onto hers, so that she wouldn't go invading my boundaries, but decided that, hell, we're watching together, why bother switching. I'll be right there.

So, as soon as the show's over, she says, "gee, you have 400+ messages, let's look at them." I say, "let's not." So, what does she do? Open my email inbox. First, she says that she just opened the box, she didn't actually read any mail. Then, when I tell her I don't appreciate her doing that when I specifically asked her not to, she says that she had already clicked on it before I said that. When I called her on both lying and invading my boundaries, she admitted to both, and gave me a petulant "sorry."

So now, she's acting like I did something wrong and I'm being punished. I even tried giving her an out by reminding her of a tool we learned in couples therapy- the restitution gift. But instead, she's hiding under the blanket and I won't see her again tonight. Shit!!

What was huge yesterday, what's huge today

This past weekend, we were pet sitting for a friend of mine. I had all kinds of horrow story pics in my head. My partner's dog would eat my friend's dog or some other way it would end badly. So yesterday, I came downstairs and my partner had clipped one of the nails of my friend's dog. It bled for 2 hours. She was just gonna wrap it up and bring the dog back to my friend, who'd have been driving for 6 hours by then. I told her it's not fair to my friend, and that I think she needs to have a say about whether to go to the emergency vet. (Hell, she shoulda had a say BEFPRE my partner took the clippers to my friend's dog, but we're way beyond that now.) Anyway, my partner agreed that my friend needed to be called, but refused to make the call. I was pissed, because she left me holding it. Also frustrated and confused about what's mine and what's not mine. And stressing over my friend's dog being hurt when I was responsible. Yuck. Yuck. Yuck.

I tried calling a few friends in recovery, but didn't get anyone at the time. I called my friend and left a message for her to call back. Then I was gonna call the emergency vet to see whether we needed to take her in or what we needed to do. I asked my partner if she would either hold my phone in case my friend calls back or call the emergency vet. She agreed to hold my phone. She eventually talked to my friend and took responsiblity. But it had to be such drama to get her to own her shit. Blech.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Taking Care of Ourselves

My partner led her meeting last night. Who'da thunk? She said that the topic was honesty, particularly honesty in relationships, and she shared how she'd always thought of herself as an honest person. She said that if someone asks her a direct question, she'll always tell the truth, even if it gets her in trouble. She said that she even thought she was being honest during active addiction because I never asked if she was using so she didn't lie to me. She talked about coming to understand that she has developed a habit of not sharing the whole truth, and she's willing to work on that. These are things she's shared with me recently. It was really cool to hear that she took such a leadership role in her meeting and that she's affirming her plan to work on this issue by sharing it with more than just me. She seems to be in a really good place right now.

Meanwhile, Scout seems to have cyber-shared her germs with me. Thanks, Scout! I actually stayed home and took care of myself today. It's weird how much of a struggle it is for me to let myself take a sick day. But, for today, I'm practicing self-care. Think I'll go make myself some Matzah Ball Soup.

Sunday, September 16, 2007


Today has been a great day!

I started off the day volunteering with my partner at a Therapeutic Horseback Riding program. It's a great place for us. She loves the horses. I love working with the kids with special needs. We get exercize, we get to be outdoors, we both get our needs met, and it's a far cry from how we used to spend Saturday mornings with her isolating and me obsessing about her isolating.

Then, she went off to an NA conference, and I went to my 12 step writing workshop. We were sharing about common behavior characteristics. It was really good for me to be able to allow myself to be vulnerable, and then to hear others share stories that are so remarkably like mine. I was able to get and give validation and empathy. I was even able to share some of my crazy obsessive thoughts and hear that I'm not alone.

I almost left without sticking around for the Naranon meeting that followed. I'm so glad I stayed. The leader for the night shared about his desire to work a 4th step, but how stuck he feels and how he has no idea how to go about finding a sponsor, particularly when there are no males in our group who have completed the steps. I shared some of my experience, strength and hope. I talked about tools I'd used to work step 4, and about how a group of us had co-sponsored each other in a writing workshop in early recovery. When I got home, there was a message on my voicemail from the guy who led tonight's meeting. He said that after hearing me share, he and another guy in the room exchanged phone numbers. He said they talked for over an hour tonight, and learned all kinds of things they have in common and they agreed to co-sponsor each other. He said that he's heard "don't be alone, use the phone" at the end of each of his meetings, but he'd never reached out and used the phone until today, after hearing me share. He told me he appreciates me and what I contribute to the group. Heady stuff for this codie!!

Then, it was off to the county fair with my partner. I'd heard about the fair in my 12-step study, and it was great to have a date on a Saturday night with my partner. Since she's doing 90 in 90, we don't get to go out much in the evenings. We ate ourselves silly and just got to spend easy, nice, time together.

Finally, I came home, and was checking out blogs. I've been recently reading the blog MPJ shares at Two Women Blogging. Jay, her blog partner, had shared earlier this week about one of the torah readings for the Jewish New Year, and the feelings of loss it brings up for her. I commented about some of my experiences with loss as a foster parent, but was busy beating myself up about sharing that. How could my pain compare to hers? I'm only a foster parent. Then, in today's blog, she shared about how much she was helped by hearing MY story!! Not only was my story and my experience "good enough," but she said that it helped her process her own grief. Wow!!! This connectedness stuff feels GOOD!!

Oh, and to top it all off, I think I finally get how to put links in posts thanks to JW helping me after my rant on the Write Thought.

Yep, it's been a great day!!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Happy New Year

Tonight begins the Jewish New Year. Tomorrow and Friday, I'll be going to services alone. My partner and I had a silly fight last night. Silly, because she was supporting me in a way, but not in the way that I wanted to be supported. I've been putting off sending in my dues, as I do every year. I feel guilty and torn. My religion and the Jewish Community are really important to me. But I chose to become a member of a family where I am the only Jew. We talked about sharing traditions with each other, and we have, to some extent. We do family celebrations at home. We've had Passover Seders at our house, we light Chanukah candles, and we've even gotten pretty good about lighting candles and doing Shabbat prayers on Friday nights. But my partner does not like my Jewish Community. She says they're not welcoming of her. And her kids really don't consider themselves part of my family. When we have foster kids, they usually will attend services with me. But this year, we have no kids. And the High Holidays are a hard time to be alone. I wish things were different. They're not. I guess it's an opportunity to practice acceptance. My sponsor tells me that acceptance doesn't mean I like things the way they are, but that I acknowlege. And I have to acknowledge that as my partner has isolated herself, I have isolated with her. I've stopped asking her to go to functions with me, and I haven't gone on my own. I wish that I were sharing this really important part of me with this really important part of me. But it's one of those things that I cannot change.

Meanwhile I avoided the issue of dues until last night. When I brought it up, she said that "logically" it didn't make sense to pay that much, because we don't particpate enough to be worth that amount of money. While that's true, it's not the way I want things to be. I can't make her choose to participate, but I can choose to participate with or without her. So, tomorrow, I'll go to services alone. And this year, my intention is to participate in my community, with or without my partner.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

It Seems


After a tumultuous couple of days, we've processed through this last incident as much as we're going to. It seems that she wasn't lying, or at least not consciously, and like all of you addicts and codies have been telling me, it wasn't about me.

She slept through all of the time that we were home together on Friday. Of course, my addict-addicted brain said that she was avoiding me, or we're going into another deeper crisis, or all kinds of other crazy shit. She woke up at 7:30pm and told me that she'd be home late that night. So of course, I'm spinning, spinning, spinning even more.

I talked to my sponsor, who was surprised that I was so upset about an addict lying. She told me that if I choose to be upset every time my addict lies, then I'm choosing to be upset a lot!! She said that I can't expect my addict to be trustworthy until she's had at least a year of clean time. She told me to stop beating a dead horse, and to read about acceptance. She reminded me that acceptance does not mean that I approve, but that I acknowledge the way things are.

When my partner got home at about 11, she told me that she'd been to two meetings, and that she only has one more to catch up in order to make her 90 in 90. She told me that she imagined that I thought she'd gone out after her meeting instead of coming home. She said that she knows that she could/ should have told me what her plans were, instead of just saying that she'd be home late, but that she's not in the habit of giving complete information. She said that she knows that her not giving complete information makes things harder for me, and she's willing to work on it.

She then talked more about opening the lockbox. She acknowledged that she didn't give me complete information, but said that it wasn't deliberate. She said that she did turn the dial until it opened, but that she really did see the numbers she told me when the combination opened. She acknowledged that maybe those were the numbers her brain wanted her to see. She said that she wished she had been lying, because the alternative is that she's crazy, and she'd prefer lying to crazy. She also told me that taking the prescription has awakened her tiger, and that she's really struggling now to stay clean.

In the words of Married to an Addict, it SEEMS that she was telling the truth, her truth,abeit not the whole truth, all along. I guess I'll never really know whether all of these convolutions (is that a word??) are her way of dealing with MY obsession with truth and trust, or if it's just the way her brain is working right now. And I guess it doesn't really matter.

"Seems" is my new detachment tool. I don't have to know. And I don't have to invest quite so much into whether things really are the way they "seem."

Friday, September 7, 2007

Well, Damn, more and more has been revealed

I really was proud of both of us, for the way I thought we'd gotten through this weekend. Then, Tuesday night, she says she has something to tell me. She said that she knows the combination to the lockbox where I've been keeping her meds. She's known it since Saturday. She says she saw the lock while it was open. She told me she opened the box Tuesday, just to see if she could.

I thanked her for telling me the truth. I told her I have feelings about it, that I feel set up. She asked me to do this for her, and then she went around me.... again!! I told her that I can't be responsible for her meds any more, b/c it triggers "not good enough" shit for me. I was really trying to be careful to keep the combination from her. I'm really mad at me for letting her see it. Blah. Blah. Blah.

Then, last night, when I tell her about my frustration about my false sense of security and how she knew the combination the whole time, she says that she didn't really know she knew it. She said that she put it out of her head, until Tuesday. Then she tried it, but it didn't work. She said she kept turning the numbers and she thought how stupid that was, and then it worked. I asked her what the combination that she knew was, and she told me THE WRONG combination!! I asked her to explain it to me again, and the process she explained was picking the lock, not "knowing" the numbers.

I told her how upset I was that on top of everything else, she lied. And that I'd been beating myself up all day for not being good enough, since I thought I was being so careful to protect both of us at her request. She insisted that she didn't lie. I told her that she told me two completely different stories, and that they couldn't both be true. She said that she understood that I was mad, and she'd be mad too if she thought I'd lied, but she didn't lie. Then, she shut down.

Today, she was asleep when I got home, and stayed in bed for 3 hours, then got up and went to a meeting. I know she's struggling and hurting. But dammit, I am struggling and hurting too, and I didn't do anything but try to do exactly what she asked me to do.

There is nothing that means more to me than trust. I've really tried to wrap my head around MPJ's concept of "a new kind of trust." And meanwhile, she's often evaded stuff over the years of our relationship, way before the drugs. But she's always told me that she won't directly lie to me. It's pissed me off that if I don't ask the right questions, she just doesn't share, and somehow that feels different to her than lying. I've learned to live with that.... hate it, but live with it. But this was out-and-out lying to my face. I don't want to live with that. I don't want to live without her. Here I am again. SHIT!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

More Will Be Revealed

Thanks, Scout, for looking out for both me and my partner! I agreed to hold the pills for her, and she decided how much and when to get them. I did my best to stay on my side of the street. She did her best to be open with me about what she was feeling, and to use the medication to alleviate pain but not to get high. I'm really proud of both of us.

We travelled this weekend. That involved trying to find meetings on the road, since she's doing 90 in 90. We tried to hit meetings on the road on the way to and from our destination, but didn't connect with either one. We did find a couple of meetings and attended them together while we were at our destination. On Monday, when the last meeting we tried to find on the road didn't exist, we decided to have our own meeting in the van on the way home. It was a powerful experience.

It's funny. When I first suggested that we could have our own meeting, she said that we'd been having one for hours in the car. It's true that we had been reading and sharing before our official meeting. I had asked her to read to me from her Step Study book to help me prepare to lead last night's Naranon meeting on the 9th step. Then, she wanted to work on her 2nd step, and read the text to me, and then wrote her own answers to the questions privately. I was especially proud of me when she asked for input on one of her questions. She asked me to give her some examples of her behavior, and I instead gave her examples of my own behavior instead of taking her inventory. Yay me!!

Anyway, I told her that we had been sharing about the program, but that if we wanted to do our own meeting, I'd rather follow the suggested format- do the readings and not cross talk. We read the opening literature for both of our meetings, and then read and shared on "more will be revealed" in the NA literature. She did all the reading since I was driving, but we took turns sharing. It was really powerful, I think for both of us.

One thing I came to realize as we were sharing about "more will be revealed" is that more was being revealed for both of us as we moved along in our recovery journey, and interestingly, a lot of it has been around tooth pain. When she first told me about her addiction, the thought of having any kind of narcotics in the house really frightened me. Early in recovery, I shared in my meeting that I had pain and a prescription, but that I hadn't filled it because I was afraid of having the stuff in the house. My naranon friends encouraged me to take care of me and to fill the scrip. I did, but didn't tell her. Weeks later, I was struggling with MY dishonesty of hiding the medicine in the house and obsessing about her having found it and used it. So, we processed through it together and came up with a plan we both thought would work. I got a locked container and put the meds in it. Weeks after that, in a really courageous and honest share, she told me that she had been able to open the container and get to the meds. She hadn't taken them, but she was obsessing about them being there, and her having access. We decided to give the bottle to a friend.

Then came my need for a wisdom tooth to be pulled, which meant narcotics AND my not being in a place to be able to monitor them myself. We came up with another plan. This time, we gave the pills to a neighbor, and just got what I needed at the time. That worked pretty well. All along, though, I've been terrified (actually I think we both have been) about her having significant pain and being prescribed narcotics.

Well, that time came this weekend, and we got through it together. So, more has been revealed to each of us, as we've worked this program. I could not have imagined, even a couple of weeks ago, us both being ok and her using prescription narcotics as prescribed. But, we got through it. Today, she had her root canal. I'm hoping this part of the journey is over. But, if it's not, and her using the meds prompts another relapse, maybe, just maybe, we'll both still be ok.

Saturday, September 1, 2007


My partner has an absessed tooth. She was prescribed narcotic pain meds, her drug of choice. It's a scary time. My sponsor says that her personal opinion is that people shouldn't have to be in pain just because they're addicts and that if this prompts a relapse that I will just have to trust her higher power and that she has something to learn. Most of the time, I'm ok, but sometimes the feelings bubble up for me. We're doing well, at least for now, working through it together. AFGO!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, August 26, 2007


I had two meltdowns today. I've been stressing. I just finished the first week of a new job, and next week is going to be an even bigger transition. I've also pretty much singlehandedly put together a wedding shower for my partner's daughter this weekend, and we entertained her soon-to-be mother-in-law(STBMIL) for the weekend. So, I was exhausted, stressed, and in the let down phase after a big event.

Anyway, my first meltdown was over a book case. My new office is really pretty, but much smaller than I'm used to, and there really isn't room for all my stuff. I've been asking my partner for help in fixing up an old bookcase, and while she tried once, it's just not happening. She told me we'd do it this afternoon after the shower and entertaining was over. Well, she's doing 90 in 90, and had missed the last two days because of the events going on. This afternoon, we got up early to take STBMIL to the airport, then picked up the bride and groom to take them out. Then my partner went to play kickball on team-addict. Then she came home and crashed. When it was time to work on my bookshelf, she had to leave to go hit two meetings. I got hysterical. I tried to keep the feelings from her, b/c I know it's a really good thing that she's doing 90 in 90. It just feels like again, I'm last on the totem pole. Plus, I've tried to do the damn bookshelf myself, and I can't, and I'm feeling really incompetent. Plus, my office really should be ready tomorrorw, and I've got two boxes of books and nowhere to put them. And really, I'm stressing about whether I'm up to this job. BLEH!!

Then comes meltdown #2. This one has been a long time coming. I've been feeling so trapped in the middle between my family of choice and my family of origin. My mother always manages to find some excuse about why there's no room for my family at any given time and event. The most recent thing was room at her beach house next weekend. Meanwhile, there's this wedding that I'm a major financial contributor to and none of my family of origin is invited. This weekend, I'm hearing from the STBMIL about her husband's family who are all coming, and my parents are not invited. Then, this evening, my mom was all nice for a change about including my family and then she started asking about wedding plans. I'm hemming and hawing because she's not invited, and meanwhile, she's offering to sponsor a brunch for the out of town guests. I'm great at keeping my defenses up when people are mean, but when they're nice, I turn to mush. So I ended up sobbing to my mom about how trapped in the middle I'm feeling about the whole thing, and the nicer my mom was, the more I lost it.

Tomorrow starts the real phase of my new job. I'm a mess and so is my office. I still have 2 boxes of books with nowhere to put them. And I'm really worried that I'm not going to be good enough in this position.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Relapse(s) Scare

I woke up this morning at the unGodly hour of 7:30 am to the phone ringing. I let it go to voicemail. It was my oral surgeon's nurse, with a question. She said that my pharmacy had just called in a refill and she had a question about it. SHIT!!!!!!! My mind went immediately reeling. I had been so happy about how we'd worked through having a narcotics prescription for me. But now, I start thinking about the fact that my partner had chosen to have the narcotics filled at a pharmacy that we don't use regularly. At the time, I thought she was just doing it for convenience b/c it was on the way home. (Well, really I wasn't thinking ANYTHING at the time. I was in an IV induced haze.) But now I'm thinking she was planning this all along. Our pharmacist knew how she abused narcotics and that she'd been on suboxone for 6 months. I guess she had just been lulling me into a false sense of security. And since I don't use that pharmacy, I'd never have known if the nurse hadn't called to confirm. SHIT! SHIT! SHIT! SHIT! SHIT!

So I immediately call the nurse back and thank her for informing me. I tell her that it was NOT me who requested a refill. What she said back to me took a minute to sink in. My regular pharmacy had called in a refill of Amoxicillin, which had been prescribed as a premedication since I have a heart murmur. The nurse wanted to know if I thought I had an infection. Hooray! That was a true mistake. And I had been at my pharmacist yesterday refilling other prescriptions.

So, now, I cycle quickly through relief, then beating myself up for my own relapse, but where I'm ending up is sadness. If the same mistake had been made by the pharmacy that filled my narcotic prescription, I would have confronted my partner, and I wouldn't have believed her when she told the truth. I'd have had good reason not to believe her, but it still would have been the truth. It would have damaged both of us. I don't know how to get past that. YUCK!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, August 12, 2007


In couple therapy this week, we worked on boundaries. Our therapist got a rope, gave it to us, got out of the way, and had us set boundaries in the room. We started each holding a piece of rope. My partner took both ends and folded the rope so it was even. The therapist offered to cut it so we could each have our own. I laid mine out first. I had a picture of a Venn Diagram in my head, with most of the space intersected, but with each of us having a small piece that was our own. My partner told me that I was taking too much room and to move my rope. I picked it up and waited for her. She laid hers out. I asked permission to overlap and tried to tell her what my vision was- mostly shared space with a little separate. I was really hesitant about asking for shared space, having been told that I had taken too much already. She agreed. We made our venn diagram, and she immediately stepped into my space. The therapist told me to pick up my rope and make my own space. We were supposed to be getting a sense of our individual space. I wasn't liking it at all. I really wanted some shared space. Then he went on to having us practice saying "stop" when he moved towards our space. He had me go first, since I supposedly have so much of an easier time with boundaries. I was supposedly demonstrating for her, since saying "no," especially to men, is so hard for her. So the meat of the exercize focused on her owning her power and enforcing her boundaries. She did some good work, and that's a good thing.

At the end, the therapist asked me about my experience watching her do her work. I admitted that I had multiple things going on. While I was appreciating the work she did setting boundaries with him, I was also struggling with the feelings the beginning of the exercize brought up for me. It was amazing how much this stupid little exercize brought up for each of us. I talked about how I was the one who supposedly had an easier time with boundaries, but that I had let her take the rope out of my hands originally, had picked up and moved my boundary when she didn't like where I put it first, and hadn't enforced my boundary when she deliberately stepped into my space. I confronted what she said about it. It was said in a joking way, but it's really been true in our relationship. She had said to me, "what's mine is mine, and what's yours is mine."

The therapist helped me identify a big issue and to ask, "is there room for me?" I asked my partner why she stepped over my boundary, and she said that she wanted me to challenge her. I was able to identify that as I'm getting healthier and less enmeshed, I do want at least a little space that's just mine. I told her that I understand her need to test boundaries, but it conflicts with my need to have my boundaries respected. A hell of a lot of work was done with a silly piece of rope. We talked about the fact that I know her internet password, but she doesn't know mine. That was done at her insistence years ago, because she said that if she knew my password, she'd be tempted to read my email without my permission. We agreed to talk about finding a space in our home for each of us that is ours alone.

Meanwhile, as I've entered the world of blogging, I hadn't told her that I'm sharing here. I've hated having a secret, but I also knew that just like she stepped across my boundary as soon as I laid it, that it was quite likely that she'd search for and read my stuff if I told her it existed, and I worried that it would hurt both of us. But, after our session this week, I told her that I had created a space that's mine, here online, and that I wanted her to respect my boundary and not read it unless she's invited. She agreed. I shared the post I wrote on The Write Thought about being in-between. She liked my writing. I am liking not having a big secret. It's scary, though. The trust stakes are high as I'm learning to set, and hopefully she's learning to respect, boundaries.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Fear and Growth, my latest AFGO

So, I just finished posting about gratitude and being loved. And I AM. Both grateful, and loved. But I finished posting, and all of a sudden I realize that I've been feeling anxious this evening. You know, I'm really retarded when it comes to identifying, let alone labelling my own feelings. Which is really ironic considering the field that I'm in. But then not so ironic considering that a major reason I'm in this helping field is that it's a socially acceptable way of being codependent.

Anyway, the feeling is fear. And it has to do with change. I'm changing job positions, and not by choice. But then, when I think about it, this will be my 9th work location since moving to this town, and only 2 of those moves have been my choice. The last time I actually chose to move was about two decades ago. Literally! So, back to my good old 4th step. Why do I have this fear? It's a lack of trust. But I went to my new place today, and saw two people that I know and like from a previous place. And I'm reminded that change equals growth for me. And growth is a good thing for me.

My very favorite acronym I learned in a 12 step room is AFGO. That's Another F*&%ing Growth Opportunity. Isn't that a great expression? My choice would be to never move out of my comfort zone, which would mean never to grow. I guess this HP of mine is doing for me what I won't do for myself. And I'll survive this AFGO. I may even thrive!!

Thanks for letting me share.

I got a lovenote today!

A platonic lovenote, but a lovenote nonetheless. It was an email from a dear friend from college. I'm not going to say how long ago college was, but suffice it to say that there have been more years since we became friends than there are years before we became friends. I can't say how long it's been since the last time we've talked, but we're the kind of friends where literally years can go by and we can pick up and be right there for/ with each other agan at any time. So, the top of this moment's gratitude list is a surprise lovenote from a dear, dear friend.

Here's my lovenote:


I thought of you today and smiled. (Of course, I think of you often; even if I don’t reach out to touch you, you are in my mind all the time.)

Anyway, I got a pedicure over the weekend and picked a fun, bright, summery color that somehow called to me. This morning I was looking at my glimmering toes and suddenly made the connection: the last time I had this color nail polish, we were getting ready for C’s wedding and found a color that exactly matched her bridesmaid dresses! Remember that bright, sparkling magenta we wore? That’s the exact color on my toes this week. J OPI calls it “Ladies and Magenta-men.” (I get a kick out of the names…)

I remember sitting with you and C by the side of a swimming pool (at the hotel?) and doing all our nails. It was hot and we were with friends. It’s such a strong snapshot of a memory, even after all these years. The image hit me like a bus this morning and I’ve been carrying it with me all day.

I just had to share the smile and let you know you are always, always in my thoughts. You and I have so much common history and understanding, from such a formative time in our lives. And that persists, even across gaps in our contact.

I wanted to tell you how much I love you.



Lucky, lucky, lucky loved me!!!!!!!!!

P.S. Would somebody please tell me the right way to quote in a blog. I keep getting error messages when I try. Or is my HP trying to tell me that I'm not supposed to be putting words in here that are not mine. I'm so confused. OY!

Sunday, July 29, 2007

My truth about lying

So, I've been working on my fourth step, and came up with a surprisingly ugly truth. One thing I really have always prided myself on is my integrity. I consider myself to be a very trustworthy person. And trust has been my biggest button as I have been going through my recovery journey. It has been agonizing for me to work through not being able to trust my wife. But, I started working on this particular workseet, and what comes up strongest for me as a character defect is dishonesty! How's that for humbling???? Here's the checklist I was using. The rest of it can be found at for anyone who's interested in using the tool.

Step Four Resentments Checklist Column 4
“Putting out of our minds the wrongs others had done, we resolutely looked for our
own mistakes. Where had we been selfish, dishonest, self-seeking and frightened?”


· Not seeing others point of view, problems or needs
· Wanting things my way
· Wanting special treatment
· Wanting others to meet my needs–dependence
· Wanting what others have
· Wanting to control–dominance
· Thinking I'm better–grandiosity
· Wanting to be the best
· Thinking others are jealous
· Wanting others to be like me
· Being miserly, possessive
· Wanting more than my share
· Reacting from self loathing, self righteousness
· Too concerned about me
· Not trying to be a friend
· Wanting to look good or be liked
· Concerned only with my needs


· Not seeing or admitting where I was at fault
· Having a superior attitude–thinking I'm better
· Blaming others for my problems
· Not admitting I've done the same thing
· Not expressing feelings or ideas
· Not being clear about motives
· Lying, cheating, stealing
· Hiding reality–not facing facts
· Stubbornly holding on to inaccurate beliefs
· Breaking rules
· Lying to myself
· Exaggerating, minimalizing
· Setting myself up to be “wronged”
· Expecting others to be what they are not
· Being perfectionistic


· Manipulating others to do my will
· Putting others down internally or externally to build me up
· Engaging in character assassination
· Acting superior
· Acting to fill a void
· Engaging in gluttony or lusting at the expense of another person
· Ignoring others’ needs
· Trying to control others
· Getting revenge when I don't get what I want
· Holding a resentment
· Acting to make me feel good


· Peoples' opinions
· Rejection, abandonment
· Loneliness
· Physical injury, abuse
· Not being able to control or change someone
· My inferiority, inadequacy
· Criticism
· Expressing ideas or feelings
· Getting trapped
· Exposure, embarrassment

*Thanks to Anonymous in New England.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

more about me

So, I've titled my blog "Discovering Recovering," but when I think about all the time I've spent in and out of these rooms, I realize what an incredibly slow learner I am. It oughta make me have more patience for my addict. Maybe writing it will.

I first discovered 12 step programs in the mid eighties. At that time, I used to work with adolescents and I'd find teens that needed AA meetings and bring them there. (Have you guessed my primary addiction yet?) I used to think that AA made so much sense and that I wanted some of what they had. I don't think I thought that second part consciously. Since I've never been a drinker, as letting myself get out of control is waaaaaay too scary for me, I would seek out kids who needed meetings to justify my presence there. Then, the agency I worked for decided to have a meeting on campus and needed an adult to sit in. Of course I jumped at that one.

Later, I attended a training that included information about children of alcoholics. My family fit the profile to a Tee. I was the oldest, the rescuer. My brother was the scapegoat middle child. And my sister was the youngest, the loner. It was scary how well this literature described my family. I completely pissed off my mother by asking if there was some addiction in my family of origin that I didn't know about.

I found myself in a relationship for 2 years where my sole purpose of being in the relationship was suicide prevention. If I left her, she was going to commit suicide, and it would be my fault. Needless to say, it was a very sick relationship, but it fed my disease. She needed. I needed to be needed. Oh, by the way, she had this thing with prescription narcotics, and she'd hold me hostage with them. It was her preferred method of suicide threats. I don't have much memory of that time, but I do have this one memory of her threatening to take a pill a minute until I did or said something she wanted me to do or say.

The day I finally put her out, I called a hotline looking for an Adult Children of Alcoholics program, hoping that even though there was no known addiction in my family, that this would be a program that could help me. I was told there was no ACOA meeting that day, but that there was a program called Codependents Anonymous meeting in an hour. I went.

I remember being pissed during my first CoDA meeting. They read characteristics and they were describing me. I knew I was crazy, but I thought I was my own unique crazy. I didn't find comfort (at least at the time) in not being alone. It pissed me off. I stayed in CoDA for 9 years. Somewhere, I have a chip to prove it. I learned all kinds of things about boundaries and taking care of me. But I was single, so I didn't have much opportunity to practice those skills.

Then I met, fell in love with, and married the woman of my dreams. Just being around her made me the kind of stupid happy where you find yourself humming when you're somewhere near her. She had teen daughters, so I had instant family. We had all kinds of trials and tribulations, but we worked through them together. Well, really more accurately, she had all kinds of trials and tribulations which I helped her through. But the problems were clearly not about me and really didn't effect me. She was very open and willing to let me help her. And I was waay willing to help. Compassion was easy to come by. I was getting my codie fix and I guess like any addiction journey, the beginning of the ride felt all good. There was no time for and at the time I saw no reason for going to meetings or being in recovery. I felt good!

There was a period of a couple of months where she got really distant, and I didn't understand why. Of course, my natural instinct is to decide that it was all my fault, though I had no idea what I'd done. She eventually told me that she had had been taking prescription pain pills (MY prescription pain pills, mind you) and that's what had been making her so distant. Well she has actual addiction in her family of origin (as opposed to phantom addiction in mine) and it scared her and she stopped, at least for then.

Things were better for a long time, but then they got slowly worse. And like a lobster in a boiling pot, I didn't know I was coming to a slow boil and about to be consumed. Again, things were off but I didn't have a clue why, and again I blamed me. There were signs, but I surely didn't/ wouldn't see them. I knew she was withdrawing more and more and more. Our household was getting more and more and more disfunctional. I was getting more and more miserable and desperate. This time the things that she was doing and the things that she was choosing not to do had a major negative impact on me and on our family. I really didn't understand what the hell was going on.

Then, she came to me and told me she had a problem with prescription narcotics and that she couldn't stop. After some false starts, including going to our doctor together (her pusher) and having him tell us that she was ok and that some people take narcotics for the rest of their lives, she got herself into detox. It took me a week of her being in detox to figure out that there was a place for me- Naranon. I did mention that I'm an incredibly slow learner, right?

Well, that was 9 months ago. It's been a slow and painful process for both of us. But we're both still here and together. There was a time not too long ago that I didn't think that would be the case. I spent most of our relationship convincing her that I really meant the phrase I'd use with her all the time, "forever, no matter what." But then, the choices she was making were having such devastating effects on my life, and I couldn't find any way out of the pain without considering getting out of the relationship. The thought of leaving was just as devastating though. Commitment and trust are sooooo important to me. I didn't think I had any good choices. But slowly, agonizingly, we're inching our way back from the precipice. And today's a good day.

Thanks for letting me share.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

I want in!!

So, I've been reading blogs in the recovery world and I want in. I'm currently a member of Naranon and Overeater's Anonymous. I have spent about 10 years in recovery rooms, but not consecutively. I've never blogged before. We'll see how this goes.