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.